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  1. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/9 thru Sun, 8/15 *** Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 52-66) Run Differential Last Week: -1 (Overall: -74) Standing: 4th Place in AL Central (16.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 113 | CWS 11, MIN 1: Sox Build Huge Early Lead in Laugher Game 114 | MIN 4, CWS 3: Jax Fans 10 as Twins Eke Out Tight Win Game 115 | MIN 1, CWS 0: Ober and Bullpen Combine for Shutout Game 116 | TB 10, MIN 4: Cruz Homers in Return, Rays Roll Game 117 | MIN 12, TB 0: Maeda and Arraez Lead Charge in Blowout Game 118 | MIN 5, TB 4: Twins Walk Off Tampa, Take 3rd Straight Series NEWS & NOTES The Twins lost two-fifths of their rotation via trade on deadline day, and lost another piece to injury on Friday when Michael Pineda exited with an oblique strain amidst an underwhelming outing against Tampa Bay. He was quickly placed on the Injured List and replaced on the active roster by reliever Ralph Garza Jr., a recent waiver acquisition. Garza Jr. shined in his Twins debut, tossing two perfect innings in Saturday night's blowout win. No timeline was announced for Pineda but he is in all likelihood done for the season. It's been a tough go for the big right-hander in 2021 following a strong start; since the beginning of June, he's been able to make only nine starts while going 1-6 with a 5.80 ERA. The silver lining for the Twins, I suppose, is that re-signing Pineda to solidify the back end of the '22 rotation shouldn't take a whole lot at this point. Pineda's absence will require the Twins to lean even harder on their young pitching depth. Logically the next in line will be Lewis Thorpe, who put up 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball for the Saints on Friday while building up to 65 pitches. Thorpe lines up perfectly for Pineda's next turn in the rotation, on Wednesday against Cleveland. Other roster moves for the week saw Beau Burrows and his 12.54 ERA optioned to Triple-A, replaced by veteran journeyman Nick Vincent (Alex Kirilloff moved to 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man), while Jorge Alcala landed on IL and was replaced in the bullpen by another waiver pickup, Edgar García. HIGHLIGHTS With Pineda sidelined, it's now Kenta and the Kids in the Minnesota Twins rotation. Kenta Maeda looked the part of an exemplary veteran leader on Saturday, firing six shutout innings against the Rays, while the rookies joined the fun with strong performances of their own against first-place teams. Griffin Jax was flat-out dominant against the White Sox on Tuesday night, striking out 10 over six innings. Chicago managed to score three runs on a couple of homers, but Jax was otherwise excellent, pounding the zone with sliders and fastballs to keep a potent lineup in check. Interestingly, Jax has piled up 16 strikeouts over 10 innings with a 20% swinging strike rate in two starts against the White Sox this year, compared to 16 strikeouts in 28 innings and a 6% swinging strike rate against all other opponents. The following day, Bailey Ober helped lift the Twins to a series victory over the division leaders, contributing 5 ⅓ scoreless innings to an eventual shutout. Ober struck out six and walked one, pushing his K/BB ratio to 62-to-16 in 57 ⅔ innings this season. Like with Jax, keeping the ball in the park is the biggest challenge for Ober and on days like this where he's able to do so, he looks quite legit. Ober owns a 3.55 ERA in seven starts dating back to the end of June, and Minnesota has gone 5-2 in those games. Even Charlie Barnes joined in on the rookie revitalization of the rotation. While he wasn't particularly effective in his first outing on Monday, yielding three runs in 4 ⅔ innings as bulk guy behind the opener Burrows, Barnes rebounded on Sunday, holding the White Sox to one run over five frames. The lefty was in line for his first MLB win, leaving with a three-run lead, but the bullpen and defense let him down in the late innings. García was among the culprits, surrendering a two-run homer in the sixth, but it was his only blemish in a strong stretch overall. The right-hander stepped up in a pair of earlier long-relief appearances, allowing just one hit over 4 ⅓ scoreless innings versus Chicago and Tampa. In total he struck out five with only one walk, inducing 12 swinging strikes on 80 pitches (15%) while finding the zone with 68% of his offerings. Combined with Garza Jr.'s outstanding debut on Saturday, it was an encouraging week for the club's latest bullpen waiver adds. It might fairly be described as "too little, too late," but Alex Colomé has quietly become the steady rock of this relief corps, looking very much like the reliable closer he's been in years past following an unbelievably ugly April. Since May 1st, he's got a 3.00 ERA and is 5-for-6 in save opportunities. The past week saw him rattle off a pair of saves, both in one-run games against the Sox, and he also worked a scoreless ninth on Sunday to set up Minnesota's win in the bottom half. Offensively, Jorge Polanco continues to be the star of the show – his 21st homer on Wednesday proved decisive in a 1-0 win, and he walked off the Rays with sac fly on Sunday – but Miguel Sanó's re-emergence should not be ignored. His bat, and more generally his offensive approach, have been resuscitated. The past week saw Sanó collect five hits, including a double and homer, but most importantly, he drew as many walks (4) as strikeouts. After leading the league in Ks last year, and fanning in 39% of his plate appearances through May of this year, Sanó has cut that rate down to 31% since the start of June. During that span he is slashing .249/.321/.477 in 56 games. Spectacular? No. But very serviceable and suggestive that the big slugger still has something left in the tank. LOWLIGHTS The Tampa series was a high point for Brent Rooker, who went 6-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs in his two starts. The Chicago series was anything but. In three games against the White Sox, Rooker went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts, extending a brutal slump at a time where the rookie slugger desperately needs to rake. Prior to his four-hit game against the Rays on Friday night, Rooker was slashing just .098/.159/.171 in the month of August, while regularly slotting in as the Twins' No. 2 hitter. His big weekend was not enough to offset the larger struggles this month, and that's sort of been the story of his season. Rooker shows flashes, but has a .198 average and .676 OPS through 119 plate appearances. His power is not in doubt, but a .252 on-base percentage ain't gonna cut it, especially when you factor in the total absence of defensive value. Unless and until he can find some semblance of strike zone control, it's difficult to project any real value for Rooker as a big-leaguer. In a sense, it feels too soon to rush to judgment on Rooker. But then again, he'll turn 27 this offseason and the Twins are staring down a potential 40-man roster crunch. With the redundant and superior Sanó already in the plans for 2022, where does Rooker fit in? Weeks like these present a crucial opportunity to make his case. Rooker needs more than a random blow-up game here and there to maximize it. Trevor Larnach isn't so much fighting to prove he's got an MLB future – that's not really in doubt – but he too is battling to carve out an immediate spot on the 2022 team. With the way things have been going for him of late, it'll be tough for the Twins to pencil him in. It was another lackluster week for Larnach, who went 1-for-11 with a single and five strikeouts in his four starts. The outfielder's last home run came on July 7th; since then he's batting .156 with a .188 slugging percentage in in 110 plate appearances, while striking out 43% of the time. Larnach doesn't really appear to be benefiting from getting repeatedly beaten by major-league pitching. The signs of growth and adjustment aren't there. With the Triple-A schedule extending through September this year, there's still time to get him back in the minors so he can find his swing and rebuild some confidence. Will the Twins go that route, or are they committed to seeing it through in the majors? TRENDING STORYLINE For those of us keeping a close eye on the Twins' pitching pipeline, Sunday was a big day. Matt Canterino, who ranked 8th in TD's recently-updated prospect rankings, made his first official appearance at Cedar Rapids since May, following a lengthy rest-and-rehab program to address elbow soreness. Canterino picked up right where he left off, overpowering High-A hitters to an absurd degree. After striking out eight of the 10 he faced over three hitless innings on Sunday, he now has a 0.86 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 21 innings for the Kernels. Yes, that is an 18.4 K/9 rate. This isn't even fair. Time to get him up to the next level and see how Double-A fares against him. I'm eager to find out. Even though he has yet to pitch above A-ball, the 23-year-old is going to be fast-tracked and has the ability to factor as a pivotal difference-maker for the Twins next year if he can stay healthy. LOOKING AHEAD Minnesota's run against solid competition rolls on as they welcome Cleveland to Target Field, wrapping up a long homestand before heading to the East Coast for a four-game set against the dreaded Yankees. Can Kenta and the Kids keep it clicking? MONDAY, 8/16: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax TUESDAY, 8/17: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Eli Morgan v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 8/18: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Zach Plesac v. TBD THURSDAY, 8/19: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Kenta Maeda v. RHP Jameson Taillon FRIDAY, 8/20: TWINS @ YANKEES – LHP Charlie Barnes v. LHP Nestor Cortes SATURDAY, 8/21: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Gerrit Cole SUNDAY, 8/22: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Jordan Montgomery MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. TRANSACTIONS: C Nick Garland released from organization. OF Nick Anderson released from organization. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Andrew Albers: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: José Miranda (11) Multi-hit games: Miranda (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Mark Contreras (2-for-5, 2 RBI, R), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R) Andrew Albers put together his best start of the season for the Saints, tossing eight scoreless innings and striking out five. Albers now owns a 2.94 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched this season for St. Paul. He’s a call-up candidate with Michael Pineda hitting the injured list (oblique). The Saints’ offense scored 41 runs over this six-game series with Indianapolis. They tacked on eight today, thanks to a five-run first and another José Miranda homer. Miranda’s excellence has been well-documented, but it’s truly remarkable what he’s done in the high minors. He’s hitting .347 with a 1.028 OPS in 41 games for the Saints. St. Paul improved its record to 48-41 and will head home to take on the Iowa Cubs. Now back from Japan, newly acquired starter Joe Ryan could make his Saints debut during the series. WIND SURGE WISDOM Surge 14, Drillers 8 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K HR: BJ Boyd 2 (13, 14), Andrew Bechtold (14), Leobaldo Cabrera (4), Jermaine Palacios (18), Chris Williams (3), Trey Cabbage (13) Multi-hit games: Boyd (2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R), Palacios (3-for-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Cabrera (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB), D.J. Burt (2-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 BB) Another home run barrage for the Surge began less swimmingly. Jordan Balazovic struggled with his command, walking three in a very short outing. None of the six runs scored against him were earned, however, as the Surge made some throwing errors in the field. Wichita entered the game with a league-leading 26 homers in August. They bashed seven more in Sunday’s win. Trey Cabbage hit his seventh homer of the month and BJ Boyd hit another two bombs himself. Boyd has four homers in his last two games and nine over his last 13 games. It was a big win for Wichita as they extend their lead over Tulsa to four games. Wichita is in first place with a 52-38 record after the road series split. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Chiefs 1 Box Score Matt Canterino: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Michael Helman (11), Alex Isola (9) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB), Yunior Severino (2-for-5), Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB), Helman (2-for-3, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB) Matt Canterino was absolutely dominant in his abbreviated return from an elbow injury. He struck out eight of the 10 batters he faced with just one walk of top prospect Jordan Walker. Canterino owns a 0.78 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 23 innings this season. Michael Helman got things going for Cedar Rapids with a solo homer on the first pitch of the third inning. Alex Isola then went yard in the fourth, giving the Kernels a 2-0 lead. Cody Laweryson did an excellent job filling innings after Canterino, striking out six and not allowing a run in four innings of work. The Kernels have certainly enjoyed the return of Matt Wallner from the injured list. The lineup is deeper and presents an opportunity to balance out production. With the activation of Canterino, Cedar Rapids could really start to click. MUSSEL MATTERS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER COMPLEX CHRONICLES THE FCL TWINS DID NOT PLAY SUNDAY TWINS DAILY’S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE DAY: ANDREW ALBERS: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE HITTER OF THE DAY: BJ BOYD: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-6, R #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 8 K #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play (game postponed) #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Did not play #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play
  3. 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.
  4. 5. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .350 AVG, .409 OBP, .614 SLG, 16 HR, 46 RBI 2021 Ranking: 19 When we ranked him No. 19 on our preseason top prospects list, the short synopsis on Miranda was a familiar one: "High-contract righty-swinging infielder needs to find power stroke." The former second-round draft pick has long sat on the fringes of our top-20 rankings because of his many intriguing traits, but the production just wasn't there to justify ranking him much higher. Through his first 379 games in the minors, he slugged .394 with 37 home runs. This year, he found his power stroke. Miranda came out of the gates red-hot at Double-A, opening with a seven-game hitting streak that included three home runs, and he never really slowed down. Miranda slashed .345/.408/.588 with 13 home runs in two months at Wichita, then earned a late-June promotion to St. Paul, where he put together an unforgettable Triple-A debut: 5-6, 3 HR, 6 RBIs. It all came together in a hurry for Miranda and there's not much reason to think his breakthrough isn't legit. He's got a smooth, compact swing from the right side that was always produced high contact rates, and he's clearly turned a corner with his ability to drive the ball. He projects as a third baseman in the big leagues, and perhaps pretty soon, depending on what happens with Josh Donaldson. 4. Matt Canterino, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A+): 18 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1.14 FIP, 51.5 K%, 4.4 BB% 2021 Ranking: 9 Canterino drew considerable hype coming into this season after reports emerged of him touching 100 MPH in a side session. A second-rounder out of Rice University in 2019, he made a strong impression by dominating in his first stint as a pro (1.44 ERA, 11.2 K/9 between rookie and A-ball), but plenty of highly-drafted collegiate players have done that. Taking the next step is the differentiator. Canterino's velo jump, and the behind-the-scenes work it reflected, were seemingly positive indicators. The righty needed to show it on the field. He has. Canterino was brilliant through four starts for Cedar Rapids, now the Twins' High-A affiliate. I mean, we're talking stupid good numbers. Thirty-five strikeouts in 18 innings? A 17.5 K/9 rate?? Canterino was striking out literally more than half the batters he faced. Beyond overpowering. He was likely in line for an imminent promotion to Double-A, but unfortunately the 23-year-old developed a sore elbow and hasn't pitched since May. He is currently on the comeback trail and the Twins hope he'll be able to return to the mound soon – probably in Wichita once he's fully back on track. 3. Jordan Balazovic, RHSP Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA): 21 1/3 IP, 4.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 29.5 K%, 7.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 6 After getting a late start to his season while healing from injury, Balazovic's results through six starts at Double-A have been ... uneven. His 4.44 ERA is nothing to write home about, and he has yet to get through six innings in an outing. With that said, he's been building up – his best, and longest, start was also his most recent – and the signs of that big potential have been on display. In 24 ⅓ innings, he has piled up 33 strikeouts with a 14% swing-and-miss rate. While hitters have had success against him at times, they haven't hit for much power (3 HR and 7 XBH total) and Balazovic's control hasn't really eluded him at any point. For now the key is to continually advance his workload and consistency. 2. Jhoan Duran, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A/AA): 34 1/3 IP, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.64 FIP, 38.2 K%, 9.0 BB% 2021 Ranking: n/a Like Balazovic, Duran's start to the 2021 campaign was delayed by injury following a lost pandemic season. When he took the mound on May 22nd at CHS Field, it was Duran's first time pitching in a minor-league game since August 29th of 2019. He was worth the wait. Unleashing triple-digit heat, Duran dazzled, striking out six over three innings of one-run ball. His next time out he allowed only one hit while fanning eight over four scoreless frames. However, things took a downward turn at this point, as Duran was tagged with losses in his next three appearances (one a long-relief outing), surrendering 8 earned runs with an 8-to-12 K/BB ratio in nine innings. Then, he went on the Injured List with an elbow strain. For now, the Twins hope and believe he'll avoid surgery. Duran has the best stuff in Minnesota's system and some of the best in the minors. He's the real deal talent-wise and the Twins have done a stellar job in targeting, acquiring, and developing him. His biggest barriers are control and health, and we've seen both fully presented this year, with the latter currently sidelining him indefinitely. He's as boom-or-bust as they come, but the ceiling is game-changing and within reach. 1. Royce Lewis, SS Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats: n/a 2021 Ranking: 2 Losing two consecutive full seasons – one to a global pandemic and the next to a torn ACL – in the very crux of one's development is an ordeal many baseball prospects would be unable to overcome. I'd bet on Royce Lewis not being one of them. His much-lauded character and makeup have always positively affected the view and evaluation of Lewis, in certain intangible ways, but these qualities can have a very real impact in how he responds to this challenge. He'll be more than two years removed from playing competitively when he takes the field next spring – or maybe this winter – but has the natural talent to get back up to speed quickly. And "speed" really is the key word: even after knee surgery, he'll be one of the fastest and most athletic prospects in the game. Lewis is a dynamic talent who will likely end up at one of the most important defensive positions on the field – shortstop or center – and should be relatively productive at one of those spots even if his offensive shortcomings are not fully resolved. If the Twins do hope to rebound back into contention next year, they may need to ask quite a bit of their No. 1 prospect, as well as the other four we just profiled. One commonality you will notice among this reshaped top five: They're all 22 or 23 years old, with ETAs of 2022. These players are all verging on big-league ready and in most cases, health is the only significant barrier to surpass. 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. Unfortunately, a series loss against the Baltimore Orioles after the one-third mark of the season should be the proverbial nail in the coffin for this team. Injuries have piled up, and Rocco Baldelli has been tasked with finding enough beating hearts to compile lineups on a nightly basis. With that as the new reality, making sure that 2021 is used productively to set up 2022 now must be the goal. Both Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach have debuted for the Twins. They represent the organization's two best pure hitting prospects, and neither should be sent back to the minors the rest of the way. Getting them regular reps is a must and making sure they’re comfortable to contribute out of the gate next year has to be the focus. Who should join them though? Jhoan Duran Pitching prospect number one, Duran got off to a late start this year dealing with a minor injury. He’s now taken a couple of turns at Triple-A St. Paul and looks every bit the dominant piece that the Twins have been waiting on. Maybe he’s not an ace, but he throws triple-digits and has strikeout stuff. Getting him something like 10 starts at the major-league level this season makes too much sense. Allocate the workload expected for Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ to other guys, this being the number one option. Matt Canterino Starting at High-A never made sense for Canterino. He’ll soon be 24 and is clearly advanced well beyond that level. He should be at Double-A already, and Triple-A by the end of the summer. I don’t know if Canterino necessarily needs big league starts, but there’s no reason for him not to throw major-league innings this year. He’s got dominant strikeout stuff and could be usable in both a starting and relief role. Expecting him to contribute in 2022 makes a lot of sense, so getting the jitters out now needs to happen. Jordan Balazovic This one is a bit trickier given the injury situation. He’ll begin at Double-A Wichita this weekend, but as the Twins top pitching prospect, the stuff could push him along quickly. Balazovic has as high of an upside as anyone in the system. If Derek Falvey is going to develop his own Jose Berrios or better, this is the kid. I’d like to see him get at least one or two starts for Minnesota before the year is over. Josh Winder Another arm in the vein of Canterino, Winder was given more of an aggressive starting point. Having dominated Double-A over his first five outings, it’s time for a step up. He should spend a couple of months with the Saints at Triple-A, and then a 40-man addition along with a big league promotion makes sense. A 7th round pick in 2018, Winder will be 25 by 2022 and could certainly be an arm that the Twins look at when filling out the rotation. Cole Sands A 5th round pick back in 2018, the former Florida State Seminole has done nothing but impress in pro ball. He’ll turn 24 next month and has started strong at Double-A Wichita. There’s been a bit less command in 2021 than previous seasons, but the strikeout stuff plays. Getting him to Triple-A by mid-summer with an end-of-year promotion to the big leagues seems like the right timetable. Another guy that could be called upon in the rotation for '22, there’s no reason not to get his feet wet. Jose Miranda Losing Travis Blankenhorn over a middling reliever wasn’t ideal, but it’s Miranda that likely made him dispensable. The 2nd round pick in 2016 was Rule 5 eligible this winter but went undrafted. He’s crushed Double-A to start the year and owns a .920 OPS. There’s not much reason to keep him down longer, and he could quickly emerge as the next utility option with a bit stronger bat. He’s not a shortstop, but he can play third base, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Minnesota pushes for some outfield flexibility. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. All of those players were mentioned in this preview after a lengthy delay to the start of the MLB season, and you’ll see quite a few of the same other names in this year’s version. As an immense fan of the minor leagues due to my experiences in those ballparks as a kid, top prospect lists and scouting reports have always been must-read material for me during the winter months as we wait for Spring. There are numerous websites and lists dedicated to this these days, including some of the best you will find about your hometown team right here at Twins Daily. I have certainly made plenty such lists over the years and have been a Minor League Report contributor here since the site’s inception, but because of the depth provided elsewhere I like to put out my own version of a list every year that instead talks about prospects you might see in the majors during the upcoming season. While 2020 was beyond weird when making this list, this season is perhaps even harder as there is no MiLB data from the prior season to rely on. I expect this list to either be woefully inaccurate or right on the nose, as assumptions from the prior season carry over. So, who are the next Minnesota Twins that could make their debut during the 2021 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The number of names in this section is a testament to the maturity of the Twins minor league system going into the 2021 season. Six of the eight names are on Twins Daily’s Top Prospect List and the other two have appeared there in the past. With this many heralded prospects knocking on the major league’s door and an already established MLB roster, it could lead to some interesting roster moves during the 2021 season. Jhoan Duran (23 years old on opening day), RHP – TD’s #5 Prospect There is a lot to like with Duran. He has size, triple-digit velocity, and a unique pitch that can give hitters fits if they are sitting on his fastball. Like many young hurlers, development of his off-speed or breaking pitches will determine whether he remains a starter in the majors or gets transitioned to the bullpen. While he spent time at the alternate site in 2020, he has only pitched 37 innings at the double-A level with inconsistent results. It is not out of the question he starts the MiLB season back in double-A, pushing any potential debut timeline out to later in the summer, which also could come as a reliever much like Brusdar Graterol in 2019. Nick Gordon (25), IF (Gordon made his MLB debut on 5/6, and went 1-for-2 with a BB and 2 SB) I have had Gordon on this list for several years now, and the 2021 season may be the make-it-or-break-it campaign for the Twins first round pick from the 2014 draft. The stat lines have not been flashy but improvement year-to-year at each level has been noticeable. He followed up a 2017 season in double-A where he hit .270/.341/.408 by hitting .333/.381/.525 to earn a promotion to triple-A in 2018. He hit only .212/.262/.283 after moving up, but the next season improved to .298/.342/.459 at the same level and it may have been a hard choice between him and Luis Arreaz for a promotion if he had not been injured at the time. I think Gordon can find an infield utility role, but whether that comes with the Twins or not is what the 2021 season may be all about for him. Jordan Balazovic (22), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Hype around Balazovic, much like Duran, is also warranted. He may not have the same level of raw stuff as Duran, but the performance has been better in comparison. The only caveat there is Balazovic has not pitched above single-A yet, though he did end up at the alternate site late in the 2020 season. I would be surprised if he began anywhere but double-A Wichita to start the year, and he is certainly going to be on an innings limit. These things work against him in terms of debuting in 2021 but being on the 40-man roster also places him high on any depth charts for promotion. He also has far less risk of being transitioned to a reliever in the future due to his above average control of all of his pitches. Ben Rortvedt (23), C – TD’s #17 Prospect (Rortvedt made his MLB debut on 4/30, going 1-for-3 with an RBI, R, and BB) Rortvedt was added to the 40-man roster after the 2020 season to make sure he was not lost in the Rule 5 draft. This is mainly due to his defensive chops as a catcher, but potential with the bat still remains as a 23-year-old with good plate discipline likely to play at triple-A for the first time this year. The defense will get him to the majors, but it depends on if his bat is unlocked enough to become a regular in an organization already boasting two strong bats at the position in Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers. He is basically an ideal emergency catcher as is and I can envision a career much like former Twins catcher Drew Butera as a good floor. Dakota Chalmers (24), RHP Chalmers has only pitched around 60 recorded innings since having Tommy John surgery during the 2018 season, and less than 200 total innings in six years as a professional, but that has not stopped him from getting close to the majors. That is because of strong raw stuff that includes a mid-90’s fastball and bat missing sliders and changeups as his secondary offerings. Control of these pitches has always been the issue as he has walked 6.6 per nine innings pitched over his professional career. This was especially evident in his time in the Arizona Fall League after the 2019 season, where he was all over the board from terrible to dominant in his outings there, depending on that control. He started the AFL Championship game that the Twins prospects went on to win (with help from other prospects, of course). Gilberto Celestino (22), OF – TD’s #11 Prospect (Celestino made his MLB debut on 6/2, starting in CF and going 0-for-2 with a K) Celestino is an interesting case study on 40-man protection situations, as he is a player who has yet to play any games above A-ball, and only eight of them in the advanced Florida State League at that. As is the case with all these guys, you can blame that on a lost 2020 MiLB season, but his apparent rise in those circumstances is noteworthy as he did spend 2020 at the alternate site in St. Paul. Celestino’s bat came alive with Cedar Rapids in the latter half of the 2019 season where from July onward he hit .348/.413/.532. If the bat has continued to come around there is an exciting prospect here as he has always been a fantastic outfielder, including in center. Someone on the MLB roster could learn something about playing walls from him, too: Bailey Ober (25), RHP – TD’s #20 Prospect (Ober made his MLB debut on 5/18, starting the game and going 4.0 IP , allowing 4 ER on 5 H, 1 BB, and struck out 4 in a win against the Chicago White Sox) You will not find a better statistical performer as a starting pitcher in the Twins system from the 2019 season, where Ober posted eye opening numbers including a 0.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and K/9 rate of 11.4 at Fort Myers and Pensacola. You might expect such numbers to warrant a higher ranking on prospect lists, but he is a bit of a unicorn in the tool aspects as a 6’9” hurler whose fastball *might* touch 90 MPH on a good day. What he does have however, is perhaps some of the best control you will find in all of the minor leagues. While striking out 100 hitters in 78 2/3 innings in 2019, he walked just nine for a rate of 1.0/9IP. Pitches will always play up when you can locate them like he does, especially from his frame, and Ober is one I am particularly looking forward to following again in the 2021 season. TOP PROSPECTS: It is disappointing I had to remove one of the entries who would be in this section before Spring Training even started, but it is still worth mentioning Royce Lewis’ name. His 2019 campaign in the Arizona Fall League that resulted in an MVP award does not seem to get the credit it should. It was the best performance by a Twins prospect by far since I have been following that league with a keen eye for more years than I care to admit. His knee injury is a major bummer for the 2021 season (I guess welcome to the torn ACL club, Royce!), just like the cancelling of 2020’s minor league season was. We are going to have to wait even longer for the former #1 overall pick to arrive in the majors, but I have no doubts it will be well worth the wait. I consider each of the players in this section to be on equal footing when it comes to their maturity in the Twins system as the 40-man roster players above. They just have not needed to be added to that list yet. Trevor Larnach (24), OF – TD’s #3 Prospect (Larnach made his debut on 5/8, playing LF and going 0-for-4 but reaching base on a HBP) Twins Daily’s 2019 MiLB Hitter of the Year gets less accolades than fellow outfielder Alex Kirilloff, but I would not argue with you if you put them on equal footing as hitters. Larnach has comparable power to all fields and a bit better plate discipline to make up for any lag in hitting that skill evaluators might perceive. With the glut of corner outfield talent in the upper portions of the Twins system, having Larnach start the 2021 season back in double-A is logical, but his bat is one that could force the issue as the MLB season wears on. Blayne Enlow (22), RHP – TD’s #10 Prospect (Update: Enlow hit the disabled list in early June, and was later determined to need Tommy John surgery and will mist the rest of the 2021 season) When drafted in 2017, Enlow was said to have one of the best curveballs available, which was an even more impressive statement as he was a high school pitcher. But that pitch took a step back when he became a pro, leading to relatively unimpressive strikeout numbers. That tide could be changing as he continues to grow into any adjustments made by coaches, as reports from instructs last fall included added velocity (mid 90’s) and a reinvigorated breaking ball. Losing the 2020 season was especially detrimental to evaluating someone like Enlow, but youth is still on his side as the youngest player to appear on this list. I would envision 2022 as a more likely MLB debut year for him, but you never know. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect Canterino is another prospect where the loss of a 2020 season looms large. As an advanced college draftee in 2019 he spent time with Cedar Rapids in his first professional season and could have been fast-tracked to the upper levels in 2020. Instead of impressing on the diamond, he did so off of it, earning a late addition to the alternate site in St. Paul where he demonstrated some added velocity and also got some notice for touching 99 MPH in throwing sessions over the winter. Because his delivery has a lot of moving parts, there are some questions about if he can remain a starter long-term, but he has answered them positively in every way he can so far. If he is ticketed for double-A Wichita early in the season (or to start it?), take notice. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players are not necessarily top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a thing where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Griffin Jax (26), RHP (Jax made his MLB debut on 6/8 against the New York Yankees, in relief. He pitched 1 inning, allowing 3 ER on 3 H, and striking out 1) Jax reached triple-A for three starts during the 2019 season due to a stellar campaign at Pensacola where he posted a sub 3.00 ERA in 111 1/3 innings and earned an All-Star nod. He is not a strikeout artist but has limited walks and hard contact as a pro. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason was not able to pitch as much as he would have liked during the 2019 season due to an ulnar nerve injury that cut it short after just 23 innings with Pensacola. But those innings were fantastic as he closed out seven games for saves with a 2.35 ERA with 28 K’s and earned Twins Daily’s MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month award for April. Zander Wiel (28), 1B/OF Wiel has been a favorite follow of mine since the Twins took him in the 12th round of the 2015 draft out of College World Series champion Vanderbilt. He may not have any loud tools, but has been productive throughout his MiLB career, leading the International League in doubles with 40, and all Twins minor leaguers with 86 runs scored with Rochester in 2019. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out nowhere to make a surprise debut for me. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skillset or background I find intriguing that could pay big dividends. These are my shots in the dark at guys who that could be in 2021. Tom Hackimer (26), RHP (Hackimer was promoted to triple-A in mid-May but had some struggles and was released in June) A pure reliever prospect who could remind fans of Pat Neshek when it is all said and done. A sidewinder who missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury returned in 2019 to post a 2.54 ERA and 75 K’s in 56 2/3 innings between Fort Myers and Pensacola, earning a FSL All-Star selection in the process. Matt Wallner (23), OF – TD’s #13 Prospect A native Minnesotan and another advanced hitter out of the Brent Rooker/Trevor Larnach mold from college, Wallner could move quickly if he is hitting bombs like he did at this spring training game I was fortunate enough to attend last year: Cole Sands (23), RHP – TD’s #15 Prospect Another victim of no 2020 season, Sands was fantastic in 2019 pitching at three levels in his first taste of professional ball, ending the year with a start in double-A. He was especially dominant with Fort Myers, posting a 2.25 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in nine starts. His changeup has been rated as the best in the Twins system by Baseball America. Yennier Cano (27), RHP An international signing in 2019, Cano has flown a little under the radar despite being rated as one of the top arms available in that market up to that point. A standout from Cuba that played on their national teams, Cano boasts high-90’s velocity and a full repertoire that could be culled to play to his strengths out of the bullpen. Chris Vallimont (24), RHP Vallimont was the prospect addition in the deal with the Miami Marlins for Sergio Romo during the 2019 season and impressed with Fort Myers after the trade. He has been a starter with a full repertoire including a fastball with movement and slider that gets swings and misses, especially against same-sided hitters. The Twins want him to throw that slider more, which could be an interesting development to follow this season as the organization has taken a particular interest in slider heavy relievers recently. These are (some of) the players I think could make their MLB dreams come true during the 2021 season and don a Minnesota Twins jersey for the first time. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? Who are the prospects I’ve missed that you believe could do so this year?
  7. Triple-A: Trevor Larnach, OF Larnach sometimes feels like the forgotten prospect with names like Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis in the organization. He projects to be a very good big-league regular and his timetable made have changed over the last couple days with news that Kirilloff might miss time due to a wrist injury. The Twins have been getting very little production from their corner outfield spots and fans have started to get frustrated watching Jake Cave take uncompetitive at-bats. Larnach was likely on pace to debut in 2021 and now he might be needed in Minnesota sooner rather than later. Double-A: Gilberto Celestino, OF Celestino was originally acquired by the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade along with Jorge Alcala. He was part of the team’s 60-man player pool last season, which meant he spent of the bulk of the year at the team’s alternate training site. Back in 2019, he spent nearly the entire the year at Cedar Rapids, and he finished by hitting .277/.349/.410 (.759) with 41 extra-base hits in 125 games. He’s a very strong defender in the outfield, so it will be interesting to see if his bat can continue to develop. Byron Buxton is only under contract through next season and Celestino might be his heir apparent. High-A: Matt Canterino, RHP Even amidst a pandemic, Canterino was able to see his prospect stock rise significantly because of reports that came out throughout last year. The velocity on his fastball rose more than a couple miles per hour as he can now hit in the mid-90s on a consistent basis. He should easily be able to stick as a starter when you add in a slider and a changeup that both project to be plus pitches. He was a second round pick out of college in 2019, but he’s only pitched 25 innings as a profession due to last year’s minor league cancellation. Now, he needs to prove his rising stock is legitimate and that might be dangerous for opposing batters in the Midwest League. Low-A: Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Sabato was Minnesota’s first round pick in 2020, so he will be making his professional debut in 2021. There’s one reason the Twins drafted Sabato and that’s because of his powerful bat. Entering the season, he projected as one of the team’s top power prospects. In two seasons at North Carolina, he hit .332/.459/.698 with 25 home runs and 31 doubles in 83 games. He is going to need to show he can adjust to professional baseball, but he is expected to be a quick riser if he can continue to show plus power at the plate. What are your thoughts on these players? Are there others you will keep an eye on? 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
  8. Teams were allowed to invite up to 75 players to spring training this year. 40 of the players were on the roster. Approximately 20 more players were official Non-Roster Invites. But as a means to allow teams to ease their players back into their springs and properly prepare for their seasons, another 14 to 15 players were invited to participate in the depth camp. As spring training started in February, a writer asked manager Rocco Baldelli on Zoom about the depth camp and what they would be doing. The Twins manager said, “The players in depth camp are going to be extremely important to what we do.” He continued, “They will be taking part in a lot of our fundamentals when we need them too. They’re going to be getting their work done by themselves otherwise. But, they’re going to be playing in a lot of games as well. So when these games start, I think we’re going to see our depth camp.” The Twins played 28 spring training games. Aaron Sabato, the team’s first-round draft pick last June, played in 22 of those games. He made a start or two, but in general, he came in during the middle or late innings and played first base and maybe got a plate appearance. Especially early in camp, it’s important to have a lot of pitchers to eat innings in games when the pitchers are all going just an inning or so. I recently chatted with a few of the depth camp pitchers about their experiences. Ryan Mason, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and seven saves at Double-A Pensacola in 2019 before his season ended with an arm injury. Healthy, he was thrilled to be invited to big-league spring training. He said, “First and foremost, the experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed every moment getting the opportunity to spend time with the big-league club. The highlight for myself was obviously being able to throw in a couple of games and experience the nerves of pitching again, which was long overdue due to the circumstances of last season.” Mason finished out two innings for the Twins during spring training. He faced two batters and struck one of them out. He even recorded a Win. Matt Canterino is one of the Twins top pitching prospects. The 23-year-old was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He was able to work 4 2/3 innings over four games. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits. He walked five batters but struck out seven and certainly showed the stuff, including a 98 mph fastball, that makes him so intriguing. Canterino said, “ I really enjoyed my time on the big league side of things. The highlight for me was definitely just being able to get in some games again against really good competition. I hadn’t faced another squad since the summer of 2019, so seeing a big leaguer with a different uniform on in the batter’s box when I was pitching really got my competitive juices flowing again.” Josh Winder has seen his prospect status skyrocket since hitting 96 and 97 mph at Instructional League last October. The 6-5 right-hander was the Twins seventh round draft pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts in Cedar Rapids during his first full professional season. Winder enjoyed being around the big leaguers and observing. “It was awesome to rub shoulders with the established big league guys and see how they went about their business. The commitment and dedication to their routine/craft was the big thing that stood out to me and motivated me to make some adjustments in my approach to the game.” He also worked in four games including making one start. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out five batters. For Tom Hackimer, the team’s fourth round pick in 2016 from St. John’s, he enjoyed doing something that a lot of big league pitchers haven’t been able to do. “The highlight of my spring was managing to strike out Luis Arraez during a live BP one day.” Hackimer knows many of the players on the Twins roster and has been teammates at times with several of them, including Miguel Sano. Hackimer shared a fun story from this spring. “Miguel Sanó has been making fun of how long my arms are since 2018 when he was sent down to the Miracle, then again in 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola while he was rehabbing. One day we were doing PFPs, and he made me stop so that he could point out to Nelson Cruz how long my arms are.” Spring Training fun! But the opportunity to observe and learn from the big league veterans and coaching staff is immensely valuable. Mason took advantage of the opportunity. “I tried to connect with as many players as possible and just talk about pretty normal stuff to reaffirm what I already knew, which is big-league players are normal and all-around great people with their own stories. Also, there is not one way to make it. Everyone paved their own path to success.” It might surprise you to read which player Winder and Canterino mentioned when asked about their surreal moment of spring. Winder noted, “Facing Josh Donaldson is Live BP was a surreal moment for me. I’ve watched him on TV for so long it was really weird seeing him up close in the box.” Canterino had a similar experience that turned into an opportunity he will never forget. He said, “One of my coolest experiences with some of the veterans came after I threw a live bullpen to some of the big league hitters. After I finished my outing, I approached Josh Donaldson and asked what he saw when I threw to him. Andrelton Simmons joined the conversation too after a little while. So the three of us ended up talking about hitting approaches and how to attack hitters for about a half hour after that.” David Banuelos, a catcher the Twins acquired in a trade with the Mariners before the 2018 season. He is known as a defense-first catcher, but he considered his first big league spring training (as a Non-Roster Invite) a “great experience,” one he learned a lot from. Banuelos also mentioned the Twins third baseman and former AL MVP.. “Listening to Donaldson talk about hitting was really cool. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit.” One of his two spring hits was a long home run on a Donaldsonic swing. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1375611075970875392 Spencer Steer was the Twins third round pick in 2019 from the University of Oregon. He was not on the original spring roster, but when Chris Williams hurt his shoulder in one of the first spring games, Steer was added to the depth group. He said, “The entire experience was incredible. I went from not knowing when I was reporting to minor league camp, to working out alongside big leaguers within a couple of days. It was a lot of fun to be able to watch the best of the best up close. I was able to learn a lot by just watching how they went about their work everyday.” In 11 games played, he had two hits in eight at bats including a long, opposite field home run. Starting pitchers Winder and Canterino are now in Ft. Myers, working to prepare and stretch out for their 2021 minor league seasons. Banuelos and Steer will be playing their first spring training games today in Ft. Myers. Relievers Mason and Hackimer are in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site preparing for their seasons and preparing themselves and others to possibly help the big-league club as we await the start of the season. More Minor League Notes Just a couple quick Twins minor league notes: Royce Lewis on Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander This week, Twins shortstop prospect Royce Lewis was on the FOX Sports Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander show. Lewis talked about a number of topics from the roles that guys like Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz have played in his life and development. He talked some about his recovery from ACL surgery. He also talks about wine, and many other topics. It’s a fun interview. Twins Sign More International Free Agents When the international signing period opened on January 15th, the Twins signed several players including top shortstop prospects Danny De Andrade and Fredy LaFlor. In the past weeks, the Twins have signed a few more players including right-handed pitcher Jose Olivares. Baseball America’s Ben Badler wrote this of Oliveres: “For a while, Olivares trained as an outfielder in Venezuela, but he took off once he moved to the mound, with his velocity popping at games in the Dominican Republic last year. Previously eligible to sign in 2019, Olivares is now an 18-year-old righthander with a sturdy, physically mature frame and a fastball that has been up to 96 mph with lively riding life up in the zone. He pairs it with a good curveball that's more advanced than his changeup.” More Twins minor league coverage to come. Keep checking back.
  9. 5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. As per usual, the team’s non-roster invitations are an interesting combination of veterans competing for jobs at Triple-A and to make an impression should a need come later in the season, and prospects, who are getting seen by the big-league coaches and trying to just make an impression. Some of the players will be participating in what's being called the Depth Camp. Because there is MLB camp and the MLB and AAA seasons will be starting in about six weeks and Double-A and down won't start their spring training until MLB camp is over, they are bringing in extra players. (At the end of each profile, we will point out if the player is a Non-Roster Invite (NRI) or a minor league Depth player (Depth).) THE MINOR LEAGUE VETERANS C Tomás Telis (29) - Telis has played in 122 games in the big leagues for the Rangers and Marlins between 2014 and 2018. With the Rochester Red Wings in 2019, he hit .330/.3364/.490 (.854) with 21 doubles and eight homers. He spent the 2020 season in St. Paul. (NRI) SS Tzu-Wei Lin (27) - Lin signed with the Red Sox out of Taiwan in June of 2012 and played in 101 games for Boston from 2017-2020. He hit just .223/.298/.316 (.614) with nine doubles, three triples and a home run over 2018 plate appearances. He is known for his defense at shortstop. (NRI) IF Drew Maggi (31) - 2019 was Maggi's tenth season in pro baseball. Between Pensacola and Rochester, he hit .258/.380/.407 (.788) with 23 doubles and 11 homers. He was a non-roster invite of the Twins in 2020 as well. (Depth) IF JT Riddle (29) - The slick-fielding infielder debuted with the Marlins in 2017 and played in 223 games for them over the next three seasons. In 2020, he played in 23 games for the Pirates. He has hit a combined .222/.261/.355 (.616) with 31 doubles and 19 homers in his MLB time. He is tremendous with the glove at shortstop, something the Twins brass clearly has prioritized this offseason. (NRI) OF Keon Broxton (30) - The speedy centerfielder has played in 376 big league games between 2015 when he debuted with seven games with the Pirates and 2019 with Seattle. In between, he played with the Mets, Orioles and 269 games with the Brewers. In 2017, he played in 143 games in Milwaukee and hit .220 with 15 doubles, 20 homers and 21 stolen bases. (NRI) OF Rob Refsnyder (29) - Refsnyder has played in 181 games over parts of five MLB seasons between 2015 and 2020. He has played at least 30 games at second base, left field, first base and right field. He has played in the big leagues for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Rangers (2020). (NRI) LHP Andrew Albers (35) - The Twins signed Andrew Albers way back in 2012 out of independent league baseball. He made his MLB debut in 2013 and tossed 17 ⅓ scoreless innings to start his career. He pitched in Korea in 2014. Then he pitched in a game for Toronto in 2015. He returned to the Twins in 2016 and pitched in six games. In 2017, he went 5-1 with a 3.51 ERA in nine games with the Mariners. He has now spent the past three years pitching in Japan. He signed back with the Twins last week. (NRI) LHP Danny Coulombe (31) - Coulombe made his MLB debut in 2014 with the Dodgers and spent part of 2015 with them too. He was traded to the A’s and pitched out of their bullpen through the 2018 season. He was injured and didn’t pitch in 2019. The Twins signed him before the 2020 season and he pitched in two games (2.2 scoreless innings) for the team last summer. (NRI) LHP Brandon Waddell (26) - Waddell was the Pirates fifth round draft pick from the U of Virginia in 2015. He made his MLB debut in 2020, pitching 3 1/3 innings over two games. The Twins claimed him shortly after the end of the 2020 season and DFAd him last week. He cleared waivers and will remain in the organization. (NRI) RHP Luke Farrell (29) - Farrell is the son of former Blue Jays and Red Sox manager John Farrell. He has pitched for the Royals, Reds, Cubs and Rangers over the past five seasons. He has pitched in 63 innings and 43 games in the big leagues. (NRI) RHP Ian Hamilton (25) - Hamilton was the White Sox 11th round pick in 2015 from Washington State. He debuted with ten games in 2018, and then after some injury and bad luck in 2019, he pitched in four games for Chicago in 2020. Since the end of the season, he has been DFAd by the White Sox and claimed by the Mariners, DFAd by the Mariners and claimed by the Phillies, DFAd by the Phillies and claimed by the Twins, DFAd by the Twins, cleared waivers and will stay in the Twins organization. RHP Derek Law (30) - Law did not pitch in the big leagues in 2020, but he was a frequently-used bullpen arm the previous four seasons. In 2016, he debuted with 61 games for the Giants. He pitched in 41 games the following year. He pitched just seven games in 2018, but then he went to the Blue Jays in 2019 and pitched in 58 games. He has 164 career strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings. (NRI) RHP Robinson Leyer (27) - Leyer made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2020. He gave up 11 runs on 12 hits, eight walks and nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. (Depth) RHP Juan Minaya (30) - Minaya pitched in 125 games for the White Sox between 2016 and 2019. He has 142 strikeouts over 128 1/3 innings in his MLB career. He even has ten saves. He signed with the Twins before the 2020 season and spent the summer at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. In fact, he was called up to the Twins active roster once, but he didn’t get into a game. He re-signed with the team. (NRI) RHP Chandler Shepherd (28) - Shepherd worked 19 innings in 2019 for the Baltimore Orioles and posted a 6.63 ERA. (Depth) RHP Glenn Sparkman (28) - Another veteran pitcher, half of Sparkman’s 52 career MLB games have been starts. Most of them came in 2019 when he went 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA in 31 games (23 starts). He pitched in four games out of the Royals bullpen in 2020. (NRI) THE PROSPECTS C David Banuelos (24) - Banuelos came to the Twins from the Mariners for international spending dollars in late 2017. A very strong defensive catcher, he split 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. (NRI) C Caleb Hamilton (26) - The Twins 23rd round pick in 2016 from Oregon State, he transitioned to the catcher position, though he can also play all around the diamond. He spent 2019 with the Blue Wahoos, though he also played 11 games in Rochester. He was invited to big-league camp a year ago and participated throughout the summer in St. Paul. (NRI) C Alex Isola (22) - Isola was the Twins 29th round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. He split that summer between Elizabethton (7 games) and Cedar Rapids (18 games) and hit a combined .309 with five doubles and three homers. (Depth) C Kyle Schmidt (23) - Schmidt was the Twins 33rd round pick in 2019 from the U. of Richmond. He played that summer in the GCL, at Elizabethton and in Cedar Rapids. He is a defense-first catcher. (Depth) C/1B Chris Williams (24) - Williams was the Twins eight-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson. He was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year that year. In 2019, he split time between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers and hit 11 homers. He went to Twins Instructional League in 2020. (Depth) SS Royce Lewis (21) - The top pick in the 2017 draft, Lewis finished the 2019 season at Double-A Pensacola and then was the Arizona Fall League MVP. He spent 2020 in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. This is his third big league spring training. (NRI) IF Jose Miranda (22) - Miranda was the Twins second, second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Puerto Rico. He has consistently moved up one level each year. In 2019, he played in Ft. Myers before going 3-for-5 in his one game at Pensacola. He went to Instructional League in 2020 and then hit .302/.377/.472 (.849) with six doubles and a homer in Puerto Rico this winter and participated in the Caribbean Series. (Depth) 1B Aaron Sabato (21) - The Twins top pick a year ago from North Carolina can mash. In his 83 college games over the past two seasons, he hit a combined .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. (Depth) 1B Zander Wiel (28) - Wiel was the Twins 12th round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt. In 2019 at AAA Rochester, he hit .254 with 40 doubles, five triples and 24 home runs. He earned an invitation to Twins spring training last year and participated in the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. (Depth) OF Trevor Larnach (23) - The Twins first-round pick in 2018 from Oregon State, Larnach also spent 2020 working at CHS Field, the Twins alternate site. In 2019, he was the Twins (and Twins Daily) Minor League Hitter of the Year. He also was the Florida State League MVP. This is his second spring training at big-league camp. (NRI) LHP Charlie Barnes (25) - The southpaw was the Twins 4th round pick in 2017 out of Clemson. In 2019, he pitched at Ft. Myers, Pensacola and Rochester. He earned an invitation to big-league camp a year ago and ended 2020 with a couple of weeks at the alternate site in St. Paul. (NRI) LHP Andrew Vasquez (27) - Vasquez was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College. He had an incredible 2018 season, pitching at four levels and ending the season with five innings in the big leagues. He made one appearance in 2019 before being DFAd. (Depth) RHP Matt Canterino (23) - Canterino was the Twins second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He debuted with two games in the GCL before making five starts in Cedar Rapids (1-1, 1.35 ERA in 20 innings). He participated in St. Paul last summer for a couple of weeks before going to Ft. Myers for Instructional League. (Depth) RHP Griffin Jax (26) - Jax was the Twins third-round pick in 2016 out of the Air Force Academy. His story has been well chronicled. He pitched in Pensacola in 2019 and also made three starts in Rochester. Combined, he posted a 2.90 ERA in 127 1/3 innings. He was invited to big-league camp in 2020. (NRI) RHP Tom Hackimer (26) - Hackimer was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2016 out of St. John’s. After missing much of the 2018 season with biceps surgery, he returned in 2019 and went 6-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 36 games between Ft. Myers and Pensacola. He went to Instructional League in 2020. Depth) RHP Ryan Mason (26) - Mason was the Twins 13th round pick in 2016 out of Cal-Berkeley. In 2018, between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he went 10-3 with seven saves and a 2.77 ERA. In 2019, he pitched in just 15 games for Double-A Pensacola. He went 2-0 with seven saves and a 2.35 ERA, but missed time due to some injury. (Depth) RHP Josh Winder (24) - Winder was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. He made 21 starts in Cedar Rapids in 2019 and went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 125 2/3 innings. He impressed at Instructional League last year, flashing a 97 mph fastball. (Depth) Combining the 40-man roster players with the invites, here are the players who will be participating in Twins Spring Training. https://twitter.com/Nashwalker9/status/1361365233395097600
  11. Position: RHP Age: 23 (DOB: 12/14/1997) 2019 Stats (Rookie/A): 25 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 15 National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: NR | ATH: NR | BP: NR What's To Like Well, let's not bury the lede. KSTP's Darren Wolfson recently tweeted a video of Canterino in an offseason throwing session, reporting that the right-hander was touching 99 MPH. That's an awfully good sign from the 54th overall draft pick in 2019, referred to by Baseball America at the time as "one of the better high-floor options among the college arms." He backed up that assessment with a strong performance in his 25-inning pro debut, and now, it's getting tough not to dream on his ceiling. In retrospect, it only makes sense the Twins liked the Rice University product enough to use a second-rounder on him. Canterino is very much their type of pitcher: a righty who pairs high heat with good breaking stuff, and – most importantly – upside that they feel they can analytically unlock. Last June, David Laurila of FanGraphs posted a Q&A with Canterino, in which the righty shared details of his experiences joining the Twins organization, and having his eyes opened to a new world of optimization. I found these tidbits particularly interesting: “Up to that point I’d never been familiarized with the type of technology the Twins use, the analytics type of stuff. It was basically to help me get to know myself better as a pitcher. For instance, there are things I do well and we were able to put a number to [them]; we could kind of reinforce those things, and also see if there were things I could get more out of. ... In college, I always knew that my fastball played well up in the zone. To see [data] showing that I’m getting a lot of carry on my fastball kind of clicked for me. Also, I’d shifted away from my curveball a little bit in my junior year. I was throwing my slider more, but [the data] put to paper that my curveball paired better with my fastball than my slider did. It’s not as though I’m scrapping my slider — I’m not — but I maybe want to use the curveball more than I did in college." Helping pitchers tweak their pitch mixes to greater effect is something the Twins have specialized in, and Canterino wasn't exactly a reclamation project to begin with. He starred at Rice, with double-digit K/9 rates in each of his three seasons. The Twins were perhaps lucky get him at No. 54 overall, given he was ranked 34th on BA's board. If Canterino is actually pumping high-90s that could be a game-changer, given that he was already viewed as a pretty great prospect coming out of college as a low-to-mid-90s guy. What's Left to Work On Performance-wise, there's not much to quibble with, and all evidence suggests Canterino is keeping up on the necessary work to grow and improve. One thing to keep an eye on, though, is his delivery mechanics. You'll notice from watching his highlights that Canterino has a very distinct, herky-jerky leg lift sequence, giving his delivery a bit of a frenetic feel. When profiling Canterino as a prospect after he was drafted, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs noted that the righty carried some "relief risk" due to "some effort and violence to the delivery" (perhaps helping explain why he slid to the Twins). When Laurila interviewed Canterino a few months later, he asked the pitcher about it directly. “I’m always trying to throw hard, obviously, but I’ve never thought of myself as being out of control," Canterino said. "I am a little herky-jerky, but that kind of just evolved to help give me cues for where I need in each part of my delivery. They’re kind of like checkpoints to keep myself on time between my arm and my body, and feel like I’m in sync. At that point I’m just trying to line everything up and throw hard. So I don’t feel like I’m super high-effort. I understand why it might look like that, but I feel I’m always in control and know where the ball is going. I haven’t had any issues up to this point.” Hard to argue with him on that last point, and as you watch the highlight clip above, one thing you'll notice is that Canterino's quirky mechanics don't seem to be negatively affecting his command. Certainly not his results thus far. With that said, it's also tough to argue with Longenhagen's assessment in his more recent Twins prospect rankings: "Canterino sure looks like a reliever. He doesn’t have the usual trim starter’s build, nor the statuesque posture, nor the mechanical ease and grace of a typical starter’s delivery." None of these characteristics preclude Canterino from sticking as a starter, but they are question marks for him to overcome if he wants to fulfill his highest potential as a rotation-fronter. More importantly, he'll need to get his workload on track; Canterino is now 23 and has yet to throw more than 125 innings in a season. What's Next Canterino will presumably start his season at Cedar Rapids – where he left off in 2019, except back then it was Minnesota's Low-A affiliate. With the minor-league realignment, the Kernels are now High-A, which seems a suitable level for him to reacclimate against pro competition. Given the quality of his stuff, Canterino will be poised to move quickly, but his progression will greatly depend on the Twins' plans for him. If they want to bring him along as a reliever he could rise in a hurry and theoretically gain consideration for a late-season call-up. If they're committed to seeing him through as a starter, they'll need to focus on building his stamina and endurance, which will mean slowing down the timeline a bit. One way or another, we'll probably know a lot more about Canterino and his future this time next year. Twins 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. José Miranda, 3B/2B 18. Alerick Soularie, UTIL 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Coming tomorrow!
  12. All but one of the players below was acquired during the current front office regime. This speaks volumes to how the organization’s player development system has evolved. Teams need their high draft picks to 10. Keoni Cavaco- SS/3B (19-years old) Acquired: 2019 1st Round Pick ETA: 2024 Cavaco was an intriguing prospect from the time the Twins drafted him. He was left off many of the summer showcase rosters entering his senior season because he was undersized, and he wasn’t expected to be a first-round pick. A growth spurt during his senior year saw his draft stock improve immensely and the Twins jumped at the opportunity. His professional debut was a disaster as he posted .172 BA with strikeouts on 38% of his plate appearances. He has the tools and the power projection to make him a player to be excited about. 9. Blayne Enlow- RHP (21-years old) Acquired: 2017 3rd Round Pick ETA: 2022 Enlow was part of the current front office’s first draft class as the Twins were able to work out an over-slot deal to keep him from going to LSU. His fastball typically sits in the mid- to low-90s, but it has some tremendous spin that can make it tough on hitters. His slider/cutter might be his best pitch when he is able to control it near the zone. He has shown the ability to throw four different pitches, but he continues to work on his secondary pitches. Enlow turns 22-years old in March, and he is a player I expect to have a big 2021 season. 8. Matt Canterino- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2019 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2022 Canterino is a strike thrower and he might have gotten more dangerous in 2020 as he developed a changeup at the team’s alternate site. His slider and curveball were already good pitches so adding a changeup can solidify him as a mid-rotation starter. At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, he is stocky on the mound and this can make some believe that he will end up as a reliever. He will get plenty of opportunities to stick as a starter with his college experience and his continued pitch development. 7. Aaron Sabato- 1B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 1st Round Pick ETA: 2024 In a draft unlike any other, the Twins went with Sabato, a relatively safe pick. He projects to only be able to play first base or be a DH, but his bat might have been the one of the only sure things in the 2020 Draft. He can control the strike zone even with his powerful swing. MLB.com ranks him as baseball’s seventh best first base prospect and he will move up multiple spots this year as players graduate off the list. It’s hard to get too excited about a player with limited defensive skills, but his bat might be good enough to forget about the other side of the ball. 6. Jordan Balazovic- RHP (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Looking back on the 2016 draft and many teams are going to be sorry (say it with a Canadian accent) they passed over Balazovic. He can control the strike zone with four different pitches and all of them can be used to coax strikeouts. Also, the pandemic might have helped his development as he added weight to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame. When the Twins drafted him, he weighed 175 pounds and now he is north of 215 pounds. He was added to the team’s 40-man roster this off-season and that should give him a chance to make his debut in 2021. Which of these players makes it to Target Field first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 — Prospects 1-5 Coming Tomorrow MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. With their second-round pick in the 2019 MLB draft in 2019, the Minnesota Twins selected right-handed pitcher Matt Canterino from Rice University. After signing, he made a couple of tune-up appearances in the GCL before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels. he went 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in five starts. In 20 innings, he struck out 25 batters. While the 2020 minor league season was cancelled, Canterino did spend the last couple of weeks at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. From there, he went to Ft. Myers for Twins Instructional League. We discussed several topics from his introduction to pro ball, his strange 2020 season, and what he's hoping to do this offseason. Find out his thoughts on the draft, his short spring training, quarantine work, getting the call to work at the Twins Alternate site in St. Paul, and instructional league. Feel free to leave some questions below in the comments or you can include comments when you watch live on these social media platforms. You can watch the show LIVE on YouTube here: More on Matt Canterino: Twins Select Matt Canterino with 54th Overall Pick (June 2019) Matt Canterino: Pitcher and Problem Solver (Sept 2019) Matt Canterino Highlights (Tom's YouTube page, Jan 2020) Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects: 11-15 (Feb 2020) Follow Canterino on Twitter at @cotton_cante.
  14. 15. Edwar Colina, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA, AAA): 8-2, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 102 K, 32 BB, 97.1 IP Colina signed with the Twins back in 2015 and he has been slowly working his way through the Twins system. He really hit his stride over the last two seasons as he started to compete in full season leagues. In the 2018 campaign, he posted a 2.63 ERA and a 106 to 53 strikeout to walk ratio at Low- and High-A. Last season, he played at three different levels and his time at High- and Double-A was outstanding. He only allowed 23 earned runs in nearly 93 innings (2.23 ERA) and he struck out more than a batter per inning. On the mound, Colina is stocky and his fastball can give hitters nightmares. He’s been clocked at over 100 mph, but he typically sits in the mid- to high-90s. His best secondary pitch is his change-up, but he is going to need to continue to improve his breaking pitches as he moves through the higher levels of the minors. 14. Wander Javier, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (A): .177/.278/.323, 11 HR, 9 2B, 116 K, 35 BB, 80 G Back in 2015, Javier was widely considered one of the best prospects in the international class and the Twins signed him for $4 million. Unfortunately, injures have cost Javier parts of multiple professional seasons. He was limited to eight games during his pro-debut because of a hamstring injury. Then in 2018, he suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire season. Even with the injuries, he has all the tools to be considered one of the team’s top prospects. Javier was back on the field in 2019 after missing all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. It was his first taste of a full-season league and things didn’t exactly go perfectly. He struck out over 27% of the time but there were some bright spots amid a rough season. From July 15 to the end of the season, Javier compiled a .428 SLG and a .738 OPS. Nine of his 11 home runs and seven of his nine doubles were during this stretch. 13. Matt Canterino, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (RK, A): 1-1, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25.0 IP The Twins took Canterino in the second-round last season after a strong junior season at Rice University. He was a three-year starter at the school, and he pitched 94 innings or more in every season. In his final collegiate season, he posted a 2.81 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and a 121 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. Throughout his collegiate career, he controlled the strike zone by allowing less than 3 walks per nine innings and striking out nearly 11 batters per nine. Because of his college workload, Canterino saw limited action after signing with the Twins as he made seven regular season starts and one postseason start. His college experience really showed up as he struck out over 11 batters per nine innings. It would have been exciting to see what he could have done in a full minor league season, but that will have to wait until 2021. 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): .282/.399/.530, 14 HR, 16 2B, 36 BB, 95 K, 67 G Rooker was the 35th overall pick back in 2017, the first draft under the new Twins front office regime. In three collegiate seasons, Rooker destroyed baseballs by hitting .344/.428/.660. Yes, that is a 1.088 OPS over three seasons and he posted a 1.306 OPS during his final season. The Twins were hoping for more of the same from Rooker as he started his professional career. He didn’t disappoint during his first taste of pro-ball as he posted a .930 OPS with Elizabethton and Fort Myers. This included 29 extra-base hits in 62 games. He spent all of 2018 at Double-A and hit .254/.333/.465 with 32 doubles and 22 home runs in 130 games. He missed some time in 2019 with a wrist injury but he was still able to post some strong offensive numbers. If there is a 2020 season, there is a chance Rooker makes his debut. 11. Blayne Enlow, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): 8-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110.2 IP Like Rooker, Enlow was part of the strong draft class back in 2017. The Louisiana native had committed to play at LSU, but the Twins were able to sign him after taking him in the third round. During his professional debut, he made six appearances with the GCL Twins and posted a 1.33 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 4 walks in 20.1 innings. During the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids, he was almost three years younger than the average age of the competition. He compiled a 3.26 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. He started 2019 back in Cedar Rapids and saw some struggles as he allowed 21 earned runs in 41.1 innings. There were some positive signs as he struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings. The Twins were aggressive with him and promoted him to Fort Myers where he had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. If Enlow had gone to college, he’d still be pitching for LSU, so he has time to develop into the pitcher many thought he could be. Stop back in the coming days to see who completes the top-20 list. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233794708763299840 I did see Bailey Ober throwing some impressive breaking balls too. Here he is working along-side Enlow. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1234105413408370689 And Matt Canterino’s bullpen was very workmanlike. He was throwing all of his pitches; fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. All looked to have the potential to be plus pitches (based on this bullpen session, at least). https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233795751567929345 By the way, one name to kind of keep in the back of your mind during the 2020 season is RHP Jon Olsen. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2018 from UCLA. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and rehabbed from that and other arm issues in 2019. But he appears to be healthy and really had an impressive bullpen. On Saturday morning, I did a 25-minute radio spot on Bison 1660 in Fargo from the back field, trying to stay out of the wind. You can listen to that here. https://twitter.com/Bison1660/status/1233799305447776256 But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely.
  16. Find more on these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback and as an ebook. 15. Matt Canterino, RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 12/14/1997) 2019 Stats (Rookie/A): 25 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 ETA: 2021 2019 Ranking: NR Of the many things this rebuilt front office has done well, drafting ranks near the top. And while it's early, the returns thus far on their third pick from last summer have been exceedingly good. After an outstanding collegiate career at Rice University (alma mater of current Twins reliever Tyler Duffey), Canterino went to Minnesota in the second round, with the 54th overall pick. He quickly got to work against pro hitters, posting the marks you see above against overwhelmed – and generally younger – competition. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1223263416631980033 The right-hander was as dominant as can be in his first minor-league stint, which was kept in check at 25 innings after he totaled nearly 100 during the college season. Such a small sample is hardly decisive, but we can at least lean positive on his pre-draft scouting reports; per Baseball America, he was "one of the funkier pitchers in this year’s draft class," and also "one of the better high-floor options among the college arms." So far, so good. https://twitter.com/BaseballAmerica/status/1135752137886130176 14. Matt Wallner, OF Age: 22 (DOB: 12/12/97) 2018 Stats (Rookie/A): 291 PA, .258/.357/.452, 8 HR, 34 RBI ETA: 2022 2019 Ranking: NR Did I mention the Twins have drafted well lately? Wallner's contiguity to Canterino doesn't stop with landing next to him in these rankings; they were born two days apart, and drafted within 15 picks of one another last June, both out of southern colleges in the same conference. But unlike the Texas-native Canterino, Wallner is a local product, born and raised in Forest Lake. As a high schooler he was anointed Minnesota's Mr. Baseball in 2016. https://twitter.com/TwinsPics/status/1135747586290311169? After passing up the Twins as a 32nd-round pick that year, opting instead for Southern Miss, Wallner straight-up raked over three years in Conference USA. He amassed a .337/.461/.652 slash line over 189 games, earning his way up to the 39th overall pick in 2019. And unlike Canterino, Wallner wasn't held back by the constraints of a pitching workload post-draft. He got in a healthy 291 plate appearances as a pro at age 21. The results weren't necessarily amazing, but they're almost eerily similar to those Alex Kirilloff put up in his own Elizabethton debut, as a first-round pick in 2016. I think we all recall what followed in the (delayed) encore. 13. Wander Javier, SS Age: 21 (DOB: 12/29/98) 2019 Stats (A): 342 PA .177/.278/.323, 11 HR, 37 RBI ETA: 2023 2019 Ranking: 5 There's no positive spin to be placed on Javier's 2019 season. After losing his entire 2018 to shoulder surgery, the highly touted shortstop returned with a thud, posting a .601 OPS in Low-A ball while striking out at a hideous 34% rate. Most distressingly, there was no real showing of improvement throughout of the year – he was bad at the start, bad in the middle, bad at the end. He was such a complete void the plate that his somewhat refined work in the field barely registered. But Javier did not rank fifth on this list a year ago, even coming off a lost season, for no reason. His $4 million signing bonus from the Twins in 2015 remains the largest they've ever doled out for an international prospect. His performance as a teenager in 2017 and 2018 reinforced the investment. And for all he's been through, Javier is still only 21 – almost exactly a year younger than Wallner, who has followed such a very different path. Javier is still a young and raw player, whose immense talents and abilities are not negated by one undeniably futile season at age 20 in the unfamiliar American Midwest. Patience is warranted and luckily the Twins can afford it. 12. Gilberto Celestino, OF Age: 20 (DOB: 2/13/99) 2019 Stats (A/A+): 536 PA, 277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 54 RBI ETA: 2022 2019 Ranking: 16 Celestino came at a cost. The Twins also received a hard-throwing, volatile reliever named Jorge Alcala when they sent Ryan Pressly to the Astros in 2018, but there was always a sense Celestino was the centerpiece. Minnesota's front office clearly saw something in the teenage center fielder out of the Dominican Republic. Good on 'em. In the 2015 international signing period, Celestino was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 11 talent, exactly one spot ahead of fellow Dominican Wander Javier. (The kismet in this section of the rankings is something, ain't it?) He signed with Houston for $2.5 million, and was coming along nicely when the Twins plucked him away at the trade deadline. His 2019 campaign got off to a brutal start, as Celestino hit .219/.299/.290 through the end of May at Cedar Rapids. Then, as summer set in, he took flight. From June 1st onward, the 20-year-old slashed .313/.380/.485, including a successful closing stint at High-A. With excellent plate discipline, he produced consistently, doing so as an athletic and rangy center fielder. The Twins might just have a gem on their hands here. Also he once did this, which was awesome: https://twitter.com/WBSC/status/1055987197814308864 11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP Age: 24 (DOB: 11/23/95) 2019 Stats (AA/AAA): 129.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 ETA: 2020 2018 Ranking: 8 Here's the way prospect analysis and the minor leagues almost inevitably tend to work: Uber-talented young ballplayers garner heavy praise and underground notoriety by dominating the lower tiers of the profession. Then, as they rise and the competition elevates, reality sets in. Their numbers come down to Earth. Their rankings slide. For example, it isn't like Nick Gordon's failures last year caused him to fall from No. 11 in 2019 to outside the top 20 in this year's rankings – he had a fine season at Triple-A – but the limitations of his skill set became clearer than ever at the highest level. And at age 24, the upside is getting harder to see. The same cannot be said for Thorpe. No, his surface numbers at Triple-A were not spectacular, much less his 6.18 ERA in a brief big-league run. But he was also a 23-year-old whose early development was derailed by health issues, and amidst the unspectacular results, his proclivity for missing bats was relentless. In 450 innings between the minors and majors, Thorpe has compiled 542 strikeouts, equating to a 10.8 K/9 rate, and he's done so while generally staying in the strike zone and keeping the ball in the park. That's the right recipe. A critical year lies ahead of him, standing at the front of the line for opportunities to impact a championship-caliber team. Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B 19. Cole Sands, RHP 18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF 17. Misael Urbina, OF 16. Edwar Colina, RP 15. Matt Canterino, RHP 14. Matt Wallner, OF 13. Wander Javier, SS 12. Gilberto Celestino, OF 11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #10! 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. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Thursday, starting with the transactions of the day. TRANSACTIONS The playoff teams are unable to make transactions once the playoff round starts. Not really a transaction, but I’m sure many saw on Wednesday that it was announced that Alex Kirilloff will not be playing in the Arizona Fall League. He is being replaced by Luke Raley. In addition, it was also announced that Ben Rortvedt will be the “Catcher to be Named Later” on the AFL squad. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 1, Biloxi 4 Box Score For the second straight night, Alex Kirilloff came through with a ninth-inning home run with the team down by four runs. Unfortunately on this night, the bases weren’t loaded. In fact, they were empty and it accounted for the Blue Wahoo’s lone run in Game 2. https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1169802102740344832 Biloxi’s starter Dylan File was fantastic. Before the ninth inning, he gave up just one hit and hit one batter. He gave up the Kirilloff home run, but he earned the win. Jose Miranda had the only other Pensacola hit, a second-inning single. Trevor Larnach reached base early in the game when he was hit by a pitch. Royce Lewis followed Kirilloff’s home run with a walk. But those were the only four base runners of the game. Griffin Jax started and was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks over the first four innings. Two of those hits left the park. Dillon Thomas, who hit the game-winning homer in Game 1, hit a three-run homer in the third inning. Jake Gatewood hit a solo homer in the fourth inning. Edwar Colina came on for the fifth inning. He gave up one hit, hit one and struck out one batter. He left because he was ejected after the benches cleared. Stephen Gonsalves came on and got the final two outs of the sixth inning. He worked two more scoreless innings. He walked three and struck out one. Tom Hackimer got the final out of the eighth inning. The Blue Wahoos will need to win the next three games to advance to the Southern League’s second round. They return home to Pensacola for game 3 on Friday. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1 Box Score Like the Twins game, the Kernels were able to complete a 2-1 pitcher’s duel to even their series at one game a piece. Matt Canterino certainly set the tone for the game. The right-hander started with 4 2/3 innings before giving up a hit. He gave up two hits which scored the River Bandits’ lone run. He ended the inning with a pick-off. He gave up just those two hits, walked none and struck out eight batters. Dylan Thomas came on and tossed two scoreless innings in relief. For the second straight game, it was Tyler Webb that got the Kernels on the scoreboard. Following a Wander Javier triple, Webb beat a shift and singled in the game’s first run. https://twitter.com/JimCrikket/status/1169776527904530433 In the seventh inning, Webb doubled and then scored on a Jared Akins double to take back the lead, a lead that they would hold onto. Ricky Ramirez worked the final two innings. He struck out three to record the save. The Kernels will send Josh Winder to the mound for Game 3 on Wednesday trying to win the best-of-three series. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Matt Canterino, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Tyler Webb, Cedar Rapids Kernels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 0-3, BB #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-4, R, RBI, HR(2), K #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 0-3, HBP #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 3B, R #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) - 0-4, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 1-3, BB #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-4, 2 K #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 0-3, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Biloxi @ Pensacola (6:35 CT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:35) - RHP Josh Winder Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Thursday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
  18. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Six Starters for August, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. There are two pitchers in the Honorable Mention category who had K:BB ratios of 30:2 and 23:3! You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in August. HONORABLE MENTION Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18 H, 11 BB, 21 K Dakota Chalmers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 H, 13 BB, 29 K Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 H, 10 BB, 17 K Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 K Andrew Cabezas - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 21 H, 12 BB, 15 K Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB, 30 K Donny Breek - GCL Twins - 4 G, 2 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 K Niklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 3 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 8 H, 1 BB, 13 K THE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS #6 - RHP Chris Vallimont - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15 H, 4 BB, 28 K Chris Vallimont came to the Twins in the trade deadline deal with the Marlins in which the Twins also received Sergio Romo and Cash in exchange for Lewin Diaz. Vallimont had a strong first month in the Twins organization despite a rough first start in which he gave up six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. However, in three starts since, he has been remarkable. His next two starts came against his former teammates, the Jupiter Hammerheads. In both games, he had a no-hitter into the late innings and completed seven in both games. So, while his ERA is a bit high because of the first start, his ability to limit base runners and that strikeout-to-walk ratio are both quite impressive. We caught up with Vallimont for this story shortly after his trade to the Twins. #5 - RHP Josh Winder- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 28 K Winder was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June, and he’s been really consistent all season with the Kernels. He was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In August, he worked innings, limited runs and base runners. He also missed bats. Opponents hit just .206 with a .528 OPS against him. Overall this season, Winder went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 21 starts and 125 2/3 innings. Steve Buhr wrote about Winder earlier this season. #4 - RHP Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 H, 5 BB, 28 K Balazovic began the month in Lima, Peru, where he helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He returned to the MIracle and was very good. In his first start back, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. In his final start of the month, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. Along with the above numbers (which are very impressive), opponents hit just .169 off of him (with a .460 OPS). The lanky right-hander was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Ontario. #3 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 12 H, 4 BB, 34 K We all remember that 15 strikeout game that Laweryson tossed last week for the E-Twins, but the Twins 14th-round pick from the University of Maine in June was good all month. He began with a spot start in Cedar Rapids where he tossed five shutout innings. In his four E-Twins starts, he gave up earned runs in just one of them. Opponents hit just .143 with a .414 OPS against him in the month. Pretty good first impression for the right-hander. #2 - RHP Matt Canterino - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 6 H, 7 BB, 25 K Canterino was the Twins’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. After tossing 99 1/3 innings this spring for the Owls, the Twins have wisely eased him into pro ball. After some time away from the mound, he went to the GCL where he worked five innings over two games. He moved up to Cedar Rapids at the beginning of the month and they continued to monitor his innings. He averaged just four innings per start and hasn’t thrown more than 72 pitches in any outing. Nevertheless, he has been really impressive. He gave up just three runs, recorded strikeouts and opponents hit just .091 off of him in the month. Learn more about Canterino in this week’s article from Steve Buhr. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Bailey Ober - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.56 HIP, 13 H, 2 BB, 39 K Bailey Ober has put up eye-popping numbers in 2019. Overall, he is 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. In April, he was a very close runner up in our monthly Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. Unfortunately, he ended the month on the Injured List and didn’t return until early July when he made a couple of rehab appearances before rejoining the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, after just four starts there, he earned his promotion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in early August. He continued to dominate. In his first start, he gave up two hits and one run over seven innings. In his second Blue Wahoos start, he struck out 12 batters over seven shutout innings. His third start? 11 strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings. In his final start of the month, and of the regular season, he gave up one hit over three innings in preparations for the playoffs. For the month, opponents hit just .141 with a .351 OPS against him. Ober was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. In college and as a pro, he has been very good on the mound when healthy. The 6-9 right-hander has a strong four-pitch mix and is certainly one to watch in 2020! Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Bailey Ober. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  19. When he was asked in an interview late last week what kinds of things he likes to do when he’s away from the ballpark, Canterino, who is currently tentatively slated to start game 2 of the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ first-round playoff series against Quad Cities this week, at first gave a pretty standard response. “I like hanging out with friends. I’ll do pretty much whatever anyone wants to. Play cards, go fishing. I’m a big Marvel fan,” he said. But then he added, “I had a lot of people back at Rice that I loved doing those problem sets with. It was a pretty cool experience.” Problem sets? If, like Canterino, you were a Mechanical Engineering Major in school, maybe you’d have given the same sort of response. The rest of us, though, maybe not so much. In any event, if working through the engineering problem sets is what Canterino has enjoyed doing with his down time, we can probably safely assume he’s capable of analyzing and working through any challenges that arise while he’s on the mound. Using analysis to improve himself is a constant theme that runs through many threads of an interview with the 21-year-old right-hander. For example, Canterino spent the summer following his sophomore year of college playing in the prestigious Cape Cod League. What did he take away from that experience? “For me, it was mostly about picking a lot of different peoples’ brains,” he said, immediately. “Not even just coaches, but it’s a very good concentration of college talent. To be able to see what makes these college pitchers good, pick up on some of their habits. Not necessarily use all their habits, but ‘OK this works,’ trying something out, then trying to improve upon that. For me, that was like, ‘what makes a pitcher good?’ “One thing I picked up was, I wanted to make my slider a little bit harder. My sophomore year, I was throwing my slider more like 79 to 81 (miles per hour), touching 82. I wanted to make it a little bit harder, a little bit tighter. I changed my grip a little bit and I was able to get it more into the mid-eighties instead. And it became a better pitch for me.” And how is he adjusting to the professional game since completing his junior season at Rice earlier this year? “I feel like I’m incorporating new things and (trying) to improve upon them has been the focus since I’ve gotten here,” he said. “I like the analytic side of the game. Analyzing how our pitches move, what makes good pitch combinations, stuff like that is definitely something that we’ve started exploring more. “Rice did not have much of that whatsoever. I always had some thoughts about what makes some of my stuff play pretty good against hitters, but to see it in numbers form and be able to get concrete results and say, ‘this is what happens when I do this and this is what happens when I do that.’ And if I put them together to become even better, then that was something that we really wanted to address. I just feel like I’ve gotten to know myself even better. So, the organization has really helped already.” Sounds kind of like a mechanical engineer talking about pitching, doesn’t it? As a starting pitcher, scouting reports give Canterino high grades for his command, his breaking balls (the slider in particular) and his low-to-mid nineties fastball, while generally opining that his change-up is a work in progress. The concern, if there is one, may be with what is occasionally referred to as a high-effort delivery. It’s the delivery that has some in the industry wondering if he’ll eventually become most effective out of the bullpen. If that conversion is going to happen, it won’t be right now, however. There’s no doubt, though, that Canterino is active on (and around) the pitcher’s mound. “He brings energy,” Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said. “When he’s out on the mound, he competes really well. His pitches are good. Good fastball. Changeup and breaking ball are both very good. I think sometimes he gets a little amped up early in the game. He’s excited to be out there. His last start was really good. He calmed himself down and pounded the strike zone and threw five really good innings for us.” It’s impossible not to notice that energy his manager speaks of when Canterino is on the bump. He will sometimes circle the mound. He’ll walk more than halfway toward third base to get the ball from his third baseman after the infield throws it around the horn, smiling and having a quick exchange with his teammate there. He’ll walk a step or three off the front of the mound to get the ball from his catcher after a pitch, then practically stalk his way back to the rubber. “Yeah, I like being out there!” he explained. “I just feel like, if you bring some energy and you stay involved with the game, it helps your teammates stay involved in it, as well. It just provides a little bit different aura in the game. It makes everybody a little bit more happy to be there because it makes the game feel a little bit different than the other hundred and odd some games you play in the season.” When an inning is complete, you won’t see him walking to the dugout the way most pitchers do. You won’t even see him jog in like the other eight guys he’s sharing a defensive alignment with. Canterino virtually sprints to the dugout when his work on the mound is finished for the inning. “For sure! Get back in the dugout and let’s go hit,” he said. As scouts have reported, the delivery is, indeed, unique. With hands together, they come up sharply at the same time his left knee comes up, followed by a high-energy delivery that doesn’t appear to give batters much time to pick up the ball in his right hand. “It (the delivery) was something I actually picked up in high school,” Canterino explained. “I went to a day camp for pitching and we were doing a drill where we moved our hands and our leg up and down in unison to try to keep our top half and our lower half in sync. Then when I was throwing a bullpen later, they said, ‘your bottom half gets out in front of your top half a little bit, so maybe work on that drill where you try to keep your top half and lower half in sync.’ “For some reason, it just stuck with me. I kept on trying to repeat it and it just stuck with me, bringing my hands up high. It’s a little bit more exaggerated than everybody else, but it’s helped me to this point and if it’s added a little bit of deception, that’s alright, too.” As the Kernels prepare for what they hope to be a deep playoff run, Canterino could play a critical role. Many starting pitchers at the lower levels are near to reaching organization-established innings limits, but Canterino is hoping he’s good for at least a couple more games, despite throwing a season’s worth of innings at Rice this spring. His workload this year hasn’t been much different than in previous seasons. “I threw 96 (innings) my freshman year. 94 my sophomore year, but another 25 to 30 during the summer. And then 99 1/3 this year, but I have 25 more (in professional ball). I’m about the same inning total that I had last year.” Unlike his peers that have been making starts roughly once a week since the season began, Canterino had several weeks of rest between the end of his college season and his first professional work. In addition to giving some extended mid-season rest, he also believes the break has helped his velocity. “I feel like maybe I’ve gotten stronger, a little bit, so I think (the fastball velocity has) ticked up a little bit towards the start of when I came (to Cedar Rapids),” he said. “The arm feels good and the velo is definitely where I want it to be.” “He does have a limit on how many innings and pitches he can throw a night,” Dinkelman confirmed. “That’s been set in stone ever since he’s been with us. So, we’ll get him out there, let him pitch and hopefully give us five good innings every time.” As for that mechanical engineering degree, Canterino said he’s 21 credit hours short of graduating from Rice and he definitely plans to compete that degree. “I know that, with where I stand right now, regardless of what happens with baseball, I still want to be an engineer after I’m done playing,” he said. But as much as he might enjoy those problem sets, he’s not planning on heading back to school anytime soon. “After baseball. Not until after baseball,” he said, with conviction. “I feel comfortable with where I’m at right now.” Follow Matt Canterino on Twitter at @Cotton_Cante.
  20. TRANSACTIONS Lewis Thorpe recalled by the Twins to replace Devin Smeltzer on the roster. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Louisville 2 Box Score Kohl Stewart: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 53.4% strikes (39 of 73 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Wilin Rosario (2-for-4, 2B) A couple of pitchers on the Twins 40-man roster had encouraging outings. Kohl Stewart wasn’t particularly efficient, but he was effective. The six strikeouts he recorded are the most he’s had in an outing since mid-May. Both runs that scored while Stewart was in the game came in the first inning. Fernando Romero pitched around a leadoff single to record a scoreless ninth inning, earning his second save for the Red Wings. Of his 13 pitches, 10 were strikes. Between Stewart and Romero was D.J. Baxendale, who hadn’t pitched in more than two weeks. He showed no signs of rust, delivering three shutout innings of one-hit ball. It was a relatively quiet night for the bats, but they managed to build the 5-2 lead by the top of the third inning. Wilin Rosario had a pair of hits and picked up a two-out RBI in the first inning. Mike Miller, Ian Miller, Zander Wiel and Ronald Torreyes all also drove in runs. Rochester was 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 4, Chattanooga 1 Box Score Bailey Ober: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 72.7% strikes (64 of 88 pitches) HR: Willians Astudillo (2) Multi-hit games: Astudillo (2-for-4, HR), Caleb Hamilton (2-for-3), Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-3) Here is your La Tortuga update: https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1162556745706872832 So that’s two homers in two games for Willians Astudillo on his rehab assignment. He was the designated hitter today, and did appear to be trying to stretch out his oblique, so I’m not sure an activation is coming anytime too soon. Still, really fun to see him back out there playing again and making progress toward a return. Bailey Ober made his Double-A debut and was outstanding. He surrendered one run on two hits over seven innings pitched. He struck out eight batters, walked one and threw an impressive 72.7% of his pitches for strikes. Basically, he looked like Bailey Ober. He now has 197 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 164 2/3 innings over his minor league career. MIRACLE MATTERS Jupiter 4, Fort Myers 2 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 62.9% strikes (56 of 89 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: None Jordan Balazovic continued a trend of alternating between outstanding starts and less stellar outings. He gave up five hits, which isn’t a lot, but his season high is six hits surrendered on the season. Puts into perspective how excellent he’s been this year. To make matters worse, the Miracle bats could only muster five hits themselves. Gabriel Maciel hit a leadoff triple and scored on a Jacob Pearson sacrifice fly in the first inning. Their only other run came in the ninth inning. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Wisconsin 0 Box Score Matt Canterino: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 65.3% strikes (47 of 72 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Wander Javier (4-for-5, 2 2Bs), Spencer Steer (2-for-5) Matt Canterino, J.T. Perez and Erik Cha combined to throw a two-hit shutout, striking out 11 batters in the process. The Twins had been limiting Canterino’s workload, allowing him to throw just 10 innings over his first four outings as a professional, but they loosened the reins a bit tonight. Canterino, who the Twins drafted in the second round this June, gave up just one hit over his five innings. He had five strikeouts and zero walks. Wander Javier was the star at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Yunior Severino hit a big two-run double in the first inning, advanced to third on an error and scored on a groundout. Up 3-0, Cedar Rapids was able to cruise to victory from there, thanks to the impressive pitching performance. E-TWINS E-NOTES Danville 2, Elizabethton 1 Box Score Ryley Widell: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Tough night for the E-Town bats, as the lineup combined for just four hits. Their only run scored on a Parker Phillips double that scored Matt Wallner. On the plus side, the pitching was solid. Ryley Widell gave up a pair of runs in the first and the staff combined for a shutout from there. Widell finished his outing with four clean innings, Owen Griffin recorded the next five outs and Tyler Beck the final four outs. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins POSTPONED STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Bailey Ober, Pensacola Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (PNS): 1-for-4, R, K 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 0-for-4, 2 K 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 1-for-4 5. Wander Javier (CR): 4-for-5, 2 2Bs, R, RBI 6. Jordan Balazovic (FM): 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 62.9% strikes (56 of 89 pitches) 15. Matt Wallner (ELZ): 1-for-4, 2B, R, K 20. Travis Blankenhorn (PNS): 0-for-4, 2 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Louisville, 5:30 pm CT (Adam Bray) Pensacola vs. Chattanooga, 6:05 pm CT (TBD) Fort Myers at Jupiter, 4:30 pm CT (Chris Vallimont) Cedar Rapids at Quad Cities, 6:35 pm CT (Tyler Palm) Elizabethton at Danville, 5:30 pm CT (Tyler Benninghoff) GCL Twins at GCL Red Sox, 9:00 am CT (TBD) GCL Twins at GCL Red Sox, Game 2 (TBD) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  21. TRANSACTIONS LHP Sam Clay was promoted from Pensacola up to Rochester. Cedar Rapids activated LHP Kody Funderburk from the IL and placed RHP Carlos Suniaga on the IL with a forearm strain. RED WINGS REPORT Gwinnett 8, Rochester 4 Box Score Drew Hutchison: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 66.0% strikes (64 of 97 pitches) HR: Jaylin Davis (13), Jimmy Kerrigan (3) Multi-hit games: Davis (2-for-4, HR), Nick Gordon (2-for-3, BB), Wilin Rosario (2-for-4, 2B) The Red Wings managed to tie this game up 4-4 on a Jaylin Davis two-run homer in the seventh. It was Davis’ 13th home run in just 31 games with Rochester, and 23rd of the year overall. Unfortunately, Gwinnett was able to bounce back with two runs in the bottom of that inning. Drew Hutchison had a rough start, but Sam Clay had a very nice Triple-A debut. Clay allowed an inherited runner to score, but pitched around an error and all five outs he recorded were via strikeouts. BLUE WAHOO BITES Mississippi 4, Pensacola 2 Box Score Charlie Barnes: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 49.4% strikes (41 of 83 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-for-4) Ian Anderson, the No. 26 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, carved up the Blue Wahoos lineup in this one. He struck out 10 batters over seven innings of one-run ball. This was still a 1-1 game heading in to the bottom of the seventh. Charlie Barnes somehow managed to mostly pitch around a career-high six walks and Tom Hackimer pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first game action in nearly a month. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Florida 5 Box Score Blayne Enlow: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 71.4 % strikes (60 of 84 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Royce Lewis (3-for-5, 2B), Ryan Costello (2-for-5) After a rough three months of the season, things are now trending the right direction for Royce Lewis. He had three more hits today, giving him five multi-hit games so far this month. He now has a .302/.387/.472 line (.859 OPS) so far in July. Blayne Enlow got knocked around a bit, giving up five runs (four earned) in his five innings, but the Miracle bullpen was outstanding. Johan Quezada struck out three batters in two one-hit innings before Joe Record picked up a two-inning save, holding Florida hitless while striking out a pair of batters. KERNELS NUGGETS Lake County 8, Cedar Rapids 3 Box Score Andrew Cabezas: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 59.0% strikes (49 of 83 pitches) HR: Gilberto Celestino (5), Gabe Snyder (11), Trevor Casanova (4) Multi-hit games: None All three of the Kernels’ runs came on solo homers. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and combined for 11 strikeouts as a team. Cedar Rapids entered the bottom of the eighth inning holding a 3-2 lead but that’s when things fell apart. Lake County sent 11 men to bat that inning and ended up scoring six runs. After another solid start today, Andrew Cabezas now has a 1.37 ERA over his last seven starts (39 1/3 innings). E-TWINS E-NOTES Greenville 4, Elizabethton 2 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: Charles Mack (5) Multi-hit games: Charles Mack (2-for-3, HR), Max Smith (2-for-4) Sawyer Gipson-Long was electric for Elizabethton today. He gave up only one hit over three scoreless innings and struck out six batters. The 2019 sixth-round pick now has nine Ks in five scoreless innings to start his professional career. The only E-Town runs came on a Charles Mack two-run homer that scored Matt Wallner. GCL TWINS TAKES GCL Twins 4, GCL Red Sox 1 Box Score Matt Canterino: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: Wander Valdez 2 (3), Jesus Feliz (2) Multi-hit games: Jesus Feliz (3-for-4, 3B, HR), Wander Valdez (2-for-3, 2 HR, BB) Five of the six hits for the Twins came from Jesus Feliz and Wander Valdez. Feliz was a double short of the cycle and Valdez hit two home runs. Matt Canterino, the Twins’ second-round pick from this year’s draft, struck out four batters in three shutout innings. Miguel Rodriguez followed with three scoreless innings of his own before Matthew Swain held the Red Sox to one run over the final three frames. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Sawyer Gipson-Long, Elizabethton Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Wander Valdez, GCL Twins TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects performed: 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R 2. Alex Kirilloff (PNS): 0-for-4, K 4. Trevor Larnach (PNS): 1-for-4, RBI, 3 K 5. Wander Javier (CR): 0-for-3, BB, K, E (throw) 7: Keoni Cavaco (GCL): 0-for-4, R, K 10. Blayne Enlow (FM): 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 71.4 % strikes (60 of 84 pitches) 12. Nick Gordon (ROC): 2-for-3, BB, R, SB, CS 13. Ryan Jeffers (FM): 1-for-4, BB, RBI, R, K 15. Matt Wallner (ELZ): 1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 K 16. Ben Rortvedt (PNS): 1-for-4, K, E (catcher’s interference) 19. Misael Urbina (DSL): 1-for-4, 2B, R SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Gwinnett, 5:05 pm CT (Devin Smeltzer) Pensacola at Mississippi, 6:05 pm CT (Jorge Alcala) Fort Myers at Florida, 5:00 pm CT (Lachlan Wells) Cedar Rapids at Fort Wayne, 5:05 pm CT (Kai-Wei Teng) Elizabethton at Bluefield, 5:30 pm CT GCL Twins at GCL Red Sox, 9:00 am CT Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
  22. TRANSACTIONS RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Lehigh Valley 16 Box Score Kohl Stewart: 2 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 63.1% strikes (53 of 84 pitches) HR: Jaylin Davis (9), Brian Schales (2) Multi-hit games: Drew Maggi (2-for-5), Ronald Torreyes (3-for-5, 2 2B, R), Wilin Rosario (2-for-5, 2 RBI) The Rochester Red Wings were down early and could not recover against Lehigh Valley. Kohl Stewart’s line looks ugly, but he did not get much support from his defense as the Red Wings had five errors in the game. Much of the mess could have been avoided in the first had a double play been turned, but the old saying that “you can’t assume a double play” was at play there and the four runs scored in the first were all earned. Brent Rooker left the game early after he took an awkward slide while diving for a ball and the ball appeared to hit him in a place that you do not want baseballs to hit. I hope for his sake that it was just MiLB.tv’s quality that made it look that way because I would not wish that on anyone. Jaylin Davis blasted his ninth home run with the Red Wings and his 19th homer of the year between AA and AAA. The oppo taco helped push his AAA OPS to a tasty 1.066 through 25 games. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 5, Montgomery 3 Box Score Charlie Barnes: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.0% strikes (58 of 92 pitches) HR: None Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Iván De Jesús Jr. (2-for-4, 2B, R), Lewin Diaz (2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Caleb Hamilton (2-for-4, RBI), Mark Contreras (2-for-4, 2B, R) The Blue Wahoos won a fairly straightforward game this Saturday against the Montgomery Biscuits. I saw straightforward because starter Charlie Barnes only gave up a single run over his six innings of work while the offense gave him five runs to work with. Generally, it is a good sign when your 2-6 hitters all have a multi-hit game and well, I would have to say it worked out well for the Blue Wahoos. Along with that, the Blue Wahoos had six extra-base hits and twelve hits total while only striking out three times. Alex Kirilloff continued his recent stretch of Alex Kirilloff-like hitting as he had yet another multi-hit game, a good sign as the young outfielder appears to have figured it out at AA. MIRACLE MATTERS Ft. Myers 5, Bradenton 6 (11 innings) Box Score Lachlan Wells: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 68.6% strikes (59 of 86 pitches) HR: Andrew Bechtold (1) Multi-hit games: Gabriel Maciel (3-for-6, 3 R), Trevor Larnach (4-for-6, 3 RBI), Jose Miranda (2-for-6, RBI), Andrew Bechtold (3-for-5, HR, R, RBI) The Miracle lost an absolute heartbreaker that doubled as one of the wildest games that was played all year. Lachlan Wells and Tyler Watson imitated when Yoda rode on Luke’s back for training as Wells started the game (and went five innings) and Watson then went four innings afterwards. This was Watson’s first relief outing of the year. The Miracle dropped fourteen hits over the eleven innings they played yet Andrew Bechtold’s first A+ home run was the only hit that went for extra bases. In both the ninth and the 11th, the Miracle scored in the top half to take the lead but gave up run(s) in the bottom half. In the ninth it was one to tie the game and in the 11th it was two to lose it via a walk-off. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 12, Lansing 4 Box Score Andrew Cabezas: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 72.8% strikes (67 of 92 pitches) HR: Gabe Snyder (8) Multi-hit games: Gabe Snyder (3-for-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI), Trevor Casanova (2-for-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB) Wins that are close and full of thrills are fun and all, but nothing beats just destroying another team which is what the Kernels did this Saturday. Andrew Cabezas followed up his outstanding outing last week with a solid five inning showing. All three pitchers for the Kernels struck out three batters each which is some pretty cool symmetry. You might be scratching your head when you realize the Kernels scored twelve runs but only had nine hits, but they also walked eight times which gave their offense plenty of chances to knock in runs. Only two hitters failed to reach base. Gabe Snyder launched his eighth homer of the year and is now holding an OPS of .807 on the year at Cedar Rapids. I don’t know what is going on in the Twins’ system, but it seems like they have first basemen at every level who are absolutely destroying the ball... that’s good to see. E-Town E-Notes Elizabethton 3, Johnson City 2 Box Score Sawyer Gipson: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Ruben Santana (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-3, RBI) Recent draft pick Sawyer Gipson made his debut in professional baseball with the Elizabethton Twins on Saturday. He tossed a pair of scoreless innings that came with three strikeouts. Ryan Shreve relieved Gipson and threw five scoreless innings of his own while striking out an impressive nine hitters. Shreve’s K/9 coming into the game was an astounding 16.03 so he has settled in nicely with Elizabethton. The offense only put up four hits but two of those were doubles (both by Ruben Santana) and their six walks helped clog up the base paths. The final Ruben Santana double in the ninth proved to be the walk-off and the E-Town Twins squeaked out a win. GCL Twins Takes GCL Twins 1, GCL Red Sox 2 Box Score Matt Canterino: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, HR: None Multi-hit games: Jesus Feliz (2-for-4), Erick Rivera (2-for-3, BB), Bryson Gandy (2-for-3, BB) Matt Canterino made his professional baseball debut on Saturday as he allowed one run over his two innings of work. Keoni Cavaco was the DH and took a walk and hit a single. He also swiped a base. Jeferson Morales had the lone extra-base hit for the GCL Twins with his triple in the third. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Charlie Barnes Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Trevor Larnach PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-5, BB, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) - Injured list #4 - Trevor Larnach (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-6, 3 RBI #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL Twins) - 1-for-4, BB, 2 K #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - 0-for-1 (left early with an injury) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Ft. Myers) - Did not pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) - Did not pitch #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - 1-for-4, 2B #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-5, BB, 2 K #14 - Luis Arraez (Twins) - 2-for-5, R #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) - Did not play #17 - Akil Baddoo (Ft. Myers) - Out for year with Tommy John surgery #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) - Did not play #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL Twins) - No game #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 1-for-4, 3B, R SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Lehigh Valley @ Rochester (12:05 A.M.) - RHP Drew Hutchison Montgomery @ Pensacola (5:05 P.M.) - RHP Jorge Alcala Fort Myers @ Bradenton (12:00 P.M.) - RHP Bailey Ober Lansing @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 P.M.) - RHP Kai-Wei Teng Johnson City @ Elizabethton (4:00 P.M.) - RHP Prelander Berroa Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Saturday’s games.
  23. Continue reading, and then discussing, the Twins Daily choices for 26th through 30th prospects of the Minnesota Twins below. 30. Lewin Diaz - 1B Age: 22 ETA: Late 2020 2019 Stats (High-A/AA): .303/.343/.541 (.884 OPS), 14 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 44 K, 14 BB. 2019 Preseason Ranking: NR Seth: 25 | Tom: 25 | Cody: 39 | Ted: NR | Steve: 18 Diaz was a big prospect when the Twins signed him for $1.4 million in July 2013. He was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2016 when he had a strong season at Elizabethton. He was quite productive in Cedar Rapids in 2017. Last year, he struggled in the first half in Ft. Myers and his season ended with wrist surgery. He came to spring training much lighter in 2017 and lighter yet in 2018 and his hard work really paid off. He was red hot in May and selected the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month when he hit 10 home runs. He was promoted to Pensacola last week and started out hot there. 29. Devin Smeltzer - LHP Age: 23 ETA: 2019 2019 Stats (AAA/MLB): . MLB: 12.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.0 K/BB MILB: 70.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 6.1 K/BB 2019 Ranking: NR Seth: 31 | Tom: 31 | Cody: 21 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR When the Twins acquired Smeltzer (and Luke Raley) from the Dodgers last July for Brian Dozier, few knew much about the left-hander. And if anything, it was more about his story than his pitching. He had been moved to the bullpen by the Dodgers and pitched in that role in Chattanooga and in the Arizona Fall League. But this offseason, the decision was made for him to return to starting, and he has been terrific. He started in Pensacola where he gave up just two earned runs in 30 innings (five starts). He moved up to Rochester and started with 15 scoreless innings. He came up to the Twins and worked six shutout innings against the Brewers and made one more start. Smeltzer is a good reminder that command for pitchers is key. He tops out at about 92 but he mixes all of his pitches really well and he’s able to miss bats without issuing walks. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/Get_To_Know_Em_Eps_4_Devin_Smeltzer_Final.mp3 28. Matt Canterino - RHP Age: 21 ETA: 2022 2019 Stats (College): 99.1 IP, 2.81 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 5.3 K/BB 2019 Ranking: NR Seth: 32 | Tom: 29 | Cody: 28 | Ted: 18 | Steve: 22 It is likely we won’t actually see Canterino pitch in 2019, and if he does, it will be with very limited innings in the low minor leagues. Just 21, he has a lot of pitching experience and innings under his belt, so I expect he will be shut down until spring. He has pitched for Rice University the last three years. He is one of just two college pitchers who has over 100 strikeouts in each of the past three seasons. He spent a summer with Team USA. He spent last summer in the Cape Cod League. He throws a fastball that sits in the 92-94 range but he can crank it up into the upper 90s. He’s got a good mid-80s slider and a spike curveball. https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1135753743826395136 27. Luke Raley - OF Age: 24 ETA: 2020 2019 Stats (AAA): .302/.362/.516 (.878 OPS), 6 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 42 K, 7 BB. 2019 Preseason Ranking: Seth: 19 | Tom: 23 | Cody: 46 | Ted: 15 | Steve: 28 Raley has kind of always been an overlooked player. He had a really good high school career, yet he ended up going to Division II Lake Erie College. He dominated at that level but was a seventh-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016. He has put up a lot of power since then while never being considered a top prospect. We continue that trend with these rankings. When Raley’s season came to an abrupt stop with an ankle injury, he was playing well and just starting to display some big power for that Red Wings offense. He has a ton of power, and he’s also got enough speed that he played quite a bit in center field. People tout his high-energy level and willingness to work, along with his power potential. 26. Gilberto Celestino - OF ETA: 2018 Age: 20 2019 Stats (Low-A): .217/.298/.314 (.612 OPS), 11 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 51 K, 28 BB. 2019 Ranking: 16 Seth: 27 | Tom: 26 | Cody: 27 | Ted: 24 | Steve: 29 The Twins acquired Celestino, along with RHP Jorge Alcala, late last July from the Houston Astros in exchange for RHP Ryan Pressly. Celestino was a big international signing when he was a 16-year-old. He is a very good athlete. He’s not tall, but he is built strong and has really good speed. Some scouting reports indicate that he a very good defensive center fielder with a strong arm and room to continue to improve. Offensively, he works counts and is willing to take walks, though that has led to a lot of strikeouts to this point. He’s very young for the Midwest League and has not been over-matched. That's it for now. The prospect rankings will continue tomorrow. Feel free to ask questions and leave comments below. Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings Prospects 36-40 Prospects 31-35 Prospects 26-30 Prospects 21-25 (Coming Soon)
  24. Selected right after fellow Conference USA competitor, and Cape Cod teammate Matt Wallner, Canterino joins the Twins organization with some familiarity on his side. One of the things most obvious about Canterino is his unique delivery, but whatever questions remain about it, the results seem to provide plenty of answers. Here’s some answers to the burning questions we had for the newest draftee. Twins Daily: As a Texas kid going to a baseball power like Rice, was playing for the Owls always one of the benchmarks or goals in your baseball career? Matt Canterino: Rice was always my first choice for college ever since my older brother, Daniel, looked at it while he was applying for college. I knew that Rice was a prestigious university and had a great pedigree in baseball also, so it felt like a perfect fit. I was so happy that Rice was my first offer for baseball, and I have had no regrets about the University. TD: Having dominated Conference USA for the last two seasons what would attribute your success too? Both your fastball and slider have been noted as strong pitches, but what about the way you attack hitters or prepare has set you up for success? MC: I believe that I know the game relatively well. I can keep up with what’s going on and understand the nuances of various parts of the game, such as pitch calling and pressure situations. My philosophy is that I make sure I put in all the preparation I need to succeed. That preparation has resulted in the quality stuff that I have, such as my slider and fastball. Now, it is just about having the confidence to use that stuff to my advantage in games. TD: You have faced fellow Twins draftee Matt Wallner plenty over your college career. What can you tell us about his presence in the box, his ability, and him as a competitor? MC: Matt Wallner was always somebody that stood out on our scouting report and was someone that we felt like we had to plan extra for. He and I are similar in the fact that we have both had relative success since our freshman year, so you can just see his confidence grow and grow after each year as well. We played with each other over the summer too and got to know each other as teammates, so I know he wants to win just as much as I do. TD: Pitching has become more than just a feel on the mound, or trial and error type of process. With Edgertronic cameras and a focus on things like spin rate to find analytical advantages, have you been able to incorporate any of the new technology into your preparation? MC: I have had limited interaction with the next-level technology that is being incorporated into baseball. I am, however, extremely excited in becoming more familiar with it. It has helped so many pitchers refine their stuff just from numbers on a screen. It’s a new approach to the game of baseball that can improve most anybody to some degree, if analyzed correctly. TD: You have a unique delivery and it no doubt creates a level of deception on the mound. Has there been any big leaguer you've emulated or modeled your game after over the course of your career? MC: I have had my unorthodox delivery since my junior year of high school, and it just was something that came about in order to keep my top-half and lower-half in sync. I did not start doing it in order to emulate someone in particular. The part of my game that emulate after professionals the most is how I attack hitters. I love getting ahead with all my pitches and putting hitters in uncomfortable counts. In that way I think I might be similar to someone like Kyle Hendricks or maybe Jon Lester. TD: A 3.99 GPA is no joke and doing it within a Mechanical Engineering field is only that much more impressive. How has your level of intelligence allowed you a competitive advantage on the diamond? Are there specific or unique ways in which you prepare to attack an opposing lineup? MC: While being a good baseball player and a good mechanical engineer are obviously very different tasks, I think both are similar a bit in terms of a lot of adjustments are needed in order to succeed. I think this is one of my strengths when I pitch. I know the scouting report well when I go out on the mound, so I have a game plan. Then, when I see something that doesn’t quite add up, I am able to change that game plan so that it improves and gives my team the best chance to win. Baseball is a game of failure for hitters, so my job as a pitcher is to try to exploit that by maintaining that advantage. TD: Being selected by the Minnesota Twins, have you been to the state before? Target Field? What do you know about the organization? MC: I have never been to Minnesota before, but I have heard nothing but great things about the Twin Cities and Target Field. I know that two of the past three Rice pitchers to pitch in the MLB have been with the Minnesota Twins in J.T. Chargois and Tyler Duffey. I want to be able to keep that legacy going and improve upon it.
  25. We covered the first night with pretty quick recaps on Cavaco, Wallner and Canterino. We came back on Thursday morning (an AM podcast!) to discuss the second and third day of the draft. Who do we like? Who might not sign? And deeper dives on many of the players who heard their names called by the Minnesota Twins. Our goal was to keep it 60 minutes - and we did it as far as draft coverage goes (about 55). But we did spend the last 10 minutes talking about what the next steps could be now that Craig Kimbrel is no longer an option. As always, all of our podcasts are available here or you can download directly from iTunes here.
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