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  1. Finding solid relief pitching can be a challenging task for an organization. Relievers can burn bright for short periods and then burn out quickly. Many of the best relievers in Twins history were pitching prospects that were unsuccessful as starters, including Glen Perkins, Joe Nathan, and Taylor Rogers. The pitchers listed below are still considered starting pitchers, but their eventual development path may shift them to a bullpen role. Jhoan Duran Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 8 Minnesota originally acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade. Since then, he has become one of the most exciting pitching prospects to come through the Twins farm system in quite some time. His electric fastball has been clocked at over 100 mph, even if the gun was a little hot. His off-speed offerings include a slider and a famous "splinker." With at least three big-league pitches, it's easy to imagine him sticking as a starter, but injuries impacted his 2021 season. Last season, he started the year on the IL with forearm/elbow issues, which can cause lingering problems. Duran was limited to 16 innings pitched with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP. He flashed some electric stuff and struck out more than a batter per inning. After five appearances, he was placed back in the IL and shut down for the year. Luckily, he avoided surgery, but the bullpen may offer him a way to stay healthy and provide value with his dominant pitch mix. Even Baseball America thinks Duran will be in the bullpen by 2025. Simeon Woods Richardson Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 4 Woods Richardson has been part of two different blockbuster trades before his 21st birthday. At last year's trade deadline, the Twins acquired him along with Austin Martin for José Berríos. Both the Blue Jays and the Twins were aggressive with Woods Richardson last season as he pitched the entire season at Double-A, where he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. Across 15 starts (53 1/3 innings), he posted a 5.91 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and a 77 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. Currently, he utilizes a four-pitch mix, and he can add more velocity as he adds to his frame. He will likely repeat Double-A next season, where he will still be young for the level. Minnesota will give him every opportunity to make it as a starting pitcher, and a move to the bullpen would be multiple years into the future. However, his fastball and changeup are above average pitches that could translate to him becoming a dominant late-inning reliever. Cole Sands Seth's Top-30 Pitcher Ranking: 13 Sands was an intriguing pick when the Twins took him with a fifth-round pick back in 2018. He had posted a 4.73 ERA in three seasons in college, but he had projectability. Now, he has turned both of his offspeed offerings into plus pitches, and his fastball velocity has increased. Last season at Double-A, he posted a 2.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 80 innings. These improvements point to his potential to stick as a starter, but a shift to the bullpen may also be on the table. He has yet to pitch more than 98 innings in a season throughout his professional career. If he is going to stick as a starter, he will have to increase his workload in the years ahead. Another issue was his walk rate more than doubled from 1.8 BB/9 in 2019 to 3.9 BB/9 in 2021. He's dealt with some arm problems in the past, so a shift to the bullpen may give him a better opportunity to impact the big-league roster. Which pitching prospect is destined for a bullpen role? 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
  2. What is very exciting is that these five pitchers, along with the pitchers in the 6-10 ranking range, and even a couple in the 11-15 range, have a real chance to be impact big league starters. The other thing to note is that the organization's top prospect lists have shifted quite significantly even from last year. While hitters such as Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon and Ben Rortvedt lost their prospect status, the Twins have developed many intriguing, exciting pitching prospects. Obviously what matters most is what they are able to do in the big leagues, but there is a stable of pitchers that Twins fans should be very excited about. Let's get started on my Top 5 Twins Pitching Prospects. #5 - RHP Josh Winder 2021 STATS: 4-0, 2.63 ERA, 14/14 G/GS, 0.94 WHIP, 80/13 K/BB, 72.0 IP The Twins drafted Josh Winder out of Virginia Military Institute in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts at Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts. Like so many others, he missed the 2020 season, but when he came to Instructional League, he made a prospect name for himself. Instead of sitting 91-92 with the fastball, he was now hitting 95-97 consistently. In addition, he has a good slider and a changeup. In 2021, he received a call to be a part of the Twins depth camp for spring training. He skipped High-A and began the season as Wichita’s opening day starter. He dominated Double-A. In 10 starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, he struck out 65 batters while striking out just ten. He moved up to St. Paul and in his first Triple-A start, he started with five no-hit innings. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in the Futures Game in Denver. He made just four starts for the Saints due to a shoulder impingement and missed the remainder of the season. Winder is intriguing because of his fastball, his control of all of his pitches, and his work ethic is second to none. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and when spring training starts, he should be given a real shot to make the opening day roster. That said, he is most likely to spend some more time in St. Paul. He will be 25 years old throughout the 2022 season. #4 - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 2021 STATS: 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 1.75 WHIP, 10/8 K/BB, 8.0 IP Simeon Woods Richardson joined the Twins organization in July when the Twins acquired him from the Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios deal. It was the second time the 21-year-old prospect was traded. After being drafted out of his Sugar Land, Texas, high school in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, he was traded in 2019 to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. He has always been very young for the level in which he plays, but at Double-A in 2021, he was nearly five years younger than average. The numbers showed it as he posted a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts in New Hampshire before the trade. Now, he did have 67 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. He also walked 26 batters. Control was something that eluded him in 2021, though it really hadn’t previously. When the Twins acquired him, he was a teammate of Joe Ryan on Team USA in the Olympics. Woods Richardson has a big fastball in the mid-90s as part of a solid four-pitch mix. Again, control will be the key. He will pitch the 2022 season at age 21. With his struggles in 2021, and his youth, he should spend much of the season in Wichita. #3 - RHP Jordan Balazovic 2021 STATS: 5-4, 3.62 ERA, 20/20 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 102/38 K/BB, 97.0 IP The Twins 2016 draft has proven pretty impressive to this point. The Twins started with five straight high school hitters. In the fifth round, they took Jordan Balazovic out of secondary school in Ontario. He has had ups and downs since signing with the Twins, but when healthy, he has generally been very good. He has also really developed as a starting pitcher. He now has a fastball that sits 93-95 and touches 97 at times. He has four pitches that all can be average or better big-league pitches. He has typically shown good control. He didn’t pitch in 2020, although he spent the last several weeks in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. Following the season, he was added to the 40-man roster. He came to big-league camp for spring training in 2021, but he began the season on the Injured List with an oblique injury. However, he still made 20 starts and reached a career-high 97 innings, all in Double-A Wichita. He was much more inconsistent throughout the season than normal. He had a good start, then struggled a bit. Then he dominated, pitching 25 consecutive scoreless innings. He followed that with struggles again, but he ended the season strong, and most important healthy. Balazovic should spend most of the 2022 season in Triple-A St. Paul, but I would expect him to make his MLB debut in 2022. He won’t turn 24 until mid-September. #2 - RHP Joe Ryan 2021 MiLB STATS: 0-0, 2.00 ERA, 2/2 G/GS, 0.78 WHIP, 17/2 K/BB, 9.0 IP 2021 MLB STATS: 2-1, 4.05 ERA, 5/5 G/GS, 0.79 WHIP, 30/5 K/BB, 26.2 IP Fair to say that Joe Ryan made a strong first impression with the Twins. Then again, he has been impressing since he was young. The Twins wanted to sign him after he went undrafted following an injury-filled junior season. He bet on himself, went to Cal State-Stanislaus, pitched great and the Rays took him as a senior sign in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. He has been really good since joining the Rays, and in 2020, he was pitching at the alternate site. He was pitching well for Triple-A Durham to start this season and then headed to the Olympics with Team USA (the team won both games he started). While across the ocean, he learned that he had been traded to the Twins with Drew Strotman in the Nelson Cruz deal. Upon his return to the States, Ryan made two unbelievable starts with the Saints (Strotman’s story about that in Monday’s Twins Spotlight is hilarious!) before joining the Twins. Then he came up to the Twins and was again impressive. A few more home runs than you might want, but he showed great poise and an ability to miss bats. As Strotman said of Ryan, you may not know why you can’t hit him, but they don’t hit him. Ryan sits with a fastball that averages right around 90 mph. He can occasionally touch 94 with the fastball, but since he releases the ball low and can spot the pitch and be successful up in the strike zone, it is hard to hit. He will throw a high percentage of fastballs, but we also saw some really good change ups and sliders, and he really tunnels the ball with all three pitches very well. Ryan should spend the full 2022 season with the Twins. He won’t turn 26 until May. I think Twins fans can look forward to The Joe Ryan Experience for years to come. #1 - RHP Matt Canterino 2021 STATS: 1-0, 0.78 ERA, 6/6 G/GS, 0.61 WHIP, 45/4 K/BB, 23.0 IP I am guessing that this ranking of Matt Canterino as my choice for the Twins top pitching prospect will come as a surprise to some. However, if not for the elbow concerns that caused him to only throw 23 game innings in 2021, I don’t think people would be surprised. They’re certainly legitimate concerns, for sure. However, when it comes to pure ‘stuff,’ Canterino’s is electric. He’s got a big fastball, sitting 94-96 with his fastball as a starter, touching 97. He’s got the slider that can make hitters look silly. He’s got a slower curveball. And he’s got a good changeup. He’s also got really good makeup, work ethic and energy, some of the intangibles you are looking for in a top-of-rotation option. Canterino was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2019 out of Rice where he was a three-year starter and averaged about 97 innings each season. He did spend some time at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul late in 2020. If healthy, Canterino could move quickly. After his absolute domination in Cedar Rapids for the first month of the season (43 strikeouts in 21 innings!), I would expect he will start his season at Double-A Wichita and have a chance to move up to St. Paul fairly quickly. Now, innings will be a concern at some point, and if that happens, he could certainly work out of the bullpen as the season ends. The goal should continue to be to have him start, but obviously this kind of arm is very valuable and needs to be taken care of. He will be 24 throughout the 2022 season. Discuss... I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my rankings 100% I certainly wouldn’t expect that. I hope that I was able to make my case. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there are a lot of pitchers in this system that have upside to become a playoff-caliber starting pitcher, and that’s exciting. It’s important to have some, but the fact that they have several should give hope that one to three of them will become just that while others will become mid-or-back end starters or even relievers. That’s just how pitching prospects work. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. . Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  3. When he blew up, Miranda was outside the top 15 on virtually all Twins prospect lists and barely within the top 30 on others. It’s a bit rare that a meteoric rise occurs, but there are prospects all over the Minnesota system capable of notable 2022 seasons. While their situations may differ, the talent taking over once the games get going seems like a pretty good bet. Royce Lewis Now 22-years-old and playing for the first time in two years, the time has certainly gotten the better part of the former number one overall pick. We last saw Lewis in the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2019, and he tore up the competition. After a disappointing season that resulted in just a .661 OPS between High-A and Double-A, that was nice to see. The leg kick and swing path have been highly discussed, as has his case to stick at shortstop or move into the outfield. Regardless of the talking points, it will be nice to see the Twins top prospect back on the field, and I’d bet on his maturity and talent taking over. Give me a focused Lewis producing in a big way this season to remind pundits why he was raved about for so long. Simeon Woods-Richardson The second piece brought to the Twins in their swap of Jose Berrios, Woods-Richardson was well regarded and a popular trade target. He posted just a 5.91 ERA in 2021 and gave up six earned runs in eight innings within Minnesota’s system. It certainly wasn’t a great debut, but plenty was going against him following the trade. He played for Team USA in the Olympics, but played should be used loosely as he never made an appearance. Shutting down his workload in the middle of a season for that long created a significant road back and ultimately created a less-than-ideal situation. He’s talented and has been ranked highly because of it. The strikeout stuff should be expected to return in 2022, and seeing Woods-Richardson dominate en route to a Major League Debut would be far from unexpected. Misael Urbina Playing in his age-20 season for 2022, Urbina was stateside for the first time in 2021. He posted just a .585 OPS in the Complex League, but the 82/54 K/BB rate is where things get exciting. It’s clear he has a strong sense of plate discipline, and with another year of training as he grows into his body, Urbina’s ceiling continues to be worthy of dreaming on. There’s a substantial speed and power combination here, and playing centerfield is something he looks natural doing. I’d be far from shocked in the upcoming year, isn’t his coming out party. Spencer Steer If you haven’t been keeping tabs on Steer, it’s been time for a while. A third-round pick in 2019, Steer has posted OPS numbers north of .800 each of the past two seasons. Last year he blew up for 24 homers and posted a .409 OBP at High-A Cedar Rapids. Steer is now 24 and likely not going to be a Major League All-Star, but he has shown the makings of a solid regular. Utilizing the 2021 season, Steer could make his start at Double-A in 2022 a short one and be knocking on the door from St. Paul. Kala’i Rosario A fifth-round pick in 2020, Rosario didn’t get his opportunity to make a pro debut until last season due to Covid. However, he didn’t disappoint and posted a .793 OPS as an 18-year-old in the Complex League. His five homers in just 188 at-bats were nice to see, and there’s plenty of room for the plate discipline to take a step forward. Rosario is a corner outfielder, and his calling card will never be defense, so the bat needs to play, but the exciting part is that it looks the part so early. Getting into full-season ball this year, I’d be far-from-shocked if Rosario doesn’t immediately turn heads and see two promotions over the course of the year. What other prospects do you see worthy of keeping a particularly close eye on this season? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  4. Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  6. Current Starting Pitchers: Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, Joe Ryan, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe Two young pitchers and three pitchers that struggled last season isn't the recipe needed for a last-place team trying to rebound. Bundy certainly has some intrigue, especially when looking back to his 2020 season. If the Twins can work with his pitch mix, he may improve enough to be a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. He's the most veteran pitcher on the staff, so there is a possibility the team adds other arms before Opening Day. Ober and Ryan were terrific during their first taste of the big leagues. Many were surprised by Ober's ability to pound the strike zone and work quickly. Ryan's unique fastball made it challenging for hitters to adjust, and he looks to be part of the team's long-term plans. Expectations need to be tempered with both pitchers because there will likely be some growing pains during their sophomore seasons. Last winter, Minnesota signed Dobnak to a unique extension, and then he proceeded to have his worst professional season. The Twins tried to use him in the bullpen to start the year, which was just the start of his season-long issues. Thorpe was limited to less than 40 innings last year, and he struggled at multiple levels. He's out of minor-league options, so he will have to earn a rotation spot this spring, or the team can try him in a bullpen role. 40-Man Roster Options Many of Minnesota's top pitching prospects are scheduled to spend time at Triple-A, and that might be one reason the club didn't spend big money on free agent pitching this winter. Top prospects Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Josh Winder, and Cole Sands are all on the 40-man roster and project to spend time in St. Paul. All four of these arms ranked in the team's top-20 prospects in the second half of the season. Griffin Jax has big-league experience, making him a depth option if some of the top prospects aren't ready. Minnesota acquired Drew Strotman and Ryan as part of the Nelson Cruz trade. One of the reasons the Twins acquired him was because he is close to big-league ready. Other players on the 40-man roster include Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow. Vallimont posted a 6.03 ERA in 21 Double-A starts last season, so it seems likely for him to get a repeat trip with Wichita. In June, Blayne Enlow underwent Tommy John surgery, so he won't be back into game action until later this summer. This winter, Minnesota had a tough decision regarding adding Enlow to the 40-man roster, but he can eventually be moved to the 60-day IL to open an additional roster spot. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's starting pitching depth. Minnesota has multiple starting pitching options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. At Triple-A, there are multiple players with big-league experience. Jake Faria received a non-roster invite when Minnesota signed him at the beginning of December. Devin Smeltzer was removed from the 40-man roster after injuries limited him to one appearance in 2021. Charlie Barnes posted a 3.79 ERA with a 1.28 in 16 Triple-A starts. Bryan Sammons and Austin Schulfer are both Rule 5 eligible but can slot into roles with St. Paul if they stay in the organization. Some of the team's other top-pitching prospects are penciled in for Double-A. Minnesota acquired Simeon Woods Richardson as part of the Jose Berrios trade. As a 20-year-old, he spent all of 2021 at Double-A and played in the Olympics. The Twins selected Matt Canterino in the second round back in 2019, but he was limited to six starts last season because of an elbow strain. Louie Varland finished the year at High-A, and he will be looking to build off his breakout 2021 season. There are some other names to watch in the minor's lower levels. Much of the organization's 2019 draft class projects to be at High-A, including Cody Laweryson, Sean Mooney, and Sawyer Gipson-Long. Laweryson was young for Cedar Rapids last season, and he posted a 3.86 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. In 13 starts, Mooney posted a 2.79 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP. Gipson-Long struck out over 12 batters per nine innings at Low- and High-A in 2021. Steve Hajjar and Cade Povich were top-100 draft picks in 2021. Hajjar was one of the Big Ten's best pitchers in 2021, and that's why the Twins took him with the 61st pick. He has yet to make his professional debut. Povich dominated in his four starts after being drafted as he allowed one earned run and struck out more than 17 batters per nine innings. Their college experience can help to make them fast risers next season. Marco Raya and Chase Petty are two young pitchers to watch with the FCL Twins. Minnesota drafted Raya in the 4th round back in 2020 out of high school in Texas. Petty was the Twins 2021 first-round pick out of high school in New Jersey. Raya has yet to make a professional appearance, and Petty made two appearances after signing last year. Besides the names mentioned here, many other pitchers at each level can impact the upcoming season. Overall, Minnesota's current starting rotation doesn't look built for a playoff run, but 2022 may be set up for the young pitching core to debut. What do you think about the organization's starting pitching depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field — Corner Outfield
  7. 6-10: 10. LHP Jovani Morán 9. LHP Steve Hajjar 8. RHP Marco Raya 7. RHP Chris Vallimont 6. OF Kala’i Rosario 5. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Predicting a breakout for a global top-100 prospect seems odd. For Woods Richardson, you could describe it as more of a bounce back. The Twins received the tall, well-regarded right-hander and Austin Martin in the blockbuster that sent José Berríos to Toronto last July. Woods Richardson had a forgettable season, posting a 5.91 ERA and 14% walk rate in just over 53 innings at Double-A. Even with those numbers, Woods Richardson used his (fluctuating) mid-90s fastball and sharp slider to strike out 77 of the 240 batters he faced. He just turned 21, and his future remains bright. 4. LF/OF Alerick Soularie The Twins picked Soularie in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft after he hit a remarkable .336/.448/.586 in 76 games at Tennessee. Soularie’s 1.068 OPS in 2019 was the third-highest mark in the SEC, behind only JJ Bleday (Marlins No. 5 prospect) and future teammate Austin Martin. Soularie’s future position is questionable, and he’ll likely fill multiple spots as he moves up the system. He was limited with a broken foot early in 2021 but returned to hit .240/.367/.360 in 34 games, mainly for Fort Myers. I’ll take the over on Soularie’s projected impact for 2022. 3. 1B Aaron Sabato It was a rough professional start for Sabato, whom the Twins selected with their first-round pick during the COVID-19 shutdown. The slugging Sabato hit just .189 for Fort Myers but buoyed it with a .365 On-Base Percentage, walking in nearly 20% of his plate appearances. The Twins promoted Sabato despite his shoddy numbers, and he responded hugely. The former North Carolina star hit .253/.402/.613 for an OPS over 1.000 in 97 plate appearances for the Kernels. He bashed eight homers in just 22 games, finally taking advantage of strikes he received for getting ahead in the count. He has a chance to move up quickly in 2022. 2. RHP Jhoan Duran Duran was undoubtedly on his way to Minnesota before an elbow injury derailed his season. Standing 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Duran is an imposing presence with the stuff to boot. He reaches 100 MPH with his fastball and pairs it with a devastating “splinker” hybrid, a pitch that should help him get both lefties and righties out in the majors. The Twins have a slew of potential threes or fours in their system. They only have a few who possess the repertoire to become a true No. 1 starter. Duran fits that bill, and it’s not out of the question that he could operate a spot in the Twins’ rotation as early as mid-2022. 1. OF Emmanuel Rodríguez It’s ill-advised to project teenagers as future stars, but if there’s one player in the Twins’ system who could warrant that excitement, it’s Rodríguez. Signed as an international free agent in 2019, Rodríguez quickly established himself during his first professional season. The 18-year-old left-handed swinger slugged .524 in 37 games for the FCL Twins. Rodríguez posted an .870 OPS despite striking out in nearly 40% of his plate appearances. More consistent contact and an adapted approach would turn Rodríguez, who plays a strong centerfield, into a true force. That could happen in 2022. Who are you most excited about? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. Simeon Woods Richardson will the the guest on tonight's Twins Spotlight show, starting at 5:30 central. The Sugar Land, Texas, native turned 21 shortly after the 2021 season, a season of more change for him. Two years ago, he was traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays as part of the Marcus Stroman trade. He has continued to be pushed by the Jays and started the season in Double-A. In June, he traveled to Tokyo, Japan, as part of the Team USA Olympic squad. While he didn't pitch in a game, he was able to experience a great event and learn from manager Mike Scioscia and some of the other veterans on the roster such as Todd Frazier, Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson. The Twins traded Jose Berrios at the trade deadline in exchange for Richardson and Austin Martin. When he came back to the States, Richardson headed to Wichita and just worked by throwing bullpen before making a few starts at season's end. Let's get to know him! It's been another interesting year for Simeon Woods Richardson, and we will discuss it with him tonight! Join us as we go live at 5:30 pm central time. You can participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics over about 20-25 minutes. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm (central time) on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. For more on Simeon Woods Richardson: Follow him on Instagram at @simeon_woods10. Follow him on Twitter at @simeon_woods. Click here for Twins Daily articles on Simeon Woods Richardson. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 36: Jose Miranda Episode 37: Kala'i Rosario Episode 38: Bailey Ober
  9. TRANSACTIONS LHP Charlie Barnes and RHP Andrew Albers were recalled from St. Paul in advance of the Twins doubleheader with Cleveland. In double-A, RHP Tyler Beck was placed on the 7-day injured list with a right forearm strain. RHP Jackson Hicks was officially promoted from the FCL Twins to the Mighty Mussels. RHP Hunter McMahon joined the FCL Twins on a rehab assignment. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 13, Indianapolis 4 Box Score Three days after bludgeoning their opponent 21-4 at CHS Field, the Saints did more of the same to a new opponent on the road in Indianapolis on Tuesday night. A six-run second inning got the party started and included home runs from Mark Contreras and Jose Miranda, along with an RBI double from Damek Tomscha. They extended their lead to 8-0 in the top of the fourth thanks to an error and an RBI groundout from Tomas Telis. Tomscha added a solo home run in the sixth that made it 9-1 before a four-run seventh capped off the evening and was powered by yet another Saints home run off the bat of Sherman Johnson. In all the Saints lineup pounded out 14 hits with eight of them going for extra bases. Though they were only 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position, those hits were big ones with the home runs and doubles. Miranda (2-for-6, R, HR, 4 RBI), Contreras (2-for-5, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K), Jimmy Kerrigan (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 K), and Tomscha (4-for-5, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) had multiple hits. Right-hander Drew Strotman made the start and delivered a quality outing. Over six innings he scattered five hits and three walks, allowing two runs (on two homers) while punching out four batters. Ryan Mason pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out one. Ian Hamilton pitched the ninth and was charged with two earned runs thanks to three walks and one hit, but it was far from enough for Indianapolis. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 4, Wichita 1 (Game Suspended, to be resumed tomorrow at 4:30 PM) Box Score Unfortunately for the Wind Surge, they played much of this game through some drizzle before the conditions became too much for them to continue. They had not yet completed five innings, so the game was suspended in the top of the fifth and will resume tomorrow. It had been a mixed bag before the game was paused, as Simeon Woods Richardson delivered a fantastic performance for the first three innings of the game, but upon his exit the Travelers struck to take the 4-1 lead against Ben Gross. In his outing, Woods Richardson allowed just two hits while striking out five in his three innings. He definitely looked like a top prospect in this one as compared to his prior outings. Of his 47 pitches in the game, 32 went for strikes (68%), including a whopping 12 swinging strikes. He got those swings and misses on all of his pitches as well, with his changeup especially (to my eyes) looking like it was fooling everyone. Wichita got their lone run in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI infield single from Aaron Whitefield. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Peoria 6 Box Score Cedar Rapids was unable to solve the Peoria pitching staff on Tuesday, resulting in a 6-1 loss that dropped them to 63-52 and just one game ahead of the teams chasing them in the High-A Central playoff race. The lineup was only able to manage four hits on the night, with two of those coming off the bat of Matt Wallner. Their lone run came in the fifth inning thanks to a solo home run from DeShawn Keirsey. As a team they struck out 11 times and drew just one walk, while having only two at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game. Cody Laweryson was on the mound to start and went the first 5 1/3 innings. He allowed all six of the Chiefs runs, on eight hits and one walk, while striking out five. Zach Featherston got the Kernels through the seventh inning without allowing a hit, walking one, and striking out two in his 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Palm finished the game with a scoreless eighth, giving up one hit and striking out two batters. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa @ Fort Myers, Postponed: Inclement Weather The Mighty Mussels game with the Tarpons was postponed on Tuesday as rain was moving into the area. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 6, FCL Rays 3 Box Score The Twins used a five-run second inning to pull away early, and the pitching staff held the Rays at bay the rest of the way to pick up the win. In that second inning, the Twins took advantage of a pair of errors and got RBI singles from Argenis Jiminez, Noah Cardenas, and Ernie Yake before a sac fly from Endy Rodriguez plated the fifth run. They got an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to an RBI single from Wilfri Castro to drive in Gregory Duran who had led off the inning with a triple. Yake (2-for-4, 2B, RBI K) had multiple hits in the contest. Hunter McMahon got the start in his first game with the FCL Twins and went the first two innings, allowing one hit and striking out four batters. Ryan Shreve allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in his lone inning, though he did strike out three. Wilker Reyes was credited with his first hold by going the next three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two Rays. Juan Mendez picked up his first save by finishing the final three innings. He gave up one run on three hits and struck out three hitters. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Simeon Woods Richardson, Wichita Wind Surge (3 IP, 2 H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Damek Tomscha, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game suspended #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-6, R, HR, 4 RBI #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 5 K (left game in sixth after being struck in hand with line drive) #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4 #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - W, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 0-for-5, 2 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game suspended WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Beau Burrows (2-5, 6.16 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (30 min after completion of suspended game) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (5-4, 3.38 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland (6-1, 2.17 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (3:30 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 3.12 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (30 min after Game 1) - RHP Jackson Hicks (Low-A debut) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  10. TRANSACTIONS OF Trevor Larnach placed on the 7-day IL at AAA St. Paul retroactive to 9/2 (Left-hand contusion) RHP Alex Phillips placed on the IL at AA Wichita RHP Simeon Woods Richardson activated from development list at AA Wichita Saints Sentinel St. Paul 0, Columbus 5 (7 innings) Box Score Beau Burrows: 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Saints lost firmly on Saturday. Beau Burrows kicked off a quasi-bullpen game by allowing three home runs in his effort. Really, Columbus just needed one of them, so this was a real rude thing for them to do. The Saints knocked out just three hits in this game as they were unable to put up any runs against Heath Fillmyer and Kyle Nelson. On the bright side, two of those hits were doubles (by Drew Stankiewicz and Mark Contreras.) Ryan Mason’s scoreless outing in relief of Burrows is just about the only solid positive that came out of this game, unfortunately. This was also supposed to be the first of an eventual doubleheader, but that game actually was rained out, so there will be a doubleheader (attempt, at least) on Sunday. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 0, Arkansas 1 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 1 ⅓ IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-3) Wichita lost on a walk-off on Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson made his debut for the Twins organization on Saturday and, well, the start could have gone better. The righty needed 40 pitches to get four outs and the Wind Surge decided that it was not worth it to push him any farther. The good news is this is probably the worst start he will ever make for the team so, you know, silver linings and all that. Tyler Beck saved the day in relief of Woods Richardson. He took over and swiftly established order with five shutout innings. Now that’s what we call a good teammate. Offensively, Wichita could not get anything going. Roy Morales knocked the lone extra-base hit while Ernie De La Trinidad reached base twice. In total, the team struck out 14 times without taking a single walk. Hector Lujan was pushing to send the game into extras when David Shaeffer sent a homer over the wall to end the game. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 7 Box Score Aaron Rozek: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Alex Isola (13), Yunior Severino (3) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) Cedar Rapids won a barn-burner on Saturday. Aaron Rozek effectively held the River Bandits’ offense at bay for five quality innings. The Burnsville native has pitched quite well this season, and he could potentially find himself placed on the back end of some Twins prospect lists. Despite putting up eight runs, the Kernels’ offense was somewhat unusual. They were actually out-hit on the night, but they were able to bunch their scoring and knock in runs when it mattered. Alex Isola continued his ridiculous power stretch with his 13th home run of the season, Yunior Severino blasted a three-run shot of his own, and Edouard Julien set the table for the rest of the offense. All seven RBIs came from Aaron Sabato, Severino, and Isola. The lesson to take away from this is that if a team wants to win, they should bunch their hits together (wow, what wisdom, Matt.) Mussel Matters Fort Myers 4, Daytona 6 Box Score Cade Povich: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (3-for-4, R, RBI) Fort Myers lost a close one on Saturday. Cade Povich made his Fort Myers debut on Saturday. The 3rd round pick from the 2021 draft impressed with six strikeouts over three innings of work in what was the best outing from any Mighty Mussels pitcher. He will certainly be an interesting arm to keep track of. Just two players stood out offensively for Fort Myers. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, another 2021 pick, dropped in three singles while Will Holland reached base twice. Unfortunately, it was another game in the system tonight where offense was hard to come by. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 3, FCL Red Sox 4 (8 innings) Box Score Brent Headrick: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K HR: Noah Cardenas (1) Multi-hit games: Argenis Jimenez (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) The FCL Twins were walked-off in “extras” on Saturday. The pitching effort by the Twins was commendable. Five different pitchers combined to allow just two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings of work. Develson Aria was especially impressive as he threw three shutout innings with six punch outs and only two baserunners allowed. The struggle was for naught, though. The FCL Red Sox pitching staff pitched just as well as the Twins and the two teams were locked in a Cold War stalemate for much of the game. The game was finally decided when Phillip Sikes knocked in the extra-innings runner in the 8th. The good news is that Noah Cardenas, the Twins’ 8th round pick in the 2021 draft, launched his first career professional homer on Saturday. The catcher out of UCLA blasted a solo shot in the 2nd in what was one of two extra-base hits for the team on Saturday. The FCL Twins were also supposed to play a doubleheader but the second game was rained out as well. Mother nature was not born a baseball fan. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Beck Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand 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) - Did not play #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-3 #7 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-2, BB, K #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 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) - 1-5, 2B, R #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) LHP Tyler Watson Wichita @ Arkansas (1:10 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic St. Paul @ Columbus (2:05 PM) RHP Jason Garcia St. Paul @ Columbus (30 minutes following the end of game one) LHP Charlie Barnes Fort Myers @ Daytona (3:35 PM) RHP Regi Grace
  11. 5. RHP Jhoan Duran (23 years old) Season Stats (AAA): 16.0 IP (5 G), 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 12.4 K/9. 7.3 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 2, 2021 Preseason: 5 Duran is one of the most exciting pitching prospects to come through the Twins system in quite some time. He can consistently hit triple digits with his fastball while mixing in a splitter, curveball, and changeup. One of his pitches sometimes referred to as a splinker, is similar to another big-leaguer. His biggest concerns are control and staying healthy. Currently, he is out with an elbow strain, and he also dealt with a trapezius issue earlier in the year. When he went on the IL at the end of June, the recommendation was for him to be shut down for 5-6 weeks, and surgery will not be needed for the time being. Minnesota can hold its collective breath and hope Duran doesn’t need to go under the knife and miss significant time in 2022. 4. RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (20 years old) Season Stats (AA): 45.1 IP (11 G), 5.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 13.3 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 Previous Rankings: Joined organization at the trade deadline There are probably plenty of things you don’t know about Woods-Richardson as he was acquired as part of the José Berríos trade. He showcases a traditional mix of pitches, including a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. According to MLB Pipeline, all four pitches already grade at a 55 (20-80 scale) or higher. Toronto was aggressive with sending him to Double-A as a 20-year old, and the Twins have assigned him to the same level as he returned from the Olympics. Minnesota will be his third organization since being drafted in 2018, and it should be the organization where he will make his big-league debut. 3. RHP Jordan Balazovic (22 years old) Season Stats (AA): 63.1 IP (13 G), 3.84 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 3, 2021 Preseason: 6 Minnesota snagged Balazovic back in 2016 in the fifth round out of Canada. Balazovic started the year on the IL, so his first game action didn’t come until the beginning of June. After shaking some dust off, he had a terrific month of July as he posted a 2.86 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 31 strikeouts. In nine of his 13 appearances, he has allowed three runs or fewer, including seven appearances with no runs allowed. His strikeout rate is higher than his career mark, and he faces older batters over 80% of the time. Will he get a shot at Triple-A before the season’s done? 2. SS/CF Austin Martin (22 years old) Season Stats (AA): 62 G, .291/.438/.391 (.829), 2 HR, 12 2B, 2 3B,19.4 K%, 15.2 BB% Previous Rankings: Joined organization at the trade deadline While most will have Martin in the #1 spot among Twins prospects, he slots in at #2 here as the organization might have bought low on him. There are a lot of similarities between Lewis and Martin which means they both have immense potential. Since he is new to the organization, here are a few things to learn about him. Martin may be able to play shortstop, but he can also play other infield and outfield positions as needed. He played a lot of third base in college, but the Twins will have him focus on center field. He will hit for average and get on base. The remaining question is how much power he’ll be able to provide. 1. SS Royce Lewis (22 years old) Season Stats: Out for the season after ACL surgery Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 1, 2021 Preseason: 2 Eight out of ten Twins Daily Minor League Writers agree, Royce Lewis returns to the #1 spot in our Twins Top Prospect rankings. He made strides in 2020 at the alternate site. He’s begun some baseball activities recently after spring training ACL reconstruction. Lewis has power. He has speed. He has the potential to stick at shortstop but can be versatile. Other players taken in the 2017 MLB Draft have started to perform, so some might question whether Lewis was the right choice. Martin might have a higher floor than Lewis, but Lewis has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in baseball. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Prospects 6-10 -Prospects 11-15 -Prospects 16-20 -Prospects 21-25 -Prospects 26-30
  12. Jose Berrios has been traded. There have been rumors and now there are confirmations. Jose Berrios will be joining the Toronto Blue Jays as they head back to Canada to play for the first time in a long time. No doubt Berrios will be missed. He is a leader, a two-time All Star, and competitor. In return, the Twins received highly-touted prospects, SS Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson. Martin was the #5 overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt. Martin is a consensus Top 25 overall prospect in baseball. He should soon join the Wichita Wind Surge. He is ranked #21 by Baseball America and #16 by MLB Pipeline. Martin made his professional debut this year, and he has played in 55 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He has hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with ten doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also has nine stolen bases. Woods-Richardson was traded two years ago from the Mets to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. The hard-thrower is currently in Tokyo with fellow newly-acquired Twins prospect Joe Ryan at the Olympics. He is ranked #68 by MLB Pipeline. He was the Mets second-round pick in 2018 out of high school in Texas. The 20-year-old is also at Double-A New Hampshire. He is 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts. Over 11 starts and 45 1/3 innings, he has walked too many (26) and struck out a ton (67, 13.3 K/9). On MLB Network, former GM Dan O'Dowd said, "In surplus value, the Twins won this deal. In present value, the Blue Jays get what they need." Once the Washington Nationals traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers on Thursday night, Berrios became the best pitcher on the trade market, and the Twins took advantage. The Blue Jays are working to stay in playoff contention in a division currently led by the Red Sox and Rays. They are also trying to keep up with the Yankees who have added sluggers Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo the past two days. A two-time All Star, Berrios will certainly help Toronto down the stretch and, the reason they got such a big return, will help them in 2022 as well. Are the Twins done??? Don't count on it! Story will be updated as we learn more information. You can also add to the story in the comments below.
  13. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff were consensus top 100 prospects. However, outfielder Trevor Larnach, catcher Ryan Jeffers, and pitchers Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic also found their names among the league's most exciting future players depending on which prospect rankings site one preferred. Royce Lewis lost a second straight campaign after he tore his ACL. Kirilloff, Larnach and Jeffers graduated thanks to a bevy of injuries and poor play from the MLB club. Duran and Balazovic missed time at the beginning of the season with arm injuries and slow starts. (Balazovic has turned it on as of late, while Duran was shut down with an elbow injury.) The sheen on the Twins' top 12-15 farm system became far duller by mid-June despite the encouraging progress shown by the likes of utility infielder Jose Miranda and pitcher Josh Winder. Before Friday's trade deadline, the Twins' system lacked a level of potential high-end talent that most of the teams inside the top 10 had, and some teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, had in spades. However, that all changed when the Twins dealt Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for shortstop Austin Martin and pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson. Martin is a consensus top 60 prospect who hits for average, gets on base at a high clip, and has projectable power, despite his low home run output this year at Double-A. His long-term fit at shortstop is dubious, with most experts believing he'll eventually find a home at either second base or center field. Woods Richardson is a consensus top 75 prospect who boasts four legit pitches and substantial strikeout numbers but struggles with command, though, to be fair, what 20-year-old doesn't? When paired alongside pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, who the Twins acquired from the Rays in exchange for Nelson Cruz, the Twins added four prospects to their top 10 and two to their top five over the last two weeks to more than replenish their future talent cupboard. Their farm system metamorphosed from good to excellent, from deep to DEEP, from top 15 in the league to arguably top 5 in a brief amount of time. But a stockpile of minor league talent does nothing for a franchise unless it's developed adequately and positively impacts the major league team or tapped into to bring in quality MLB talent. No team gets to hang a banner for having the best farm system in place. Now the ball is in Derek Falvey, Thad Levine, and the various Twins coaching staffs' court. It is on their shoulders to make the Twins' newfound prospect currency count. The Twins possess the most depth at starting pitcher, with the majority of their top 20 prospects - Balazovic, Woods-Richardson, Canterino, Duran, Winder, Ryan, Strotman, Blayne Enlow, Chase Petty, Cole Sands, and Chris Vallimont - having the potential to one day slot into the team's starting rotation. Of course, not all of them will, but the more fish in the barrel, the more likely one is to snag a catch. The Twins need to develop at least two or three of their starting pitching prospects into legitimate No. 2 or 3 starters. They would also be wise to dangle a few of them as trade bait to bring in impact MLB talent, particularly if the likes of Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Jorge Polanco find themselves on new teams in the coming years. However, their talent extends beyond the mound. Miranda has exploded onto the scene and is far more likely to be considered a top 100 prospect now than entering the season. Similarly, relatively unknown prospects Matt Wallner, Edouard Julien, Jermaine Palacios, and Yunior Severino have had strong seasons, boosting their prospect status. Despite trading the best arm the franchise has employed since Johan Santana, the Twins still see themselves as a team that can contend for a playoff spot in the not-too-distant future, and perhaps as early as next year. "The future is very bright," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters following the Twins' trade of Berrios. "We have the pieces already here that we're trying to supplement right now with some of the moves that we're making in order to get to a point where we are a playoff baseball team again. And I don't think we're very far away." Falvey largely echoed Baldelli's sentiment. "Our view of this is sustainability," Falvey said of the trade. "[This year] has not been what we wanted. But we still feel, even as Jose walked out the door here, and that's not easy, don't get me wrong, that we feel we have a lot of talent in that clubhouse coming back in '22 and '23 and beyond and so how do you build a sustainable group? You've got to retool it sometimes." The only way the Twins can find themselves back in the playoff hunt next year and beyond is if the franchise capitalizes on their current wealth of young assets. Despite their current 100-loss pace, doing so is not an unrealistic goal. They simply need to go and make it happen. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. 1. He has four legitimate pitches...and maybe a fifth Woods-Richardson boasts a traditional fastball, slider, curveball, changeup pitch mix and delivers them all from an overhead release point. His fastball typically sits 91-93 mph but can touch the mid-90s on occasion and features late tailing action that rides in on right-handed batters. His slider sits in the upper-70s to low-80s and features good horizontal motion with a tight spin. While the pitch will likely not be among the league's elite, it's good enough to strike batters out and induce weak contact. The curveball sits in the low-70s with a good 12-6 break, though on occasion, it tilts in the 1-7 direction. While Woods-Richardson's fastball is arguably his best pitch, his curveball might be his second-best or at least has the potential to be. Finally, Woods-Richardson's changeup sits in the low-80s with good tailing action that plays exceptionally well off his fastball. Even on his bad days, his changeup frequently catches opposing batters off guard and sends them flailing. Although he doesn't deploy it very often, there's some evidence to suggest that Woods Richardson may also be working on a cutter, though it may be just a miss-thrown slider. Suppose the cutter development is an actual, tangible pitch. In that case, Woods-Richardson may have five MLB-caliber pitchers in his arsenal, which is not something many pitchers can say, regardless of level. 2. He's only 20-years-old This one is pretty self-explanatory. Woods-Richardson was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft by the New York Mets and later traded to the Jays as the centerpiece of the Marcus Stroman deal. He's already pitched in 44 games in his minor league career and owns a 4.09 ERA and a FIP around 3.00. Almost 44% of his innings have come at High-A or above. 3. Walks have never been an issue of his until his last five starts Before the 2021 season, Woods-Richardson posted BB/9 numbers of 3.18, 1.95, and 2.22 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively. This season, this walk rate has ballooned to 5.16, though the vast majority of his free passes have come over his last five starts. So, is Woods-Richardson's control more like what he displayed for most of his minor league career or what he has done over his last handful of starts? That's the critical question when projecting Woods-Richardson's potential. His strikeout numbers have always been stellar, but if his command remains iffy, he may never reach his No. 2 or 3 starter ceiling. Luckily, as previously mentioned, he's young and has plenty of time to iron out this wrinkle in his game. While his motion is relatively fluid, it features long movements - such as a significant stride and trebuchet arm action - which increases the likelihood of mechanical breakdown and pitch inaccuracy. In many ways, his motion is similar to that of Jordan Balazovic, who also struggles with command from time to time. If the Twins can tighten up his delivery, even if just a skosh, it may improve his command enough for him to reach his full potential. 4. His peripheral numbers suggest he's been even better than his track record suggests While Woods-Richardson's ERA currently sits at 5.76 and his career number is, as previously mentioned, 4.09, his FIP numbers paint a completely different story. FIP's goal as a statistic is to project how a pitcher would perform if he had a league-average defense behind him. The stat aims to neutralize the impact of one's supporting cast on their pitching stats in an attempt to conclude how effective a pitcher truly is. Woods-Richardson's ERA is 5.76, which suggests his performance has been lacking. However, his FIP is 3.78, which indicates that he's been pretty good, especially for a 20-year-old at Double-A. Before this season, Woods-Richardson had posted FIPs of 2.07, 2.53, and 2.46 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively, compared to ERAs of 0.00, 4.25, and 2.54. In short, he's always been pretty good since getting drafted. 5. He's an Olympian Woods-Richardson, along with future teammate and fellow new Twin Joe Ryan, is playing on the United States Olympic Baseball team that is currently 2-0 and will soon face Japan in the tournament quarterfinals. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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