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  1. With former top prospects like Alex Kirilloff (#1 on our preseason list), Trevor Larnach (#3) and Ryan Jeffers (#4) graduating from prospect status, several new names enter the top five in our midseason update. These promising young players all have a chance to play a significant role as the Twins aim to retool and rebound. 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 View full article
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. To say that 2021 has not gone as expected for the Minnesota Twins would be putting it lightly. After winning back-to-back AL Central Division titles, this team wasn’t supposed to flop so hard. Now that they have, here’s how they should use the rest of the season. 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 View full article
  5. 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 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?
  6. Across all of Major League Baseball, 212 players made their MLB debut during the short sprint of the 2020 season. The Minnesota Twins accounted for six of those players –hitters Aaron Whitefield, Travis Blankenhorn, Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers, playoff surprise Alex Kirilloff, and pitcher Edwar Colina. 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 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? View full article
  7. 5. Cole Sands, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 50/55 Sands gets a lot of life in the upper half of the strike zone. Typically, he is in the low-90s, but he has the ability to hit 95-96 mph. According to FanGraphs, “his fastball will creep into the mid-90s with big time tail, the kind that can run off the hip of left-handed hitters and back over the plate.” His control has improved during his professional career and there is still room for him to make improvements moving forward. 4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 55/55 Outside of Jhoan Duran (see below), Balazovic is the other pitcher in contention for being the team’s top pitching prospect. His fastball doesn’t have quite the velocity as others on this list, but he typically sits in the low- to mid-90s while topping out at 96 mph. His fastball plays up because hitters have a tough time picking it up out of his hand. He uses it a lot at the top of the zone and that means that the strikeouts will continue to pile up. 3. Josh Winder, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 60/60 During last year’s shutdown, Winder might have earned the award for most improved pitcher in the Twins organization. During the 2019 season, his fastball sat in the low-90s, but he can now hit 98 mph consistently and he proved this during instructs. There is good movement on the pitch too, which helps his off-speed pitches to play up. During the 2021 season, he needs to prove his 2020 development is for real. If he does, fans better be prepared for how fast Winder will fly up prospect lists next off-season. 2. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 65/65 Colina might not be as well known as some of the other names on this list, because he is destined for a role in the bullpen. His fastball consistently sits in the mid- to upper-90s and he can touch 100 mph. Even with this big velocity, his fastball doesn’t have a ton of movement, so hitters have a better chance of putting it in play. There’s a good chance he is part of the Twins bullpen at some point in 2021 and he can fill a late inning role in the years to come. 1. Jhoan Duran, RHP Current/Future Fastball: 70/70 Minnesota acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade and now he is considered one of the team’s best pitching prospects. He has grown into his frame throughout his time in the Twins organization as he now sits at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. His fastball consistently hits in the high 90’s and he can hit triple digits on a regular basis. His four-seam fastball might not even be his best fastball as he has a hybrid “splinker” pitch that can also reach into the mid-90s. His velocity is elite, and the Twins hope he can mix-in more strikeouts as he gets closer to the big leagues this season. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -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
  8. 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
  9. Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson has focused on slider development since joining the organization and many players have seen positive growth. Here are the best sliders among the Twins top prospects.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 Click here to view the article
  10. An argument can be made that Jordan Balazovic is the best pitching prospect in the Twins organization even though he doesn’t rank as the top pitcher on the Twins Daily list. So, what’s changed with Balazovic over the last year?Position: RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: NA National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR What’s To Like Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level. One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s. Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm. What’s Left To Work On Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019. Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood). What’s Next Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder. How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021. Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 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. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  11. Position: RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: NA National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR What’s To Like Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level. One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s. Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm. What’s Left To Work On Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019. Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood). What’s Next Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder. How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021. Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 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. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Age: 21 (DOB: 3-21-1999) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 110.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, 95/38 K/BB, 1.27 WHIP ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 10 2019 Ranking: 9 National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Enlow can pump his fastball up to 96 and he typically sits in the 91-94 mph range. While other pitchers might throw harder, Enlow has tremendous spin on his fastball and that makes his fastball even more dangerous. His slider/cutter has drastically improved during his professional career, but he continues to work on locating this pitch on a regular basis. This fall Enlow was one of the team’s top prospects invited to the organization’s instructional camp in Fort Myers. Back in 2019, Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 13 appearances, he posted a 1.21 WHIP and a 4.02 ERA with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. He showed more consistency than at other levels and it could be a sign of even more positive signs in the future. What’s Left To Work On Enlow is far from a finished product especially since he is still in his early 20s. Since the Twins drafted him out of high school, Enlow has worked on command of his secondary pitches. He can throw four different pitches for strikes but development needs to continue to improve when it comes to pitch execution. If he can make the appropriate adjustments, his strikeout rate should continue to improve. His curveball might be the pitch to keep an eye on during the 2021 campaign. As previously mentioned, it was a pitch that put him on the prospect map as a teenager, but the pitch has regressed a bit as he works to add other secondary pitches. His fastball velocity continues to improve so having a dominating curveball could be a devastating recipe for opposing batters. One intriguing note is that Enlow would have been draft eligible this past year if he had decided to attend LSU. Some thought he had the best curveball in the 2017 Draft and that made the Twins very intrigued to work out an over slot bonus. For a player like Enlow, missing the entire 2020 season was tough to swallow. He is still very young, and he needs to continue to get work with all his pitches in game action. What’s Next There’s an outside chance he could make his big-league debut in 2021, but that would likely mean there were multiple injuries or COVID related issues with the MLB roster. With changes in affiliation levels, Enlow will likely make a short stop at Cedar Rapids, the team’s High-A affiliate, before moving up to Double-A Wichita, where he should spend the majority of the 2021 campaign. MLB.com notes that he and Jordan Balazovic have become good friends and they could push each other into the Twins rotation in the years ahead. The 2021 season can provide a very important opportunity and he has a chance to move up this list by next off-season. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 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 Stop by next week for prospect #9! 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. Recently the Minnesota Twins signed veteran starting pitcher J.A. Happ to bolster their rotation. He’d slot in as the 4th starter with where things stand currently, and Randy Dobnak would be the clubhouse favorite to round out the group. It remains to be seen whether or not another move is coming, but there’s a dark horse to eat someone’s lunch. At the risk of sounding too punny, maybe he’s a dark kangaroo. Lewis Thorpe recently turned 25-years-old and is a former top-100 prospect. He couldn’t be further from that stature right now, but talent shouldn’t be the question. After battling back from Tommy John surgery, and then an extended bout of pneumonia, he put together impressive seasons on the farm. The past two years have been anything but, however he’s worth believing in under one key condition. I liked Thorpe as a potential contributor to the big-league club when 2020 Spring Training kicked off. He was coming off a 4.76 ERA in just shy of 100 Triple-A innings, but it was largely reflective of the home run ball and his 11.1 K/9 paired with a 2.3 BB/9 was still plenty enticing. Then Florida happened. No, for Thorpe, it wasn’t the Covid-19 related shutdown. Without divulging too many specifics or risking secondary information, what is publicly known is that he took an extended leave of absence from the team. His parents flew in from Australia and he needed to undergo a mental reset. Ultimately, he didn’t appear in a Major League game until July 26 and contributed just 16.1 innings for the Twins. His 6.06 ERA was ugly and giving up a homer in roughly 25-percent of his innings pitched was not going to play. Again though, the stuff has always been there. Observing the offseason without having directly communicated with Thorpe, things appear to be trending in a different direction. The Twitter account has been dormant since his birthday in 2020, and his workouts have been shared on different forms of social media. What was at least an erratic presence a year ago has once again subdued as was the case previously. Whether by his own doing, or a helping hand from the organization, if Thorpe has recalibrated himself, he can certainly be a difference maker on the bump. I was uncertain as to his place within the organization during periods of roster trimming, and there were times that his inclusion in a trade may have even made sense. The pitcher that forced his way into the big leagues in 2019 is a force to be reckoned with however, and Rocco Baldelli can make use of that. Physically we saw Thorpe’s velocity diminish in 2020. He posted just an average of 90 mph on his fastball. It’s never that he’s been a hard thrower but losing nearly 2 mph at such a young age wasn’t a great development. It was clear that the lack of carry made a difference last season, and Wes Johnson unlocking the tank would be a great step forward for the Southpaw. The Twins ratcheted up his slider usage last season, and that trend could continue for 2021. Looking to regain the whiff and chase rates from 2019 form, tinkering will certainly be valuable as more data is collected. There’s not reason to believe an ace is in the making here, but right now it’s not Dobnak or bust when it comes to the back end of the Twins rotation. Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic may force themselves in eventually, but don’t count out the best version of Thorpe to make noise before the dust settles. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  14. First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 11th-through-15th most valuable player assets currently under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. Read Part 1 (16-20) 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 2020 Ranking: 11 This is the deepest placement yet in these rankings for Sanó, and with good reason. He moved from third base to first. He is coming off a disappointing year, marred by a ridiculous strikeout total. He is currently lined up as the team's second-highest paid player in 2021, with his $11 million commitment trailing only Donaldson's $21 million. With all this in mind, I think it's important to remember the qualities that have kept Sanó on this list year after year – all still on display in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. He is an incredibly gifted athlete who hits baseballs as hard as anyone in the world. He acclimated quickly to first base, with his natural skill and instincts shining through. He's only 27 years old, at the heart of his physical prime, and still quite athletic for his prodigious size. While he'll be somewhat highly paid in 2021, the Twins also control him in 2022 at $9.25 million, which will be an amazing bargain if he pulls it together. They also have a $14 million option for his age-30 season. Focus on Sanó's flaws all you want – it's valid. But don't lose sight of his strengths. They are in some ways unparalleled. 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 2020 Ranking: 16 If he hadn't claimed it already, Duffey firmly took hold of the team's "bullpen ace" title in 2020. He was among the league's most dominant relievers, allowing only 19 baserunners via hit or walk in 24 innings, nearly all high-leverage. And because of his sparse previous track record, Duffey remains quite inexpensive in his second turn at arbitration. He's set to earn $2.2 million in 2020. In some ways, he epitomizes the volatility and unpredictability of relief arms. Duffey was not present in these rankings two years ago, and in fact was probably on the verge of moving on from the organization at that point. He has since harnessed his full potential out of the bullpen to become an elite force in the late innings. How long will it last? That remains to be seen. But the Twins are more than happy to control him affordably for the next two seasons. 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 2020 Ranking: 8 The lost minor-league season in 2020 was especially unfortunate for a guy like Balazovic. He entered the year as a fast-rising and highly promising young arm, ready to take on advanced levels for the first time and make a statement. But because he hadn't yet taken this step, and wasn't really within range of a call-up, he was left off the alternate site roster, leaving him to progress on his own, without the benefit of competition or direct coaching. (He did get added to the alternate group late in the season.) None of this means Balazovic's outlook has dropped off, especially in a relative context (all prospects just lost a year). But he was at such a pivotal crux in his development – 21 years old, three years removed from being drafted out of high school, set to reach Double-A for the first time – that the disruption weighs a bit harder in his case. With that said, he's clearly one of the organization's top pitching prospects – virtually deadlocked with the next guy, from my view – and that makes him one of Minnesota's most valuable assets. Huge year ahead for Balazovic. 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 2020 Ranking: 13 The Twins acquired the Dominican right-hander from Arizona as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal in July of 2018. At the time, Duran was a middling Single-A starter with big stuff and lackluster results. Upon coming switching organizations, he immediately turned a corner. Since the trade, Duran has posted a 3.38 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9 rate in 151 innings. His whiff rates are among the best in the system. He's been dominating. He's also just about big-league ready. Duran reached Double-A in 2019 and spent 2020 at the alternate site in St. Paul, where he gained consideration for a call-up. His proximity to the majors and proven performance in the upper minors gives him a slight edge over Balazovic in these rankings but as I said, they're practically even in my eyes. 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 2020 Ranking: 10 The strengths and positives that Arráez brings to the table are no secret. He's one of the game's best contact hitters and the definition of a spark plug, with a .331 average and .390 on-base percentage through nearly 500 major-league plate appearances. All this before turning 24. But Arráez also has his limitations. He's not a speedy runner, nor a strong defender, and it's dubious whether he'll ever develop enough power to become a well-rounded offensive threat. Overshadowing these shortcomings, all of which he's been able to rise above as a huge difference-maker in his first two seasons, is the one issue that has actually held him back: his health. The second baseman missed all of 2017 in the minors after tearing the ACL in one knee, and in 2020 he was bothered all year by tendinitis in the other. Arráez was clearly hobbled most of the time and spent much of September on the Injured List. No surgery was planned for this offseason, so he'll focus on strengthening his lower body and shaking off the creeping "injury-prone" rep that threatens to further tarnish his otherwise impeccable asset value as a cheap young core player with five remaining years of team control. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 6-10: 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
  15. Which players and prospects are most essential to the front office's vision of building a World Series champion in Minnesota? As we move into the top 15, we find a trio of established mainstays along with two rising top arms.First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 11th-through-15th most valuable player assets currently under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. Read Part 1 (16-20) 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 2020 Ranking: 11 This is the deepest placement yet in these rankings for Sanó, and with good reason. He moved from third base to first. He is coming off a disappointing year, marred by a ridiculous strikeout total. He is currently lined up as the team's second-highest paid player in 2021, with his $11 million commitment trailing only Donaldson's $21 million. With all this in mind, I think it's important to remember the qualities that have kept Sanó on this list year after year – all still on display in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. He is an incredibly gifted athlete who hits baseballs as hard as anyone in the world. He acclimated quickly to first base, with his natural skill and instincts shining through. He's only 27 years old, at the heart of his physical prime, and still quite athletic for his prodigious size. While he'll be somewhat highly paid in 2021, the Twins also control him in 2022 at $9.25 million, which will be an amazing bargain if he pulls it together. They also have a $14 million option for his age-30 season. Focus on Sanó's flaws all you want – it's valid. But don't lose sight of his strengths. They are in some ways unparalleled. 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 2020 Ranking: 16 If he hadn't claimed it already, Duffey firmly took hold of the team's "bullpen ace" title in 2020. He was among the league's most dominant relievers, allowing only 19 baserunners via hit or walk in 24 innings, nearly all high-leverage. And because of his sparse previous track record, Duffey remains quite inexpensive in his second turn at arbitration. He's set to earn $2.2 million in 2020. In some ways, he epitomizes the volatility and unpredictability of relief arms. Duffey was not present in these rankings two years ago, and in fact was probably on the verge of moving on from the organization at that point. He has since harnessed his full potential out of the bullpen to become an elite force in the late innings. How long will it last? That remains to be seen. But the Twins are more than happy to control him affordably for the next two seasons. 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 2020 Ranking: 8 The lost minor-league season in 2020 was especially unfortunate for a guy like Balazovic. He entered the year as a fast-rising and highly promising young arm, ready to take on advanced levels for the first time and make a statement. But because he hadn't yet taken this step, and wasn't really within range of a call-up, he was left off the alternate site roster, leaving him to progress on his own, without the benefit of competition or direct coaching. (He did get added to the alternate group late in the season.) None of this means Balazovic's outlook has dropped off, especially in a relative context (all prospects just lost a year). But he was at such a pivotal crux in his development – 21 years old, three years removed from being drafted out of high school, set to reach Double-A for the first time – that the disruption weighs a bit harder in his case. With that said, he's clearly one of the organization's top pitching prospects – virtually deadlocked with the next guy, from my view – and that makes him one of Minnesota's most valuable assets. Huge year ahead for Balazovic. 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 2020 Ranking: 13 The Twins acquired the Dominican right-hander from Arizona as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal in July of 2018. At the time, Duran was a middling Single-A starter with big stuff and lackluster results. Upon coming switching organizations, he immediately turned a corner. Since the trade, Duran has posted a 3.38 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9 rate in 151 innings. His whiff rates are among the best in the system. He's been dominating. He's also just about big-league ready. Duran reached Double-A in 2019 and spent 2020 at the alternate site in St. Paul, where he gained consideration for a call-up. His proximity to the majors and proven performance in the upper minors gives him a slight edge over Balazovic in these rankings but as I said, they're practically even in my eyes. 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 2020 Ranking: 10 The strengths and positives that Arráez brings to the table are no secret. He's one of the game's best contact hitters and the definition of a spark plug, with a .331 average and .390 on-base percentage through nearly 500 major-league plate appearances. All this before turning 24. But Arráez also has his limitations. He's not a speedy runner, nor a strong defender, and it's dubious whether he'll ever develop enough power to become a well-rounded offensive threat. Overshadowing these shortcomings, all of which he's been able to rise above as a huge difference-maker in his first two seasons, is the one issue that has actually held him back: his health. The second baseman missed all of 2017 in the minors after tearing the ACL in one knee, and in 2020 he was bothered all year by tendinitis in the other. Arráez was clearly hobbled most of the time and spent much of September on the Injured List. No surgery was planned for this offseason, so he'll focus on strengthening his lower body and shaking off the creeping "injury-prone" rep that threatens to further tarnish his otherwise impeccable asset value as a cheap young core player with five remaining years of team control. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 6-10: 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 Click here to view the article
  16. Over the years, Minnesota has struggled to develop pitching. Three pitchers crack into this portion of their top-10 prospects and all three can make it to Target Field in 2021.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 Click here to view the article
  17. 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
  18. Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker and Edwar Colina would have been obvious additions to the 40-man roster on Friday, but the Twins added them during the season. That left Jordan Balazovic as the one easy choice for them to add to their 40-man roster, and on Friday they did. In addition, they added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-hander Bailey Ober as well. That said, there are a lot of good prospects that were left off of the roster still. The Rule 5 draft will take place December 10th, and players such as Akil Baddoo, Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino, Wander Javier, Luis Rijo, Gabriel Maciel, Griffin Jax, Tyler Wells, and Charlie Barnes were left unprotected. For a more complete list, click here. BACK TO BALAZOVIC The 22-year-old right-hander was the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2016 out of St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). His area scout that signed him was Walt Burrows. After an impressive debut in the GCL that summer, he really struggled at the same level in 2017. However, he was a new pitcher in 2018. In late May, he moved up to Ceadr Rapids and was quite impressive. He went 7-3 with a 3.94 ERA. In 61 2/3 innings, he had 78 strikeouts with just 18 walks. The season pushed his prospect status very high, reaching into the top ten among Twins prospects and even into some national Top 100 lists. In 2019, he spent the first month with the Kernels. He went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in four starts before moving up to the Miracle. In his first Miracle start, he tossed seven no-hit innings and struck out ten batters. He went 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 more games. Combined, he had 129 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 93 2/3 innings. His season ended with a playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1170147185297678336 When Deron Johnson drafted Balazovic, he saw a lanky pitcher with raw ability and a strong understanding of pitching. Johnson later told me that when he saw him again in 2018, he was now touching 95 and his breaking pitches were much sharper. Balazovic was added to the Twins alternate site roster for the final month of the season. Also, it's pronounced (buh-law-zuh-vic)... More on Jordan Balazovic: Seth's Preliminary Top 50 Prospects: Part 2 (31-40) (Sept 2020) Get to Know: Jordan Balazovic (Dec 2016) Why Jordan Balazovic has the Makings of an Ace (Nov 2019) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #5 Jordan Balazovic (Feb 2020) Three Twins Players Hurt Most Without a Minor League Season (June 2020) Who Should the Twins Protect from the Rule 5 Draft? (Nov 2020) BACKING BAILEY When it comes to putting up numbers, Bailey Ober has done just that. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston where he was the country's Freshman of the Year. Unfortunately, the 6-9 righty had Tommy John surgery which cost him a season and his recovery pushed him down in the draft. He has missed time since joining the Twins organization too. However, when he has pitched, he has been really good. In 2018, he went 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in Ft. Myers before moving up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Combined, he struck out 100 and walked just nine batters in 78 2/3 innings. More On Ober Get to Know: RHP Bailey Ober (Jan 2018) Bailey Ober on his 2019 Success (Sept 2019) BACKSTOP BEN Ben Rortvedt has also been added to the Twins 40-man roster. The Verona, Wisconsin, native was the first of two straight second round picks in 2016, one pick ahead of Jose Miranda. He has been invited to big-league spring training the past two seasons. In 2019, he started in Ft. Myers. After 24 games, he moved up to Double-A Pensacola where he played in 55 games. Combined, he hit .239/.332/.355 (.687) with 16 doubles and seven homers before an late-season knee injury ended his regular season. He attempted to play in the Arizona Fall League but was unable to and had knee surgery. Rortvedt is strong and athletic behind the plate. He's got good agility and a strong arm. He's really improved on his pitch framing in recent seasons as well. He's smart, works well with pitchers and is able to call a strong game. More On Rortvedt Twins Select Ben Rortvedt with the 56th Overall Pick (June 2016) Kernels Catcher Ben Rortvedt is Catching On (May 2017) Looking Back: Twins Take Four Prep Bats Atop 2016 Draft (Aug 2018) What are your thoughts on the Twins additions to the 40-man roster? The roster currently has 37 players on it: 19 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and eight outfielders.
  19. On Friday, the Minnesota Twins announced that they have added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-handed pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Bailey Ober to their 40-man roster.Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker and Edwar Colina would have been obvious additions to the 40-man roster on Friday, but the Twins added them during the season. That left Jordan Balazovic as the one easy choice for them to add to their 40-man roster, and on Friday they did. In addition, they added catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-hander Bailey Ober as well. That said, there are a lot of good prospects that were left off of the roster still. The Rule 5 draft will take place December 10th, and players such as Akil Baddoo, Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino, Wander Javier, Luis Rijo, Gabriel Maciel, Griffin Jax, Tyler Wells, and Charlie Barnes were left unprotected. For a more complete list, click here. BACK TO BALAZOVIC The 22-year-old right-hander was the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2016 out of St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). His area scout that signed him was Walt Burrows. After an impressive debut in the GCL that summer, he really struggled at the same level in 2017. However, he was a new pitcher in 2018. In late May, he moved up to Ceadr Rapids and was quite impressive. He went 7-3 with a 3.94 ERA. In 61 2/3 innings, he had 78 strikeouts with just 18 walks. The season pushed his prospect status very high, reaching into the top ten among Twins prospects and even into some national Top 100 lists. In 2019, he spent the first month with the Kernels. He went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in four starts before moving up to the Miracle. In his first Miracle start, he tossed seven no-hit innings and struck out ten batters. He went 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 more games. Combined, he had 129 strikeouts and just 25 walks over 93 2/3 innings. His season ended with a playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. When Deron Johnson drafted Balazovic, he saw a lanky pitcher with raw ability and a strong understanding of pitching. Johnson later told me that when he saw him again in 2018, he was now touching 95 and his breaking pitches were much sharper. Balazovic was added to the Twins alternate site roster for the final month of the season. Also, it's pronounced (buh-law-zuh-vic)... More on Jordan Balazovic: Seth's Preliminary Top 50 Prospects: Part 2 (31-40) (Sept 2020)Get to Know: Jordan Balazovic (Dec 2016)Why Jordan Balazovic has the Makings of an Ace (Nov 2019)Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #5 Jordan Balazovic (Feb 2020)Three Twins Players Hurt Most Without a Minor League Season (June 2020)Who Should the Twins Protect from the Rule 5 Draft? (Nov 2020)BACKING BAILEY When it comes to putting up numbers, Bailey Ober has done just that. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston where he was the country's Freshman of the Year. Unfortunately, the 6-9 righty had Tommy John surgery which cost him a season and his recovery pushed him down in the draft. He has missed time since joining the Twins organization too. However, when he has pitched, he has been really good. In 2018, he went 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in Ft. Myers before moving up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Combined, he struck out 100 and walked just nine batters in 78 2/3 innings. More On Ober Get to Know: RHP Bailey Ober (Jan 2018)Bailey Ober on his 2019 Success (Sept 2019) BACKSTOP BEN Ben Rortvedt has also been added to the Twins 40-man roster. The Verona, Wisconsin, native was the first of two straight second round picks in 2016, one pick ahead of Jose Miranda. He has been invited to big-league spring training the past two seasons. In 2019, he started in Ft. Myers. After 24 games, he moved up to Double-A Pensacola where he played in 55 games. Combined, he hit .239/.332/.355 (.687) with 16 doubles and seven homers before an late-season knee injury ended his regular season. He attempted to play in the Arizona Fall League but was unable to and had knee surgery. Rortvedt is strong and athletic behind the plate. He's got good agility and a strong arm. He's really improved on his pitch framing in recent seasons as well. He's smart, works well with pitchers and is able to call a strong game. More On Rortvedt Twins Select Ben Rortvedt with the 56th Overall Pick(June 2016)Kernels Catcher Ben Rortvedt is Catching On (May 2017)Looking Back: Twins Take Four Prep Bats Atop 2016 Draft (Aug 2018) What are your thoughts on the Twins additions to the 40-man roster? The roster currently has 37 players on it: 19 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and eight outfielders. Click here to view the article
  20. As Nick wrote earlier this week, this will be an offseason filled with uncertainty. How much will payroll be decreased? When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Will there be Winter Meetings? Well, certainly there won’t be a big gathering in a hotel as there normally is. But there certainly will be a Rule 5 draft… right? And with that, teams have until November 20th to add players to their 40 man roster. With teams less likely to spend big money in the offseason, could acquiring players in other ways, including the Rule 5 draft, be an option? On the other side, will teams wanting to cut back want to spend $100,000 to add a player that may or may not be offered back to their previous team for $50,000? Since the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents from the 40-man roster. Sergio Romo also became a free agent when the Twins declined his option for 2021. The Twins have claimed pitchers Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell. Nick Gordon will need to come off of the 60-Day Injured List, and when that happens the team will be at 34 players on their 40-man roster. Will he stay on the 40-man roster? If not, he would need to clear waivers, and even if he did, he would become a minor league free agent. Also before then, teams will need to offer 2021 contracts to their current arbitration-eligible players. If they don’t, those players will become free agents as well. Certainly Eddie Rosario is the most likely to be non-tendered, but the team has several arbitration-eligible players. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man). So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2016 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2017. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted or signed during the 2014 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. So, let’s take a look at the eligible players, starting with The Givens: THE GIVENS When I first reviewed which players might need to be added to the 40-man roster (last January), I felt that there were four “Givens.” Three of them made their MLB debut in 2020. Alex Kirilloff (#1) - The 2016 first-round pick was added to the Twins roster for the 2020 playoffs. He became the third player to make his MLB debut in the playoffs, the first ever to start a game in that scenario. (The other two were A’s Mark Kiger and Royals Adalberto Mondesi) Kirilloff is such a natural hitter, he was an easy choice to add. It’s done. Brent Rooker (#3) - The Twins Competitive Balance pick after the first round in 2017 from Mississippi State has provided a lot of power with his bat since the team drafted him. A few weeks before Kirilloff, Rooker made his big-league debut and hit well. He knocked his first home run in a game in St. Louis. Unfortunately, he was hit by a pitch and needed season-ended surgery. But again, was an easy choice then, and it happened in-season. Edwar Colina (#4) - Colina was the one maybe surprising name to some that he would have been included in the Given category. He was signed in late September of 2015 and has slowly but consistently worked his way up the organizational ladder. But when a pitcher hits triple digits with a fastball and is known to have “the best slider in the organization,” he’s a given. He was added to the 40-man roster and called up on the final weekend. His one game did not go well, but that shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion on his upside. So, ,who was Given #2 when this was done in January? RHP Jordan Balazovic - The right-hander from Canada remains an easy choice to be added to the Twins 40-man roster. He’s 6-5 and lean, though he has also added strength and velocity to his frame over the past couple of seasons. People believe that he can be a starting pitcher, which is a key point. OTHER POSSIBLES This is where it gets more difficult. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters. Of course, making it even more difficult to determine who should be added is the fact that there was no minor league season. These players did not get a typical, normal opportunity to earn a spot on the 40-man roster or not. So, for me, I saw many of the players for a week in spring training. They had a few more days of spring training after I left there before they were sent home. They were quarantined and there was no minor league season. A few of these players were at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Approximately 60 players were invited to the instructional league. Those are the new points for the Twins to factor into their decisions. That’s not a lot. While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) OF Akil Baddoo - The 74th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of high school in Georgia. Missed most of 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, but is a great athlete who has a good approach at the plate and great power-speed combination potential. Had there been a 2020 season, he likely would have began as a DH before gradually moving back to center field. C Ben Rortvedt - 2nd round pick in 2016 from Wisconsin. He has moved up the system pretty quickly and spent half of the 2019 season at Pensacola before a knee injury ended his season. Terrific defensively and very strong. Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are likely going to be the big-league catchers. Williams Astudillo may or may not remain on the 40-man roster and in the organization. Tomas Telis has been re-signed on a minor league contract. Rortvedt should be considered for a roster spot. SS Wander Javier - Left off the 40-man roster last offseason, he went unclaimed. Still immensely talented and could break out at any time. The hope would have been that after a strong 2020 season, he would have been a Given. He didn’t play in 2020, another missed season. But, they have invested in him and he is still young and still immensely talented. RHP Luis Rijo - 21-year-old from Venezuela posted a 2.86 ERA in 107 innings in Cedar Rapids in 2019 but still went unclaimed in the Rule 5. Of all the players left off the Twins 40-man roster last year, Rijo was the one I was most worried about losing. Still young, he was throwing 95 at times in 2019 with three pitches. Now he’s a year older, hopefully more mature and strong. 3B Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Miranda has hit some and displays a lot of power potential. Has played some second base but profiles much more as a third baseman. He’s got good size and strength and could develop into a power hitting option. RHP Griffin Jax - Jax was also left unprotected and went unclaimed this year. He’s already had success in AA and could be MLB ready sometime in 2020. He was invited to big-league spring training, but he was not in the Twins player pool. But he is another guy who profiles as a starter, which matters. 2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two nine-figure signing bonuses. He had a solid season in E-Town in 2018. Unfortunately fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season. Could break out in 2020 if he stays in the lineup. He got into several games in spring training and did a nice job. OF Gabriel Maciel - Signed with the Diamondbacks in June 2016 from Brazil. Came to the Twins in the Eduardo Escobar trade in July 2018. Not a big guy, but he hits a lot of line drives, runs really well and plays good outfield defense. Twins bench coach Mike Bell is very familiar with Maciel and his potential. LHP Charlie Barnes - 4th round pick in 2017 from Clemson. He lefty pitched at three levels in 2019 (8 starts in Ft. Myers, 13 starts in Pensacola, 4 starts in Rochester). Barnes was invited to Twins spring training and had a nice showing. Originally, he was not added to the player pool, but he was added later in the summer and got a couple of weeks of work in that atmosphere. RHP Bailey Ober - Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston, he has put up video game numbers when he has been on the mound. If healthy, he’s got a chance. He did not work at the Twins alternate site or participate in instructional league. LHP Jovani Moran - The lefty dominated the lower levels of the minors, but injuries cost him time in 2019. But, he’s young, left-handed and has a couple of plus-pitches. Definitely could contribute in 2021, and because of that, he probably profiles well as the type of player that does get selected in the Rule 5 draft. RHP Tyler Wells - Wells may have been an easy add in 2019 if he hadn’t missed the season due to Tommy John surgery. He rehabbed most of that year and had all of 2020 to keep working his way back to full strength without rushing. Can he get back to his 2018 performance level? If so, he’s worth a roster spot. LHP Bryan Sammons - The Twins 8th round pick in 2017 from Western Carolina, he dominated at Ft. Myers in 2019 before spending the final four months of the season in Pensacola. Left-handed, he has four quality pitches.He has proven strong and durable as well. 1B/OF Trey Cabbage - 4th round pick in 2015 from high school in Tennessee. Broke out early in Cedar Rapids in 2019 and showed some of his immense power potential in 2019. 2020 was a big year for him as he was starting to really come into his own. Hopefully that can happen in 2021. 1B Zander Wiel - Twins 12th round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt. Wiel wasn’t added or selected after his 2019 season in Rochester in which he hit 40 doubles and 24 home runs. He was invited to Twins spring training and performed well. He also spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in 2020. Others in their first year of eligibility: Tyler Benninghoff, David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Mark Contreras, Ernie De La Trinidad, Calvin Faucher, Jordan Gore, Derek Molina, Ricky Ramirez, Joe Record, Yeremi De La Cruz, Jesus Feliz, Osiris German, Jimmy Kerrigan, Michael Montero, Junior Navas, Daniel Ozoria, Ruben Santana, Jesus Toledo, Janigson Villalobos. Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2020. Melvi Acosta, Adam Bray, Yeltsin Encarnacion, Zach Featherstone,Tom Hackimer, Caleb Hamilton, Hector Lujan, Ryan Mason, Alex Robinson, Carlos Suniaga, Tyler Watson, Lachlan Wells, Aaron Whitefield. SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting options for guys who could be added to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happens and that includes what the Rule 5 draft might look like. PREDICTION If forced to make an official prediction, I think that the Twins will only add Jordan Balazovic and Ben Rortvedt to the 40-man roster in two weeks. Balazovic is the given. I just think that having strong catchers is important, and Rortvedt fits that category with his defense, and there is still offensive potential too. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of these players mentioned on the Possibles list. What do you think?
  21. In just over two weeks (November 20th), the Twins and the rest of the league will have to submit their additions to their 40-man rosters. 2020 was a lost season for many minor leaguers, so who do the Twins need to add… or risk losing to the Rule 5 draft?As Nick wrote earlier this week, this will be an offseason filled with uncertainty. How much will payroll be decreased? When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Will there be Winter Meetings? Well, certainly there won’t be a big gathering in a hotel as there normally is. But there certainly will be a Rule 5 draft… right? And with that, teams have until November 20th to add players to their 40 man roster. With teams less likely to spend big money in the offseason, could acquiring players in other ways, including the Rule 5 draft, be an option? On the other side, will teams wanting to cut back want to spend $100,000 to add a player that may or may not be offered back to their previous team for $50,000? Since the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents from the 40-man roster. Sergio Romo also became a free agent when the Twins declined his option for 2021. The Twins have claimed pitchers Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell. Nick Gordon will need to come off of the 60-Day Injured List, and when that happens the team will be at 34 players on their 40-man roster. Will he stay on the 40-man roster? If not, he would need to clear waivers, and even if he did, he would become a minor league free agent. Also before then, teams will need to offer 2021 contracts to their current arbitration-eligible players. If they don’t, those players will become free agents as well. Certainly Eddie Rosario is the most likely to be non-tendered, but the team has several arbitration-eligible players. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man). So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2016 (during the minor league season).Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2017.Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.Players drafted or signed during the 2014 season became free agents after the World Series was complete.So, let’s take a look at the eligible players, starting with The Givens: THE GIVENS When I first reviewed which players might need to be added to the 40-man roster (last January), I felt that there were four “Givens.” Three of them made their MLB debut in 2020. Alex Kirilloff (#1) - The 2016 first-round pick was added to the Twins rosterfor the 2020 playoffs. He became the third player to make his MLB debut in the playoffs, the first ever to start a game in that scenario. (The other two were A’s Mark Kiger and Royals Adalberto Mondesi) Kirilloff is such a natural hitter, he was an easy choice to add. It’s done. Brent Rooker (#3) - The Twins Competitive Balance pick after the first round in 2017 from Mississippi State has provided a lot of power with his bat since the team drafted him. A few weeks before Kirilloff, Rooker made his big-league debutand hit well. He knocked his first home run in a game in St. Louis. Unfortunately, he was hit by a pitch and needed season-ended surgery. But again, was an easy choice then, and it happened in-season. Edwar Colina (#4) - Colina was the one maybe surprising name to some that he would have been included in the Given category. He was signed in late September of 2015 and has slowly but consistently worked his way up the organizational ladder. But when a pitcher hits triple digits with a fastball and is known to have “the best slider in the organization,” he’s a given. He was added to the 40-man roster and called up on the final weekend. His one game did not go well, but that shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion on his upside. So, ,who was Given #2 when this was done in January? RHP Jordan Balazovic - The right-hander from Canada remains an easy choice to be added to the Twins 40-man roster. He’s 6-5 and lean, though he has also added strength and velocity to his frame over the past couple of seasons. People believe that he can be a starting pitcher, which is a key point.OTHER POSSIBLES This is where it gets more difficult. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters. Of course, making it even more difficult to determine who should be added is the fact that there was no minor league season. These players did not get a typical, normal opportunity to earn a spot on the 40-man roster or not. So, for me, I saw many of the players for a week in spring training. They had a few more days of spring training after I left there before they were sent home. They were quarantined and there was no minor league season. A few of these players were at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Approximately 60 players were invited to the instructional league. Those are the new points for the Twins to factor into their decisions. That’s not a lot. While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) OF Akil Baddoo - The 74th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of high school in Georgia. Missed most of 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, but is a great athlete who has a good approach at the plate and great power-speed combination potential. Had there been a 2020 season, he likely would have began as a DH before gradually moving back to center field.C Ben Rortvedt - 2nd round pick in 2016 from Wisconsin. He has moved up the system pretty quickly and spent half of the 2019 season at Pensacola before a knee injury ended his season. Terrific defensively and very strong. Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are likely going to be the big-league catchers. Williams Astudillo may or may not remain on the 40-man roster and in the organization. Tomas Telis has been re-signed on a minor league contract. Rortvedt should be considered for a roster spot.SS Wander Javier - Left off the 40-man roster last offseason, he went unclaimed. Still immensely talented and could break out at any time. The hope would have been that after a strong 2020 season, he would have been a Given. He didn’t play in 2020, another missed season. But, they have invested in him and he is still young and still immensely talented.RHP Luis Rijo - 21-year-old from Venezuela posted a 2.86 ERA in 107 innings in Cedar Rapids in 2019 but still went unclaimed in the Rule 5. Of all the players left off the Twins 40-man roster last year, Rijo was the one I was most worried about losing. Still young, he was throwing 95 at times in 2019 with three pitches. Now he’s a year older, hopefully more mature and strong.3B Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Miranda has hit some and displays a lot of power potential. Has played some second base but profiles much more as a third baseman. He’s got good size and strength and could develop into a power hitting option.RHP Griffin Jax - Jax was also left unprotected and went unclaimed this year. He’s already had success in AA and could be MLB ready sometime in 2020. He was invited to big-league spring training, but he was not in the Twins player pool. But he is another guy who profiles as a starter, which matters.2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two nine-figure signing bonuses. He had a solid season in E-Town in 2018. Unfortunately fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season. Could break out in 2020 if he stays in the lineup. He got into several games in spring training and did a nice job.OF Gabriel Maciel - Signed with the Diamondbacks in June 2016 from Brazil. Came to the Twins in the Eduardo Escobar trade in July 2018. Not a big guy, but he hits a lot of line drives, runs really well and plays good outfield defense. Twins bench coach Mike Bell is very familiar with Maciel and his potential.LHP Charlie Barnes - 4th round pick in 2017 from Clemson. He lefty pitched at three levels in 2019 (8 starts in Ft. Myers, 13 starts in Pensacola, 4 starts in Rochester). Barnes was invited to Twins spring training and had a nice showing. Originally, he was not added to the player pool, but he was added later in the summer and got a couple of weeks of work in that atmosphere.RHP Bailey Ober - Twins 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston, he has put up video game numbers when he has been on the mound. If healthy, he’s got a chance. He did not work at the Twins alternate site or participate in instructional league.LHP Jovani Moran - The lefty dominated the lower levels of the minors, but injuries cost him time in 2019. But, he’s young, left-handed and has a couple of plus-pitches. Definitely could contribute in 2021, and because of that, he probably profiles well as the type of player that does get selected in the Rule 5 draft.RHP Tyler Wells - Wells may have been an easy add in 2019 if he hadn’t missed the season due to Tommy John surgery. He rehabbed most of that year and had all of 2020 to keep working his way back to full strength without rushing. Can he get back to his 2018 performance level? If so, he’s worth a roster spot.LHP Bryan Sammons - The Twins 8th round pick in 2017 from Western Carolina, he dominated at Ft. Myers in 2019 before spending the final four months of the season in Pensacola. Left-handed, he has four quality pitches.He has proven strong and durable as well.1B/OF Trey Cabbage - 4th round pick in 2015 from high school in Tennessee. Broke out early in Cedar Rapids in 2019 and showed some of his immense power potential in 2019. 2020 was a big year for him as he was starting to really come into his own. Hopefully that can happen in 2021.1B Zander Wiel - Twins 12th round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt. Wiel wasn’t added or selected after his 2019 season in Rochester in which he hit 40 doubles and 24 home runs. He was invited to Twins spring training and performed well. He also spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in 2020.Others in their first year of eligibility:Tyler Benninghoff, David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Mark Contreras, Ernie De La Trinidad, Calvin Faucher, Jordan Gore, Derek Molina, Ricky Ramirez, Joe Record, Yeremi De La Cruz, Jesus Feliz, Osiris German, Jimmy Kerrigan, Michael Montero, Junior Navas, Daniel Ozoria, Ruben Santana, Jesus Toledo, Janigson Villalobos.Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2020.Melvi Acosta, Adam Bray, Yeltsin Encarnacion, Zach Featherstone,Tom Hackimer, Caleb Hamilton, Hector Lujan, Ryan Mason, Alex Robinson, Carlos Suniaga, Tyler Watson, Lachlan Wells, Aaron Whitefield.SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting options for guys who could be added to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happens and that includes what the Rule 5 draft might look like. PREDICTION If forced to make an official prediction, I think that the Twins will only add Jordan Balazovic and Ben Rortvedt to the 40-man roster in two weeks. Balazovic is the given. I just think that having strong catchers is important, and Rortvedt fits that category with his defense, and there is still offensive potential too. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of these players mentioned on the Possibles list. What do you think? Click here to view the article
  22. 5. RHP Matt Canterino 2019 Stats (Rookie, Low-A): 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25 IP After being a three-year starter at Rice, Canterino was the Twins second-round pick in 2019. He saw limited time during his first professional season because of the innings he had accumulated in college. He struck out 11 batters per nine innings and he only allowed earned runs in two of his five appearances after being promoted to Low-A. He controls the strike zone and his college experience could help him to move through the Twins system. 4. RHP Blayne Enlow 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110 2/3 IP Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. For players like Enlow, missing the 2020 season was critical to developing towards the big-league level. Next spring, he will turn 22 and he has yet to pitch an inning above High-A and there are no guarantees a minor league season will happen in 2021. He’s the second-best pitching prospect in instructional camp and he should get a lot of work in over the next month. 3. 1B Aaron Sabato 2020 Stats (College): .292/.478/.708 (1.185), 7 HR, 6 2B, 16 K, 22 BB, 19 G Unlike the other players on this list, Sabato got to play a handful of games in 2020 before the pandemic shutdown most of the amateur baseball world. He destroyed the ball during his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina before becoming a draft eligible sophomore. His bat is legit and the biggest knock against him entering the draft was his lack of defensive position. Minnesota’s brass still felt like he was worth of a first-round selection and now the team will get a chance to work with him for the first time. 2. SS Keoni Cavaco 2019 Stats (Rookie): .172/.217/.253 (.470), 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K 4 BB, 25 G Cavaco was the Twins first round pick back in 2019 and his first taste of professional baseball didn’t go exactly to plan. Teams saw him as late riser entering the draft and the Twins were intrigued by his combination of tools. He had to be chomping at the bit to get back on the field because of those initial struggles and the lack of a 2020 campaign. He’s still only 19-years old and he has a lot of development left to prove the Twins were right to make him the 13th overall pick. 1. RHP Jordan Balazovic 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 129 K, 25 BB, 93 2/3 IP Balazovic has seen his stock consistently rise since joining the Twins organization as a third-round pick back in 2017. Entering the 2020 season, both Baseball America and MLB.com had him ranked in their top-100 prospects. Minnesota didn’t include him in their original 60-man player pool, but he was added to the alternate site near the beginning of September. He’s only pitched 73 innings above Low-A, so it seems unlikely for him to debut in 2021 but working with the Twins coaching staff can only help his stock moving forward. Click here to see who else made the instructional league roster. Which prospects benefit the most from this shortened instructional league setting? Leave a COMMENT and join 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
  23. Recently, MLB allowed teams to host instructional camps at their spring training venues in Florida and Arizona. Teams can have up to 50 players come and work with the organization’s coaches for the first time since March. Many of Minnesota’s top prospects just wrapped up their time at the team’s alternate site in St. Paul, so who are the Twins best players at instructional camp?5. RHP Matt Canterino 2019 Stats (Rookie, Low-A): 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25 IP After being a three-year starter at Rice, Canterino was the Twins second-round pick in 2019. He saw limited time during his first professional season because of the innings he had accumulated in college. He struck out 11 batters per nine innings and he only allowed earned runs in two of his five appearances after being promoted to Low-A. He controls the strike zone and his college experience could help him to move through the Twins system. 4. RHP Blayne Enlow 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110 2/3 IP Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. For players like Enlow, missing the 2020 season was critical to developing towards the big-league level. Next spring, he will turn 22 and he has yet to pitch an inning above High-A and there are no guarantees a minor league season will happen in 2021. He’s the second-best pitching prospect in instructional camp and he should get a lot of work in over the next month. 3. 1B Aaron Sabato 2020 Stats (College): .292/.478/.708 (1.185), 7 HR, 6 2B, 16 K, 22 BB, 19 G Unlike the other players on this list, Sabato got to play a handful of games in 2020 before the pandemic shutdown most of the amateur baseball world. He destroyed the ball during his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina before becoming a draft eligible sophomore. His bat is legit and the biggest knock against him entering the draft was his lack of defensive position. Minnesota’s brass still felt like he was worth of a first-round selection and now the team will get a chance to work with him for the first time. 2. SS Keoni Cavaco 2019 Stats (Rookie): .172/.217/.253 (.470), 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K 4 BB, 25 G Cavaco was the Twins first round pick back in 2019 and his first taste of professional baseball didn’t go exactly to plan. Teams saw him as late riser entering the draft and the Twins were intrigued by his combination of tools. He had to be chomping at the bit to get back on the field because of those initial struggles and the lack of a 2020 campaign. He’s still only 19-years old and he has a lot of development left to prove the Twins were right to make him the 13th overall pick. 1. RHP Jordan Balazovic 2019 Stats (Low-A, High-A): 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 129 K, 25 BB, 93 2/3 IP Balazovic has seen his stock consistently rise since joining the Twins organization as a third-round pick back in 2017. Entering the 2020 season, both Baseball America and MLB.com had him ranked in their top-100 prospects. Minnesota didn’t include him in their original 60-man player pool, but he was added to the alternate site near the beginning of September. He’s only pitched 73 innings above Low-A, so it seems unlikely for him to debut in 2021 but working with the Twins coaching staff can only help his stock moving forward. Click here to see who else made the instructional league roster. Which prospects benefit the most from this shortened instructional league setting? Leave a COMMENT and join 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 Click here to view the article
  24. Keoni Cavaco, SS Cavaco was the Twins first round draft pick in 2019 and he struggled in his first professional season. Over the course of 25 games, he hit .172/.217/.253 with five extra-base hits and 35 strikeouts. Entering the draft, he was seen as a player on the rise because of his toolset, but it’s hard to gauge a player after less than 92 professional plate appearances. The 2020 campaign would have allowed for Cavaco to repeat with the GCL Twins or take the jump up to Elizabethton. His age-19 season is going to be a wash so the Twins are going to have to hope he makes significant progress in the years ahead to live up to his status as a top-10 prospect in the Twins loaded farm system. Jordan Balazovic, RHP This was the year for Jordan Balazovic to make his mark and it could have provided him the opportunity to move all the way to the big-league level. Instead, he isn’t even included on the Twins current 60-man roster and he will be left wondering what could have been in 2020. For those that don’t know, Balazovic is widely considered the Twins best pitching prospect and Baseball America and MLB.com included him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2020 season. Last season, Balazovic dominated with most of his starts coming at Fort Myers where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. He struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings and his WHIP was an unheard of 0.98 over 93 2/3 innings. The 2020 season could have catapulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects and that might have put him on track to be a September call-up. Wander Javier, SS/2B Javier had 50 professional games under his belt entering last season and there was little he did to improve his stock in 2019. As a 20-year old at Cedar Rapids, he hit .177/.278/.323 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in 80 games. It was his first season at a full-season affiliate, and he was coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him miss the entire year due to shoulder surgery. If there was any prospect that needed to show his potential in 2020, it was certainly Javier. Even with all his struggles, he is still considered one of the Twins top prospects because of the tools he showed as an amateur. He’s only played 110 games during his professional career and that has amounted to fewer than 500 at-bats. Minnesota left him off their 60-man roster and maybe this will be motivation for him to comeback and be an even stronger player in 2021. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation of their 2020 season on Tuesday. Outside of the top prospects included in the team’s 60-man roster, there are plenty of players who fans and scouts won’t get to see for all of 2020. Here are three Twins prospects that are most hurt by there not being a 2020 campaign.Keoni Cavaco, SS Cavaco was the Twins first round draft pick in 2019 and he struggled in his first professional season. Over the course of 25 games, he hit .172/.217/.253 with five extra-base hits and 35 strikeouts. Entering the draft, he was seen as a player on the rise because of his toolset, but it’s hard to gauge a player after less than 92 professional plate appearances. The 2020 campaign would have allowed for Cavaco to repeat with the GCL Twins or take the jump up to Elizabethton. His age-19 season is going to be a wash so the Twins are going to have to hope he makes significant progress in the years ahead to live up to his status as a top-10 prospect in the Twins loaded farm system. Jordan Balazovic, RHP This was the year for Jordan Balazovic to make his mark and it could have provided him the opportunity to move all the way to the big-league level. Instead, he isn’t even included on the Twins current 60-man roster and he will be left wondering what could have been in 2020. For those that don’t know, Balazovic is widely considered the Twins best pitching prospect and Baseball America and MLB.com included him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2020 season. Last season, Balazovic dominated with most of his starts coming at Fort Myers where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. He struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings and his WHIP was an unheard of 0.98 over 93 2/3 innings. The 2020 season could have catapulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects and that might have put him on track to be a September call-up. Wander Javier, SS/2B Javier had 50 professional games under his belt entering last season and there was little he did to improve his stock in 2019. As a 20-year old at Cedar Rapids, he hit .177/.278/.323 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in 80 games. It was his first season at a full-season affiliate, and he was coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him miss the entire year due to shoulder surgery. If there was any prospect that needed to show his potential in 2020, it was certainly Javier. Even with all his struggles, he is still considered one of the Twins top prospects because of the tools he showed as an amateur. He’s only played 110 games during his professional career and that has amounted to fewer than 500 at-bats. Minnesota left him off their 60-man roster and maybe this will be motivation for him to comeback and be an even stronger player in 2021. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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