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  1. So keep reading to find out just how crazy the night was for your favorite Twins prospects! TRANSACTIONS Minor League Gold Glove OF Mark Contreras was promoted to St. Paul from Wichita In Fort Myers recent free agent signing OF Justin Washington was assigned from the GCL Twins, 3B Wander Valdez was sent back to the GCL Twins roster, and SS Ruben Santana was activated from the disabled list. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 17, Iowa 6 Box Score The Saints took advantage of some wildness from double-A’s 2019 strikeout king, Corey Abbott to jump out to an early lead. They got to the Cubs prospect for six runs in the first two innings, with a three-run Tomas Telis homer doing the bulk of that damage. They would tack on four more in the fourth after an RBI double from Ben Rortvedt was followed by another three-run blast, this one off the bat of JT Riddle, his first with the Saints. In all St. Paul hitters mashed seven hits (five for extra bases) and drew five walks against Abbott, taking full advantage of the extra baserunners and opportunities they were given. As far as the Saints starting pitcher went, it was Bailey Ober’s first appearance since making his MLB debut, and he dazzled. In five innings he allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out five. It was good for his first win of the 2021 season. While watching the game the opposing broadcast’s announcer was excited to see Abbott on the mound, but Ober was the one who left a mark on him. “I’m very impressed so far with Bailey Ober. You understand why he posts zeroes so often [and] can see why he is tough to pick up. Six-foot-nine, long reach, and hides the ball very well.” With the big lead Ober’s day was done after just seventy pitches, with Ian Hamilton coming on for the sixth. Hamilton was hitting high 90’s with his fastball in his inning and struck out two. Robinson Leyer delivered two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one. Another RBI double from Ben Rortvedt and RBI single from Jimmy Kerrigan added a few more runs in the sixth, then Ryan Jeffers and Brent Rooker added insult to injury with home runs in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively. Jeffers was a three-run no-doubter, and Rooker’s a two-run blast to dead center that made the score 17-1. They were the fourth home run of the season for each player. Tom Hackimer would come on for the ninth but made the game last quite a bit longer than it should have. The bases were loaded before he recorded an out, then he was not able to finish it off. In all, Hackimer allowed 5 runs on three hits, four walks, and a hit batter. St. Paul was forced to go to Andrew Vasquez for the final out, and he made sure it went as quick as possible, getting a strikeout to end the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 7, Wichita 2 Box Score Unlike the rest of their affiliate brethren, the Wind Surge were unable to pile on the runs on Tuesday, falling to the Cardinals in Wichita. Starter Bryan Sammons went the first four innings and surrendered all the damage Springfield would need as their pitchers allowed just six hits and three walks to Wichita’s lineup. In total he allowed four earned runs on five hits and a pair of walks in his time. While he struck out six, three of his hits allowed were home runs. Dakota Chalmers came on for the fifth and went two innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (including a homer of his own) while striking out two. Jonathan Cheshire was the only Wind Surge pitcher without a blemish, pitching a scoreless seventh, though he did walk two. Hector Lujan finished the final two frames, allowing a solo home run and striking out one. Jermaine Palacios led the way hitting for Wichita with a 2-for-4 night. Andrew Bechtold hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Jose Miranda contributed an RBI single in the third. As a team the Wind Surge had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Cedar Rapids slugger Seth Gray put the Kernels on the board early with a two-run blast in the first. He and Michael Helman would add to that lead in the third with a pair of RBI doubles, Helman’s of the 2-run variety for a 5-0 lead after three. Starter Tyler Beck ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth, allowing a run to score after three singles and a walk, and exiting with the bases loaded. In all he went 3 1/3, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jordan Gore came on and allowed one inherited runner to score on a groundout but would stop the bleeding there by picking up a strikeout. He would add a scoreless fifth inning and add another K to his ledger. Lefty Tyler Watson would keep Cedar Rapids out front three scoreless innings. He scattered one hit and two walks while striking out three. The Kernels bats went pretty silent for the middle innings, but in the seventh Spencer Steer woke them up again with a leadoff double. Wander Javier drove him in with a single that was misplayed by the center fielder and allowed another runner to score that made it 7-2. Leobaldo Cabrera’s first home as a Twins prospect would make it 9-2 after eight. Lefty Zach Featherstone would finish the game for Cedar Rapids with three strikeouts in the ninth around a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 13, Lakeland 0 Box Score After losing four in a row to the Tampa Tarpons by a combined score of 53-13, the Mighty Mussels have unleashed some frustration the past two games. In the final game of their series with the Tarpons they won 9-3 and were even more impressive in the opening tilt with the Flying Tigers. Fort Myers also got the scoring started early in this one courtesy of a slugger, in their case Aaron Sabato. His first inning home run was his second of the season and gave them the early 2-0 lead. They added another run in the second after loading the bases on a Misael Urbina sac fly but were just getting started. Starter Brent Headrick went the first five innings and was dominant. He threw just 67 pitches (43 for strikes), allowing only two singles and one walk while striking out five to pick up his second win of the season. Juan Pichardo went the next two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two. Matthew Swain would finish the shutout for the Saints going the final two innings. He allowed one hit, a walk, and struck out two. The Mighty Mussels broke the game open in the top of the sixth with quite a bit of help from Lakeland pitchers. Consecutive singles were followed by two four-pitch walks to score the first run of the inning. After a strikeout of Sabato another four-pitch walk scored another run before the bullpen was summoned for the Flying Tigers. It was greeted by a Kyle Schmidt double on their first pitch, scoring two more. Then two more walks, an RBI single from Anthony Prato, and a 2-run double from Edouard Julien would push Fort Myers’ lead to 11-0 before the inning was over. They would add a few more in the top of the ninth on a Yunior Severino two-run single for the final of 13-0. In all the Mighty Mussels racked up fourteen (!) walks and twelve hits against Flying Tigers pitching. Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K), Schmidt (3-for-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI), and Prato (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) had multiple hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Brent Headrick, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis, St. Paul Saints (4-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, 2 K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, BB, 2 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #8 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 0-for-3, BB #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 2-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, RBI #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – W, 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 3.95 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Kody Funderburk (0-0, 1.32 ERA) Fort Myers @ Tampa (5:30PM CST) – RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 4.50 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  2. Minnesota Twins Affiliates took out some frustration on their opponents on Tuesday night to the combined score of 39-8 in their three wins on the evening. Much of that damage was thanks to eight home runs from some big sluggers, and men on base all night as they also drew 32 walks to go along with 42 total hits on the night. A top pitching prospect also made his return to the minors after his MLB debut. So keep reading to find out just how crazy the night was for your favorite Twins prospects! TRANSACTIONS Minor League Gold Glove OF Mark Contreras was promoted to St. Paul from Wichita In Fort Myers recent free agent signing OF Justin Washington was assigned from the GCL Twins, 3B Wander Valdez was sent back to the GCL Twins roster, and SS Ruben Santana was activated from the disabled list. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 17, Iowa 6 Box Score The Saints took advantage of some wildness from double-A’s 2019 strikeout king, Corey Abbott to jump out to an early lead. They got to the Cubs prospect for six runs in the first two innings, with a three-run Tomas Telis homer doing the bulk of that damage. They would tack on four more in the fourth after an RBI double from Ben Rortvedt was followed by another three-run blast, this one off the bat of JT Riddle, his first with the Saints. In all St. Paul hitters mashed seven hits (five for extra bases) and drew five walks against Abbott, taking full advantage of the extra baserunners and opportunities they were given. As far as the Saints starting pitcher went, it was Bailey Ober’s first appearance since making his MLB debut, and he dazzled. In five innings he allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out five. It was good for his first win of the 2021 season. While watching the game the opposing broadcast’s announcer was excited to see Abbott on the mound, but Ober was the one who left a mark on him. “I’m very impressed so far with Bailey Ober. You understand why he posts zeroes so often [and] can see why he is tough to pick up. Six-foot-nine, long reach, and hides the ball very well.” With the big lead Ober’s day was done after just seventy pitches, with Ian Hamilton coming on for the sixth. Hamilton was hitting high 90’s with his fastball in his inning and struck out two. Robinson Leyer delivered two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one. Another RBI double from Ben Rortvedt and RBI single from Jimmy Kerrigan added a few more runs in the sixth, then Ryan Jeffers and Brent Rooker added insult to injury with home runs in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively. Jeffers was a three-run no-doubter, and Rooker’s a two-run blast to dead center that made the score 17-1. They were the fourth home run of the season for each player. Tom Hackimer would come on for the ninth but made the game last quite a bit longer than it should have. The bases were loaded before he recorded an out, then he was not able to finish it off. In all, Hackimer allowed 5 runs on three hits, four walks, and a hit batter. St. Paul was forced to go to Andrew Vasquez for the final out, and he made sure it went as quick as possible, getting a strikeout to end the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 7, Wichita 2 Box Score Unlike the rest of their affiliate brethren, the Wind Surge were unable to pile on the runs on Tuesday, falling to the Cardinals in Wichita. Starter Bryan Sammons went the first four innings and surrendered all the damage Springfield would need as their pitchers allowed just six hits and three walks to Wichita’s lineup. In total he allowed four earned runs on five hits and a pair of walks in his time. While he struck out six, three of his hits allowed were home runs. Dakota Chalmers came on for the fifth and went two innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (including a homer of his own) while striking out two. Jonathan Cheshire was the only Wind Surge pitcher without a blemish, pitching a scoreless seventh, though he did walk two. Hector Lujan finished the final two frames, allowing a solo home run and striking out one. Jermaine Palacios led the way hitting for Wichita with a 2-for-4 night. Andrew Bechtold hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Jose Miranda contributed an RBI single in the third. As a team the Wind Surge had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Cedar Rapids slugger Seth Gray put the Kernels on the board early with a two-run blast in the first. He and Michael Helman would add to that lead in the third with a pair of RBI doubles, Helman’s of the 2-run variety for a 5-0 lead after three. Starter Tyler Beck ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth, allowing a run to score after three singles and a walk, and exiting with the bases loaded. In all he went 3 1/3, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jordan Gore came on and allowed one inherited runner to score on a groundout but would stop the bleeding there by picking up a strikeout. He would add a scoreless fifth inning and add another K to his ledger. Lefty Tyler Watson would keep Cedar Rapids out front three scoreless innings. He scattered one hit and two walks while striking out three. The Kernels bats went pretty silent for the middle innings, but in the seventh Spencer Steer woke them up again with a leadoff double. Wander Javier drove him in with a single that was misplayed by the center fielder and allowed another runner to score that made it 7-2. Leobaldo Cabrera’s first home as a Twins prospect would make it 9-2 after eight. Lefty Zach Featherstone would finish the game for Cedar Rapids with three strikeouts in the ninth around a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 13, Lakeland 0 Box Score After losing four in a row to the Tampa Tarpons by a combined score of 53-13, the Mighty Mussels have unleashed some frustration the past two games. In the final game of their series with the Tarpons they won 9-3 and were even more impressive in the opening tilt with the Flying Tigers. Fort Myers also got the scoring started early in this one courtesy of a slugger, in their case Aaron Sabato. His first inning home run was his second of the season and gave them the early 2-0 lead. They added another run in the second after loading the bases on a Misael Urbina sac fly but were just getting started. Starter Brent Headrick went the first five innings and was dominant. He threw just 67 pitches (43 for strikes), allowing only two singles and one walk while striking out five to pick up his second win of the season. Juan Pichardo went the next two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two. Matthew Swain would finish the shutout for the Saints going the final two innings. He allowed one hit, a walk, and struck out two. The Mighty Mussels broke the game open in the top of the sixth with quite a bit of help from Lakeland pitchers. Consecutive singles were followed by two four-pitch walks to score the first run of the inning. After a strikeout of Sabato another four-pitch walk scored another run before the bullpen was summoned for the Flying Tigers. It was greeted by a Kyle Schmidt double on their first pitch, scoring two more. Then two more walks, an RBI single from Anthony Prato, and a 2-run double from Edouard Julien would push Fort Myers’ lead to 11-0 before the inning was over. They would add a few more in the top of the ninth on a Yunior Severino two-run single for the final of 13-0. In all the Mighty Mussels racked up fourteen (!) walks and twelve hits against Flying Tigers pitching. Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K), Schmidt (3-for-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI), and Prato (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) had multiple hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Brent Headrick, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis, St. Paul Saints (4-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, 2 K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, BB, 2 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #8 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 0-for-3, BB #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 2-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, RBI #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – W, 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 3.95 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Kody Funderburk (0-0, 1.32 ERA) Fort Myers @ Tampa (5:30PM CST) – RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 4.50 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  3. Triple-A: Trevor Larnach, OF Larnach sometimes feels like the forgotten prospect with names like Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis in the organization. He projects to be a very good big-league regular and his timetable made have changed over the last couple days with news that Kirilloff might miss time due to a wrist injury. The Twins have been getting very little production from their corner outfield spots and fans have started to get frustrated watching Jake Cave take uncompetitive at-bats. Larnach was likely on pace to debut in 2021 and now he might be needed in Minnesota sooner rather than later. Double-A: Gilberto Celestino, OF Celestino was originally acquired by the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade along with Jorge Alcala. He was part of the team’s 60-man player pool last season, which meant he spent of the bulk of the year at the team’s alternate training site. Back in 2019, he spent nearly the entire the year at Cedar Rapids, and he finished by hitting .277/.349/.410 (.759) with 41 extra-base hits in 125 games. He’s a very strong defender in the outfield, so it will be interesting to see if his bat can continue to develop. Byron Buxton is only under contract through next season and Celestino might be his heir apparent. High-A: Matt Canterino, RHP Even amidst a pandemic, Canterino was able to see his prospect stock rise significantly because of reports that came out throughout last year. The velocity on his fastball rose more than a couple miles per hour as he can now hit in the mid-90s on a consistent basis. He should easily be able to stick as a starter when you add in a slider and a changeup that both project to be plus pitches. He was a second round pick out of college in 2019, but he’s only pitched 25 innings as a profession due to last year’s minor league cancellation. Now, he needs to prove his rising stock is legitimate and that might be dangerous for opposing batters in the Midwest League. Low-A: Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Sabato was Minnesota’s first round pick in 2020, so he will be making his professional debut in 2021. There’s one reason the Twins drafted Sabato and that’s because of his powerful bat. Entering the season, he projected as one of the team’s top power prospects. In two seasons at North Carolina, he hit .332/.459/.698 with 25 home runs and 31 doubles in 83 games. He is going to need to show he can adjust to professional baseball, but he is expected to be a quick riser if he can continue to show plus power at the plate. What are your thoughts on these players? Are there others you will keep an eye on? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. 5. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Current/Future Power: 55/60 Kirilloff has the potential to be on of the best Twins prospects in quite some time. He can power the ball to all fields, and some think he can hit upwards of 30 home runs. He might be the best pure hitter in the Twins system and there will certainly be power with his smooth swinging approach. His power comes from a swing that has a scooping motion that creates line drives and a better launch angle. Twins fans hope Kirilloff is hitting near the top of the line-up for most of the next decade. 4. Matt Wallner, OF Current/Future Power: 55/65 Wallner, a Minnesota native, is a big boy at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and he fits the mold of players drafted by the current regime. He hit for power in all three years of college as he posted a .652 SLG and a 1.113 OPS. Because of these numbers, scouts ranked him as one of the best power bats in the 2019 MLB Draft with some giving him 70 or 80 grades. What’s crazy to consider is the fact that he was still being used as a pitcher in college. In 65 games during his pro debut, he collected 31 extra-base hits and posted an ISO of .194. 3. Trevor Larnach, OF Current/Future Power: 55/65 For some fans, Larnach almost feels like a forgotten prospect because of the presence of Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Since being draft, Larnach has been a half step behind Kirilloff, but that takes nothing away from what Larnach can mean to the Twins line-up in the up-coming years. He’s the organization’s reigning Minor League Player of the Year. As a left-handed power hitter, Larnach has connected with Justin Morneau to be his hitting mentor. It’s clear that Larnach loves to work on his swing and he’s going to make sure Twins fans don’t forget about him after he makes his big-league debut at some point in 2021. 2. Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Current/Future Power: 60/65 Sabato is trying to buck a trend, because right-handed hitting college players with limited defense haven’t found much professional success. There’s one reason the Twins drafted Aaron Sabato and it was because of his powerful bat. As a college freshman, he won ACC Rookie of the Year after knocking 18 home runs. He has a rare combination of exceptional strength, bat speed, and launch angle that led to off the charts raw power. Scouts were confident in Sabato’s ability to hit throughout the upper-minors especially with his track-record against elite college pitching. 1. Brent Rooker, OF/1B Current/Future Power: 60/65 Rooker spent his college years putting up impressive power numbers in the college baseball’s best conferences, the SEC. In his junior season, he hit .287/.496/.810 with 23 home runs. Scouts saw some him post some of the best exit velocities in the 2017 draft class and his raw power was off the charts. Minnesota has been aggressive with him as he spent his entire second full professional season at Triple-A where he posted a .928 OPS. Since he is already 26-years old, there’s a good chance he breaks camp on the big-league roster, and this should give him the opportunity to prove his powerful swing translates to baseball’s highest level. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. The 2019 Minnesota Twins set the MLB record for most home runs in a single season and won 101 games. That gave them the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft and they selected another big college bat, 1B Aaron Sabato, a future Bomba Squad member. He debuts in our rankings as the #8 Twins Prospect.Age: 21 (DOB: 6-4-1999) 2020 Stats (UNC): .292/.478/.708 (1.185), 6-2B, 7-HR (in 19 games) ETA: 2023 2020 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Shortly after the Twins selected Aaron Sabato last June, Scouting Director Sean Johnson said, "We thought he was the best offensive player left on the board from every standpoint possible. Going back to his season last year, if you look at him analytically, he lined up with some of the guys who went at the very top of the board." A quick look at the stats of Sabato and top overall pick Spencer Torkelson in 2019 and the shortened 2020 season, shows that the two put up very similar numbers. Those were Sabato’s freshman and sophomore seasons at North Carolina compared to Torkelson’s sophomore and junior seasons at Arizona State. Torkelson: 74 games, .349/.480/.719 (1.199) with 21 doubles, 29 homers. Sabato: 83 games, .332/.459/.708 (1.158) with 31 doubles, 25 homers. So while there is a lot more that goes into scouting than just these offensive numbers, it certainly illustrates the offensive firepower of Sabato. He fits into the mold of recent Twins draft picks such as Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers and Matt Wallner. Sabato pointed out a few days later that he feels that his hitting philosophies closely match the Twins hitting philosophies. He recalled a conversation with Twins minor league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus. “We want you to swing at strikes. We want you to take balls, and we want you to hit the ball a long way and do it at a high rate without striking out and walking a ton. For me, that’s what I base my hitting about. I’m trying to do the most damage on every pitch, but also be disciplined enough to take my walks and spit on the good pitches.” He continued, “Right there, (I realized) that I was in a pretty good spot with the organization that had just drafted me.” Sabato may not possess all of the baseball tools, but he has a plus hitting tool, and plus-plus power potential. What’s Left To Work On Sure, Sabato will have to adjust to the pro ball game, even offensively. But really, it’s about that continued development and improvement, and this year, it’s about just getting at bats again. Sabato is not a speed guy, so don’t expect him to be stealing a lot of bases. Defensively, there have been assumptions made that he will be limited to first base, and he will need to improve there as well. It is possible that he ultimately will be a Designated Hitter, but the Twins will work hard with him at first base. What’s Next Sabato gets to make his actual professional debut. Sure, he went to the Twins instructional league in October, but 2021 will be his debut. Because of the missed time, it will be interesting to see where he starts the 2021 season when it begins in May. Because he hasn’t played in an official game, they could start him in Low-A Ft. Myers and get some at bats under his belt. It’s also possible that he will jump straight up to High-A Cedar Rapids. While the general belief is that Sabato has a very advanced bat, the Twins have the luxury of being patient with him. He will be given time to work on the other aspects of his game. Twins 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. José Miranda, 3B/2B 18. Alerick Soularie, UTIL 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Coming tomorrow! Click here to view the article
  6. Age: 21 (DOB: 6-4-1999) 2020 Stats (UNC): .292/.478/.708 (1.185), 6-2B, 7-HR (in 19 games) ETA: 2023 2020 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Shortly after the Twins selected Aaron Sabato last June, Scouting Director Sean Johnson said, "We thought he was the best offensive player left on the board from every standpoint possible. Going back to his season last year, if you look at him analytically, he lined up with some of the guys who went at the very top of the board." A quick look at the stats of Sabato and top overall pick Spencer Torkelson in 2019 and the shortened 2020 season, shows that the two put up very similar numbers. Those were Sabato’s freshman and sophomore seasons at North Carolina compared to Torkelson’s sophomore and junior seasons at Arizona State. Torkelson: 74 games, .349/.480/.719 (1.199) with 21 doubles, 29 homers. Sabato: 83 games, .332/.459/.708 (1.158) with 31 doubles, 25 homers. So while there is a lot more that goes into scouting than just these offensive numbers, it certainly illustrates the offensive firepower of Sabato. He fits into the mold of recent Twins draft picks such as Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers and Matt Wallner. Sabato pointed out a few days later that he feels that his hitting philosophies closely match the Twins hitting philosophies. He recalled a conversation with Twins minor league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus. “We want you to swing at strikes. We want you to take balls, and we want you to hit the ball a long way and do it at a high rate without striking out and walking a ton. For me, that’s what I base my hitting about. I’m trying to do the most damage on every pitch, but also be disciplined enough to take my walks and spit on the good pitches.” He continued, “Right there, (I realized) that I was in a pretty good spot with the organization that had just drafted me.” Sabato may not possess all of the baseball tools, but he has a plus hitting tool, and plus-plus power potential. What’s Left To Work On Sure, Sabato will have to adjust to the pro ball game, even offensively. But really, it’s about that continued development and improvement, and this year, it’s about just getting at bats again. Sabato is not a speed guy, so don’t expect him to be stealing a lot of bases. Defensively, there have been assumptions made that he will be limited to first base, and he will need to improve there as well. It is possible that he ultimately will be a Designated Hitter, but the Twins will work hard with him at first base. What’s Next Sabato gets to make his actual professional debut. Sure, he went to the Twins instructional league in October, but 2021 will be his debut. Because of the missed time, it will be interesting to see where he starts the 2021 season when it begins in May. Because he hasn’t played in an official game, they could start him in Low-A Ft. Myers and get some at bats under his belt. It’s also possible that he will jump straight up to High-A Cedar Rapids. While the general belief is that Sabato has a very advanced bat, the Twins have the luxury of being patient with him. He will be given time to work on the other aspects of his game. Twins 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. José Miranda, 3B/2B 18. Alerick Soularie, UTIL 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Coming tomorrow!
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Current First Baseman: Miguel Sano Last winter, the Twins locked up Miguel Sano to a three-year, $30 million contract extension that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 or a $2.75 million buyout. Sano struggled early in the 2020 season as he missed most of Summer Camp after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Through his first 13 games, he went 5-for-45 (.111 BA) with 23 strikeouts and a .504 OPS. He led all of baseball with 90 strikeouts, but he was able to hit double digit home runs for the sixth consecutive season. Sano’s defensive transition had its ups and downs as one would expect. There were games where it was a little more obvious that his footwork and approach were lacking at first base, but that can certainly be expected at a position where he lacked familiarity. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, only two AL first baseman had a lower SDI total. Sano can move to DH depending on what the Twins decide with Nelson Cruz. 40-Man Options Besides Sano, the Twins have other 40-man roster options to play first base. Two of the team’s top prospects, Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker, made their debuts last season. During the 2019 campaign, Kirilloff hit .283/.343/.413 with 29 extra-base hits in 94 games while playing nearly 42% of his defensive innings at first base. This came on the heels of a tremendous 2018 campaign where he posted a .970 OPS and was named MiLB’s Breakout Player of the Year. Minnesota’s front office has a lot of trust in him and he seems like a likely candidate to take over for Eddie Rosario in the outfield. Rooker got off to a tremendous start last season before suffering a fractured forearm that ended his season. In seven games, he hit .316/.381/.579 with three extra-base hits and five RBI. Back in 2019, he made his Triple-A debut and hit .282/.399/.530 with 30 extra-base hits, but he was limited to 67 games while dealing with a wrist injury and a groin injury. Rooker should be ready for season’s start and there are multiple roles he can fill on the 2021 Twins. On the Farm Options Outside of the options mentioned above, there are other first base options in the minor leagues including some strong prospects. Minnesota took Gabe Snyder with their 21st round pick back in 2018 after he spent four years at Wright State. His 2019 campaign was spent entirely at Low-A where he hit .259/.338/.462 with 44 extra-base hits in 114 games. With his college experience, he has been old for each level he has played at during his professional career. Snyder turns 26 in March and the team should push him to Double-A. In the 2020 MLB Draft, Minnesota took Aaron Sabato with the 27th overall pick after two impressive seasons at the University of North Carolina. Sabato was known as a slugger after hitting .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 57 extra-base hits in 83 games. The jury is still out on if he will have the defensive skills to play a position in the big-leagues or if he will be limited to playing DH. Weiss was the Twins 23rd round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Northridge. He played at three different levels in 2019 with High-A being the highest level he reached. Weiss was also older than the competition at every stop in his professional career. Phillips is roughly a year behind Weiss as he was taken out of college in 2019. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Twins are with these two players following the absence of a 2020 minor league season. What do you think about the future of first base in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -Shortstop -Third Base MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. When meeting with media, Aaron Sabato reiterated often just how well he fits into the Minnesota Twins organization. At one point, he noted, “I’m in the perfect spot with this organization and I want to be a Minnesota Twin.” That connection is obvious. As we discussed before the draft, the Sean Johnson-led Twins scouting group has made a concerted effort to select powerful collegiate bats in the high rounds. That has been evident in the selections of Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers, Matt Wallner and now Aaron Sabato; all college sluggers who absolutely mash. In 83 college games at North Carolina (64 in 2019, 19 in 2020), he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles, 25 homers and 81 RBI. He walked 61 times to go with 72 strikeouts. Sabato recalled a conversation he had with Twins minor league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus shortly following the draft. Sabato said that Fergus reiterated the Twins hitting philosophy. “We want you to swing at strikes. We want you to take balls, and we want you to hit the ball a long way and do it at a high rate without striking out and walking a ton. For me, that’s what I base my hitting about. I’m trying to do the most damage on every pitch, but also be disciplined enough to take my walks and spit on the good pitches.” Sabato knew right then and there that he was in a great situation for himself. “Right there, (I realized) that I was in a pretty good spot with the organization that had just drafted me.” Sabato discussed drills that he has done often in college with his hitting coaches. He stands in the batter’s box and takes pitches, calling out the pitch type and its location. He said it has helped burn into his brain what strikes and balls look like, and ultimately which pitches he can try to hit really hard. He also talked about hitting against top pitchers such as former Gopher right-hander, and the #3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Max Meyer in February. It is a challenge, of course, but Sabato has learned how he wants to handle those situations. “People say you have to get amped up, but for me it’s How calm can I be and How relaxed can I be against the best guys? And that’s when I’m at my best.” Sabato continued, “I realized I need to get more disciplined and more fine tuned in how I go about it. That’s what I’ve learned. I stopped worrying about who I am facing and started just worrying about what am I doing in the box.” The reality is that he has lofty goals for himself and all pitchers that he will face going forward are going to be good, and should he get to the big leagues, he will want to remain calm for every at bat. “I want to play Major League Baseball, and I want to do really well for a really long time.” With the signing of Sabato, the Twins have signed three of their four 2020 draft picks. Last week, they signed UT outfielder Alerick Soularie and prep pitcher Marco Raya. Kala’i Rosario, a high school outfielder from Hawaii, was their fifth round pick. He remains unsigned. The team is about $150,000 under their slot value, so they could go well above Rosario’s slot value of about $330,000.
  13. On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins officially signed their 2020 first-round draft pick, Aaron Sabato. Slot value was $2.57 million. Sabato and the Twins reached an agreement at $2.75 million.When meeting with media, Aaron Sabato reiterated often just how well he fits into the Minnesota Twins organization. At one point, he noted, “I’m in the perfect spot with this organization and I want to be a Minnesota Twin.” That connection is obvious. As we discussed before the draft, the Sean Johnson-led Twins scouting group has made a concerted effort to select powerful collegiate bats in the high rounds. That has been evident in the selections of Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers, Matt Wallner and now Aaron Sabato; all college sluggers who absolutely mash. In 83 college games at North Carolina (64 in 2019, 19 in 2020), he hit .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles, 25 homers and 81 RBI. He walked 61 times to go with 72 strikeouts. Sabato recalled a conversation he had with Twins minor league hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus shortly following the draft. Sabato said that Fergus reiterated the Twins hitting philosophy. “We want you to swing at strikes. We want you to take balls, and we want you to hit the ball a long way and do it at a high rate without striking out and walking a ton. For me, that’s what I base my hitting about. I’m trying to do the most damage on every pitch, but also be disciplined enough to take my walks and spit on the good pitches.” Sabato knew right then and there that he was in a great situation for himself. “Right there, (I realized) that I was in a pretty good spot with the organization that had just drafted me.” Sabato discussed drills that he has done often in college with his hitting coaches. He stands in the batter’s box and takes pitches, calling out the pitch type and its location. He said it has helped burn into his brain what strikes and balls look like, and ultimately which pitches he can try to hit really hard. He also talked about hitting against top pitchers such as former Gopher right-hander, and the #3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Max Meyer in February. It is a challenge, of course, but Sabato has learned how he wants to handle those situations. “People say you have to get amped up, but for me it’s How calm can I be and How relaxed can I be against the best guys? And that’s when I’m at my best.” Sabato continued, “I realized I need to get more disciplined and more fine tuned in how I go about it. That’s what I’ve learned. I stopped worrying about who I am facing and started just worrying about what am I doing in the box.” The reality is that he has lofty goals for himself and all pitchers that he will face going forward are going to be good, and should he get to the big leagues, he will want to remain calm for every at bat. “I want to play Major League Baseball, and I want to do really well for a really long time.” With the signing of Sabato, the Twins have signed three of their four 2020 draft picks. Last week, they signed UT outfielder Alerick Soularie and prep pitcher Marco Raya. Kala’i Rosario, a high school outfielder from Hawaii, was their fifth round pick. He remains unsigned. The team is about $150,000 under their slot value, so they could go well above Rosario’s slot value of about $330,000. Click here to view the article
  14. 10. Gilberto Celestino, OF 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): .277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 28 2B, 85 K, 50 BB, 125 G Celestino came to the Twins along with Jorge Alcala as part of the Ryan Pressly trade. He played almost the entire 2019 campaign in Cedar Rapids with a handful of games in Fort Myers at season’s end. He destroyed the ball in July by hitting .369/.430/.563 with 12 extra-base hits in 26 games. Things didn’t slow down much from there as he posted a .896 OPS in August and this included his promotion to a higher level. While he showed strong offensive ability last season, Celestino might be one of the best outfield defenders in the entire Twins organization. He’s played all three outfield positions, but his defense in centerfield will be his ticket to the big leagues. If he can continue to make offensive improvements, he could move quickly through the system in the years ahead. 9. Aaron Sabato, 1B 2019 NCAA Stats: .343/.453/.696, 18 HR, 25 2B, 56 K, 39 BB, 64 G Minnesota just took Sabato with their first-round draft pick last week and he has the power potential to slide into their top-10 prospects. He could be higher on the list, but many don’t see him as having much defensive value, so the Twins must hope his bat is what powers him throughout his professional career. His 2019 season was his lone full season at the collegiate level, because he was a draft eligible sophomore. He posted a 1.149 OPS that year and he might have been on track for an even better season in 2019. In 19 games during the 2020 season, Sabato had a .478 OBP and a .708 SLG with seven home runs and six doubles. This year’s draft certainly had some quirks with only five rounds and the first round saw a lot of teams select college players because they have a longer track record. Sabato is going to hit no matter what level he plays at and the Twins took him as a safe pick with plenty of upside. 8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): 5-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 119 K, 25 BB, 96.1 IP 2019 MLB Stats: 3-2, 6.18 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 31 K, 10 BB, 27.2 IP It might seem like Thorpe has been around the Twins organization for ages, especially since Minnesota signed him all the way back in 2012. He put up strong numbers in his first two professional seasons but missed all of 2015 and 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, Thorpe was young enough where he was still back on the mound by his age-21 season and he spent the last two seasons moving through the upper levels of the minors. Across 114 innings at Double-A, he posted a 3.71 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.9 K/9. His WHIP is over four points lower in 118 innings and his strikeout rate is higher (11.1 K/9). Thorpe was primed for a breakout season in 2020 with many in spring training were discussing the club’s high hopes for the southpaw. While his ERA and WHIP were high last season, he continued to strikeout batters and that’s something Twins fans can be excited about. He could be part of the Twins pitching staff for most of the next decade. 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (RK): .172/.217/.253, 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K, 4 BB, 25 G One year ago, the Twins took Cavaco with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was seen as a player that rose on team’s draft boards in the months and weeks leading into the draft. A player like him might not have even been taken in 2020 because of the limitations on scouting and the shortened high school season. He didn’t see the same type of competition as other top high school players because he wasn’t invited to a lot of the showcase events leading into his senior season. Still, his tool set was hard for the Twins to ignore. His arm strength and speed are currently his two best tools. There were some obvious struggles at the plate last season, but he has plenty of power potential. As he continues getting experience against tougher competition, many believe he will be able to showcase the skills that put him on team’s draft radars. The Twins will give him every opportunity to stick at shortstop, but he has shown the ability to play third base during his amateur career. 6. Ryan Jeffers, C 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA): .264/.341/.421, 14 HR, 16 2B, 83 K, 37 BB, 103 G Mitch Garver might not want to look too closely in his rearview mirror because Jeffers might be closer to the big leagues than most would think. Minnesota took Jeffers in the second round back in 2018 and many viewed him as a bat-only player. He has refined his defense behind the plate since joining the Twins and his bat has certainly lived up to the hype he was receiving going into the draft. In his pro debut, Jeffers hit .344/.444/.502 with 24 extra-base hits in 64 games between the E-Twins and Cedar Rapids. Last season he spent almost 80 games in Fort Myers and hit double digits in home runs and doubles. He finished the year with 24 games in the Southern League and saw his OPS rise 124 points over what he compiled in the Florida State League. At 23-years old, he is the Twins catcher of the future and that future might not be that far away. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 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. This was supposed to be Nelson Cruz’s age-39 season, but before any games are played, he’ll be for. A man, over the hill, or any other way you’d like to dice it he is not. Maybe it’s a credit to his elite napping skills, or maybe it’s because he was a late-blooming prospect. Whatever “it” is though, Cruz has absolutely still got it. Minnesota’s designated hitter played zero games in the field during 2019 and has played five or less in each season dating back to 2016. When he shows up to the ballpark there is one focus, to hit. Last season Cruz did plenty of that. He posted a career best 1.031 OPS while blasting 41 dingers. His .311 average was a high-water mark since 2010 and the .392 OBP was easily a career high. Counting stats are certainly gaudy for the Dominican native, but it’s the inputs that truly jump off the board. Cruz was 1st in baseball when it comes to barrels per plate appearance at 12.5%. He was third in average exit velocity (93.7 mph) behind on Aaron Judge and teammate Miguel Sano. He also ranked third in hard hit rate, trailing the same duo, and his average dinger came in at a whopping 411 ft. It wasn’t as though Cruz made any drastic changes in 2019 either. His swing profile remained virtually unchanged from career norms. No out of whack BABIP or walk rate were in play either. What the Twins have is a professional hitter with a single goal of destroying the baseball. Pretty nice asset for a position entitled “designated hitter.” So, if the Twins have the best one in the league, and everyone else is chasing them, it’s certainly going to be suboptimal when Nelson hangs them up in a year or two right? Well, maybe not. Enter Miguel Sano and the rest of Minnesota’s pipeline. Patrick Wozniak wrote a really great piece regarding the Twins draft strategy in recent years. Under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, the focus has appeared to be on projectable bats. The system now has boppers like Brent Rooker and Aaron Sabato, while a bit more versatile options such as Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Wallner all exist. The goal is never for a draftee or prospect to be psotionless. Value is derived from opportunity, and it’s largely why the Twins have strayed from locking Sano into a sole DH role at this point. However, if you look at it as a starter turned reliever, it’s hardly a bad fall back option. Knowing that one spot in the lineup, as has been the case in the American League for quite some time, is going to be taken solely by a bat allows the Twins flexibility. Not often do players age as well as Nelson Cruz has. Former Twins first basemen David Ortiz is probably the most glaring example, and he retired while still producing at an elite level. Time remains undefeated and eventually Cruz will turn the page, but it’s more than evident he’s at the top now and Minnesota could be for the considerable future. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. The Twins had just four draft picks in the 2020 draft, as you know. 1st round - Aaron Sabato, 1B North Carolina Comp Balance Pick - Traded to Dodgers in Kenta Maeda trade 2nd round - Alerick Soularie, OF/2B Tennessee 3rd round - pick forfeited due to the signing of Josh Donalson 4th round - Marco Raya, RHP (HS pitcher from Texas) 5th round - Kala’i Rosario, OF (HS outfielder from Hawaii) Presumably, these four players will sign in the next few weeks, becoming professional ballplayers. What about the undrafted players? The draft ended on Thursday night and there was a 48-hour quiet period where teams could not contact those undrafted players. During that time, the players can “opt-out” of the process, essentially saying that they are not willing to sign at that time and would be going to school. For those willing to sign, on Sunday, that changes and teams will start their recruiting process. Two questions come to mind: How active do we anticipate the Twins being in signing undrafted players for up to $20,000? For those players they would like to sign, how will they go about recruiting them? So let’s start with the first question. How active will the Twins be in the post-draft, undrafted player process? Like all teams, there is no question that the Twins will be quite involved. How nice would it be to add a player on your draft board for just $20,000?! They would like to add several players. (Seth Prediction, I think they may sign a handful of players to $20K bonuses, but that's just a guess. It is going to be a very competitive market, to be sure.) However, several other factors have to come into play. For instance, the Twins didn’t release any minor league players this year. Several will become free agents at season’s end, but the team will have to make decisions on those players as well. Also remember that it is highly likely that at least one affiliate will be eliminated in 2021. That is potentially another 30 to 35 players that will find themselves out of jobs by next summer. So, it is possible that the overall pool available may not be real large. And there will be a lot of competition for jobs next spring (which isn’t the worst thing, in many cases). Following the draft, Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said the team has a plan for this unprecedented process. “We are certainly hopeful (to sign some players). We have a lot of the things in the works to approach and recruit these players. We have the next two days to see what that pool looks like.” So the first step is determining which players will be available and which ones they will target. Despite the 48-hour timeline between the draft and being able to sign players, the scouts did not get a day off on Friday. Instead, several spent time putting together their board of the best available players. Johnson said, “There are guys on the board we’d love to have and bring into our organization. Now, whether we’re the right fit for the player or that player actually wants to take $20,000 starting on Sunday is to be determined. I’d be guessing if I knew how it’d play out. We are ready to put our best foot forward.” Fair enough. It’s impossible to know the motivation for each individual eligible player. But for those that opt-in and make themselves eligible, the Twins can plan their full-court press to try to sign them. So what are the areas that the Twins will focus their recruitment of players? Johnson highlighted some of their plans, and the areas in which they feel they may have a competitive advantage. But the first one is probably the most important. ““I think at the heart of it, we want to show the player that we want them in the system.” He continued, “And (secondly), here are the things we see with your swing or your pitches or your body that we can do to advance you, to optimize you and to give you a chance to be a major-league prospect.” A player should be excited about that. We all want to know we are truly wanted, but I think that constructive criticism and willingness to accept it are huge in any career. For a player to hear that the Twins not only want them in their organization, but have already had their scouting and player development staff spend time looking at video of them and coming up with a plan of action to make them the best possible player is exciting. As we have seen and touted over the last few spring trainings and seasons, the Twins have invested in their player development in so many ways on the field (with more coaches, coordinators) and off the field (training and education). Johnson and his team of scouts draft and sign players, but then those players get turned over to the capable hands of Jeremy Zoll, Alex Hassan and the coaches and coordinators in Player Development. The nice thing is that the Derek Falvey regime has encouraged having the player development group get a glimpse at potential draft picks and voice thoughts and opinions. “Our player development has incredible staff. They have plentiful tools to educate and show the player the path toward becoming a prospect one day. We feel like our player development is at the top of the industry from a staffing perspective, from a technology perspective, facilities, our academy is unmatched. It’s an incredible place for players. We have players that want to be there year-round. We think that is a separator for us, from a facilities standpoint. We’re hoping that gets us a few wins in that column. So on Sunday morning at 8:00 am Central Time, it will primarily be the team’s area scouts around the country that will be relied upon to attract key targets. They have likely been in contact with the player over the years, especially leading up to the draft. They are the people doing background and talking to parents and coaches and teammates and school administrators and neighbors and, who knows, maybe even pets. The area scouts are the unsung heroes in any organization. In addition, the Twins front office is relying on other relationships that have been built over time. “We’re hoping that the right agents that know what we bring to the table may guide players in our direction.” For the players, they will all have legitimate reasons to sign and not to sign. Maybe they just think they can go to college and develop and eventually make more than $20,000. Maybe a college senior knows that he won’t make $20,000 now or in a year, so they want to take advantage of colleges allowing them an additional year to play. There are also non-economic factors. There will be factors out of the Twins control. Another may be location and geography. A kid from Georgia with a $20,000 offer from the Braves may just want to take that. Or, if you’re a Minnesota kid, maybe the idea of signing with the Twins for $10,000 might be very appealing. The Twins have a loaded offense and lots of great hitting prospects. They have begun to develop more pitchers as well. A player may look at the team’s organizational depth chart and believe they could be blocked or slowed, or simply have a better opportunity elsewhere. Ultimately, the decision is with the players. Some will want to sign, take some money, be done with school and start playing professionally (when possible). Many may decide to bet on themselves, thinking that in a year, they can end up with more money if things return closer to normal. Injuries certainly can factor into their decisions. For some, academics may be a factor. Family. Background. There are many factors that the players could consider. And, for those players willing to sign, the Twins scouts will try to counter any narrative and let them know the benefits of developing in the Twins organization as opposed to other organizations. Ultimately, Sean Johnson says, they will make their pitch and see what happens. “We’re basically going to show the player, here’s what we have to offer you, and we hope that you want to be a part of it. Check in often at Twins Daily as we will try to keep track of the Twins draft picks as they sign as well as trying to keep up with signings of any non-drafted players.
  17. The Minnesota Twins have selected University of North Carolina first basemen Aaron Sabato with their first-round pick. Sabato has about as much power as any player in this draft, short of first overall pick Spencer Torkelson. He fits in nicely with how the Twins have drafted in recent years.Prior to the MLB Draft, I had Aaron Sabato ranked as the 38th best prospect in the draft. Here is the profile I wrote on Sabato during our pre-draft Top 50 Prospect series. Scouting Grades Hit: 55 Power: 65 Run: 35 Throw: 45 Field: 40 Overall: 50 For a college first baseman, with no real potential to play anywhere but first or DH, you better bring a powerful bat if you want to be considered a potential first-round pick, and that is just what Aaron Sabato does. As a draft eligible sophomore, Sabato’s time to impress scouts at the college level has been limited, but he has made full use of that time. After blasting 18 home runs in 64 games as a true freshman in 2019, Sabato belted another 7 home runs in just 19 games this spring, before the season was cut short. Defensively, things aren’t always the smoothest for Sabato at first-base, though they aren’t bad enough to take his glove off the field just yet. Hopefully with some professional coaching, he can bring up his play closer to average at first base. Aaron Sabato is a young player for a college pick, having just turned 21 last Thursday. After going undrafted coming out of high school in 2018, Sabato tore it up in his freshman season at UNC with an impressive .343/.453/.696 slash line. For his efforts, Sabato won a trophy case full of awards, which includes Co-National Freshman of the Year, first-team All-American, first-team Freshman All-America, NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year, first-team All-ACC and ACC Freshman of the Year. He followed that up with a .292/.478/.708 slash line in 19 games this spring before the season got cut short due to COVID-19. Sabato has put his power bat on full display in his time with the Tar Heels, hitting 25 home runs and 31 doubles in just 83 career games. Twins Scouting Director Sean Johnson said of the Twins top pick, "We thought he was the best offensive player left on the board from every standpoint possible. Going back to his season last year, if you look at him analytically, he lined up with some of the guys who went at the very top of the board." This now marks 4-4 on the Twins taking a hitter with their first-round pick, since the current regime took over the team. Personally, I think this strategy makes a lot of sense. Typically, pitchers in the draft come with much more risk than hitters do. The reason being, you never know when a serious injury is going to happen, but they are far more likely to happen with a young pitcher than a young hitter. I think this strategy also speaks to the overall player development strategy of the Twins front office, and that is take talented hitters with good power potential early, then focus on developing pitchers as they come up through the minor league system. This really makes a lot of sense when you consider the background of some of the Twins front office personnel, especially Derek Falvey, who had a big hand in developing the dominate Cleveland Indians starting rotation they had while he was there. Ty Dawson is the Twins area scout for the Carolinas. It was his first season in that role and second in the organization. He joined the organization and spent the first year as a junior college specialist/scout. But Johnson explained that a decision like a first-round draft pick is made by much more than just one person. Johnson noted, ""We did have an all-hands-on-deck approach for this draft. Under the circumstances, Rocco, Mike Bell, Wes Johnson, and on down, all of our player development people, from Jeremy Zoll and Alex Hassan, all of our coordinators. I would say we had upwards of 50 Twins employees that had some opinion on this group of players, from the scouts, PD (Player Development), front office. We asked for a lot of opinions. We really believe in wisdom of crowds. We tried to look at the player from every direction possible." Read up on some of the other great draft coverage on Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Draft Preview 2020 MLB Draft Day 1 Thread How Should the Twins Strategically Approach the MLB Draft? First Round Busts: The Twins Struckout Three Consecutive Years Reviewing Minnesota’s Recent First-Round Picks What does MLB History Say About the 27th Pick? Mike Trout and 3 Other Stars the Twins Passed On in the MLB Draft 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
  18. Prior to the MLB Draft, I had Aaron Sabato ranked as the 38th best prospect in the draft. Here is the profile I wrote on Sabato during our pre-draft Top 50 Prospect series. Scouting Grades Hit: 55 Power: 65 Run: 35 Throw: 45 Field: 40 Overall: 50 For a college first baseman, with no real potential to play anywhere but first or DH, you better bring a powerful bat if you want to be considered a potential first-round pick, and that is just what Aaron Sabato does. As a draft eligible sophomore, Sabato’s time to impress scouts at the college level has been limited, but he has made full use of that time. After blasting 18 home runs in 64 games as a true freshman in 2019, Sabato belted another 7 home runs in just 19 games this spring, before the season was cut short. Defensively, things aren’t always the smoothest for Sabato at first-base, though they aren’t bad enough to take his glove off the field just yet. Hopefully with some professional coaching, he can bring up his play closer to average at first base. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1270927861260705792 Aaron Sabato is a young player for a college pick, having just turned 21 last Thursday. After going undrafted coming out of high school in 2018, Sabato tore it up in his freshman season at UNC with an impressive .343/.453/.696 slash line. For his efforts, Sabato won a trophy case full of awards, which includes Co-National Freshman of the Year, first-team All-American, first-team Freshman All-America, NCBWA Freshman Hitter of the Year, first-team All-ACC and ACC Freshman of the Year. He followed that up with a .292/.478/.708 slash line in 19 games this spring before the season got cut short due to COVID-19. Sabato has put his power bat on full display in his time with the Tar Heels, hitting 25 home runs and 31 doubles in just 83 career games. https://twitter.com/AndrewThares/status/1271108709066977288 Twins Scouting Director Sean Johnson said of the Twins top pick, "We thought he was the best offensive player left on the board from every standpoint possible. Going back to his season last year, if you look at him analytically, he lined up with some of the guys who went at the very top of the board." This now marks 4-4 on the Twins taking a hitter with their first-round pick, since the current regime took over the team. Personally, I think this strategy makes a lot of sense. Typically, pitchers in the draft come with much more risk than hitters do. The reason being, you never know when a serious injury is going to happen, but they are far more likely to happen with a young pitcher than a young hitter. I think this strategy also speaks to the overall player development strategy of the Twins front office, and that is take talented hitters with good power potential early, then focus on developing pitchers as they come up through the minor league system. This really makes a lot of sense when you consider the background of some of the Twins front office personnel, especially Derek Falvey, who had a big hand in developing the dominate Cleveland Indians starting rotation they had while he was there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwLSVsQgibA Ty Dawson is the Twins area scout for the Carolinas. It was his first season in that role and second in the organization. He joined the organization and spent the first year as a junior college specialist/scout. But Johnson explained that a decision like a first-round draft pick is made by much more than just one person. Johnson noted, ""We did have an all-hands-on-deck approach for this draft. Under the circumstances, Rocco, Mike Bell, Wes Johnson, and on down, all of our player development people, from Jeremy Zoll and Alex Hassan, all of our coordinators. I would say we had upwards of 50 Twins employees that had some opinion on this group of players, from the scouts, PD (Player Development), front office. We asked for a lot of opinions. We really believe in wisdom of crowds. We tried to look at the player from every direction possible." https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1270927203132465152 Read up on some of the other great draft coverage on Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Draft Preview 2020 MLB Draft Day 1 Thread How Should the Twins Strategically Approach the MLB Draft? First Round Busts: The Twins Struckout Three Consecutive Years Reviewing Minnesota’s Recent First-Round Picks What does MLB History Say About the 27th Pick? Mike Trout and 3 Other Stars the Twins Passed On in the MLB Draft MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. On June 10th, 2020 one of the weirdest drafts in Major League Baseball history commenced. Composed of just five rounds, Major League organizations will add the least amount of talent they have in years. For the Minnesota Twins, their selections will start with the 27th overall pick. In a yearly effort to keep all of the draft picks in one place, here's your "Keeping Up" entry at Off The Baggy, Take a look back at 2018 here, and 2019 here. This article will be updated throughout the draft tomorrow. The picks: Round 1, Pick 27: Aaron Sabato, 1B University of North Carolina (@SabatoAaron) For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  20. Sure, the 2020 draft won’t affect how the best sports betting sites look at the 2020 season. The baseball draft just doesn’t provide the instant gratification, or at least the instant return on investment that the NFL draft or the NBA draft do. But isn’t that some of what the fun of it is? Being a Major League Baseball player is tough. The players are really good, and even after a successful collegiate career, they have to climb an organization’s ladder. Scouts have had it tough this year. First, they haven’t been able to see players in action since early March. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t seen the players. Consider college juniors. It is likely that scouts have at least been aware of most of those players for at least three years, and if they were at all prospects in high school or played on national circuits, they may have five or six years of getting to know them and watch them. For high school players, most of the high-round draft picks were stars on the national teams the previous summer. It is unusual to find a prep player rocket up draft boards because of his play on the field his senior season. That said, Twins fans need look only to 2019 first-round draft pick Keoni Cavaco to find an example. There is video. I’m sure there are phone calls to coaches and others around the top players. From talking to several of this year’s prospects, there are generally multiple Zoom meetings with teams each day. *Click here to listen to Seth discuss the draft on 1390 Granite City Sports* The Twins Picks 1st round pick - #27 Overall 1st round Competitive Balance Pick - traded to Dodgers (Maeda) 2nd round pick - #59 Overall 3rd round pick - Lost due to signing of Josh Donaldson 4th round pick - #128 Overall 5th round pick - #158 Overall Recent Twins Draft History In 2008, Deron Johnson took over as Twins Scouting Director from Mike Radcliff. He held the reins through the Twins 2016 draft. In 2017, Sean Johnson became the Twins Scouting Director and has led the past three drafts. Deron Johnson and Mike Radcliff remain heavily involved in the draft. Looking back over the past dozen drafts (2008-2019), there is definitely a pattern. #1 - When the Twins have had the first overall pick through the 19th overall pick, they have heavily gone the way of high-upside high school players, usually hitters. Of the eight picks they had in this range, seven of those picks were high school players. And six of those seven were hitters. 2008 - Aaron Hicks (#14 overall), 2012 - Byron Buxton (#2 overall), 2013 - Kohl Stewart (#4 overall), 2014 - Nick Gordon (#5 overall), 2015 - Tyler Jay (#6 overall), 2016 - Alex Kirilloff (#15 overall), 2017 - Royce Lewis (#1 overall), 2019 - Keoni Cavaco (#13 overall). #2 - When the Twins have had pick #20 through #45 (some years, there were enough Competitive Balance or Compensation picks that those were still ‘first-round’ picks), they have drafted primarily college players. Of the ten picks in this range, nine of them were college players. Of those nine, four were hitters and five were pitchers. 2008 - Carlos Gutierrez (#27 overall), Shooter Hunt (#31 overall), 2009 - Kyle Gibson (#22 overall), 2010 - Alex Wimmers (#21 overall), 2011 - Levi Michael (#30 overall), 2012 - Jose Berrios (#32 overall), Luke Bard (#42 overall), 2017 - Brent Rooker (#35 overall), 2018 - Trevor Larnach (#20 overall), 2019 - Matt Wallner (#39 overall). So, with the Twins owning the #27 overall pick, history would tell us that they would go for a college player. The fact that they have just four picks in the draft, I think it becomes even more likely. Going even a little more granular, in the three drafts of Sean Johnson (also the three drafts of the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine era), the Twins have gone quite heavy on bats. Their first round picks have been Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach and Keoni Cavaco, with Competitive Balance Picks Brent Rooker and Matt Wallner and a second-round pick in Ryan Jeffers. Their second round pick in 2019 was college pitcher Matt Canterino, and in 2017 they selected Canadian prep pitcher Landon Leach. Seven of their eight picks in rounds three through five have been college players. The lone exception was the high upside Blayne Enlow in 2017. Three Names To Know Again, history (and recent history) would certainly indicate that we should expect to see the Twins take a college bat with the #27 overall pick. So, here are three names that the Twins may be able to pick. All three are ranked in the 27-37 range of draft prospects, but in several mock drafts, at least one of them has been taken before #27. Justin Foscue, IF (Mississippi State) An Alabama native, Foscue went to Mississippi State. He struggled somewhat as a freshman, but he took off as a sophomore, hitting .338/.402/.582 (.984) with 22 doubles and 14 homers. He was off to a strong start in 2020 as well when the season ended. The fact is that he is going to have to really hit because many believe that he could struggle defensively at second base and could move to the outfield. Probably doesn’t have the size and profile to be a full-time DH. But, most believe that he is certain to be a big-league hitter. Foscue is the player that I selected for the Twins in the Prospects Live draft in late April. I make the pick at the 1:35:57 mark of this video and it is analyzed a bit. Bonus Coverage... find out who I took with the Twins 2nd round pick at the 2:49:38 mark. https://twitter.com/ProspectsLive/status/1256379162920488960 Nick Loftin, SS (Baylor) Loftin is a good example of a player who would be a nice pick up at the end of the first round and be really happy with. While he doesn’t have any elite tools, he does everything fairly well. He hit over .300 each season at Baylor, including .331/.391/.517 (.908) with 20 doubles and six homers. And, he isn’t fast, but he can play shortstop well. Aaron Sabato, 1B (North Carolina) The game of baseball is now all about power, and Sabato brings as much power to the plate as anyone in the draft. He’s a burly 6-3 and 230 pounds. As a freshman in 2019, he hit .335/.437/.650 (1.087) with 22 doubles and 13 home runs. In just 19 games this spring, he already had seven doubles and six homers. His value is almost solely based on his power. He has little speed and is considered below average at first base. But, he has as much power as anyone in the draft. One To Dream On… The Twins have probably had the most success when they have drafted high school athletic types in the first round. Examples include (but certainly not limited to) Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks, Michael Cuddyer and Trevor Plouffe, among others. If there is a player that I believe the Twins are hoping like crazy falls to them at #27 (and has in a few mock drafts), I believe it is... Ed Howard, SS (high school in Illinois) Yes, the Twins have some high-end shortstop prospects, but as we have learned and seen, it is really hard to get to the big leagues as a shortstop. Howard has the tools to be a big-league shortstop. He’s got good range, good speed and a strong arm. Most believe that he can stay at shortstop. He also has a strong, athletic frame and a swing that many believe could lead to power down the line too. Post-Draft Signings Following the five-round draft, teams will be able to sign as many draft-eligible players as they would like for no more than $20,000. The Twins probably helped themselves by announcing two weeks ago that they would continue paying their minor leaguers through the end of August and not releasing players. But, it will be a lot like the recruitment process. It’s about the relationships that the area scouts have built with the players, their advisors, their coaches, etc. It’s hard to imagine non-drafted high school players signing for just $20,000 if they’re a real good prospect. But it’s also possible that they will choose to go to junior colleges and be eligible for the 2021 draft rather than going to a four-year college and have to wait until 2023 to get drafted. Seniors may be willing to be sign, though they can get another year of college eligibility if they want. Junior may choose to go back, but if they do, they will also be ‘senior signs’ next year and lose leverage. In other words, it’s not going to be easy to sign players after the draft. Twins Daily Draft Coverage Please know that we will be covering the Twins draft extensively over the next few days. We will highlight each of the Twins four draft picks. Be sure to check back often for draft rumors, picks, signings and more. Thank you to Andrew Thares for his Top 50 prospect rankings and for helping plan the coming days’ coverage Top Draft Prospects 1-10 Top Draft Prospects 11-20 Top Draft Prospects 21-30 Top Draft Prospects 31-40 Top Draft Prospects 41-50 First Round Busts: The Twins Struckout Three Consecutive Years - Cody Christie Reviewing Minnesota’s Recent First-Round Picks - Cody Christie What does MLB History Say About the 27th Pick? - Matthew Taylor Please feel free to ask questions. Which draft prospects are your favorites, and would you like seeing the Twins draft? How do you feel about the four players mentioned.
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