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  1. Much has been made of how badly the Akil Baddoo situation worked out for the Minnesota Twins. He hadn’t played since 2019 and was coming off an injury, but the 40 man roster had other expendable pieces, and the Detroit Tigers made it hurt. This time around, Minnesota sought to avoid a repeat performance. With the deadline to add players onto the 40 man roster affording them protection from being exposed in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins had four locks: Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. From there, the next most logical addition was Blayne Enlow. His case was an uncertain one, however, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this past summer. Enlow didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league shut down, and he got in just 14 2/3 innings in 2021 before the arm surgery. Having topped out at High-A Cedar Rapids, the 22-year-old is plenty far from the majors as well. Don’t let that fool you, though, as this is an arm Minnesota should’ve had a chance at seeing this year. That would’ve been a monumental leap from Iowa to St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis across one season, but it also highlights this organization's belief in the kid. Minnesota’s front office selected Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, their first with the organization. After taking Royce Lewis first overall, the Twins went with Landon Leach in round two with the hopes of saving slot value and spending more on Enlow. Ultimately agreeing to a $2 million bonus that checked in as the highest mark of the third round and was $600 thousand more than Minnesota gave to the pick before. Steering him away from a commitment to Louisiana State University, the Twins liked the right-handed prep arm. To this point in his professional career, Enlow has proven the Twins front office right. He posted a 3.26 ERA in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old and combined for a 3.82 ERA in 2019 as a 20-year-old. Spending the time working, getting bigger, and fine-tuning his stuff, there was no minor league pitcher I was higher on making a big jump in 2021 than Enlow. The first 14 2/3 innings of work this year came in to the tune of a 1.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Enlow’s command has always been the area that could use work, and seeing strikeouts jump up because of it was the expectation. A strong fastball with a plus-bender, Enlow looked the part of someone that could pitch in the top half of a Major League rotation. After going under the knife, we’ll need to see how he responds. The Twins likely won’t see Enlow in action for much of the 2022 season, but he can continue to rehab and do so while being placed on the 60-day Injured List and not occupying a 40-man roster spot. Being able to stash him like this allows Minnesota to reap the rewards of a fully healthy player in 2023. If Enlow’s trends out of the shutdown were anything to be believed, it’s worth getting excited for a kid that could undoubtedly join the ranks of the top organizational arms. Unlike Baddoo before him, no team selecting Enlow in the Rule 5 Draft would’ve been immediately able to see what they had on a big-league field. They could utilize the same Injured List designation, though, and would have added a big talent to the organization at next to no cost. Thankfully Minnesota didn’t pass on the opportunity to protect him solely to save a roster spot for what amounts to a handful of weeks. This is a long-term play that has a chance to pay big dividends. Here’s to hoping Enlow’s rehab continues to go smoothly, he returns quickly, and the results are every bit as enticing as they once looked. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. With the deadline to add players onto the 40 man roster affording them protection from being exposed in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins had four locks: Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. From there, the next most logical addition was Blayne Enlow. His case was an uncertain one, however, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this past summer. Enlow didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the minor league shut down, and he got in just 14 2/3 innings in 2021 before the arm surgery. Having topped out at High-A Cedar Rapids, the 22-year-old is plenty far from the majors as well. Don’t let that fool you, though, as this is an arm Minnesota should’ve had a chance at seeing this year. That would’ve been a monumental leap from Iowa to St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis across one season, but it also highlights this organization's belief in the kid. Minnesota’s front office selected Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, their first with the organization. After taking Royce Lewis first overall, the Twins went with Landon Leach in round two with the hopes of saving slot value and spending more on Enlow. Ultimately agreeing to a $2 million bonus that checked in as the highest mark of the third round and was $600 thousand more than Minnesota gave to the pick before. Steering him away from a commitment to Louisiana State University, the Twins liked the right-handed prep arm. To this point in his professional career, Enlow has proven the Twins front office right. He posted a 3.26 ERA in his first full professional season as a 19-year-old and combined for a 3.82 ERA in 2019 as a 20-year-old. Spending the time working, getting bigger, and fine-tuning his stuff, there was no minor league pitcher I was higher on making a big jump in 2021 than Enlow. The first 14 2/3 innings of work this year came in to the tune of a 1.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Enlow’s command has always been the area that could use work, and seeing strikeouts jump up because of it was the expectation. A strong fastball with a plus-bender, Enlow looked the part of someone that could pitch in the top half of a Major League rotation. After going under the knife, we’ll need to see how he responds. The Twins likely won’t see Enlow in action for much of the 2022 season, but he can continue to rehab and do so while being placed on the 60-day Injured List and not occupying a 40-man roster spot. Being able to stash him like this allows Minnesota to reap the rewards of a fully healthy player in 2023. If Enlow’s trends out of the shutdown were anything to be believed, it’s worth getting excited for a kid that could undoubtedly join the ranks of the top organizational arms. Unlike Baddoo before him, no team selecting Enlow in the Rule 5 Draft would’ve been immediately able to see what they had on a big-league field. They could utilize the same Injured List designation, though, and would have added a big talent to the organization at next to no cost. Thankfully Minnesota didn’t pass on the opportunity to protect him solely to save a roster spot for what amounts to a handful of weeks. This is a long-term play that has a chance to pay big dividends. Here’s to hoping Enlow’s rehab continues to go smoothly, he returns quickly, and the results are every bit as enticing as they once looked. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. The Minnesota Twins added six players to their 40-man roster Friday to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft: Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow and Chris Vallimont. They also removed Devin Smeltzer, Kyle Garlick, Willians Astudillo and Charlie Barnes from the 40-man roster. Still sticking around (at least for now) is Jake Cave.
  4. The Minnesota Twins added six players to their 40-man roster Friday to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft: Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow and Chris Vallimont. They also removed Devin Smeltzer, Kyle Garlick, Willians Astudillo and Charlie Barnes from the 40-man roster. Still sticking around (at least for now) is Jake Cave. View full video
  5. On Friday, the Minnesota Twins and the rest of the league will submit their 40-man roster additions. After a lost 2020 minor-league season, it was great to have games to watch again in 2021. So who do the Twins need to add… or potentially risk losing to the Rule 5 draft? Here's a quick look at 21 players, and the rest of the players eligible. For the second consecutive year, baseball will have an interesting offseason, filled with uncertainty. Along with the normal questions, such as: When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Which players will be non-tendered? Baseball’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at midnight on December 2nd. At that point, the offseason will come to a halt. For how long? That is the question. We obviously hope that a new, long-term, equitable deal can be reached before 2022 spring training is scheduled to start in mid-February, but we don’t know. If there is a work stoppage, will there be a Winter Meetings, and if not, will there be a Rule 5 draft? Certainly, but when? That is what we are here today to talk about.. The Rule 5 draft and which players the Twins may need to add to their 40-man roster or leave susceptible to the Rule 5 draft. Last year, the Twins lost both Akil Baddoo and Tyler Wells in the major-league portion, and the likes of Sam Clay, Jose Miranda, Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes were left exposed as well. Teams have until Friday, November 19th, to add players to their 40 man roster. At the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents - Andrelton Simmons and Michael Pineda - from the 40-man roster. Alex Colome also became a free agent when the Twins declined their half of the mutual option for 2022. The Twins have claimed right-hander Jharel Cotton. The Twins are currently at 38 players on their 40-man roster. Several players will likely need to be removed in order to make room for this new group. The Twins still have to make decisions on several arbitration-eligible players as well. Offseason roster manipulation is incredibly fascinating from afar, but it has to provide most front offices with stress and headaches. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man), but it is more likely they add four to six players on Friday. So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2017 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2018. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted in 2015 became free agents after the World Series was complete. That list includes Aaron Whitefield (who quickly signed with the Angels), Trey Cabbage, Hector Lujan, Tyler Watson, Leobaldo Cabrera and more. So, let’s take a look at the eligible players: There are always a lot of difficult decisions as it relates to adding players to the 40-man roster. That said, there are usually some Givens, then some intriguing options due to injury or age or something else. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters? While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) THE GIVENS SS Royce Lewis - After the Twins took him with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in California, Royce Lewis moved pretty quickly up the organizational ladder through the 2019 season. He was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after the season. Then came 2020, a missed season for minor leaguers, but Lewis was able to participate at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. He was excited for the 2021 season, but shortly after he arrived in Ft. Myers for spring training, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL and had season-ending surgery. His rehab has gone smoothly, and his elite tools are still very clear and his ceiling remains high. Lewis is an easy choice to add to the roster. IF Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Jose Miranda has hit some and always displayed a lot of power potential. In 2021, things came together for Miranda. He didn’t chase as many pitches outside the zone and made a lot of hard contact. He hit a combined .343 between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul with 30 doubles and 30 home runs. The Twins are lucky he wasn’t selected last year and he’s a certainty to be added this year. RH SP Josh Winder - He was the Twins seventh round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. After missing 2020, Josh Winder jumped straight to Double-A Wichita and posted a 1.98 ERA and had 65 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his first game. He pitched in the Futures Game and was then shut down with some shoulder issues. He sits 95-97 with his fastball and has four pitches. Easy choice. RH SP Cole Sands - Sands was the team’s fifth round pick in 2018 out of Florida State. In 2019, he started in Low-A and ended the season with a start in Double-A. That’s where he spent the 2021 season. He went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 96 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Cole Sands has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a really good curveball. While he may not be a Given, he is more than Intriguing. I think the only chance he isn’t added is if the Twins only add three players. THE INTRIGUING RHP Blayne Enlow - The most interesting case for consideration. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in early June. Normally that would mean missing the rest of the season and all of the 2022 season. However, the success of Rich Hill’s elbow surgery procedure has given the Twins confidence in its success and Enlow had that surgery which puts him on the nine-to-12 month plan. Obviously the Twins will want to be extra cautious with a pitcher as talented as Enlow. His fastball velocity has improved, his changeup has become a solid third pitch, and he’s always had a really good breaking ball. In his brief 2021 season, he was starting to show the ability to miss bats which is very encouraging. If it was me, I would add Enlow. There are a lot of things to consider though. RH SP Chris Vallimont - Chris Vallimont was the Marlins fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Mercyhurst. The Twins acquired him with Sergio Romo at the 2019 trade deadline in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. The hard-throwing right-hander made 21 starts for the Wind Surge in 2021. He went 5-7 with a 6.03 ERA. In 91 innings, he walked 61 (way too many) but struck out 130 batters (an impressive 12.9 K/9). “Control” is the key. In the past, he has had good control. The stuff is really good, but can he throw enough strikes? RH RP Jordan Gore - Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina, and he played shortstop until near the end of the 2019 season. That’s when he began the process of becoming a pitcher. In 2021, he finally got the chance to show what he could do. Jordan Gore was impressive. At Cedar Rapids, he had 58 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. He moved up to Wichita and struck out 30 batters in 28 innings. He combined to go 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He had seven saves including six at Wichita. More importantly, while his fastball sat between 93 and 96, what was impressive is that he has a good changeup and a solid breaking ball. RH SP Austin Schulfer - Another college pitcher from the 2018 draft, Austin Schulfer was the team’s 19th round pick out of UW-Milwaukee. While he split time between starting and the bullpen in 2018 and 2019, he was a starter for Double-A Wichita in 2021. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. In 110 innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked 49. In 2021, Schulfer was hitting 96 and even 97 at times with a strong three-pitch mix. While not a known prospect, Schulfer is close to MLB ready and could work out of a big-league bullpen. RH RP Ian Hamilton - The former White Sox reliever (14 games between 2018 and 2020) was Chicago’s 11th round pick in 2016 out of Washington State. The Twins claimed him last offseason and later in the year they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to St. Paul. Because it was his first outright, he could not yet become a free agent. But, while he has control and command concerns, Ian Hamilton has really good stuff and had 86 strikeouts in 59 innings this year for the Saints. He can pitch in the big leagues, and has, which might make the right team intrigued by his stuff. SS Jermaine Palacios - Palacios originally signed with the Twins in 2013. In 2017, he became a top shortstop prospect, and the Twins were able to trade him to Tampa for Jake Odorizzi. In 2018 and 2019, he really struggled offensively. He didn’t play in 2020, and while he was offered more by other teams, Palacios decided to sign with the Twins last summer. He responded with strong shortstop defense at Double-A and hit .259/.340/.439 (.779) with 17 doubles and 19 homers. He could have become a free agent after the World Series, but he re-signed with the Twins. At 25, Jermaine Palacios could fill a utility role somewhere. THE “SETH, YOU RANKED BAILEY OBER 11th LAST YEAR” CATEGORY RH RP Ryan Mason - Went 3-2 with six saves with Wichita. In 35 1/3 innings, he struck out 38 batters (9.7 K/9). He finished the season with 13 games in St. Paul. He was 1-0 with a save. In 18 2/3 innings, Ryan Mason walked ten and struck out 25 batters. While he profiles as a low-leverage reliever, he is ready now for a big-league opportunity. RH RP Steven Cruz - When it comes to big arms, this is the one. Steven Cruz (22) sat 96-100 for Ft. Myers this year. He also has a split-change and a slider that are both 90+ on the radar too. In 46 2/3 innings with the Mussels, he walked 30 and struck out 76 (14.7 K/9). Too many walks, and struggled late in the season in two games for Cedar Rapids. Great stuff, but probably too far away from being ready to stick on a roster. C Jair Camargo - He came to the Twins in the Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol trade. So 2021 was his debut in the organization. In Cedar Rapids, he hit .236/.279/.418 (.697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Jair Camargo is a solid catcher defensively and athletic with a strong arm. Offensively, he’s got power, but he doesn’t like to take too many pitches. 2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. He fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season and there was no 2020 season. Yunior Severino began 2021 with 63 games in Ft. Myers where he posted a .740 OPS. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907). Combined, he had 29 doubles and eight homers. Beyond second base, he can also play third base. It’s hard to imagine he would be able to stick on a big-league roster. UT Michael Helman - The Twins selected Michael Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Texas A&M. He took major strides forward in 2021 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 111 games, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles and 19 homers. He also stole 21 bases. In addition, he can play three infield positions and had significant time at all three outfield positions in 2021. He is in the Arizona Fall League, continuing to play all over the diamond. One position that has been selected in past Rule 5 drafts are utility players. OF Mark Contreras - A ninth round pick in 2017 after four years at UC-Riverside. After winning a minor league Gold Glove, but struggling with the bat in 2019, 2021 was a big year. He played 19 games in Double-A before playing 95 games with the Saints. Combined, he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles and 20 home runs. Mark Contreras can be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues right now, but that profile isn’t what typically gets selected in the Rule 5. IF Jesus Feliz - Call me intrigued by Jesus Feliz. I was impressed with him when I saw him at spring training in 2020, so when he hit six doubles and seven homers in the less-than-hitter-friendly Ft. Myers league. He can play shortstop, but probably profiles more at third base. The power is real. He hit just .222/.289/.380, so he’s not in a position to stick on a big-league roster, but he’s one to watch. RH RP Alex Scherff - Alex Scherff has yet to pitch in the Twins organization after coming from the Red Sox in the Hansel Robles trade. Before that, he had pitched at High-A and Double-A and went 3-1 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he struck out 46 (14.1 K/9) and walked 13. LH RP Kody Funderburk - A 15th round pick in 2018 out of Dallas Baptist, Kody Funderburk was a two-way player in college. He’s been a full-time pitcher since signing. He made 10 starts in Cedar Rapids and posted a 3.18 ERA. He moved up to Wichita and made seven bullpen appearances. He posted a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Combined, he struck out 82 batters in 67 innings (11.0 K/9). Right now, he’s pitching in the Arizona Fall League being seen by scouts from every organization. He’s got 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. LH RP Zach Featherstone - Another two-way player, the Twins drafted Zach Featherstone as a first baseman and outfielder in the 12th round in 2016 from Tallahassee CC. However, the southpaw was moved to the mound in 2017. Unfortunately, he hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. He was ready to throw late in 2019, but a hurricane ended his chance. Then a missed 2020 season. In 2021, he pitched in 40 games out of the Kernels bullpen. He went 3-4 with nine saves and a 2.13 ERA. In 55 innings, he walked too many (42) and struck out 93 batters (15.2 K/9). He is now in the AFL and has seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He throws hard, sitting 92-96 mph with a good slider. IF Andrew Bechtold - Andrew Bechtold was the Twins fifth round pick in 2017 from Chipola College. From 2017 through 2019, he had hit 12 combined home runs. In 99 games for Wichita in 2021, he hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 home runs. He can play third base and first base, and probably some second base. The fact that he is adding ‘Catching’ to his game makes him more versatile and more valuable to a team potentially. He is currently in the AFL as well. Others in their first year of eligibility: Luis Baez, Denny Bentley, Andrew Cabezas, DaShawn Keirsey, Landon Leach, Jeferson Morales, Danny Moreno, Zach Neff, Jon Olsen, Tyler Palm, Alexander Pena, Alex Phillips, Seth Pinkerton, Miguel Rodriguez, Evan Sisk, Gabe Snyder, Wander Valdez, Chris Williams. Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2021. Melvi Acosta, David Banuelos, Stevie Berman, Ernie De La Trinidad, Osiris German, Caleb Hamilton, Wander Javier, Jimmy Kerrigan, Gabriel Maciel, Josh Mitchell, Derek Molina, Daniel Ozoria, Luis Rijo, Bryan Sammons, Jesus Toledo. SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting players to consider adding to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happen, including the Rule 5 draft, due to a potential December 2nd work stoppage. But it will happen at some point before the 2022 season begins... we think. PREDICTION It is pretty clear that the Givens to be added are (or should be) Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Josh Winder and Cole Sands. I then think they will add two of the Enlow, Vallimont, Gore and Schulfer grouping, and based on my rankings, I would guess Enlow and Vallimont. The 40-man roster currently sits at 38 players. A quick glance tells me that as many as eight or nine more players could come off of it, if needed. Obviously not that many will be dropped at this time to allow for DFAs later in the offseason, as needed to make room for free agents. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of the mentioned players.. What do you think? View full article
  6. For the second consecutive year, baseball will have an interesting offseason, filled with uncertainty. Along with the normal questions, such as: When will free agents sign? Will anything much happen before February? Which players will be non-tendered? Baseball’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at midnight on December 2nd. At that point, the offseason will come to a halt. For how long? That is the question. We obviously hope that a new, long-term, equitable deal can be reached before 2022 spring training is scheduled to start in mid-February, but we don’t know. If there is a work stoppage, will there be a Winter Meetings, and if not, will there be a Rule 5 draft? Certainly, but when? That is what we are here today to talk about.. The Rule 5 draft and which players the Twins may need to add to their 40-man roster or leave susceptible to the Rule 5 draft. Last year, the Twins lost both Akil Baddoo and Tyler Wells in the major-league portion, and the likes of Sam Clay, Jose Miranda, Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes were left exposed as well. Teams have until Friday, November 19th, to add players to their 40 man roster. At the completion of the World Series, the Twins have been able to remove their free agents - Andrelton Simmons and Michael Pineda - from the 40-man roster. Alex Colome also became a free agent when the Twins declined their half of the mutual option for 2022. The Twins have claimed right-hander Jharel Cotton. The Twins are currently at 38 players on their 40-man roster. Several players will likely need to be removed in order to make room for this new group. The Twins still have to make decisions on several arbitration-eligible players as well. Offseason roster manipulation is incredibly fascinating from afar, but it has to provide most front offices with stress and headaches. With that as the backdrop, the Twins could potentially add as many as eight or even nine players from their system to their 40-man roster (pending others being removed from the 40-man), but it is more likely they add four to six players on Friday. So, here is a quick reminder of what players will be eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40-man roster. Here is this year’s criteria: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2017 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2018. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted in 2015 became free agents after the World Series was complete. That list includes Aaron Whitefield (who quickly signed with the Angels), Trey Cabbage, Hector Lujan, Tyler Watson, Leobaldo Cabrera and more. So, let’s take a look at the eligible players: There are always a lot of difficult decisions as it relates to adding players to the 40-man roster. That said, there are usually some Givens, then some intriguing options due to injury or age or something else. When so few players get selected in the Rule 5 draft, is it necessary to protect as many players? Or, are so few players selected because more (or the right) players get added to 40-man rosters? While I have this group ranked by how I would consider adding them, I think the Twins should have a good conversation to consider each. (which they most certainly have) THE GIVENS SS Royce Lewis - After the Twins took him with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in California, Royce Lewis moved pretty quickly up the organizational ladder through the 2019 season. He was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after the season. Then came 2020, a missed season for minor leaguers, but Lewis was able to participate at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. He was excited for the 2021 season, but shortly after he arrived in Ft. Myers for spring training, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL and had season-ending surgery. His rehab has gone smoothly, and his elite tools are still very clear and his ceiling remains high. Lewis is an easy choice to add to the roster. IF Jose Miranda - The 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft from Puerto Rico, Jose Miranda has hit some and always displayed a lot of power potential. In 2021, things came together for Miranda. He didn’t chase as many pitches outside the zone and made a lot of hard contact. He hit a combined .343 between Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul with 30 doubles and 30 home runs. The Twins are lucky he wasn’t selected last year and he’s a certainty to be added this year. RH SP Josh Winder - He was the Twins seventh round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. After missing 2020, Josh Winder jumped straight to Double-A Wichita and posted a 1.98 ERA and had 65 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his first game. He pitched in the Futures Game and was then shut down with some shoulder issues. He sits 95-97 with his fastball and has four pitches. Easy choice. RH SP Cole Sands - Sands was the team’s fifth round pick in 2018 out of Florida State. In 2019, he started in Low-A and ended the season with a start in Double-A. That’s where he spent the 2021 season. He went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA. He struck out 96 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Cole Sands has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a really good curveball. While he may not be a Given, he is more than Intriguing. I think the only chance he isn’t added is if the Twins only add three players. THE INTRIGUING RHP Blayne Enlow - The most interesting case for consideration. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in early June. Normally that would mean missing the rest of the season and all of the 2022 season. However, the success of Rich Hill’s elbow surgery procedure has given the Twins confidence in its success and Enlow had that surgery which puts him on the nine-to-12 month plan. Obviously the Twins will want to be extra cautious with a pitcher as talented as Enlow. His fastball velocity has improved, his changeup has become a solid third pitch, and he’s always had a really good breaking ball. In his brief 2021 season, he was starting to show the ability to miss bats which is very encouraging. If it was me, I would add Enlow. There are a lot of things to consider though. RH SP Chris Vallimont - Chris Vallimont was the Marlins fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Mercyhurst. The Twins acquired him with Sergio Romo at the 2019 trade deadline in exchange for first baseman Lewin Diaz. The hard-throwing right-hander made 21 starts for the Wind Surge in 2021. He went 5-7 with a 6.03 ERA. In 91 innings, he walked 61 (way too many) but struck out 130 batters (an impressive 12.9 K/9). “Control” is the key. In the past, he has had good control. The stuff is really good, but can he throw enough strikes? RH RP Jordan Gore - Gore was the Twins 19th round pick in 2017 out of Coastal Carolina, and he played shortstop until near the end of the 2019 season. That’s when he began the process of becoming a pitcher. In 2021, he finally got the chance to show what he could do. Jordan Gore was impressive. At Cedar Rapids, he had 58 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. He moved up to Wichita and struck out 30 batters in 28 innings. He combined to go 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He had seven saves including six at Wichita. More importantly, while his fastball sat between 93 and 96, what was impressive is that he has a good changeup and a solid breaking ball. RH SP Austin Schulfer - Another college pitcher from the 2018 draft, Austin Schulfer was the team’s 19th round pick out of UW-Milwaukee. While he split time between starting and the bullpen in 2018 and 2019, he was a starter for Double-A Wichita in 2021. He went 6-8 with a 4.34 ERA. In 110 innings, he struck out 105 batters and walked 49. In 2021, Schulfer was hitting 96 and even 97 at times with a strong three-pitch mix. While not a known prospect, Schulfer is close to MLB ready and could work out of a big-league bullpen. RH RP Ian Hamilton - The former White Sox reliever (14 games between 2018 and 2020) was Chicago’s 11th round pick in 2016 out of Washington State. The Twins claimed him last offseason and later in the year they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to St. Paul. Because it was his first outright, he could not yet become a free agent. But, while he has control and command concerns, Ian Hamilton has really good stuff and had 86 strikeouts in 59 innings this year for the Saints. He can pitch in the big leagues, and has, which might make the right team intrigued by his stuff. SS Jermaine Palacios - Palacios originally signed with the Twins in 2013. In 2017, he became a top shortstop prospect, and the Twins were able to trade him to Tampa for Jake Odorizzi. In 2018 and 2019, he really struggled offensively. He didn’t play in 2020, and while he was offered more by other teams, Palacios decided to sign with the Twins last summer. He responded with strong shortstop defense at Double-A and hit .259/.340/.439 (.779) with 17 doubles and 19 homers. He could have become a free agent after the World Series, but he re-signed with the Twins. At 25, Jermaine Palacios could fill a utility role somewhere. THE “SETH, YOU RANKED BAILEY OBER 11th LAST YEAR” CATEGORY RH RP Ryan Mason - Went 3-2 with six saves with Wichita. In 35 1/3 innings, he struck out 38 batters (9.7 K/9). He finished the season with 13 games in St. Paul. He was 1-0 with a save. In 18 2/3 innings, Ryan Mason walked ten and struck out 25 batters. While he profiles as a low-leverage reliever, he is ready now for a big-league opportunity. RH RP Steven Cruz - When it comes to big arms, this is the one. Steven Cruz (22) sat 96-100 for Ft. Myers this year. He also has a split-change and a slider that are both 90+ on the radar too. In 46 2/3 innings with the Mussels, he walked 30 and struck out 76 (14.7 K/9). Too many walks, and struggled late in the season in two games for Cedar Rapids. Great stuff, but probably too far away from being ready to stick on a roster. C Jair Camargo - He came to the Twins in the Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol trade. So 2021 was his debut in the organization. In Cedar Rapids, he hit .236/.279/.418 (.697) with seven doubles and 13 homers. Jair Camargo is a solid catcher defensively and athletic with a strong arm. Offensively, he’s got power, but he doesn’t like to take too many pitches. 2B Yunior Severino - Enough of an international prospect that he received two seven-figure signing bonuses. He fractured his thumb early in the 2019 season and there was no 2020 season. Yunior Severino began 2021 with 63 games in Ft. Myers where he posted a .740 OPS. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907). Combined, he had 29 doubles and eight homers. Beyond second base, he can also play third base. It’s hard to imagine he would be able to stick on a big-league roster. UT Michael Helman - The Twins selected Michael Helman in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Texas A&M. He took major strides forward in 2021 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 111 games, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles and 19 homers. He also stole 21 bases. In addition, he can play three infield positions and had significant time at all three outfield positions in 2021. He is in the Arizona Fall League, continuing to play all over the diamond. One position that has been selected in past Rule 5 drafts are utility players. OF Mark Contreras - A ninth round pick in 2017 after four years at UC-Riverside. After winning a minor league Gold Glove, but struggling with the bat in 2019, 2021 was a big year. He played 19 games in Double-A before playing 95 games with the Saints. Combined, he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles and 20 home runs. Mark Contreras can be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues right now, but that profile isn’t what typically gets selected in the Rule 5. IF Jesus Feliz - Call me intrigued by Jesus Feliz. I was impressed with him when I saw him at spring training in 2020, so when he hit six doubles and seven homers in the less-than-hitter-friendly Ft. Myers league. He can play shortstop, but probably profiles more at third base. The power is real. He hit just .222/.289/.380, so he’s not in a position to stick on a big-league roster, but he’s one to watch. RH RP Alex Scherff - Alex Scherff has yet to pitch in the Twins organization after coming from the Red Sox in the Hansel Robles trade. Before that, he had pitched at High-A and Double-A and went 3-1 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he struck out 46 (14.1 K/9) and walked 13. LH RP Kody Funderburk - A 15th round pick in 2018 out of Dallas Baptist, Kody Funderburk was a two-way player in college. He’s been a full-time pitcher since signing. He made 10 starts in Cedar Rapids and posted a 3.18 ERA. He moved up to Wichita and made seven bullpen appearances. He posted a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Combined, he struck out 82 batters in 67 innings (11.0 K/9). Right now, he’s pitching in the Arizona Fall League being seen by scouts from every organization. He’s got 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. LH RP Zach Featherstone - Another two-way player, the Twins drafted Zach Featherstone as a first baseman and outfielder in the 12th round in 2016 from Tallahassee CC. However, the southpaw was moved to the mound in 2017. Unfortunately, he hurt his elbow and had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. He was ready to throw late in 2019, but a hurricane ended his chance. Then a missed 2020 season. In 2021, he pitched in 40 games out of the Kernels bullpen. He went 3-4 with nine saves and a 2.13 ERA. In 55 innings, he walked too many (42) and struck out 93 batters (15.2 K/9). He is now in the AFL and has seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. He throws hard, sitting 92-96 mph with a good slider. IF Andrew Bechtold - Andrew Bechtold was the Twins fifth round pick in 2017 from Chipola College. From 2017 through 2019, he had hit 12 combined home runs. In 99 games for Wichita in 2021, he hit .239/.328/.459 (.786) with 23 doubles and 18 home runs. He can play third base and first base, and probably some second base. The fact that he is adding ‘Catching’ to his game makes him more versatile and more valuable to a team potentially. He is currently in the AFL as well. Others in their first year of eligibility: Luis Baez, Denny Bentley, Andrew Cabezas, DaShawn Keirsey, Landon Leach, Jeferson Morales, Danny Moreno, Zach Neff, Jon Olsen, Tyler Palm, Alexander Pena, Alex Phillips, Seth Pinkerton, Miguel Rodriguez, Evan Sisk, Gabe Snyder, Wander Valdez, Chris Williams. Others returning to Rule 5 eligibility after 2021. Melvi Acosta, David Banuelos, Stevie Berman, Ernie De La Trinidad, Osiris German, Caleb Hamilton, Wander Javier, Jimmy Kerrigan, Gabriel Maciel, Josh Mitchell, Derek Molina, Daniel Ozoria, Luis Rijo, Bryan Sammons, Jesus Toledo. SUMMARY The Twins again have several interesting players to consider adding to the 40-man roster or potentially be lost in the Rule 5 draft. Like the rest of the offseason, it’s hard to feel confident about anything that’s going to happen, including the Rule 5 draft, due to a potential December 2nd work stoppage. But it will happen at some point before the 2022 season begins... we think. PREDICTION It is pretty clear that the Givens to be added are (or should be) Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Josh Winder and Cole Sands. I then think they will add two of the Enlow, Vallimont, Gore and Schulfer grouping, and based on my rankings, I would guess Enlow and Vallimont. The 40-man roster currently sits at 38 players. A quick glance tells me that as many as eight or nine more players could come off of it, if needed. Obviously not that many will be dropped at this time to allow for DFAs later in the offseason, as needed to make room for free agents. I think they’ll be busy in free agency and will want those roster spots available to them. They may be busy with trades too, including some of the mentioned players.. What do you think?
  7. Baseball prospects can come in all shapes and sizes. In this part of the Twins top-30 prospects, the players range from 19 to 26 years old. Take a look at players that crack the back-end of the team’s top 20. 20. IF Spencer Steer (23 years old) Season Stats (A+/AA): 79 G, .255/.363/.497 (.860), 19 HR, 11 2B, 2 3B, 18.9 K%, 12.7 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 16, 2021 Preseason: NA Steer was a 2019 third-round pick out of the University of Oregon. Steer’s drop in the rankings is more about the new players in the organization than about him having a poor performance. He started the year in Cedar Rapids, where he slashed .274/.409/.506 (915) in 45 games. The transition to Double-A has seen his OBP drop by 110 points, but he is still slugging .485. In his professional career, this is the first time he has been a year younger than the average age of the competition. At Cedar Rapids, he made nearly all his defensive starts at second base, and now he has been splitting time between second and third in Wichita. 19. RHP Cole Sands (24 years old) Season Stats (AA): 48.1 IP (12 G), 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 13, 2021 Preseason: 15 Sands immediately impacted the Twins organization after being taken in the fifth round back in 2018. While pitching at three different levels, he posted a sub-2.70 ERA with a 10.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Sands missed over a month earlier in the season, and the team has slowly been increasing his workload in recent weeks. Since coming off the IL (5 G), he has posted a 2.70 ERA while holding batters to a .190/.262/.379 slash line. His strikeout totals are up this year which is a positive since he faces older batters in over 60% of his plate appearances. 18. OF Misael Urbina (19 years old) Season Stats (A): 73 G, .193/.295/.294 (.589), 4 HR, 7 2B, 4 3B, 18.6 K%, 11.4 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 15, 2021 Preseason: 14 Urbina was signed out of Venezuela during the 2018 International Signing Period for $2.75 million. As a 19-year old, he is making his stateside debut this season, and he has only faced younger pitchers in four out of his 323 plate appearances. Even facing older competition, he has shown an advanced eye at the plate and the ability to draw walks. Defensively, he has split time between center field and left field. Urbina has some of the best tools in the Twins system, and he is a player that should move up this list in the years to come. 17. RHP Blayne Enlow (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 14.2 IP (3 G), 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 14.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 11, 2021 Preseason: 10 Enlow, a 2017 third-round pick, made quick work of High-A to start the season as he mowed down batters with career-high strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and will be out until the second half of 2022. Minnesota added pitching depth that will be ranked ahead of Enlow, but that doesn’t take anything away from his long-term potential. 16. OF Brent Rooker (26 years old) Season Stats (AAA): 61 G, .239/.362/.546 (.908), 19 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 30.2 K%, 14.3 BB% Season Stats (MLB): 24 G, .168/.225/.358 (.583), 4 HR, 6 2B, 30.3 K%, 5.9 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 14, 2021 Preseason: 12 Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 MLB Draft, and now he’s found himself in a unique spot with the Twins. He has little left to prove at Triple-A as he has posted an OPS north of .900 in 2019 and 2021. His power might be the best in the entire Twins system, but questions remain about how regularly he can make contact. Minnesota is also concerned about him being a defensive liability, but the team has been using him in both corner outfield spots since his call-up. Following the Nelson Cruz trade, Rooker should stick in the Twins lineup for the rest of the season, so that the club can evaluate him for the long term. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Prospects 21-25 -Prospects 26-30 View full article
  8. 20. IF Spencer Steer (23 years old) Season Stats (A+/AA): 79 G, .255/.363/.497 (.860), 19 HR, 11 2B, 2 3B, 18.9 K%, 12.7 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 16, 2021 Preseason: NA Steer was a 2019 third-round pick out of the University of Oregon. Steer’s drop in the rankings is more about the new players in the organization than about him having a poor performance. He started the year in Cedar Rapids, where he slashed .274/.409/.506 (915) in 45 games. The transition to Double-A has seen his OBP drop by 110 points, but he is still slugging .485. In his professional career, this is the first time he has been a year younger than the average age of the competition. At Cedar Rapids, he made nearly all his defensive starts at second base, and now he has been splitting time between second and third in Wichita. 19. RHP Cole Sands (24 years old) Season Stats (AA): 48.1 IP (12 G), 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 13, 2021 Preseason: 15 Sands immediately impacted the Twins organization after being taken in the fifth round back in 2018. While pitching at three different levels, he posted a sub-2.70 ERA with a 10.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. Sands missed over a month earlier in the season, and the team has slowly been increasing his workload in recent weeks. Since coming off the IL (5 G), he has posted a 2.70 ERA while holding batters to a .190/.262/.379 slash line. His strikeout totals are up this year which is a positive since he faces older batters in over 60% of his plate appearances. 18. OF Misael Urbina (19 years old) Season Stats (A): 73 G, .193/.295/.294 (.589), 4 HR, 7 2B, 4 3B, 18.6 K%, 11.4 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 15, 2021 Preseason: 14 Urbina was signed out of Venezuela during the 2018 International Signing Period for $2.75 million. As a 19-year old, he is making his stateside debut this season, and he has only faced younger pitchers in four out of his 323 plate appearances. Even facing older competition, he has shown an advanced eye at the plate and the ability to draw walks. Defensively, he has split time between center field and left field. Urbina has some of the best tools in the Twins system, and he is a player that should move up this list in the years to come. 17. RHP Blayne Enlow (22 years old) Season Stats (A+): 14.2 IP (3 G), 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 14.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 11, 2021 Preseason: 10 Enlow, a 2017 third-round pick, made quick work of High-A to start the season as he mowed down batters with career-high strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and will be out until the second half of 2022. Minnesota added pitching depth that will be ranked ahead of Enlow, but that doesn’t take anything away from his long-term potential. 16. OF Brent Rooker (26 years old) Season Stats (AAA): 61 G, .239/.362/.546 (.908), 19 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B, 30.2 K%, 14.3 BB% Season Stats (MLB): 24 G, .168/.225/.358 (.583), 4 HR, 6 2B, 30.3 K%, 5.9 BB% Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 14, 2021 Preseason: 12 Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 MLB Draft, and now he’s found himself in a unique spot with the Twins. He has little left to prove at Triple-A as he has posted an OPS north of .900 in 2019 and 2021. His power might be the best in the entire Twins system, but questions remain about how regularly he can make contact. Minnesota is also concerned about him being a defensive liability, but the team has been using him in both corner outfield spots since his call-up. Following the Nelson Cruz trade, Rooker should stick in the Twins lineup for the rest of the season, so that the club can evaluate him for the long term. Check back this week for the rest of the Twins post-draft and post-trade deadline top-30 rankings. Feel free to discuss this group of prospects and ask questions. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Prospects 21-25 -Prospects 26-30
  9. Matt Braun kicked off the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Prospect Rankings. He shared the honorable mentions and then went through the last quarter on the list. Looking ahead to the final five before getting into the top ten, that’s where we find ourselves now. It is worth noting that prospect graduations have and will happen throughout 2021. Names like Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon, and Rortvedt are no longer eligible for consideration. With that said, let’s get into who’s next. 15. Misael Urbina OF Age: 19 ETA: 2024 2021 Stats (A): 42 G .191/.298/.268 3 2B 3 3B HR 24 RBI 23 BB 39 K 2021 Ranking: 14th Minnesota signed Urbina out of Venezuela back in 2018 during the International Signing Period. Jesse Sanchez called him, “one of the most coveted prospects from Venezuela in this year's international class” at the time. The bonus came in at $2.75 million, and that’s indicative of how the Twins see his tools developing. Urbina is playing in his first stateside season this year, and while the numbers aren’t gaudy by any means, controlling the strike zone is something he’s shown a strong ability to do as a young player. 14. Brent Rooker OF/1B Age: 26 2021 Stats (AAA): 43 G .243/.386/.547 6 2B 13 HR 28 RBI 31 BB 54 K 2021 Ranking: 12th Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 before injury ended his season with just seven games played. Rooker has appeared in just eight games for the Twins this year going 3-for-29. Despite crushing Triple-A, his opportunities have been limited with the outfield capabilities being stretched, and him not being a true fit at first base. Should the Twins deal Nelson Cruz, Brent would appear to be in line for substantial big league at bats as the DH. 13. Cole Sands RHSP Age: 23 2021 Stats (AA): 31 2/3 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 3.10 FIP, 30.7 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 15th Sands was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft and it didn’t take long to see that Minnesota had something special here. There’s velocity, there’s command, there’s a real starting pitcher. Sands dominated three separate levels in 2019, and has picked up where he left off in 2021. The 11.9 K/9 is a strong number at Double-A, and while the command has slipped some, there’s no long term worry there. Currently injured, Minnesota hopes to have Cole back on the bump sooner rather than later. 12. Bailey Ober RHSP Age: 25 2021 Stats (AAA): 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.67 FIP, 32.3 K%, 7.7 BB% 2021 Ranking: 20th Now in the big leagues taking regular turns with the Twins, Ober parlayed his quick Triple-A success into six turns in the big league rotation. He owns a 5.84 ERA there but has been bit most by the home run. Strikeouts and command continue to play, while his velocity has seen an uptick and is, in part, what has elevated his prospect status. There’s a good back-end rotation piece here, and it’d be a good bet he gets plenty of leash to showcase that the rest of 2021. 11. Blayne Enlow RHSP Age: 22 2021 Stats (A+): 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 39.0 K%, 10.2 BB% 2021 Ranking: 10th Arguably one of the most exciting prospects to see showcased following the 2020 minor league hiatus, Enlow came out as expected. He below the doors of High-A hitters and looked the part of a prospect that could put together an amazing season. Unfortunately, it ended quickly as he’s now recovering from Tommy John surgery, but look for him to be back stronger on the back half of 2022, and still with a ceiling that could be among the highest in the system as far as pitchers go. View full article
  10. It is worth noting that prospect graduations have and will happen throughout 2021. Names like Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon, and Rortvedt are no longer eligible for consideration. With that said, let’s get into who’s next. 15. Misael Urbina OF Age: 19 ETA: 2024 2021 Stats (A): 42 G .191/.298/.268 3 2B 3 3B HR 24 RBI 23 BB 39 K 2021 Ranking: 14th Minnesota signed Urbina out of Venezuela back in 2018 during the International Signing Period. Jesse Sanchez called him, “one of the most coveted prospects from Venezuela in this year's international class” at the time. The bonus came in at $2.75 million, and that’s indicative of how the Twins see his tools developing. Urbina is playing in his first stateside season this year, and while the numbers aren’t gaudy by any means, controlling the strike zone is something he’s shown a strong ability to do as a young player. 14. Brent Rooker OF/1B Age: 26 2021 Stats (AAA): 43 G .243/.386/.547 6 2B 13 HR 28 RBI 31 BB 54 K 2021 Ranking: 12th Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 before injury ended his season with just seven games played. Rooker has appeared in just eight games for the Twins this year going 3-for-29. Despite crushing Triple-A, his opportunities have been limited with the outfield capabilities being stretched, and him not being a true fit at first base. Should the Twins deal Nelson Cruz, Brent would appear to be in line for substantial big league at bats as the DH. 13. Cole Sands RHSP Age: 23 2021 Stats (AA): 31 2/3 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 3.10 FIP, 30.7 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 15th Sands was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft and it didn’t take long to see that Minnesota had something special here. There’s velocity, there’s command, there’s a real starting pitcher. Sands dominated three separate levels in 2019, and has picked up where he left off in 2021. The 11.9 K/9 is a strong number at Double-A, and while the command has slipped some, there’s no long term worry there. Currently injured, Minnesota hopes to have Cole back on the bump sooner rather than later. 12. Bailey Ober RHSP Age: 25 2021 Stats (AAA): 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.67 FIP, 32.3 K%, 7.7 BB% 2021 Ranking: 20th Now in the big leagues taking regular turns with the Twins, Ober parlayed his quick Triple-A success into six turns in the big league rotation. He owns a 5.84 ERA there but has been bit most by the home run. Strikeouts and command continue to play, while his velocity has seen an uptick and is, in part, what has elevated his prospect status. There’s a good back-end rotation piece here, and it’d be a good bet he gets plenty of leash to showcase that the rest of 2021. 11. Blayne Enlow RHSP Age: 22 2021 Stats (A+): 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 39.0 K%, 10.2 BB% 2021 Ranking: 10th Arguably one of the most exciting prospects to see showcased following the 2020 minor league hiatus, Enlow came out as expected. He below the doors of High-A hitters and looked the part of a prospect that could put together an amazing season. Unfortunately, it ended quickly as he’s now recovering from Tommy John surgery, but look for him to be back stronger on the back half of 2022, and still with a ceiling that could be among the highest in the system as far as pitchers go.
  11. Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson has focused on slider development since joining the organization and many players have seen positive growth. Here are the best sliders among the Twins top prospects.5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  12. 5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. An argument can be made that Jordan Balazovic is the best pitching prospect in the Twins organization even though he doesn’t rank as the top pitcher on the Twins Daily list. So, what’s changed with Balazovic over the last year?Position: RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: NA National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR What’s To Like Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level. One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s. Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm. What’s Left To Work On Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019. Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood). What’s Next Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder. How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021. Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  14. Position: RHP Age: 22 (DOB: 9-17-1998) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 93.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: NA National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR | MLB: 97 | ATH: 63 |BP: NR What’s To Like Canada hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of MLB pitching talent, but Balazovic looks to buck that trend in the years to come. Last year, he was added to the organization’s alternate site in St. Paul before ending the year in the team’s instructional league. By season’s end, he was added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster and that leaves him even closer to making his big-league debut even though he has yet to make an appearance above the High-A level. One positive to come out of last year’s pandemic was Balazovic was able to concentrate on adding weight to his lanky frame. When Minnesota selected him in the fifth round, he was a long and lean 17-year-old that was listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Since then, he has added two inches in height and bulked up to 217 pounds. This has helped his fastball move from the high-80s into the mid-90s. Many scouting reports praise him for his pitching deception as hitters can’t pick up the ball well out of his hand. Typically, he uses his fastball at the top of the zone, and it has helped him to post SO/9 totals north of 11.0 over the last two seasons. He throws strikes and he has four pitches that he isn’t afraid to throw in any situation, which make him a very projectable big-league arm. What’s Left To Work On Like many budding pitching prospects, Balazovic continues to refine his secondary pitches. His change-up is the biggest work in progress, but he has made significant strides since joining the organization and it has a chance to be an above average pitch. This pitch will help him to attack left-handed hitters, but he might already be able to do that since lefties only hit .189/.232/.269 against him in 2019. Currently, his slider is his out pitch although he uses his curveball to get strikes as well. He has yet to pitch over 100 innings in any professional season, so that will be an important milestone for 2021. His violent delivery helps to add some deception, but this can also be a concern. Some pitchers with violent deliveries suffer from health or control issues, but neither of these have been a concern so far in Balazovic’s career (knock on wood). What’s Next Last season, Balazovic worked hard to make sure he got invited to the alternate site before the season ended. This allowed the coaching staff to work closely with him and for the front office to get a better idea of how ready he was to take the next step. As mentioned last week, he is good friends with Blayne Enlow, another Twins top pitching prospect, and they keep pushing each other up the organizational ladder. How aggressive will the Twins be with Balazovic this season? It seems most likely that he would spend the majority of the season at Double-A with an outside chance of appearing with St. Paul before the season is complete. Last winter, president of baseball operation Derek Falvey said that he expected Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to make their MLB debuts. It didn’t happen in 2020, so the time might be right in 2021. Do you think Balazovic should be the Twins top pitching prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Stop by tomorrow for prospect #5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. On Wednesday night (5:30 central time), Seth will be chatting with Twins minor league right-handed pitching prospect Blayne Enlow on a new episode of Twins Spotlight. The discussion was live on the Twins Daily social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages. Blayne Enlow was the Twins third-round pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana. He had a scholarship to pitch at LSU, but the Twins were able to agree to terms with him. Enlow has worked his way up the organizational ladder. In 2019, he began the season with eight starts in Cedar Rapids before finishing the season in Ft. Myers. Combined, he went 8-7 with a 3.82 ERA. Enlow ranked as the #10 Twins prospect by Twins Daily last week. Join us live at 5:30 tonight to watch, and participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics from his youth ball, getting drafted, his development and more. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 5:30 pm (central time) Wednesday night on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. For More on Blayne Enlow: Follow Blayne on Instagram at @blayne_enlow. Follow Blayne on Twitter at @blayneenlow22. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells Episode 15: Sawyer Gipson-Long Episode 16: Adam Bray Episode 17: Chris Vallimont Episode 18: Ben Gross Episode 19: Regi Grace Episode 20: Louie Varland Episode 21: Max Smith Episode 22: Zander Wiel Episode 23: Blayne Enlow View full article
  16. Blayne Enlow was the Twins third-round pick in 2017 out of high school in Louisiana. He had a scholarship to pitch at LSU, but the Twins were able to agree to terms with him. Enlow has worked his way up the organizational ladder. In 2019, he began the season with eight starts in Cedar Rapids before finishing the season in Ft. Myers. Combined, he went 8-7 with a 3.82 ERA. Enlow ranked as the #10 Twins prospect by Twins Daily last week. Join us live at 5:30 tonight to watch, and participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics from his youth ball, getting drafted, his development and more. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Please watch LIVE at 5:30 pm (central time) Wednesday night on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them. Subscribe to the Twins Daily podcast on Libsyn, Apple iTunes or anywhere you download podcasts. Here is the YouTube link where you can watch the show. For More on Blayne Enlow: Follow Blayne on Instagram at @blayne_enlow. Follow Blayne on Twitter at @blayneenlow22. Previous Episodes Click here to see more previous episodes of Twins Spotlight. Episode 13: Edwar Colina Episode 14: Tyler Wells Episode 15: Sawyer Gipson-Long Episode 16: Adam Bray Episode 17: Chris Vallimont Episode 18: Ben Gross Episode 19: Regi Grace Episode 20: Louie Varland Episode 21: Max Smith Episode 22: Zander Wiel Episode 23: Blayne Enlow
  17. Age: 21 (DOB: 3-21-1999) 2019 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 110.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, 95/38 K/BB, 1.27 WHIP ETA: 2022 2020 Ranking: 10 2019 Ranking: 9 National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Enlow can pump his fastball up to 96 and he typically sits in the 91-94 mph range. While other pitchers might throw harder, Enlow has tremendous spin on his fastball and that makes his fastball even more dangerous. His slider/cutter has drastically improved during his professional career, but he continues to work on locating this pitch on a regular basis. This fall Enlow was one of the team’s top prospects invited to the organization’s instructional camp in Fort Myers. Back in 2019, Enlow pitched nearly 2/3rds of his innings as a 20-year-old in the Florida State League where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 13 appearances, he posted a 1.21 WHIP and a 4.02 ERA with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. He showed more consistency than at other levels and it could be a sign of even more positive signs in the future. What’s Left To Work On Enlow is far from a finished product especially since he is still in his early 20s. Since the Twins drafted him out of high school, Enlow has worked on command of his secondary pitches. He can throw four different pitches for strikes but development needs to continue to improve when it comes to pitch execution. If he can make the appropriate adjustments, his strikeout rate should continue to improve. His curveball might be the pitch to keep an eye on during the 2021 campaign. As previously mentioned, it was a pitch that put him on the prospect map as a teenager, but the pitch has regressed a bit as he works to add other secondary pitches. His fastball velocity continues to improve so having a dominating curveball could be a devastating recipe for opposing batters. One intriguing note is that Enlow would have been draft eligible this past year if he had decided to attend LSU. Some thought he had the best curveball in the 2017 Draft and that made the Twins very intrigued to work out an over slot bonus. For a player like Enlow, missing the entire 2020 season was tough to swallow. He is still very young, and he needs to continue to get work with all his pitches in game action. What’s Next There’s an outside chance he could make his big-league debut in 2021, but that would likely mean there were multiple injuries or COVID related issues with the MLB roster. With changes in affiliation levels, Enlow will likely make a short stop at Cedar Rapids, the team’s High-A affiliate, before moving up to Double-A Wichita, where he should spend the majority of the 2021 campaign. MLB.com notes that he and Jordan Balazovic have become good friends and they could push each other into the Twins rotation in the years ahead. The 2021 season can provide a very important opportunity and he has a chance to move up this list by next off-season. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP Stop by next week for prospect #9! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Back in 2016, the Twins revamped their front office by hiring Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. One of their biggest tasks in their first year on the job was preparing to have the number one overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. That draft was just the start of how they were able to add to Minnesota’s well stocked farm system. Minnesota’s current crop of regulars was moving through the system back in 2015-16 and that’s why the farm system ranked so highly. The new front office crew saw some of their impact after the 2017 MLB Draft and that continued into the following year’s draft. The results of their time at the helm are already being felt at the big-league level. 2017 Draft There were multiple options with the top overall pick back in 2017 with names like Hunter Greene, MacKenzie Gore, Brendan McKay and Kyle Wright all in the discussion. Minnesota decided Royce Lewis was the best option and he has been the organization’s highest-ranking prospect since he was drafted. Last season, Lewis finished at Double-A and under normal circumstances, he might have made his big-league debut this season. Lewis wasn’t the only strong pick in this draft. Brent Rooker was recently called up and he has been contributing to a team in the middle of a pennant race. Time will tell if he can develop into a big league regular, but his powerful swing should keep him on the roster. In the same draft, Minnesota had to offer Blayne Enlow a big signing bonus to lure him away from LSU and now he is one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. He might be a couple years away from debuting, but he add to the depth of the farm system. 2018 Draft Coming off a surprise run to the playoffs, the Twins had a much lower draft pick in 2018, but that didn’t stop them from finding players to restock the farm. Trevor Larnach was the team’s first round selection and he has developed into one of the best hitting prospects in the organization. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year and the Florida State League Player of the Year. He finished last year at Double-A and now he has been part of the team’s 60-man roster that is working out in St. Paul. Another player from this draft, Ryan Jeffers, has played a pivotal role with the club due to Mitch Garver’s injury. When he was drafted, he was seen as a bat-only catcher, but he was given very little coaching on his catching defense throughout his collegiate career. Now, his 51.2% strike rate has him in the top-20 among all MLB backstops when it comes to catcher framing. Trades Add Depth Making trades is another way to stock a farm system and the Twins front office has already seen some of the rewards of those trades. Zack Littell was acquired back at the 2017 trade deadline as part of the Jaime Garcia trade and he has fit nicely into the Twins bullpen when healthy. At that same deadline, Minnesota added LHP Tyler Watson who pitched all last season at High-A with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. The 2018 trade deadline was where Minnesota was able to revamp the farm. Trading Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks got the Twins back a trio of prospects including RHP Jhoan Duran, who is considered one of the team’s top pitching prospects. Also, Minnesota traded away Ryan Pressly for RHP Jorge Alcala and OF Gilberto Celestino. Alcala has shown electric stuff out of the Twins bullpen this year and Celestino could become a regular at the big-league level in the years ahead. For the Twins, this trade could pay dividends for multiple years into the future. How do you feel about the Twins consistency in their farm system? 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
  23. 15. Edwar Colina, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA, AAA): 8-2, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 102 K, 32 BB, 97.1 IP Colina signed with the Twins back in 2015 and he has been slowly working his way through the Twins system. He really hit his stride over the last two seasons as he started to compete in full season leagues. In the 2018 campaign, he posted a 2.63 ERA and a 106 to 53 strikeout to walk ratio at Low- and High-A. Last season, he played at three different levels and his time at High- and Double-A was outstanding. He only allowed 23 earned runs in nearly 93 innings (2.23 ERA) and he struck out more than a batter per inning. On the mound, Colina is stocky and his fastball can give hitters nightmares. He’s been clocked at over 100 mph, but he typically sits in the mid- to high-90s. His best secondary pitch is his change-up, but he is going to need to continue to improve his breaking pitches as he moves through the higher levels of the minors. 14. Wander Javier, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (A): .177/.278/.323, 11 HR, 9 2B, 116 K, 35 BB, 80 G Back in 2015, Javier was widely considered one of the best prospects in the international class and the Twins signed him for $4 million. Unfortunately, injures have cost Javier parts of multiple professional seasons. He was limited to eight games during his pro-debut because of a hamstring injury. Then in 2018, he suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire season. Even with the injuries, he has all the tools to be considered one of the team’s top prospects. Javier was back on the field in 2019 after missing all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. It was his first taste of a full-season league and things didn’t exactly go perfectly. He struck out over 27% of the time but there were some bright spots amid a rough season. From July 15 to the end of the season, Javier compiled a .428 SLG and a .738 OPS. Nine of his 11 home runs and seven of his nine doubles were during this stretch. 13. Matt Canterino, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (RK, A): 1-1, 1.44 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 31 K, 8 BB, 25.0 IP The Twins took Canterino in the second-round last season after a strong junior season at Rice University. He was a three-year starter at the school, and he pitched 94 innings or more in every season. In his final collegiate season, he posted a 2.81 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and a 121 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. Throughout his collegiate career, he controlled the strike zone by allowing less than 3 walks per nine innings and striking out nearly 11 batters per nine. Because of his college workload, Canterino saw limited action after signing with the Twins as he made seven regular season starts and one postseason start. His college experience really showed up as he struck out over 11 batters per nine innings. It would have been exciting to see what he could have done in a full minor league season, but that will have to wait until 2021. 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): .282/.399/.530, 14 HR, 16 2B, 36 BB, 95 K, 67 G Rooker was the 35th overall pick back in 2017, the first draft under the new Twins front office regime. In three collegiate seasons, Rooker destroyed baseballs by hitting .344/.428/.660. Yes, that is a 1.088 OPS over three seasons and he posted a 1.306 OPS during his final season. The Twins were hoping for more of the same from Rooker as he started his professional career. He didn’t disappoint during his first taste of pro-ball as he posted a .930 OPS with Elizabethton and Fort Myers. This included 29 extra-base hits in 62 games. He spent all of 2018 at Double-A and hit .254/.333/.465 with 32 doubles and 22 home runs in 130 games. He missed some time in 2019 with a wrist injury but he was still able to post some strong offensive numbers. If there is a 2020 season, there is a chance Rooker makes his debut. 11. Blayne Enlow, RHP 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): 8-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 95 K, 38 BB, 110.2 IP Like Rooker, Enlow was part of the strong draft class back in 2017. The Louisiana native had committed to play at LSU, but the Twins were able to sign him after taking him in the third round. During his professional debut, he made six appearances with the GCL Twins and posted a 1.33 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 4 walks in 20.1 innings. During the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids, he was almost three years younger than the average age of the competition. He compiled a 3.26 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. He started 2019 back in Cedar Rapids and saw some struggles as he allowed 21 earned runs in 41.1 innings. There were some positive signs as he struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings. The Twins were aggressive with him and promoted him to Fort Myers where he had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with a 51 to 23 strikeout to walk ratio. If Enlow had gone to college, he’d still be pitching for LSU, so he has time to develop into the pitcher many thought he could be. Stop back in the coming days to see who completes the top-20 list. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233794708763299840 I did see Bailey Ober throwing some impressive breaking balls too. Here he is working along-side Enlow. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1234105413408370689 And Matt Canterino’s bullpen was very workmanlike. He was throwing all of his pitches; fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. All looked to have the potential to be plus pitches (based on this bullpen session, at least). https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233795751567929345 By the way, one name to kind of keep in the back of your mind during the 2020 season is RHP Jon Olsen. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2018 from UCLA. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and rehabbed from that and other arm issues in 2019. But he appears to be healthy and really had an impressive bullpen. On Saturday morning, I did a 25-minute radio spot on Bison 1660 in Fargo from the back field, trying to stay out of the wind. You can listen to that here. https://twitter.com/Bison1660/status/1233799305447776256 But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely.
  25. Twins minor league camp doesn’t officially start until the middle of this coming week, but I have spent parts of the past three days down on the minor league fields. Here are a handful of notes.First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely. Click here to view the article
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