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  1. Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A) Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions. He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances. Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A) Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out. Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate. Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A) Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen. Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder. What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. With no minor league action last year, it was certainly tough to evaluate prospects this past winter. Games are underway and a few prospects have already started to standout. Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A) Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions. He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances. Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A) Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out. Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate. Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A) Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen. Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder. What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  3. Bryon Buxton might be the fastest player in the Twins organization, but other prospects are close to chasing him down. Here’s how the team’s top prospects rank when it comes to speed.5. Misael Urbina, OF Current/Future Speed: 60/50 Urbina was the Twins top international signee back in the 2018 and he has continued his physical development since joining the organization. He currently comes in at 6-foot-0 and 175 pounds, which is stocky when it comes to the speed tool. Most scouting reports peg him as being a plus runner and he has shown the ability to steal bases and play terrific outfield defense. He has yet to make his debut in a stateside league, but that will likely change in 2021. 4. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current/Future Speed: 60/55 When the Twins drafted Cavaco, his athleticism was something that saw him rise quickly into the first round. He flashed plus speed entering the draft and those skills translated to his first professional season. According to reports out of the instructional leagues, Cavaco spent last year’s shutdown working on his conditioning and physical make-up. Now he is leaner this should only help his athleticism. It’s also scary to think what that could mean for his plus running skills. His body is going to continue to grow, and this can lead to him to losing some speed. The Twins are going to try and keep him at shortstop, but his size might result in a shift to third base. 3. Gilberto Celestino, OF Current Speed: 60/60 Celestino is a name Twins fans will get very familiar with in the coming years, especially since Byron Buxton’s future is up in the air. Celestino can be the heir apparent to Buxton since the team’s current centerfielder only has two more years of team control. Celestino’s stock has really taken off since coming to the Twins as part of the Ryan Pressly deal. He uses his speed to exhibit plus range in the outfield and he can play all three outfield positions. As gets more experience, his ability to steal bases should improve and he continues to add speed as he has grown into his body. Out of the players on this list, he has the best chance to keep his current speed ranking long-term. 2. Will Holland, SS Current/Future Speed: 65/60 Holland fell to the Twins in the fifth round of the 2019 Draft, but it might have been a blessing in disguise for the organization. He dropped in the draft because of a poor performance during his junior season at Auburn and his pro debut didn’t go much better. His speed helps him on both sides of the ball as his physical tools allow him to play shortstop and second base. Currently, Holland might be the fastest player in the organization because the top player on this list will be out for all of 2021. He has worked with his swing throughout the minor league shutdown, so he has plenty to prove when the new season gets underway. 1. Royce Lewis, SS Current Speed: 70/60 Twins fans may have gotten spoiled with Buxton as he is one of the fastest players at the big-league level. Lewis might not be quite at the same level as Buxton, but he still has blazing fast speed (see Tom’s highlight video below). His recent knee injury might be cause for concern because he might lose a step or two as he recovers. Even considering his injury, he is head and shoulders above the rest of the players on this list when it comes to speed. His best runs times from home to first are under four seconds and there are few players that can do that in professional baseball. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -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
  4. 5. Misael Urbina, OF Current/Future Speed: 60/50 Urbina was the Twins top international signee back in the 2018 and he has continued his physical development since joining the organization. He currently comes in at 6-foot-0 and 175 pounds, which is stocky when it comes to the speed tool. Most scouting reports peg him as being a plus runner and he has shown the ability to steal bases and play terrific outfield defense. He has yet to make his debut in a stateside league, but that will likely change in 2021. 4. Keoni Cavaco, SS Current/Future Speed: 60/55 When the Twins drafted Cavaco, his athleticism was something that saw him rise quickly into the first round. He flashed plus speed entering the draft and those skills translated to his first professional season. According to reports out of the instructional leagues, Cavaco spent last year’s shutdown working on his conditioning and physical make-up. Now he is leaner this should only help his athleticism. It’s also scary to think what that could mean for his plus running skills. His body is going to continue to grow, and this can lead to him to losing some speed. The Twins are going to try and keep him at shortstop, but his size might result in a shift to third base. 3. Gilberto Celestino, OF Current Speed: 60/60 Celestino is a name Twins fans will get very familiar with in the coming years, especially since Byron Buxton’s future is up in the air. Celestino can be the heir apparent to Buxton since the team’s current centerfielder only has two more years of team control. Celestino’s stock has really taken off since coming to the Twins as part of the Ryan Pressly deal. He uses his speed to exhibit plus range in the outfield and he can play all three outfield positions. As gets more experience, his ability to steal bases should improve and he continues to add speed as he has grown into his body. Out of the players on this list, he has the best chance to keep his current speed ranking long-term. 2. Will Holland, SS Current/Future Speed: 65/60 Holland fell to the Twins in the fifth round of the 2019 Draft, but it might have been a blessing in disguise for the organization. He dropped in the draft because of a poor performance during his junior season at Auburn and his pro debut didn’t go much better. His speed helps him on both sides of the ball as his physical tools allow him to play shortstop and second base. Currently, Holland might be the fastest player in the organization because the top player on this list will be out for all of 2021. He has worked with his swing throughout the minor league shutdown, so he has plenty to prove when the new season gets underway. 1. Royce Lewis, SS Current Speed: 70/60 Twins fans may have gotten spoiled with Buxton as he is one of the fastest players at the big-league level. Lewis might not be quite at the same level as Buxton, but he still has blazing fast speed (see Tom’s highlight video below). His recent knee injury might be cause for concern because he might lose a step or two as he recovers. Even considering his injury, he is head and shoulders above the rest of the players on this list when it comes to speed. His best runs times from home to first are under four seconds and there are few players that can do that in professional baseball. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. The Twins have Jorge Polanco at SS. In 2019 he was an all star. Now all of Twins fandom wants him at utility and hope for the team to sign another SS. I am not sure why. Our number one prospect remains Royce Lewis who is still listed as a SS who should be ready by the end of the year at least. So why do we want to demote Polanco and block Lewis? This is reasoning that does not work for me. Then we have Wander Javier who came to us in the same international draft that produced Vladimir Guerrero, jr. and Yordan Alvarez. To say that he is behind them on the development level is an understatement. I am still not sure why he is rated so high as a prospect. He has had a hamstring injury during his 2016 debut, a torn labrum costing him all of 2018 and a strained quad keeping him from making his full-season debut in 2019. Then he came in and looked lost for 300 at bats. And MLB.com still has him listed at number nine. Above him on the mlb.com site is Keoni Cavaco who is given great grades for athleticism, which is fine in the Olympics, but batting and fielding count in baseball. I am not sold on him. He was a fast riser in HS according to his notes. Another prospect who does not make my list. At 17 is Nick Gordon. He seems to be on a slippery slope to a forgotten prospect, but I hope he will find a way to get to the majors someday. He just isn’t going to make the team as a starter. Will Holland is next on the prospect list at 19. Notes about him say that he was doing great at Auburn until his Junior year where he bombed and slipped to fifth round. Then he came to rookie ball and still bombed. Not looking good. Today the Twins made an big international signing – Danny De Andrade who is 16. He could be projected to arrive when Lewis runs out of arbitration and signs elsewhere. He is big, potential middle of the order project (typically that means not staying at SS). At 16 he is a project. I know what my grandsons are like at that age – I would not sign them for $2.2 million and I love them. If he makes it he will probably replace Donaldson and not Lewis. Finally the second signing is Fredy LaFlor who is already projected in the mlb.com writeup to shift to second or CF. He said to be a high energy top of the lineup prospect. So there is the Twins SS list. I would like to see us develop one of them into the next great SS rather than sign one who is already down the road of his career and will be overpaid. How do you see these names playing out? The Athletic summary of international signings did not include the Twins - disappointing. https://theathletic.com/2326602/2021/01/16/mlb-international-signing-period-day-1/?source=weeklyemail For those of us who do not know who they are it is important to have outside opinions.
  8. First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 16th-through-20th most valuable assets under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 2020 Ranking: NR The 20th spot in these rankings is one I always wrestle with most. There are so many different players with good arguments to appear on the list; this selection becomes a battle between many semi-critical assets, whose competing qualities are fundamental to this exercise. Which is more indispensable to the Twins' plans: a proven MLB commodity with a relatively low ceiling (i.e. Randy Dobnak, Jake Cave), versus a near-ready prospect with moderate upside (i.e. Travis Blankenhorn, Edwar Colina), versus a more distant and uncertain project with game-changing potential? Ultimately, I landed on the latter, best represented in the system by Keoni Cavaco. No, he hasn't done anything of note as a professional yet, posting a paltry .470 OPS in his first turn at rookie ball in 2019. But the Twins believed in him enough to take him 13th overall – the highest pick this regime has made outside of Royce Lewis (No. 1) in 2017 – because they so value Cavaco's athleticism and long-term ceiling. I have no special insight or information on the 19-year-old, especially coming off a lost minor-league season, but frankly I trust this front office enough to consider him an important part of the big picture going forward. Needless to say, 2021 will be a key year for Cavaco. 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 2020 Ranking: NR The former first-round pick reached the majors in 2020, just three years after being drafted, and was exactly as advertised: an advanced bat with big bop, exhibiting no signs of intimidation against MLB pitching. Rooker has factors working against him in the context of this list – namely, a lack of asset scarcity. Big, immobile sluggers who can only play first base and corner outfield are not hard to come by. He also happens to be a bit extreme in the traditional flaws of this profile: a sub-par defender and extremely strikeout prone. But on the flip side (pun intended), his raw power is at the highest end of the spectrum and Rooker shows potential to develop into a reasonably disciplined hitter. Although he only made 21 plate appearances as a rookie before breaking his forearm, he made a strong enough impression to solidify his place in the club's plans going forward. Rooker is inexpensively controllable for years to come. 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 2020 Ranking: NR Donaldson signed after this list came out last year, so I didn't have to struggle with the challenging task of ranking him as an asset. It goes without saying he would've been higher at that point then he is now. The first year of Donaldson's historic contract was theoretically supposed to deliver the greatest value for the Twins, but was mostly a bust. Now, he's entering his age 35 season with magnified durability concerns, still owed $70 million in guaranteed money over the next three years. In the scope of this discussion, Donaldson's huge salary is a significant drawback, limiting the front office's ability to build around him within payroll constraints. The need to prioritize adding depth behind him, due to his unreliable health, is also a negative. And yet ... to an extent, this is all counterbalanced by the monumental impact he's capable of making. Donaldson is the only former MVP on the roster, and someone who was elite both offensively and defensively just two years ago. He showed signs of being that same player while on the field in 2020. It's possible no other team would take on Donaldson's contract at this moment if they had the chance, which is why he ranks as low as he does here. But his presence will be crucial if Minnesota's is to capitalize on the current championship window. 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 2020 Ranking: 12 One year ago, Rogers was a top-end closer, set to earn less than $5 million, yet he still didn't crack the top 10 in these rankings. That says a lot about the relative value of relief pitchers, who are – for better or worse – among the game's most fungible assets. (The Twins, having made a habit of letting quality bullpen arms walk, seem to live by this credo.) Rogers is now a year older and closer to free agency, although the Twins still control him for two more seasons. He's also coming off a tough campaign, albeit it a shortened one where his peripherals and underlying indicators remained strong. Set to earn $6 million, he's no longer the clear-cut bargain he once was. The lefty's value has surely dropped but his price isn't unreasonable, all things considered, and he remains an integral piece of this bullpen – especially with Trevor May moving on, and guys like Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard (for now) out of the picture. 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 2020 Ranking: NR Like Rogers, Alcala has shown the ability to dominate out of the bullpen. The similarities end there. Whereas Rogers is a polished, experienced, time-tested relief fixture, Alcala is an up-and-comer with a sparse MLB track record. But that track record has yielded a 2.45 ERA and 9.8 K/9 rate in 25 ⅔ innings. The right-hander didn't exactly come out of nowhere. He was a big-ticket international signing by the Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, and was the prospect headliner in a trade that sent Ryan Pressly to Houston in 2018. Though he predictably fizzled out as a starter, Alcala shows all the signs of a quality back-end reliever, and he's under team control for the next five seasons. If he can firmly establish himself as a lights-out setup man or closer in 2021, he'll move up this list. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 11-15: Coming tomorrow! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. As we kick off our countdown of the Minnesota Twins' top 20 player assets, this first batch features a little of everything: from a raw and unproven teenaged prospect to a highly paid MVP-winning veteran. Let us begin.First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 16th-through-20th most valuable assets under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 2020 Ranking: NR The 20th spot in these rankings is one I always wrestle with most. There are so many different players with good arguments to appear on the list; this selection becomes a battle between many semi-critical assets, whose competing qualities are fundamental to this exercise. Which is more indispensable to the Twins' plans: a proven MLB commodity with a relatively low ceiling (i.e. Randy Dobnak, Jake Cave), versus a near-ready prospect with moderate upside (i.e. Travis Blankenhorn, Edwar Colina), versus a more distant and uncertain project with game-changing potential? Ultimately, I landed on the latter, best represented in the system by Keoni Cavaco. No, he hasn't done anything of note as a professional yet, posting a paltry .470 OPS in his first turn at rookie ball in 2019. But the Twins believed in him enough to take him 13th overall – the highest pick this regime has made outside of Royce Lewis (No. 1) in 2017 – because they so value Cavaco's athleticism and long-term ceiling. I have no special insight or information on the 19-year-old, especially coming off a lost minor-league season, but frankly I trust this front office enough to consider him an important part of the big picture going forward. Needless to say, 2021 will be a key year for Cavaco. 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 2020 Ranking: NR The former first-round pick reached the majors in 2020, just three years after being drafted, and was exactly as advertised: an advanced bat with big bop, exhibiting no signs of intimidation against MLB pitching. Rooker has factors working against him in the context of this list – namely, a lack of asset scarcity. Big, immobile sluggers who can only play first base and corner outfield are not hard to come by. He also happens to be a bit extreme in the traditional flaws of this profile: a sub-par defender and extremely strikeout prone. But on the flip side (pun intended), his raw power is at the highest end of the spectrum and Rooker shows potential to develop into a reasonably disciplined hitter. Although he only made 21 plate appearances as a rookie before breaking his forearm, he made a strong enough impression to solidify his place in the club's plans going forward. Rooker is inexpensively controllable for years to come. 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 2020 Ranking: NR Donaldson signed after this list came out last year, so I didn't have to struggle with the challenging task of ranking him as an asset. It goes without saying he would've been higher at that point then he is now. The first year of Donaldson's historic contract was theoretically supposed to deliver the greatest value for the Twins, but was mostly a bust. Now, he's entering his age 35 season with magnified durability concerns, still owed $70 million in guaranteed money over the next three years. In the scope of this discussion, Donaldson's huge salary is a significant drawback, limiting the front office's ability to build around him within payroll constraints. The need to prioritize adding depth behind him, due to his unreliable health, is also a negative. And yet ... to an extent, this is all counterbalanced by the monumental impact he's capable of making. Donaldson is the only former MVP on the roster, and someone who was elite both offensively and defensively just two years ago. He showed signs of being that same player while on the field in 2020. It's possible no other team would take on Donaldson's contract at this moment if they had the chance, which is why he ranks as low as he does here. But his presence will be crucial if Minnesota's is to capitalize on the current championship window. 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 2020 Ranking: 12 One year ago, Rogers was a top-end closer, set to earn less than $5 million, yet he still didn't crack the top 10 in these rankings. That says a lot about the relative value of relief pitchers, who are – for better or worse – among the game's most fungible assets. (The Twins, having made a habit of letting quality bullpen arms walk, seem to live by this credo.) Rogers is now a year older and closer to free agency, although the Twins still control him for two more seasons. He's also coming off a tough campaign, albeit it a shortened one where his peripherals and underlying indicators remained strong. Set to earn $6 million, he's no longer the clear-cut bargain he once was. The lefty's value has surely dropped but his price isn't unreasonable, all things considered, and he remains an integral piece of this bullpen – especially with Trevor May moving on, and guys like Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard (for now) out of the picture. 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 2020 Ranking: NR Like Rogers, Alcala has shown the ability to dominate out of the bullpen. The similarities end there. Whereas Rogers is a polished, experienced, time-tested relief fixture, Alcala is an up-and-comer with a sparse MLB track record. But that track record has yielded a 2.45 ERA and 9.8 K/9 rate in 25 ⅔ innings. The right-hander didn't exactly come out of nowhere. He was a big-ticket international signing by the Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, and was the prospect headliner in a trade that sent Ryan Pressly to Houston in 2018. Though he predictably fizzled out as a starter, Alcala shows all the signs of a quality back-end reliever, and he's under team control for the next five seasons. If he can firmly establish himself as a lights-out setup man or closer in 2021, he'll move up this list. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 11-15: 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
  10. Current Shortstop: Jorge Polanco Polanco is signed thru the 2023 season when he would be age-29, but the team has a $10.5 million option for 2024 and a $12 million for 2025. After signing his extension, Polanco rewarded the Twins with a tremendous first half to the 2019 campaign as he hit .312/.368/.514 with 41 extra-base hits in 85 games. He’d be named as the starter for the AL All-Star team, but things have changed over the last calendar year. In the second half of 2019, his OPS dropped by nearly 100 points and there have been some defensive concerns throughout his professional career. The 2020 campaign didn’t go much better as he posted a career worst .658 OPS. In each of the last two offseason, Polanco has been forced to have surgery on his right ankle. So, what does this mean moving forward? 40-Man Options With Ehire Adrianza hitting free agency, there’s only one other 40-man option with significant shortstop experience. Nick Gordon was the team’s first round pick back in 2014 and he spent the 2019 season at Triple-A where he hit .298/.342/.459 in 70 games. Unfortunately, he spent much of the 2020 season trying to recover from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. He was never able to report to the team’s alternate site camp in St. Paul. By the time he recovered, he spent the rest of the season recovering in Fort Myers. While Gordon has shortstop experience, the 2019 season was the first time he spent roughly half his defensive innings at second base. The lack of a minor league season and his battle with COVID-19 really hurt Gordon’s chances to make improvements in 2020. He already turned 25 and he has yet to make his big-league debut. On the Farm Options Outside of Gordon, there are other shortstop options in the minor leagues including some of the team’s top prospects. Lewis has been considered the organization’s top prospect and he spent the entire 2020 season at the team’s alternate site. He struggled through parts of 2019 at High- and Double-A before going to the Arizona Fall League and being named the league’s MVP. Questions have been raised about his long-term ability to stick at shortstop, but he still should be knocking on the door to the big leagues in 2021. Lin was picked up on a minor league deal at the beginning of December. He was a former top-20 prospect for the Red Sox before serving in a utility role over the last four seasons. For his career, he is a .223/.298/.316 with 13 extra-base hits in nearly 220 big-league plate appearances. He has also shown the ability to play nearly every defensive position. Javier and Holland have taken different routes to this point in their career. Javier signed for $4 million as an international free agent back in 2015, but he has been limited to 130 games as a professional. Holland was drafted out of Auburn University in 2019 after posting an .812 OPS over three collegiate seasons. Both have a chance to reach Double-A next season. Cavaco will be one of the more intriguing names to watch on this list since he was a first-round draft pick under the current front office regime. Coming into the draft, he was viewed a late riser, but the Twins liked the tools he possessed. Will the Twins bump him up to Low-A as a teenager? What do you think about the future of shortstop in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Keoni Cavaco, SS Cavaco was the Twins first round draft pick in 2019 and he struggled in his first professional season. Over the course of 25 games, he hit .172/.217/.253 with five extra-base hits and 35 strikeouts. Entering the draft, he was seen as a player on the rise because of his toolset, but it’s hard to gauge a player after less than 92 professional plate appearances. The 2020 campaign would have allowed for Cavaco to repeat with the GCL Twins or take the jump up to Elizabethton. His age-19 season is going to be a wash so the Twins are going to have to hope he makes significant progress in the years ahead to live up to his status as a top-10 prospect in the Twins loaded farm system. Jordan Balazovic, RHP This was the year for Jordan Balazovic to make his mark and it could have provided him the opportunity to move all the way to the big-league level. Instead, he isn’t even included on the Twins current 60-man roster and he will be left wondering what could have been in 2020. For those that don’t know, Balazovic is widely considered the Twins best pitching prospect and Baseball America and MLB.com included him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2020 season. Last season, Balazovic dominated with most of his starts coming at Fort Myers where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. He struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings and his WHIP was an unheard of 0.98 over 93 2/3 innings. The 2020 season could have catapulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects and that might have put him on track to be a September call-up. Wander Javier, SS/2B Javier had 50 professional games under his belt entering last season and there was little he did to improve his stock in 2019. As a 20-year old at Cedar Rapids, he hit .177/.278/.323 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in 80 games. It was his first season at a full-season affiliate, and he was coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him miss the entire year due to shoulder surgery. If there was any prospect that needed to show his potential in 2020, it was certainly Javier. Even with all his struggles, he is still considered one of the Twins top prospects because of the tools he showed as an amateur. He’s only played 110 games during his professional career and that has amounted to fewer than 500 at-bats. Minnesota left him off their 60-man roster and maybe this will be motivation for him to comeback and be an even stronger player in 2021. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation of their 2020 season on Tuesday. Outside of the top prospects included in the team’s 60-man roster, there are plenty of players who fans and scouts won’t get to see for all of 2020. Here are three Twins prospects that are most hurt by there not being a 2020 campaign.Keoni Cavaco, SS Cavaco was the Twins first round draft pick in 2019 and he struggled in his first professional season. Over the course of 25 games, he hit .172/.217/.253 with five extra-base hits and 35 strikeouts. Entering the draft, he was seen as a player on the rise because of his toolset, but it’s hard to gauge a player after less than 92 professional plate appearances. The 2020 campaign would have allowed for Cavaco to repeat with the GCL Twins or take the jump up to Elizabethton. His age-19 season is going to be a wash so the Twins are going to have to hope he makes significant progress in the years ahead to live up to his status as a top-10 prospect in the Twins loaded farm system. Jordan Balazovic, RHP This was the year for Jordan Balazovic to make his mark and it could have provided him the opportunity to move all the way to the big-league level. Instead, he isn’t even included on the Twins current 60-man roster and he will be left wondering what could have been in 2020. For those that don’t know, Balazovic is widely considered the Twins best pitching prospect and Baseball America and MLB.com included him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2020 season. Last season, Balazovic dominated with most of his starts coming at Fort Myers where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. He struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings and his WHIP was an unheard of 0.98 over 93 2/3 innings. The 2020 season could have catapulted him into the upper echelon of pitching prospects and that might have put him on track to be a September call-up. Wander Javier, SS/2B Javier had 50 professional games under his belt entering last season and there was little he did to improve his stock in 2019. As a 20-year old at Cedar Rapids, he hit .177/.278/.323 with 11 home runs and nine doubles in 80 games. It was his first season at a full-season affiliate, and he was coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him miss the entire year due to shoulder surgery. If there was any prospect that needed to show his potential in 2020, it was certainly Javier. Even with all his struggles, he is still considered one of the Twins top prospects because of the tools he showed as an amateur. He’s only played 110 games during his professional career and that has amounted to fewer than 500 at-bats. Minnesota left him off their 60-man roster and maybe this will be motivation for him to comeback and be an even stronger player in 2021. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  15. 10. Gilberto Celestino, OF 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): .277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 28 2B, 85 K, 50 BB, 125 G Celestino came to the Twins along with Jorge Alcala as part of the Ryan Pressly trade. He played almost the entire 2019 campaign in Cedar Rapids with a handful of games in Fort Myers at season’s end. He destroyed the ball in July by hitting .369/.430/.563 with 12 extra-base hits in 26 games. Things didn’t slow down much from there as he posted a .896 OPS in August and this included his promotion to a higher level. While he showed strong offensive ability last season, Celestino might be one of the best outfield defenders in the entire Twins organization. He’s played all three outfield positions, but his defense in centerfield will be his ticket to the big leagues. If he can continue to make offensive improvements, he could move quickly through the system in the years ahead. 9. Aaron Sabato, 1B 2019 NCAA Stats: .343/.453/.696, 18 HR, 25 2B, 56 K, 39 BB, 64 G Minnesota just took Sabato with their first-round draft pick last week and he has the power potential to slide into their top-10 prospects. He could be higher on the list, but many don’t see him as having much defensive value, so the Twins must hope his bat is what powers him throughout his professional career. His 2019 season was his lone full season at the collegiate level, because he was a draft eligible sophomore. He posted a 1.149 OPS that year and he might have been on track for an even better season in 2019. In 19 games during the 2020 season, Sabato had a .478 OBP and a .708 SLG with seven home runs and six doubles. This year’s draft certainly had some quirks with only five rounds and the first round saw a lot of teams select college players because they have a longer track record. Sabato is going to hit no matter what level he plays at and the Twins took him as a safe pick with plenty of upside. 8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): 5-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 119 K, 25 BB, 96.1 IP 2019 MLB Stats: 3-2, 6.18 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 31 K, 10 BB, 27.2 IP It might seem like Thorpe has been around the Twins organization for ages, especially since Minnesota signed him all the way back in 2012. He put up strong numbers in his first two professional seasons but missed all of 2015 and 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, Thorpe was young enough where he was still back on the mound by his age-21 season and he spent the last two seasons moving through the upper levels of the minors. Across 114 innings at Double-A, he posted a 3.71 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.9 K/9. His WHIP is over four points lower in 118 innings and his strikeout rate is higher (11.1 K/9). Thorpe was primed for a breakout season in 2020 with many in spring training were discussing the club’s high hopes for the southpaw. While his ERA and WHIP were high last season, he continued to strikeout batters and that’s something Twins fans can be excited about. He could be part of the Twins pitching staff for most of the next decade. 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (RK): .172/.217/.253, 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K, 4 BB, 25 G One year ago, the Twins took Cavaco with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was seen as a player that rose on team’s draft boards in the months and weeks leading into the draft. A player like him might not have even been taken in 2020 because of the limitations on scouting and the shortened high school season. He didn’t see the same type of competition as other top high school players because he wasn’t invited to a lot of the showcase events leading into his senior season. Still, his tool set was hard for the Twins to ignore. His arm strength and speed are currently his two best tools. There were some obvious struggles at the plate last season, but he has plenty of power potential. As he continues getting experience against tougher competition, many believe he will be able to showcase the skills that put him on team’s draft radars. The Twins will give him every opportunity to stick at shortstop, but he has shown the ability to play third base during his amateur career. 6. Ryan Jeffers, C 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA): .264/.341/.421, 14 HR, 16 2B, 83 K, 37 BB, 103 G Mitch Garver might not want to look too closely in his rearview mirror because Jeffers might be closer to the big leagues than most would think. Minnesota took Jeffers in the second round back in 2018 and many viewed him as a bat-only player. He has refined his defense behind the plate since joining the Twins and his bat has certainly lived up to the hype he was receiving going into the draft. In his pro debut, Jeffers hit .344/.444/.502 with 24 extra-base hits in 64 games between the E-Twins and Cedar Rapids. Last season he spent almost 80 games in Fort Myers and hit double digits in home runs and doubles. He finished the year with 24 games in the Southern League and saw his OPS rise 124 points over what he compiled in the Florida State League. At 23-years old, he is the Twins catcher of the future and that future might not be that far away. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. After a great 2019 season the Twins slid all the way down to 27th in the picking order for 2020. Falvey and Thad Levine have a brief but strong history of identifying talent for the organization however, and the hope would be that this season is no different. Taking a look back on the guys they tabbed in 2019, here’s how year one in pro ball went. Keoni Cavaco SS (1, 13) As a helium pick it was probably expected that there’d be growing pains. Cavaco rose the draft boards late and is a long-term play for the Twins. He played 25 games in the GCL and posted just a .470 OPS. The slash line isn’t as concerning as the 35/4 K/BB rate. He’ll need to clean that up as he adjusts to the next level. Matt Wallner RF (1, 39) A local kid and standout at Southern Miss, Wallner jumped into pro ball and did not disappoint. He pitched and hit in college but is being groomed solely as a position player for the Twins. After 53 games in Elizabethton, Wallner was promoted to Low-A Cedar Rapids. He posted an .810 OPS across both levels and the power translated to eight dingers in 65 games. Matt Canterino RHP (2, 54) Despite a quirky delivery, Canterino is one of my favorite arms in the Twins system. He made two quick GCL appearances and then went straight to Low-A Cedar Rapids. He pitched 25 innings after completing his season with Rice and posted some eye-popping results. The former Owls star had a 1.44 ERA 11.2 K/9 and allowed just eight walks. Spencer Steer SS (3, 90) After lighting it up in the Appy League to the tune of a .949 OPS, Minnesota got aggressive and moved Steer quickly. At Cedar Rapids he slashed .260/.358/.387 in 44 games. He showed awesome plate discipline and a good eye. Steer did make six errors in just over 100 innings at short for Elizabethton and then split over 300 innings at 2nd and 3rd for the Kernels. Seth Gray 3B (4, 119) Most of Gray’s 2019 was spent in the Appy League, reaching Cedar Rapids for just four games. Despite just a .225 average he posted a .781 OPS. 30 walks in 257 plate appearances was indicative of good zone control, and the power played to the tune of 11 homers. Gray had a nice spring for Minnesota as well in the brief time I saw him. Will Holland SS (5, 149) There was a little lag time in getting Holland started with Auburn’s participation in the College World Series. Across 36 games for Elizabethton he posted a .675 OPS with seven homers. After a .936 OPS in 2018 for the Tigers, Holland slid in the draft due to a .777 mark last season. He just turned 22 though and has the makings of a true shortstop. Certainly, a guy to watch in Minnesota’s system. Sawyer Gipson-Long RHP (6, 179) Minnesota got Gipson-Long going right away in the Appy League. He made six abbreviated starts going a total of 18.1 IP. He was scoreless through his first two outings, including a six-strikeout performance in just three innings of work. Things went south in his final four appearances but certainly could’ve been a bit of fatigue. An 11.3 K/9 in his pro debut is reason to be excited. Anthony Prato SS (7, 209) Prato posted a .755 OPS for Elizabethton in 45 games before getting a two-game stint with Cedar Rapids. The 26/20 K/BB is an encouraging sign for an up-the-middle player. The Twins did play him mostly at second and third base defensively. There isn’t much power in Prato’s bat, but he’s a good contact hitter with elite on-base ability. Casey Legumina RHP (8, 239) Minnesota took Legumina after he made just four starts for the Zags in 2019. He left after 73 pitches in his final outing and was shut down. There was an exciting velocity spike that garnered more draft attention. He did not pitch in pro ball last year. Brent Headrick LHP (9, 269) The first lefty on the board, Headrick only turned in 3.2 IP during his pro debut season. Pitching for Elizabethton he gave up two unearned runs on two hits. He did have a negative 2/5 K/BB ratio. Not much to go off of at this point professionally, but the Illinois State hurler had big time strikeout numbers in college. Ben Gross RHP (10, 299) Of all the pitchers drafted by Minnesota Gross may have been worked the most. He made 11 starts at Elizabethton and posted a 4.30 ERA across 52.1 IP. He tallied 8.4 K/9 and gave up just 2.4 BB/9. His college numbers remained pretty consistent from year to year, and while there’s nothing that jumps off the page, he’s a pretty safe bet to continue contributing. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. Sure, the 2020 draft won’t affect how the best sports betting sites look at the 2020 season. The baseball draft just doesn’t provide the instant gratification, or at least the instant return on investment that the NFL draft or the NBA draft do. But isn’t that some of what the fun of it is? Being a Major League Baseball player is tough. The players are really good, and even after a successful collegiate career, they have to climb an organization’s ladder. Scouts have had it tough this year. First, they haven’t been able to see players in action since early March. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t seen the players. Consider college juniors. It is likely that scouts have at least been aware of most of those players for at least three years, and if they were at all prospects in high school or played on national circuits, they may have five or six years of getting to know them and watch them. For high school players, most of the high-round draft picks were stars on the national teams the previous summer. It is unusual to find a prep player rocket up draft boards because of his play on the field his senior season. That said, Twins fans need look only to 2019 first-round draft pick Keoni Cavaco to find an example. There is video. I’m sure there are phone calls to coaches and others around the top players. From talking to several of this year’s prospects, there are generally multiple Zoom meetings with teams each day. *Click here to listen to Seth discuss the draft on 1390 Granite City Sports* The Twins Picks 1st round pick - #27 Overall 1st round Competitive Balance Pick - traded to Dodgers (Maeda) 2nd round pick - #59 Overall 3rd round pick - Lost due to signing of Josh Donaldson 4th round pick - #128 Overall 5th round pick - #158 Overall Recent Twins Draft History In 2008, Deron Johnson took over as Twins Scouting Director from Mike Radcliff. He held the reins through the Twins 2016 draft. In 2017, Sean Johnson became the Twins Scouting Director and has led the past three drafts. Deron Johnson and Mike Radcliff remain heavily involved in the draft. Looking back over the past dozen drafts (2008-2019), there is definitely a pattern. #1 - When the Twins have had the first overall pick through the 19th overall pick, they have heavily gone the way of high-upside high school players, usually hitters. Of the eight picks they had in this range, seven of those picks were high school players. And six of those seven were hitters. 2008 - Aaron Hicks (#14 overall), 2012 - Byron Buxton (#2 overall), 2013 - Kohl Stewart (#4 overall), 2014 - Nick Gordon (#5 overall), 2015 - Tyler Jay (#6 overall), 2016 - Alex Kirilloff (#15 overall), 2017 - Royce Lewis (#1 overall), 2019 - Keoni Cavaco (#13 overall). #2 - When the Twins have had pick #20 through #45 (some years, there were enough Competitive Balance or Compensation picks that those were still ‘first-round’ picks), they have drafted primarily college players. Of the ten picks in this range, nine of them were college players. Of those nine, four were hitters and five were pitchers. 2008 - Carlos Gutierrez (#27 overall), Shooter Hunt (#31 overall), 2009 - Kyle Gibson (#22 overall), 2010 - Alex Wimmers (#21 overall), 2011 - Levi Michael (#30 overall), 2012 - Jose Berrios (#32 overall), Luke Bard (#42 overall), 2017 - Brent Rooker (#35 overall), 2018 - Trevor Larnach (#20 overall), 2019 - Matt Wallner (#39 overall). So, with the Twins owning the #27 overall pick, history would tell us that they would go for a college player. The fact that they have just four picks in the draft, I think it becomes even more likely. Going even a little more granular, in the three drafts of Sean Johnson (also the three drafts of the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine era), the Twins have gone quite heavy on bats. Their first round picks have been Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach and Keoni Cavaco, with Competitive Balance Picks Brent Rooker and Matt Wallner and a second-round pick in Ryan Jeffers. Their second round pick in 2019 was college pitcher Matt Canterino, and in 2017 they selected Canadian prep pitcher Landon Leach. Seven of their eight picks in rounds three through five have been college players. The lone exception was the high upside Blayne Enlow in 2017. Three Names To Know Again, history (and recent history) would certainly indicate that we should expect to see the Twins take a college bat with the #27 overall pick. So, here are three names that the Twins may be able to pick. All three are ranked in the 27-37 range of draft prospects, but in several mock drafts, at least one of them has been taken before #27. Justin Foscue, IF (Mississippi State) An Alabama native, Foscue went to Mississippi State. He struggled somewhat as a freshman, but he took off as a sophomore, hitting .338/.402/.582 (.984) with 22 doubles and 14 homers. He was off to a strong start in 2020 as well when the season ended. The fact is that he is going to have to really hit because many believe that he could struggle defensively at second base and could move to the outfield. Probably doesn’t have the size and profile to be a full-time DH. But, most believe that he is certain to be a big-league hitter. Foscue is the player that I selected for the Twins in the Prospects Live draft in late April. I make the pick at the 1:35:57 mark of this video and it is analyzed a bit. Bonus Coverage... find out who I took with the Twins 2nd round pick at the 2:49:38 mark. https://twitter.com/ProspectsLive/status/1256379162920488960 Nick Loftin, SS (Baylor) Loftin is a good example of a player who would be a nice pick up at the end of the first round and be really happy with. While he doesn’t have any elite tools, he does everything fairly well. He hit over .300 each season at Baylor, including .331/.391/.517 (.908) with 20 doubles and six homers. And, he isn’t fast, but he can play shortstop well. Aaron Sabato, 1B (North Carolina) The game of baseball is now all about power, and Sabato brings as much power to the plate as anyone in the draft. He’s a burly 6-3 and 230 pounds. As a freshman in 2019, he hit .335/.437/.650 (1.087) with 22 doubles and 13 home runs. In just 19 games this spring, he already had seven doubles and six homers. His value is almost solely based on his power. He has little speed and is considered below average at first base. But, he has as much power as anyone in the draft. One To Dream On… The Twins have probably had the most success when they have drafted high school athletic types in the first round. Examples include (but certainly not limited to) Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks, Michael Cuddyer and Trevor Plouffe, among others. If there is a player that I believe the Twins are hoping like crazy falls to them at #27 (and has in a few mock drafts), I believe it is... Ed Howard, SS (high school in Illinois) Yes, the Twins have some high-end shortstop prospects, but as we have learned and seen, it is really hard to get to the big leagues as a shortstop. Howard has the tools to be a big-league shortstop. He’s got good range, good speed and a strong arm. Most believe that he can stay at shortstop. He also has a strong, athletic frame and a swing that many believe could lead to power down the line too. Post-Draft Signings Following the five-round draft, teams will be able to sign as many draft-eligible players as they would like for no more than $20,000. The Twins probably helped themselves by announcing two weeks ago that they would continue paying their minor leaguers through the end of August and not releasing players. But, it will be a lot like the recruitment process. It’s about the relationships that the area scouts have built with the players, their advisors, their coaches, etc. It’s hard to imagine non-drafted high school players signing for just $20,000 if they’re a real good prospect. But it’s also possible that they will choose to go to junior colleges and be eligible for the 2021 draft rather than going to a four-year college and have to wait until 2023 to get drafted. Seniors may be willing to be sign, though they can get another year of college eligibility if they want. Junior may choose to go back, but if they do, they will also be ‘senior signs’ next year and lose leverage. In other words, it’s not going to be easy to sign players after the draft. Twins Daily Draft Coverage Please know that we will be covering the Twins draft extensively over the next few days. We will highlight each of the Twins four draft picks. Be sure to check back often for draft rumors, picks, signings and more. Thank you to Andrew Thares for his Top 50 prospect rankings and for helping plan the coming days’ coverage Top Draft Prospects 1-10 Top Draft Prospects 11-20 Top Draft Prospects 21-30 Top Draft Prospects 31-40 Top Draft Prospects 41-50 First Round Busts: The Twins Struckout Three Consecutive Years - Cody Christie Reviewing Minnesota’s Recent First-Round Picks - Cody Christie What does MLB History Say About the 27th Pick? - Matthew Taylor Please feel free to ask questions. Which draft prospects are your favorites, and would you like seeing the Twins draft? How do you feel about the four players mentioned.
  18. 2019: Keoni Cavaco, SS (13th overall) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospect Ranking: 8 2019 Season (Rookie): .172/.217/.253 (.470 OPS), HR, 4 2B, 35 K Cavaco flew up draft boards in the weeks and months leading up to the draft and the Twins saw enough in him to make him their first-round pick. He clearly had some struggles in his first professional season as he struck out in over 40% of his at-bats. His athleticism and other tools are hard to ignore, so Twins fans might have to be patient with him as he moves through the system. 2018: Trevor Larnach, OF (20th overall) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospect Ranking: 3 2019 Season (A+/AA): .309/.384/.458 (.842 OPS), 13 HR, 30 2B, 124 K Larnach was drafted in the midst of a tremendous College World Series run that saw him hit a walk-off home run that helped Oregon State win the championship. Last season was a breakout campaign for the former first rounder. The Twins named him their Minor League Player of the Year and he took home the same honors from Twins Daily. He would also be named the Florida State League Player of the Year and he led the Twins organization in hits (147). 2017: Royce Lewis, SS (1st overall) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospect Ranking: 1 2019 Season (A+/AA): .236/.290/.371 (.661 OPS), 12 HR, 26 2B, 123 K When a team has the number one pick, it’s imperative not to miss on the player. Lewis had some struggles last season with his swing and there are questions about his long-term defensive position. Following the season, he went to the Arizona Fall League and put some of those concerns to rest as he was named the league’s MVP. He is almost unanimously considered the team’s best prospect and all three major prospect rankings have him as a top-30 prospect in all of baseball. 2016: Alex Kirilloff (15th overall) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospect Ranking: 2 2019 Season (AA): .283/.343/.413 (.756 OPS), 9 HR, 18 2B, 76 K It was going to be hard for any player to live up to the season compiled by Kirilloff back in 2018. He was arguably one of the best hitters in all the minors that season. His 2019 campaign included multiple stints on the DL with a wrist injury and this can be a tough injury to overcome in the middle of a season. He ended the year on a tear by hitting .319/.371/.496 (.867) and he crack home runs in Pensacola’s first four playoff games. 2015: Tyler Jay (6th overall) Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospect Ranking: No longer in the organization The previous front office regime had hopes for Jay by taking him this high in the draft. As a hard throwing college arm, the Twins hoped to be able to turn Jay from a reliever into a starter. This experiment didn’t exactly go as planned and the Twins traded Jay last June to the Cincinnati Reds for cash. It was just announced this week that Jay was one of the players released from the Reds organization, so he is currently searching for a new organization. What do you think of Minnesota’s recent first round picks? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. Age: 18 (DOB: 6-2-2001) 2019 Stats (GCL): 92 PA, .172/.217/.253, 4-2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI ETA: 2025 2019 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like There’s no hiding the reality that the Twins have had a history of drafting, signing and developing many toolsy, talented high school athletes with early-round picks. Torii Hunter. Michael Cuddyer. Joe Mauer, Denard Span. Ben Revere. Joe Benson. Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis in recent years. When it comes to tools and athleticism, Keoni Cavaco can match up with any of these players. Cavaco was drafted from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California. The school has several players go Division I every year as well as get drafted. Cavaco only played infield his final two years of high school and wasn’t a known commodity on the national scene until after the summer of his junior year. Like several others from his school, he was committed to San Diego State. Cavaco has a very strong, athletic build. He’s already 6-2 and hovers around 200 pounds. He’s got quick hands and has the potential to hit a lot of home runs, in time. He also has speed that can match up with most anyone in the organization. In fact, he was clocked at 3.9 seconds to first base from the right-hand batters box. Right now, his defense is ahead of his offense. The Twins had him play shortstop through the short-season following the draft, but he had spent most of his high school career playing third base. His team’s shortstop was hurt during the season so Cavaco had an opportunity to show scouts that he could play the position as well. Reports from Ft. Myers indicate that he’s got great footwork, soft hands, good range and a strong arm. What’s Left To Work On When Cavaco came to Target Field to sign his contract, FSN’s Marney Gellner interviewed him on the TV broadcast. He said that he wanted to be in the major leagues in “four years or less.” Well, Twins fans, and Cavaco himself, will need to have more patience than that. The tools are all there, but many of them are quite raw. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1138604938240512000 First and foremost, Cavaco’s “hit” tool is going to take some time. It’s all there. He’s got the size and strength. He’s got the quick hands. He’s got good vision. In his professional debut, he missed some time with some minor injuries which kept him from getting into a groove. He also had a lot of swing-and-miss, striking out in 35 of his 92 plate appearances (38%) while walking just four times. And as you would expect from any player that is just 18 years old, he’s got a lot of work to do across the board. His swing is just one of those things. He’s got work to do in terms of base running, and defense, and control of the strike zone. He’s also learning how to work properly in the gym, and before games, and dietary, and more. https://twitter.com/BaseballAmerica/status/1135705853632372736 What’s Next After just 25 games and his struggles in the GCL following the draft, expect that Cavaco will spend the first half of the season in Ft. Myers at extended spring training continuing to work on his all-around game. At that point, it will be interesting to see if Cavaco is pushed up to Elizabethton (likely) or starts the short season in the GCL again. It’s also possible, if he picks things up quickly, he could spend some time in the second half of the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B 19. Cole Sands, RHP 18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF 17. Misael Urbina, OF 16. Edwar Colina, RP 15. Matt Canterino, RHP 14. Matt Wallner, OF 13. Wander Javier, SS 12. Gilberto Celestino, OF 11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Brent Rooker, OF 8. Keoni Cavaco, SS Stop by tomorrow for prospect #7! --------------------------------------------------------- Get to know more about Keoni Cavaco and about another 170 minor league players (and two Dodgers prospects too - Graterol and Raley) in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. ORDER NOW: 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $17.99) ORDER NOW: 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $12.99) The 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on about 170 Twins minor leaguers.
  22. Today, we continue our Top 20 prospect rankings series with a look at our choice as the Twins #8 prospect. If prospect rankings were based solely on tools and ceiling, Keoni Cavaco would likely rank much higher on this list.Age: 18 (DOB: 6-2-2001) 2019 Stats (GCL): 92 PA, .172/.217/.253, 4-2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI ETA: 2025 2019 Ranking: NR National Top 100 Rankings BA: NR |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like There’s no hiding the reality that the Twins have had a history of drafting, signing and developing many toolsy, talented high school athletes with early-round picks. Torii Hunter. Michael Cuddyer. Joe Mauer, Denard Span. Ben Revere. Joe Benson. Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis in recent years. When it comes to tools and athleticism, Keoni Cavaco can match up with any of these players. Cavaco was drafted from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California. The school has several players go Division I every year as well as get drafted. Cavaco only played infield his final two years of high school and wasn’t a known commodity on the national scene until after the summer of his junior year. Like several others from his school, he was committed to San Diego State. Cavaco has a very strong, athletic build. He’s already 6-2 and hovers around 200 pounds. He’s got quick hands and has the potential to hit a lot of home runs, in time. He also has speed that can match up with most anyone in the organization. In fact, he was clocked at 3.9 seconds to first base from the right-hand batters box. Right now, his defense is ahead of his offense. The Twins had him play shortstop through the short-season following the draft, but he had spent most of his high school career playing third base. His team’s shortstop was hurt during the season so Cavaco had an opportunity to show scouts that he could play the position as well. Reports from Ft. Myers indicate that he’s got great footwork, soft hands, good range and a strong arm. What’s Left To Work On When Cavaco came to Target Field to sign his contract, FSN’s Marney Gellner interviewed him on the TV broadcast. He said that he wanted to be in the major leagues in “four years or less.” Well, Twins fans, and Cavaco himself, will need to have more patience than that. The tools are all there, but many of them are quite raw. What’s Next After just 25 games and his struggles in the GCL following the draft, expect that Cavaco will spend the first half of the season in Ft. Myers at extended spring training continuing to work on his all-around game. At that point, it will be interesting to see if Cavaco is pushed up to Elizabethton (likely) or starts the short season in the GCL again. It’s also possible, if he picks things up quickly, he could spend some time in the second half of the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B 19. Cole Sands, RHP 18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF 17. Misael Urbina, OF 16. Edwar Colina, RP 15. Matt Canterino, RHP 14. Matt Wallner, OF 13. Wander Javier, SS 12. Gilberto Celestino, OF 11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Brent Rooker, OF 8. Keoni Cavaco, SS Stop by tomorrow for prospect #7! --------------------------------------------------------- Get to know more about Keoni Cavaco and about another 170 minor league players (and two Dodgers prospects too - Graterol and Raley) in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. ORDER NOW: 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $17.99) ORDER NOW: 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $12.99) The 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on about 170 Twins minor leaguers. Click here to view the article
  23. Today is one of the biggest releases on the calendar in the hobby world. As Topps pumps out the latest Bowman Draft product, collectors feast their eyes on an opportunity to grab autographs and cardboard of the next great stars. For the Minnesota Twins specifically, a Bowman product hasn’t been this exciting in a few years. While collecting sports cards is a hobby, a large contingent of its appeal is monetarily driven and provides an aspect of gambling. Outside of buying specific cards you covet on secondary markets, opening boxes or packs leaves the consumer fully open to chance. With Bowman that reality is heightened given the nature of the product. Up and coming prospects are put in their major league uniforms, and for many, it will be their first professional cards. From a desire perspective it’s the “1st Bowman” card that reigns supreme. Mike Trout’s fetch more than $20,000, and while no one else is on that pedestal, plenty of players routinely top the $1,000 mark on an annual basis. At the most fundamental level, you’re looking for strong prospects with youth and talent on their side, with the understanding that hitters are more desirable than pitchers. In Draft, which features the top picks from the previous amateur cycle, Minnesota has five key subjects. Let’s get into what their potential, cardboard and baseball, may look like. Matt Wallner- OF 1st Round 2019 Age 21 A decent comp within the Twins system would be Brent Rooker, although the Minnesota native has youth on his side. Wallner pitched as Southern Miss as well, but he’s being groomed solely for his bat after being taken in the first round. There’s plenty of power potential here as he set college records, and his eight professional dingers in 65 games was a nice start. Wallner is the type of hobby player that sits in the middle. He’ll hit a boatload of homers, but the position and other abilities leave him with some bust potential. Given his hometown narrative, he could be coveted by Twins collectors, but this should remain an affordable chase player. Keoni Cavaco- SS 1st Round 2019 Age 18 A helium pick for the Twins, Cavaco played in 25 games after being the 13th overall pick. He didn’t show well owning just a .470 OPS in the GCL, but there’s reason to call that expected. He came into his own during the showcase circuit, and pro ball is going to be yet another leap. Minnesota obviously sees all-around promise and continuing his development should only raise his overall ceiling. In the card world he could soon become an expensive get. Youth is in his corner, and talent is through the roof. The minute results follow, there’ll be a clamoring for his cardboard. Anthony Prato- INF 7th Round 2019 Age 21 Taken after his junior season at Uconn, Prato is an up-the-middle player that the Twins see promise in. He played in 45 games for Elizabethton while getting in two at the next level for Cedar Rapids. He’s not a power guy, but he can swipe bases and hit the gaps. That profile is much more beneficial on the diamond than it is in the baseball card realm. He could be a solid utility player at the big-league level, but his cards aren’t going to see much of a jump unless there’s a shift in projection. Matt Canterino- SP 2nd Round Age 21 Another Conference USA product, Canterino was taken in a class with Wallner, who he is very familiar with. Arguably the best projected player of Minnesota’s 2019 class right now, the pitcher posted a 1.44 ERA across his first seven professional starts. He’s got a quirky delivery, but he’ll mow down hitters and has an advanced approach on the mound. There’s middle-of-the-rotation upside here for Minnesota and that’s great news for the big-league club. Pitchers aren’t highly collectible however, and that generally mutes prices significantly. With the volatility of injury or ineffectiveness as well, there should be no reason this is ever more than an entry level purchase. Spencer Steer- INF 3rd Round Age 21 After playing for the Oregon Ducks across three seasons, Steer was selected by the Twins and made quite the impression. His .949 OPS at Elizabethton earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids. In 44 games there he owned a .745 OPS still buoyed by a strong OBP. He’s always controlled the strike zone well, and he should have some potential to grow into power. Steer isn’t going to light the world on fire, but he’s probably got the safest floor of anyone that made it into the product for Minnesota. An affordable autograph with staying power makes this one worthy of looking into. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  24. Transactions Minnesota RHP Kohl Stewart optioned to Triple-A Pensacola RHP Brusdar Graterol activated from 7-day IL There's also this https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1159219085571502082 RED WINGS REPORT Gwinnett 4, Rochester 3 Box Score Lewis Thorpe was nails in this one as he went six innings allowing just a single hit and striking out seven. He’s looked strong for the Twins this year, and a performance like this won’t keep him in Triple-A for long. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1159251771816140803 In the second inning Zander Wiel hit his 20th homer of the season, which was notable beyond just putting Rochester on the board. The 427-foot blast was Rochester’s 155th of the season setting a new franchise record. The 154 single-season home run record had stood since 1959. Scoring was at a premium in this one with stud Atlanta prospect Kyle Wright opposing the Red Wings. Caleb Hamilton doubled the score in the seventh on his secondTriple-A two-bagger. That’s where the momentum stopped for the home team. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1159286073085890560 A four-run eighth inning, complete with a Pedro Florimon triple for the Stripers had the Red Wings looking up at the wrong side of the scoreboard. With two runners on in the ninth Rochester threatened, but Brandon Barnes’ RBI single was the only run they managed to push across. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Mobile 5, Pensacola 1 Box Score Star Twins prospect Jhoan Duran was tonight’s starter and he was hit around a bit during his six innings of work. Despite striking out six and walking just one, he gave up five earned on seven hits. Recently activated Travis Blankenhorn blasted his 17th homer of the year to open the scoring, but that was the only run the Blue Wahoos brought home. Giving up four in the bottom of the third, they trailed for the majority of this contest. Trying to claw their way back, Pensacola did generate a ninth inning threat but Mobile’s bullpen was able to hold things in check. https://twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall/status/1159191468680065030 MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1: St. Lucie 5, Fort Myers 2 Box Score Playing a twin bill after wet grounds postponed yesterday’s action it was Dakota Chalmers on the bump for game one. He went four innings allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out six. Unfortunately he also walked six and with just one hit given up, the free passes are where the damage came from. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth Fort Myers took the lead. Michael Davis drove in the first run on a sac fly and Gabriel Maciel followed suit for run number two. The lead didn’t last long as a two run shot in the bottom of the inning put St. Lucie back in the lead, and a sixth inning tally made it a three run margin for good measure. Game 2: Fort Myers 9, St. Lucie 2 Box Score Attempting to avoid the sweep on the day, the ball was handed to Melvi Acosta. He turned in five innings of solid work allowing just two runs, and the offense put him in the driver’s seat early. Jose Miranda gave the Miracle a 1-0 lead on a first inning single, and then the away team broke it open. Fort Myers plated five in the second with the most damage coming on a two-RBI triple from Andrew Bechtold. He got the last 90 feet on a wild pitch and the lead then was two field goals. A fourth inning triple from David Banuelos plated another run before Miranda ripped his sixth dinger of the year, a solo shot, in the fourth. Up 8-2 heading into the final from, Ernie De La Trinadad wore a pitch with the bases loaded to generate the game’s final run. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 3, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Kody Funderburk was on the bump and despite there not being much offense tonight, he was worth the price of admission. Twirling five innings of two-hit ball, Funderburk struck out five walking just two. The Kernels were able to generate just four hits on the evening and their only run came on a ninth inning error. This was a bit of a sloppy affair with the two clubs combining for six errors on the evening. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Kingsport 3 Box Score Cody Lawyerson got the nod for the E-Twins tonight and worked three scoreless innings. He gave up no hits while walking one and striking out two. Erik Cha worked 3 1/3 innings of relief to pick up his fifth victory of the season, moving him to a 5-1 record. https://twitter.com/ETwinsBaseball/status/1159235783334813697 In the top of the first inning Matt Wallner launched his fourth homer of the season. A two-run shot that scored DaShawn Keirsey had the E-Twins on the board. After allowing the Mets to even things up, Keirsey singled in the sixth driving in Trevor Jensen and putting the E-Twins back on top. Looking for some breathing room Elizabethton found it in the late innings. Janigson Villalobos recorded his fourth double of the season driving in two, and a Max Smith single in the ninth added another. Kingsport attempted a comeback in the final frame but could only push a single run across. With the victory Elizabethton avoided a series sweep on the road and continue their trip tomorrow in Johnson City. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1: GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 4 Box Score Regi Grace started today’s contest for the Twins and turned in four innings of work. He surrendered four runs on four hits while striking out two and walking one. In line for the win, he couldn’t make it through the fifth inning to satisfy the necessary requirement. The damage was done by the top of the Twins lineup in this one. Third baseman Alec Craig had a two-hit game scoring twice, while Jeferson Morales added two hits of his own (both doubles). Cleanup hitter Victor Heredia was the third member of the multi-hit trio on the afternoon with a two-hit effort as well. Runs were scored in the first, third, and fourth innings by the GCL Twins and the five tallies were enough to stay afloat after a three-run fourth inning by the Orioles. Game 2: GCL Twins 5 GCL Orioles 4 Box Score Matthew Swain got behind by a 4-0 tally through the first two innings of work in game two today, but this one would see the lineup come through once again. Turning the ball over to the bullpen down 4-1, the GCL Twins evened things up with quickness. In the top of the third inning 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco launched his first professional home run. It was a three-run blast and knotted the score at 4. Waiting all the way until the final frame, the Twins then added another in the top half of the seventh to win the second half of the doubleheader with the same score as the first. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) – 0-4, BB, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 1-4 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 0-3, BB, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, R, 2 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) – Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) – 1-4, R, HR(1), 3 RBI, 2 K #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) – Did Not Pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) – Did Not Play #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – Did Not Play #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(4) #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – 1-3, BB #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) – 1-4, RBI #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – 1-4, R, RBI, HR(17) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Gwinnett @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (Triple-A Debut) Pensacola @ Mobile (6:35PM CST) – LHP Bryan Sammons (4-4, 4.18 ERA) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30PM CST) – RHP Luis Rijo (4-6, 2.58 ERA) Elizabethton @ Johnson City (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
  25. The Twins had a ton of action taking place on the farm today with multiple affiliates playing doubleheaders. Lewis Thorpe got the start for Rochester and looked like a big leaguer overpowering lesser competition, while 2019 draft picks Matt Wallner and Keoni Cavaco both homered, and Brusdar Graterol returned to the active roster. Check all of the excitement out below.Transactions Minnesota RHP Kohl Stewart optioned to Triple-A Pensacola RHP Brusdar Graterol activated from 7-day IL There's also this RED WINGS REPORT Gwinnett 4, Rochester 3 Box Score Lewis Thorpe was nails in this one as he went six innings allowing just a single hit and striking out seven. He’s looked strong for the Twins this year, and a performance like this won’t keep him in Triple-A for long. In the second inning Zander Wiel hit his 20th homer of the season, which was notable beyond just putting Rochester on the board. The 427-foot blast was Rochester’s 155th of the season setting a new franchise record. The 154 single-season home run record had stood since 1959. Scoring was at a premium in this one with stud Atlanta prospect Kyle Wright opposing the Red Wings. Caleb Hamilton doubled the score in the seventh on his secondTriple-A two-bagger. That’s where the momentum stopped for the home team. A four-run eighth inning, complete with a Pedro Florimon triple for the Stripers had the Red Wings looking up at the wrong side of the scoreboard. With two runners on in the ninth Rochester threatened, but Brandon Barnes’ RBI single was the only run they managed to push across. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Mobile 5, Pensacola 1 Box Score Star Twins prospect Jhoan Duran was tonight’s starter and he was hit around a bit during his six innings of work. Despite striking out six and walking just one, he gave up five earned on seven hits. Recently activated Travis Blankenhorn blasted his 17th homer of the year to open the scoring, but that was the only run the Blue Wahoos brought home. Giving up four in the bottom of the third, they trailed for the majority of this contest. Trying to claw their way back, Pensacola did generate a ninth inning threat but Mobile’s bullpen was able to hold things in check. MIRACLE MATTERS Game 1: St. Lucie 5, Fort Myers 2 Box Score Playing a twin bill after wet grounds postponed yesterday’s action it was Dakota Chalmers on the bump for game one. He went four innings allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out six. Unfortunately he also walked six and with just one hit given up, the free passes are where the damage came from. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth Fort Myers took the lead. Michael Davis drove in the first run on a sac fly and Gabriel Maciel followed suit for run number two. The lead didn’t last long as a two run shot in the bottom of the inning put St. Lucie back in the lead, and a sixth inning tally made it a three run margin for good measure. Game 2: Fort Myers 9, St. Lucie 2 Box Score Attempting to avoid the sweep on the day, the ball was handed to Melvi Acosta. He turned in five innings of solid work allowing just two runs, and the offense put him in the driver’s seat early. Jose Miranda gave the Miracle a 1-0 lead on a first inning single, and then the away team broke it open. Fort Myers plated five in the second with the most damage coming on a two-RBI triple from Andrew Bechtold. He got the last 90 feet on a wild pitch and the lead then was two field goals. A fourth inning triple from David Banuelos plated another run before Miranda ripped his sixth dinger of the year, a solo shot, in the fourth. Up 8-2 heading into the final from, Ernie De La Trinadad wore a pitch with the bases loaded to generate the game’s final run. KERNELS NUGGETS Kane County 3, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Kody Funderburk was on the bump and despite there not being much offense tonight, he was worth the price of admission. Twirling five innings of two-hit ball, Funderburk struck out five walking just two. The Kernels were able to generate just four hits on the evening and their only run came on a ninth inning error. This was a bit of a sloppy affair with the two clubs combining for six errors on the evening. E-TWINS E-NOTES Elizabethton 6, Kingsport 3 Box Score Cody Lawyerson got the nod for the E-Twins tonight and worked three scoreless innings. He gave up no hits while walking one and striking out two. Erik Cha worked 3 1/3 innings of relief to pick up his fifth victory of the season, moving him to a 5-1 record. In the top of the first inning Matt Wallner launched his fourth homer of the season. A two-run shot that scored DaShawn Keirsey had the E-Twins on the board. After allowing the Mets to even things up, Keirsey singled in the sixth driving in Trevor Jensen and putting the E-Twins back on top. Looking for some breathing room Elizabethton found it in the late innings. Janigson Villalobos recorded his fourth double of the season driving in two, and a Max Smith single in the ninth added another. Kingsport attempted a comeback in the final frame but could only push a single run across. With the victory Elizabethton avoided a series sweep on the road and continue their trip tomorrow in Johnson City. GCL TWINS TAKES Game 1: GCL Twins 5, GCL Orioles 4 Box Score Regi Grace started today’s contest for the Twins and turned in four innings of work. He surrendered four runs on four hits while striking out two and walking one. In line for the win, he couldn’t make it through the fifth inning to satisfy the necessary requirement. The damage was done by the top of the Twins lineup in this one. Third baseman Alec Craig had a two-hit game scoring twice, while Jeferson Morales added two hits of his own (both doubles). Cleanup hitter Victor Heredia was the third member of the multi-hit trio on the afternoon with a two-hit effort as well. Runs were scored in the first, third, and fourth innings by the GCL Twins and the five tallies were enough to stay afloat after a three-run fourth inning by the Orioles. Game 2: GCL Twins 5 GCL Orioles 4 Box Score Matthew Swain got behind by a 4-0 tally through the first two innings of work in game two today, but this one would see the lineup come through once again. Turning the ball over to the bullpen down 4-1, the GCL Twins evened things up with quickness. In the top of the third inning 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco launched his first professional home run. It was a three-run blast and knotted the score at 4. Waiting all the way until the final frame, the Twins then added another in the top half of the seventh to win the second half of the doubleheader with the same score as the first. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K Hitter of the Day – Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) – 0-4, BB, K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) – 1-4 #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did Not Pitch #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) – 0-3, BB, K #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, R, 2 K #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Fort Myers) – Did Not Pitch #7 - Keoni Cavaco (GCL) – 1-4, R, HR(1), 3 RBI, 2 K #8 - Brent Rooker (Rochester) - Injured List (groin) #9 - Jhoan Duran (Pensacola) – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #10 - Blayne Enlow (Fort Myers) – Did Not Pitch #11 - Lewis Thorpe (Rochester) – 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K #12 - Nick Gordon (Rochester) - Did not play #13 - Ryan Jeffers (Pensacola) – Did Not Play #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) – Did Not Play #15 - Matt Wallner (Elizabethton) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR(4) #16 - Ben Rortvedt (Pensacola) – 1-3, BB #17 - Akil Baddoo (Fort Myers) - Injured List (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did Not Pitch #19 - Misael Urbina (DSL) – 1-4, RBI #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) – 1-4, R, RBI, HR(17) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Gwinnett @ Rochester (6:05PM CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (Triple-A Debut) Pensacola @ Mobile (6:35PM CST) – LHP Bryan Sammons (4-4, 4.18 ERA) Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30PM CST) – RHP Luis Rijo (4-6, 2.58 ERA) Elizabethton @ Johnson City (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! 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