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  1. It's taken us some time to get here, and hopefully you've enjoyed a new look at the Twins prospect rankings, but today we reach the Top 5 Minnesota Twins pitching prospects. I certainly don't expect that everyone will agree, but the purpose of these reports is to provide recognition for well-deserving pitching prospects, and create discussion on the Twins system. What is very exciting is that these five pitchers, along with the pitchers in the 6-10 ranking range, and even a couple in the 11-15 range, have a real chance to be impact big league starters. The other thing to note is that the organization's top prospect lists have shifted quite significantly even from last year. While hitters such as Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon and Ben Rortvedt lost their prospect status, the Twins have developed many intriguing, exciting pitching prospects. Obviously what matters most is what they are able to do in the big leagues, but there is a stable of pitchers that Twins fans should be very excited about. Let's get started on my Top 5 Twins Pitching Prospects. #5 - RHP Josh Winder 2021 STATS: 4-0, 2.63 ERA, 14/14 G/GS, 0.94 WHIP, 80/13 K/BB, 72.0 IP The Twins drafted Josh Winder out of Virginia Military Institute in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts at Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts. Like so many others, he missed the 2020 season, but when he came to Instructional League, he made a prospect name for himself. Instead of sitting 91-92 with the fastball, he was now hitting 95-97 consistently. In addition, he has a good slider and a changeup. In 2021, he received a call to be a part of the Twins depth camp for spring training. He skipped High-A and began the season as Wichita’s opening day starter. He dominated Double-A. In 10 starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, he struck out 65 batters while striking out just ten. He moved up to St. Paul and in his first Triple-A start, he started with five no-hit innings. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in the Futures Game in Denver. He made just four starts for the Saints due to a shoulder impingement and missed the remainder of the season. Winder is intriguing because of his fastball, his control of all of his pitches, and his work ethic is second to none. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and when spring training starts, he should be given a real shot to make the opening day roster. That said, he is most likely to spend some more time in St. Paul. He will be 25 years old throughout the 2022 season. #4 - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 2021 STATS: 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 1.75 WHIP, 10/8 K/BB, 8.0 IP Simeon Woods Richardson joined the Twins organization in July when the Twins acquired him from the Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios deal. It was the second time the 21-year-old prospect was traded. After being drafted out of his Sugar Land, Texas, high school in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, he was traded in 2019 to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. He has always been very young for the level in which he plays, but at Double-A in 2021, he was nearly five years younger than average. The numbers showed it as he posted a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts in New Hampshire before the trade. Now, he did have 67 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. He also walked 26 batters. Control was something that eluded him in 2021, though it really hadn’t previously. When the Twins acquired him, he was a teammate of Joe Ryan on Team USA in the Olympics. Woods Richardson has a big fastball in the mid-90s as part of a solid four-pitch mix. Again, control will be the key. He will pitch the 2022 season at age 21. With his struggles in 2021, and his youth, he should spend much of the season in Wichita. #3 - RHP Jordan Balazovic 2021 STATS: 5-4, 3.62 ERA, 20/20 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 102/38 K/BB, 97.0 IP The Twins 2016 draft has proven pretty impressive to this point. The Twins started with five straight high school hitters. In the fifth round, they took Jordan Balazovic out of secondary school in Ontario. He has had ups and downs since signing with the Twins, but when healthy, he has generally been very good. He has also really developed as a starting pitcher. He now has a fastball that sits 93-95 and touches 97 at times. He has four pitches that all can be average or better big-league pitches. He has typically shown good control. He didn’t pitch in 2020, although he spent the last several weeks in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. Following the season, he was added to the 40-man roster. He came to big-league camp for spring training in 2021, but he began the season on the Injured List with an oblique injury. However, he still made 20 starts and reached a career-high 97 innings, all in Double-A Wichita. He was much more inconsistent throughout the season than normal. He had a good start, then struggled a bit. Then he dominated, pitching 25 consecutive scoreless innings. He followed that with struggles again, but he ended the season strong, and most important healthy. Balazovic should spend most of the 2022 season in Triple-A St. Paul, but I would expect him to make his MLB debut in 2022. He won’t turn 24 until mid-September. #2 - RHP Joe Ryan 2021 MiLB STATS: 0-0, 2.00 ERA, 2/2 G/GS, 0.78 WHIP, 17/2 K/BB, 9.0 IP 2021 MLB STATS: 2-1, 4.05 ERA, 5/5 G/GS, 0.79 WHIP, 30/5 K/BB, 26.2 IP Fair to say that Joe Ryan made a strong first impression with the Twins. Then again, he has been impressing since he was young. The Twins wanted to sign him after he went undrafted following an injury-filled junior season. He bet on himself, went to Cal State-Stanislaus, pitched great and the Rays took him as a senior sign in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. He has been really good since joining the Rays, and in 2020, he was pitching at the alternate site. He was pitching well for Triple-A Durham to start this season and then headed to the Olympics with Team USA (the team won both games he started). While across the ocean, he learned that he had been traded to the Twins with Drew Strotman in the Nelson Cruz deal. Upon his return to the States, Ryan made two unbelievable starts with the Saints (Strotman’s story about that in Monday’s Twins Spotlight is hilarious!) before joining the Twins. Then he came up to the Twins and was again impressive. A few more home runs than you might want, but he showed great poise and an ability to miss bats. As Strotman said of Ryan, you may not know why you can’t hit him, but they don’t hit him. Ryan sits with a fastball that averages right around 90 mph. He can occasionally touch 94 with the fastball, but since he releases the ball low and can spot the pitch and be successful up in the strike zone, it is hard to hit. He will throw a high percentage of fastballs, but we also saw some really good change ups and sliders, and he really tunnels the ball with all three pitches very well. Ryan should spend the full 2022 season with the Twins. He won’t turn 26 until May. I think Twins fans can look forward to The Joe Ryan Experience for years to come. #1 - RHP Matt Canterino 2021 STATS: 1-0, 0.78 ERA, 6/6 G/GS, 0.61 WHIP, 45/4 K/BB, 23.0 IP I am guessing that this ranking of Matt Canterino as my choice for the Twins top pitching prospect will come as a surprise to some. However, if not for the elbow concerns that caused him to only throw 23 game innings in 2021, I don’t think people would be surprised. They’re certainly legitimate concerns, for sure. However, when it comes to pure ‘stuff,’ Canterino’s is electric. He’s got a big fastball, sitting 94-96 with his fastball as a starter, touching 97. He’s got the slider that can make hitters look silly. He’s got a slower curveball. And he’s got a good changeup. He’s also got really good makeup, work ethic and energy, some of the intangibles you are looking for in a top-of-rotation option. Canterino was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2019 out of Rice where he was a three-year starter and averaged about 97 innings each season. He did spend some time at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul late in 2020. If healthy, Canterino could move quickly. After his absolute domination in Cedar Rapids for the first month of the season (43 strikeouts in 21 innings!), I would expect he will start his season at Double-A Wichita and have a chance to move up to St. Paul fairly quickly. Now, innings will be a concern at some point, and if that happens, he could certainly work out of the bullpen as the season ends. The goal should continue to be to have him start, but obviously this kind of arm is very valuable and needs to be taken care of. He will be 24 throughout the 2022 season. Discuss... I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my rankings 100% I certainly wouldn’t expect that. I hope that I was able to make my case. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there are a lot of pitchers in this system that have upside to become a playoff-caliber starting pitcher, and that’s exciting. It’s important to have some, but the fact that they have several should give hope that one to three of them will become just that while others will become mid-or-back end starters or even relievers. That’s just how pitching prospects work. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. . Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5 View full article
  2. Over the past several weeks, I have shared my Twins Top 30 Hitting and Top 30 Pitching prospect rankings. This is the first time the information has been presented this way, and based on feedback, it is a positive thing. That said, I wanted to summarize what had been posted, so enjoy. Again, I certainly think that the Twins system is strong. It likely won’t be a Top 10 organization by the national publications, but I legitimately think that as many as 25 or more from each of the lists can play in the big leagues with continued development, health, and of course a little luck. Before getting too far, let’s take a look at the two lists... And before I do that, I will acknowledge my mistakes. (Yes, I make them from time to time...) 1.) I switched shortstops Jermaine Palacios and Wander Javier in my rankings. I showed Palacios ranking as the #25 hitter with Javier checking in at #15. Those should be reversed. 2.) I was looking at my living Twins Top 152 prospect rankings (Yes, I have one, and no, not going to share it) for this summary and realized that I just missed RHP Austin Schulfer. I have placed him in where I had ranked him among pitchers and overall in the below charts. I acknowledged in one of the pitcher articles that while it is a good start to split up the Hitters and Pitchers, there was a logical additional separation that is needed... Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers. You see, right or wrong, I still have it in my head that a #3 of #4 starter is still going to through 150-160 innings a season while even the best relievers will throw 60-70 innings in a season. Fair? Not necessarily because no one is questioning the importance of a quality bullpen. Twins fans certainly understand that need. And, maybe it's something that will change in time. If we're being honest, we have seen pitching roles change over the past few years and I would expect that will continue. Aside from the top starting pitchers, most starters are only going through the batting order twice, pitching four or five innings. That is making the value of relievers much more important. So, I did want to take a few minutes and also provide my list of the top 15 Twins relief pitching prospects. Top 15 Relief Pitching Prospects 1. Jovani Moran, LHP 2. Osiris German, RHP 3. Yennier Cano, RHP 4. Jordan Gore, RHP 5. Steven Cruz, RHP 6. Ryan Mason, RHP 7. Alex Scherff, RHP 8. Denny Bentley, LHP 9. Zach Featherstone, LHP 10. Ryan Shreve, RHP 11. Derek Molina, RHP 12. Zach Neff, LHP 13. David Festa, RHP 14. Josh Mitchell, LHP 15. Melvi Acosta, RHP Again, that is a really good group. The top five were included among the Top 30 Pitching Prospects, and likely #6 through #12 on this list would have appeared very soon. Seth's Top 50 Twins Prospects (Clicking on the player links will bring you to a list of any article that player has been tagged in on Twins Daily. It's fun to look back and see how they've progressed, and other interesting information from their careers.) Royce Lewis, SS (Hitter 1) Jose Miranda, IF (H2) Austin Martin, SS/OF (H3) Matt Canterino, RHP (Pitcher 1) Joe Ryan, RHP (P2) Jordan Balazovic, RHP (P3) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (P4) Josh Winder, RHP (P5) Chase Petty, RHP (P6) Marco Raya, RHP (P7) Jhoan Duran, RHP (P8) Cade Povich, LHP (P9) Noah Miller, SS (H4) Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (H5) Steve Hajjar, LHP (P10) Kala’I Rosario, OF (H6) Blayne Enlow, RHP (P11) Gilberto Celestino, OF (H7) Louie Varland, RHP (P12) Spencer Steer, IF (H8) Cole Sands, RHP (P13) Edouard Julien, IF (H9) Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP (P14) Drew Strotman, RHP (P15) Aaron Sabato, 1B (H10) Matt Wallner, OF (H11) Misael Urbina, OF (H12) Jovani Moran, LHP (P16) Casey Legumina, RHP (P17) Keoni Cavaco, SS (H13) Chris Vallimont, RHP (P18) Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B (H14) Jermaine Palacios, SS (H15) Regi Grace, RHP (P19) Yunior Severino, IF (H16) Alerick Soularie, OF (H17) Jair Camargo, C (H18) Osiris German, RHP (P20) Christian MacLeod, LHP (P21) Alex Isola, C/1B (H19) Sean Mooney, RHP (P22) Yennier Cano, RHP (P23) Austin Schulfer, RHP (P24) Jeferson Morales, C/OF (H20) Seth Gray, 3B (H21) Will Holland, SS/CF (H22) Cody Laweryson, RHP (P24) Jordan Gore, RHP (P25) Mark Contreras, OF (H23) Charlie Mack, C (H24) Notes It is hard not to notice that the top three prospects are hitters. However, prospects four through 12 are all pitchers. Frankly, an argument could be made that those nine pitchers could be fairly interchangeable. If you were to tell me that Jhoan Duran or Josh Winder or Chase Petty should rank fourth, I'm not going to argue too vehemently. More important than the actual ranking is that the Twins have a lot of pitchers with not only big-league potential, but they have potential to be playoff starters in the future. I noted this throughout the series, particularly in the comments, but it's important to note who is no longer eligible for prospect status. On the mound, Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax , and Ralph Garza, Jr. surpassed rookie qualifications. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Ben Rortvedt, and Nick Gordon are no longer "prospects" either. For those curious, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala were not rookies in 2021 after their big-league time in 2020. Breakdown (Pitchers): Right-Handed Starting Pitchers (19), Left-Handed Starting Pitchers (3), Right-Handed Relief Pitchers (3), Left-Handed Relief Pitchers (1). All three left-handed starters were drafted in 2021. Breakdown (Position Players): Catchers (4), Infielders (13), Outfielders (7). Obviously versatility is important in the organization and several players got time in multiple spots. I tried to include them where they played most often. How Acquired: Drafted by Twins (35), Acquired in Trade (8), International Signing (6), Minor League Signing (1, Jermaine Palacios). This is a large number, but more important, three of the top 7 prospects were acquired in July. 13 of these 50 players are on the Twins 40-man roster, so if there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they will not be able to start spring training. They can't just go to minor league spring training. Several have told me (in the Twins organization and elsewhere ) that Covid could potentially have rippling negative impact on organizations and player development for a couple of years. Obviously that is primarily regarding pitchers, but there can also be hitters who will hopefully get their groove back again in 2022. It's also important to remember that a pitcher drafted out of college in 2019 was likely 21-22 years old. With the missed 2020 season, they pitched in 2021 at 23-24. Four-year college players even a year older. While age-to-level of competition is often a factor in prospect rankings, and it needs to be, it's my opinion that it has almost no bearing right now on what a pitcher can be as we move forward, and if they come up at 24 or 26 isn't a very big deal. So when I read comments like, "Well, Pitcher A is already 24, he has to be rushed up now..." I can't disagree more. As always, what makes doing these rankings fun is the interaction with the readers. Here at Twins Daily, I believe we have the best Twins minor league coverage around, and we have a lot of our readers and writers that have a strong interest in learning more. These lists serve many purposes. First, it's to highlight players that deserve to be talked about. Second, it's fun to think we are smart and that there is some science to these prospect rankings. I've done Twins prospect rankings going back to 2003 or 2004 online. It is not a science. These are kids, working their way up an organizational ladder, just like many kids just out of high school or college. The develop at different rates. They work hard. They get hurt. Things happen and they don't always pan out. So, we need to give them credit when we can, and we can dream on them helping our favorite team become a viable, consistent winning team. I enjoy the comments section. I enjoy being challenged. I try not to run from questions you ask while also being respectful of the players and their families. So please discuss these players and more in the comments. And also, please let us know what you want to see from Twins Daily's minor league coverage in 2022? What can we do better? What would you like to see more of, or less of? Your feedback helps us so much and we want to continue to improve. Twins Spotlight Several of these Twins players have been a guest on Twins Spotlight over the past two offseasons. We have now had 51 episodes. To look back and see who we have interviewed and listen back to them, click here. Previous Rankings (To look back at what I wrote about the 60 players, click below) Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Hitters Part 6: 1-5 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5 View full article
  3. Who are the Minnesota Twins' top pitching prospects? Here's a discussion on the top hurlers in the minor league system, as well as a look into how Seth Stohs of Twins Daily, Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic and I have them ranked. Matt Canterino and Louie Varland were among the many pitchers highlighted. These are some highlights from a live stream from earlier this week. If you'd like to join in on the conversation, I'm live streaming on my YouTube channel every Wednesday at 8:30 m CT.
  4. Who are the Minnesota Twins' top pitching prospects? Here's a discussion on the top hurlers in the minor league system, as well as a look into how Seth Stohs of Twins Daily, Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic and I have them ranked. Matt Canterino and Louie Varland were among the many pitchers highlighted. These are some highlights from a live stream from earlier this week. If you'd like to join in on the conversation, I'm live streaming on my YouTube channel every Wednesday at 8:30 m CT. View full video
  5. Who are the Minnesota Twins' top pitching prospects? Here's a discussion on the top hurlers in the minor league system, as well as a look into how Seth Stohs of Twins Daily, Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic and I have them ranked. Matt Canterino and Louie Varland were among the many pitchers highlighted. These are some highlights from a live stream from earlier this week. If you'd like to join in on the conversation, I'm live streaming on my YouTube channel every Wednesday at 8:30 m CT. View full video
  6. Again, I certainly think that the Twins system is strong. It likely won’t be a Top 10 organization by the national publications, but I legitimately think that as many as 25 or more from each of the lists can play in the big leagues with continued development, health, and of course a little luck. Before getting too far, let’s take a look at the two lists... And before I do that, I will acknowledge my mistakes. (Yes, I make them from time to time...) 1.) I switched shortstops Jermaine Palacios and Wander Javier in my rankings. I showed Palacios ranking as the #25 hitter with Javier checking in at #15. Those should be reversed. 2.) I was looking at my living Twins Top 152 prospect rankings (Yes, I have one, and no, not going to share it) for this summary and realized that I just missed RHP Austin Schulfer. I have placed him in where I had ranked him among pitchers and overall in the below charts. I acknowledged in one of the pitcher articles that while it is a good start to split up the Hitters and Pitchers, there was a logical additional separation that is needed... Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers. You see, right or wrong, I still have it in my head that a #3 of #4 starter is still going to through 150-160 innings a season while even the best relievers will throw 60-70 innings in a season. Fair? Not necessarily because no one is questioning the importance of a quality bullpen. Twins fans certainly understand that need. And, maybe it's something that will change in time. If we're being honest, we have seen pitching roles change over the past few years and I would expect that will continue. Aside from the top starting pitchers, most starters are only going through the batting order twice, pitching four or five innings. That is making the value of relievers much more important. So, I did want to take a few minutes and also provide my list of the top 15 Twins relief pitching prospects. Top 15 Relief Pitching Prospects 1. Jovani Moran, LHP 2. Osiris German, RHP 3. Yennier Cano, RHP 4. Jordan Gore, RHP 5. Steven Cruz, RHP 6. Ryan Mason, RHP 7. Alex Scherff, RHP 8. Denny Bentley, LHP 9. Zach Featherstone, LHP 10. Ryan Shreve, RHP 11. Derek Molina, RHP 12. Zach Neff, LHP 13. David Festa, RHP 14. Josh Mitchell, LHP 15. Melvi Acosta, RHP Again, that is a really good group. The top five were included among the Top 30 Pitching Prospects, and likely #6 through #12 on this list would have appeared very soon. Seth's Top 50 Twins Prospects (Clicking on the player links will bring you to a list of any article that player has been tagged in on Twins Daily. It's fun to look back and see how they've progressed, and other interesting information from their careers.) Royce Lewis, SS (Hitter 1) Jose Miranda, IF (H2) Austin Martin, SS/OF (H3) Matt Canterino, RHP (Pitcher 1) Joe Ryan, RHP (P2) Jordan Balazovic, RHP (P3) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (P4) Josh Winder, RHP (P5) Chase Petty, RHP (P6) Marco Raya, RHP (P7) Jhoan Duran, RHP (P8) Cade Povich, LHP (P9) Noah Miller, SS (H4) Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (H5) Steve Hajjar, LHP (P10) Kala’I Rosario, OF (H6) Blayne Enlow, RHP (P11) Gilberto Celestino, OF (H7) Louie Varland, RHP (P12) Spencer Steer, IF (H8) Cole Sands, RHP (P13) Edouard Julien, IF (H9) Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP (P14) Drew Strotman, RHP (P15) Aaron Sabato, 1B (H10) Matt Wallner, OF (H11) Misael Urbina, OF (H12) Jovani Moran, LHP (P16) Casey Legumina, RHP (P17) Keoni Cavaco, SS (H13) Chris Vallimont, RHP (P18) Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B (H14) Jermaine Palacios, SS (H15) Regi Grace, RHP (P19) Yunior Severino, IF (H16) Alerick Soularie, OF (H17) Jair Camargo, C (H18) Osiris German, RHP (P20) Christian MacLeod, LHP (P21) Alex Isola, C/1B (H19) Sean Mooney, RHP (P22) Yennier Cano, RHP (P23) Austin Schulfer, RHP (P24) Jeferson Morales, C/OF (H20) Seth Gray, 3B (H21) Will Holland, SS/CF (H22) Cody Laweryson, RHP (P24) Jordan Gore, RHP (P25) Mark Contreras, OF (H23) Charlie Mack, C (H24) Notes It is hard not to notice that the top three prospects are hitters. However, prospects four through 12 are all pitchers. Frankly, an argument could be made that those nine pitchers could be fairly interchangeable. If you were to tell me that Jhoan Duran or Josh Winder or Chase Petty should rank fourth, I'm not going to argue too vehemently. More important than the actual ranking is that the Twins have a lot of pitchers with not only big-league potential, but they have potential to be playoff starters in the future. I noted this throughout the series, particularly in the comments, but it's important to note who is no longer eligible for prospect status. On the mound, Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax , and Ralph Garza, Jr. surpassed rookie qualifications. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Ben Rortvedt, and Nick Gordon are no longer "prospects" either. For those curious, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala were not rookies in 2021 after their big-league time in 2020. Breakdown (Pitchers): Right-Handed Starting Pitchers (19), Left-Handed Starting Pitchers (3), Right-Handed Relief Pitchers (3), Left-Handed Relief Pitchers (1). All three left-handed starters were drafted in 2021. Breakdown (Position Players): Catchers (4), Infielders (13), Outfielders (7). Obviously versatility is important in the organization and several players got time in multiple spots. I tried to include them where they played most often. How Acquired: Drafted by Twins (35), Acquired in Trade (8), International Signing (6), Minor League Signing (1, Jermaine Palacios). This is a large number, but more important, three of the top 7 prospects were acquired in July. 13 of these 50 players are on the Twins 40-man roster, so if there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they will not be able to start spring training. They can't just go to minor league spring training. Several have told me (in the Twins organization and elsewhere ) that Covid could potentially have rippling negative impact on organizations and player development for a couple of years. Obviously that is primarily regarding pitchers, but there can also be hitters who will hopefully get their groove back again in 2022. It's also important to remember that a pitcher drafted out of college in 2019 was likely 21-22 years old. With the missed 2020 season, they pitched in 2021 at 23-24. Four-year college players even a year older. While age-to-level of competition is often a factor in prospect rankings, and it needs to be, it's my opinion that it has almost no bearing right now on what a pitcher can be as we move forward, and if they come up at 24 or 26 isn't a very big deal. So when I read comments like, "Well, Pitcher A is already 24, he has to be rushed up now..." I can't disagree more. As always, what makes doing these rankings fun is the interaction with the readers. Here at Twins Daily, I believe we have the best Twins minor league coverage around, and we have a lot of our readers and writers that have a strong interest in learning more. These lists serve many purposes. First, it's to highlight players that deserve to be talked about. Second, it's fun to think we are smart and that there is some science to these prospect rankings. I've done Twins prospect rankings going back to 2003 or 2004 online. It is not a science. These are kids, working their way up an organizational ladder, just like many kids just out of high school or college. The develop at different rates. They work hard. They get hurt. Things happen and they don't always pan out. So, we need to give them credit when we can, and we can dream on them helping our favorite team become a viable, consistent winning team. I enjoy the comments section. I enjoy being challenged. I try not to run from questions you ask while also being respectful of the players and their families. So please discuss these players and more in the comments. And also, please let us know what you want to see from Twins Daily's minor league coverage in 2022? What can we do better? What would you like to see more of, or less of? Your feedback helps us so much and we want to continue to improve. Twins Spotlight Several of these Twins players have been a guest on Twins Spotlight over the past two offseasons. We have now had 51 episodes. To look back and see who we have interviewed and listen back to them, click here. Previous Rankings (To look back at what I wrote about the 60 players, click below) Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Hitters Part 6: 1-5 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  7. What is very exciting is that these five pitchers, along with the pitchers in the 6-10 ranking range, and even a couple in the 11-15 range, have a real chance to be impact big league starters. The other thing to note is that the organization's top prospect lists have shifted quite significantly even from last year. While hitters such as Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon and Ben Rortvedt lost their prospect status, the Twins have developed many intriguing, exciting pitching prospects. Obviously what matters most is what they are able to do in the big leagues, but there is a stable of pitchers that Twins fans should be very excited about. Let's get started on my Top 5 Twins Pitching Prospects. #5 - RHP Josh Winder 2021 STATS: 4-0, 2.63 ERA, 14/14 G/GS, 0.94 WHIP, 80/13 K/BB, 72.0 IP The Twins drafted Josh Winder out of Virginia Military Institute in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts at Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts. Like so many others, he missed the 2020 season, but when he came to Instructional League, he made a prospect name for himself. Instead of sitting 91-92 with the fastball, he was now hitting 95-97 consistently. In addition, he has a good slider and a changeup. In 2021, he received a call to be a part of the Twins depth camp for spring training. He skipped High-A and began the season as Wichita’s opening day starter. He dominated Double-A. In 10 starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, he struck out 65 batters while striking out just ten. He moved up to St. Paul and in his first Triple-A start, he started with five no-hit innings. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in the Futures Game in Denver. He made just four starts for the Saints due to a shoulder impingement and missed the remainder of the season. Winder is intriguing because of his fastball, his control of all of his pitches, and his work ethic is second to none. Following the season, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster and when spring training starts, he should be given a real shot to make the opening day roster. That said, he is most likely to spend some more time in St. Paul. He will be 25 years old throughout the 2022 season. #4 - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 2021 STATS: 1-1, 6.75 ERA, 4/3 G/GS, 1.75 WHIP, 10/8 K/BB, 8.0 IP Simeon Woods Richardson joined the Twins organization in July when the Twins acquired him from the Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios deal. It was the second time the 21-year-old prospect was traded. After being drafted out of his Sugar Land, Texas, high school in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft, he was traded in 2019 to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal. He has always been very young for the level in which he plays, but at Double-A in 2021, he was nearly five years younger than average. The numbers showed it as he posted a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts in New Hampshire before the trade. Now, he did have 67 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. He also walked 26 batters. Control was something that eluded him in 2021, though it really hadn’t previously. When the Twins acquired him, he was a teammate of Joe Ryan on Team USA in the Olympics. Woods Richardson has a big fastball in the mid-90s as part of a solid four-pitch mix. Again, control will be the key. He will pitch the 2022 season at age 21. With his struggles in 2021, and his youth, he should spend much of the season in Wichita. #3 - RHP Jordan Balazovic 2021 STATS: 5-4, 3.62 ERA, 20/20 G/GS, 1.40 WHIP, 102/38 K/BB, 97.0 IP The Twins 2016 draft has proven pretty impressive to this point. The Twins started with five straight high school hitters. In the fifth round, they took Jordan Balazovic out of secondary school in Ontario. He has had ups and downs since signing with the Twins, but when healthy, he has generally been very good. He has also really developed as a starting pitcher. He now has a fastball that sits 93-95 and touches 97 at times. He has four pitches that all can be average or better big-league pitches. He has typically shown good control. He didn’t pitch in 2020, although he spent the last several weeks in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. Following the season, he was added to the 40-man roster. He came to big-league camp for spring training in 2021, but he began the season on the Injured List with an oblique injury. However, he still made 20 starts and reached a career-high 97 innings, all in Double-A Wichita. He was much more inconsistent throughout the season than normal. He had a good start, then struggled a bit. Then he dominated, pitching 25 consecutive scoreless innings. He followed that with struggles again, but he ended the season strong, and most important healthy. Balazovic should spend most of the 2022 season in Triple-A St. Paul, but I would expect him to make his MLB debut in 2022. He won’t turn 24 until mid-September. #2 - RHP Joe Ryan 2021 MiLB STATS: 0-0, 2.00 ERA, 2/2 G/GS, 0.78 WHIP, 17/2 K/BB, 9.0 IP 2021 MLB STATS: 2-1, 4.05 ERA, 5/5 G/GS, 0.79 WHIP, 30/5 K/BB, 26.2 IP Fair to say that Joe Ryan made a strong first impression with the Twins. Then again, he has been impressing since he was young. The Twins wanted to sign him after he went undrafted following an injury-filled junior season. He bet on himself, went to Cal State-Stanislaus, pitched great and the Rays took him as a senior sign in the 7th round of the 2018 draft. He has been really good since joining the Rays, and in 2020, he was pitching at the alternate site. He was pitching well for Triple-A Durham to start this season and then headed to the Olympics with Team USA (the team won both games he started). While across the ocean, he learned that he had been traded to the Twins with Drew Strotman in the Nelson Cruz deal. Upon his return to the States, Ryan made two unbelievable starts with the Saints (Strotman’s story about that in Monday’s Twins Spotlight is hilarious!) before joining the Twins. Then he came up to the Twins and was again impressive. A few more home runs than you might want, but he showed great poise and an ability to miss bats. As Strotman said of Ryan, you may not know why you can’t hit him, but they don’t hit him. Ryan sits with a fastball that averages right around 90 mph. He can occasionally touch 94 with the fastball, but since he releases the ball low and can spot the pitch and be successful up in the strike zone, it is hard to hit. He will throw a high percentage of fastballs, but we also saw some really good change ups and sliders, and he really tunnels the ball with all three pitches very well. Ryan should spend the full 2022 season with the Twins. He won’t turn 26 until May. I think Twins fans can look forward to The Joe Ryan Experience for years to come. #1 - RHP Matt Canterino 2021 STATS: 1-0, 0.78 ERA, 6/6 G/GS, 0.61 WHIP, 45/4 K/BB, 23.0 IP I am guessing that this ranking of Matt Canterino as my choice for the Twins top pitching prospect will come as a surprise to some. However, if not for the elbow concerns that caused him to only throw 23 game innings in 2021, I don’t think people would be surprised. They’re certainly legitimate concerns, for sure. However, when it comes to pure ‘stuff,’ Canterino’s is electric. He’s got a big fastball, sitting 94-96 with his fastball as a starter, touching 97. He’s got the slider that can make hitters look silly. He’s got a slower curveball. And he’s got a good changeup. He’s also got really good makeup, work ethic and energy, some of the intangibles you are looking for in a top-of-rotation option. Canterino was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2019 out of Rice where he was a three-year starter and averaged about 97 innings each season. He did spend some time at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul late in 2020. If healthy, Canterino could move quickly. After his absolute domination in Cedar Rapids for the first month of the season (43 strikeouts in 21 innings!), I would expect he will start his season at Double-A Wichita and have a chance to move up to St. Paul fairly quickly. Now, innings will be a concern at some point, and if that happens, he could certainly work out of the bullpen as the season ends. The goal should continue to be to have him start, but obviously this kind of arm is very valuable and needs to be taken care of. He will be 24 throughout the 2022 season. Discuss... I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my rankings 100% I certainly wouldn’t expect that. I hope that I was able to make my case. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there are a lot of pitchers in this system that have upside to become a playoff-caliber starting pitcher, and that’s exciting. It’s important to have some, but the fact that they have several should give hope that one to three of them will become just that while others will become mid-or-back end starters or even relievers. That’s just how pitching prospects work. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. . Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Hitters Part 3: 16-20 Hitters Part 4: 11-15 Hitters Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 Pitchers Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 Pitchers Part 4: 11-15 Pitchers Part 5: 6-10 Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
  8. With the arrival of a new year, it's time to update my annual rankings of the most valuable player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization. This list attempts to answer a simple question: Which 20 players and prospects are most indispensable in the team's quest to win a championship? Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  9. Before we get started, a quick overview of the ground rules: Things that are factored into these rankings: production, age, upside, pedigree, health, length of team control, favorability of contract, positional scarcity (within the system, and generally). Players are people. Their value to the organization, and its fans, goes well beyond the strictly business-like scope we're using here. But for the purposes of this list, we're analyzing solely in terms of asset evaluation. Intangible qualities and popularity are not factors. The idea is to assess players' importance to the future of the Minnesota Twins. In this regard, it's not exactly a ranking in terms of trade value, because that's dependent on another team's situation and needs. With that said, the ability to bring back assets in a trade is a major factor. This is a snapshot in time. Rankings are heavily influenced by recent trends and where things stood as of the end of 2021. Current major-leaguers and prospects are all eligible. The ultimate goal here to answer this question: Which current players in the organization are most indispensable to fulfilling the vision of building a champion? Before diving into our latest rankings, feel free to check out the last few years so you can get a baseline: Top 20 Twins Assets: 2018 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2019 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2020 Top 20 Twins Assets: 2021 With that out of the way, let's get started. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 16 through 20 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR The back end of this list was extremely challenging to put together. Basically all the candidates are high-upside pitching prospects who are nearing major-league readiness: Canterino, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chris Vallimont, Blayne Enlow, Louie Varland, etc. As a group, this collection is absolutely essential to the franchise's future, but individually, they kinda blur together. It's hard to differentiate and rank them. I elevated Canterino because I think he's a slight cut above the pack. His stuff is incredible and has produced absurd results in a limited pro sample – 1.13 ERA, 14.3 K/9, 0.63 WHIP with 18 hits allowed in 48 innings. But injuries restricted him to six starts in 2021, and he's made only 13 total since being drafted in 2019. If he can get healthy there's a little doubt he'll skyrocket in these rankings, but at age 24 the time is now to make it happen. Canterino recently told Nash Walker that it's "all systems go for 2022." 19. Josh Winder, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Winder sits in that stable of intriguing near-ready arms alongside Canterino et al. He's relatively advanced, having reached Triple-A in late 2021, and was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Like Canterino, this right-hander's velocity has risen dramatically over past couple years, along with his stock. Winder is poised to make a more immediate impact than anyone else in this tier because he's already so close. And if his minor-league track record is suggestive, that impact could be significant. In the most recent season, Winder posted a 2.63 ERA and 80-to-13 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Our Lucas Seehafer just wrote up a scouting report on Winder, drawing a loose comparison to former Twin Scott Baker. 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Another quality pitching prospect who has reached the upper minors but still has much to prove. Comparatively, Woods Richardson has a bit more prestige – he's a former second-round draft pick (#48 overall, in 2018) who appeared in the top 100 overall prospect rankings from both Baseball America and MLB.com in each of the last two years. He was also a costly acquisition for the Twins, comprising half of the package they received for trading José Berríos at the deadline. The team's investment in him raises the stakes on Woods Richardson's development. Despite the fact he's already reached Double-A, the righty is still only 21 years old, so there's ample time left for him to realize his potential. A big, imposing, broad-shouldered presence on the mound, he oozes projectability. 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 2021 Ranking: NR A lot of Twins fans are underrating Celestino. This is understandable, since he was terrible in his major-league debut last year, slashing .136/.177/.288 in 62 PA with a -0.7 fWAR. The 22-year-old was not nearly ready for prime time, and the team knew that, but they had little choice as their CF depth evaporated. I wonder how differently Celestino might be viewed right now if he was never called up out of desperation. He was a good prospect coming into 2021 – ranking 11th in our preseason rankings – and hit .290/.384/.443 in 49 games at Triple-A. As a center fielder who was young for the level, that's quite strong. Celestino shapes up as long-term Byron Buxton insurance at least, or maybe even an impact trade chip. 16. Chase Petty, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR All we know about Petty is that he's a highly-touted teenage pitcher with standout velocity plus a promising slider, and the Twins liked him enough to use their first-round pick on him in July. That seems especially notable for a risk-averse front office that has largely trended toward drafting college players with its high draft picks. Petty offers plenty of promising traits to justify his selection at #26 overall, and he showed well during a very brief pro debut, striking out six of 21 batters faced with one walk at rookie ball. But the data we have to go on is incredibly limited. We should learn a great deal more about him in 2022. Check back later this week when we continue the rankings with Part 2. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on these players and where they're ranked in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Twins pitching prospect Matt Canterino is looking forward to 2022 with a focus on improved health. The Oakland Athletics drafted Oklahoma outfielder Kyler Murray with the 9th pick in the 2018 Draft. One year and one round later, the Twins drafted Matt Canterino out of Rice. Murray wouldn’t join the A’s, instead opting to quarterback the Arizona Cardinals en route to NFL stardom. Canterino signed with the Twins for $1.1 million. While Murray and Canterino have taken different paths, the two crossed for a duel in Texas. Murray stepped into the box and came up empty against the right-hander. “I struck him out,” Canterino said. Striking hitters out has become a common occurrence for Canterino, who fanned 45 of the 84 batters he faced in a shortened 2021 season. Canterino suffered from elbow tendinitis, ending his dominant campaign prematurely. Canterino, 24, has pitched just 48 Minor League innings since he graduated with a 4.0 GPA in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University. In those 48 innings, he’s struck out 76 and allowed just six total runs for a 1.13 ERA. Rice has a history of pushing pitchers, and the Twins were uber-conservative with Canterino’s workload after the draft in 2019. Then COVID-19 canceled the 2020 Minor League season. Canterino eclipsed 94 or more innings in all three of his seasons in college, which he said shows an aptitude to handle a larger share. So far this offseason, so good. “I’m feeling very healthy and feeling very, very strong.” A herky-jerky, “hitch” delivery helps Canterino generate a fastball in the upper-90s. The 6-foot-2 Texan pairs that fastball, which contains excellent carry, with a sharp, biting slider and an improved changeup. He compared his delivery and mix to future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. Canterino’s changeup moves like a splitter, with enough depth to dart away from lefties and crowd righties who may be looking fastball or slider. That three-pitch combination held hitters to a minuscule .111/.186/.148 batting line in 2021. “I want to think that with success I had in limited reps this year, I want to think that I can sustain that over a full season.” Sustaining a 0.78 ERA and 54% strikeout rate over an entire season would propel Canterino to the top of prospect lists everywhere and likely to Minnesota. Anything close to those gaudy numbers will undoubtedly move Canterino into the Major League picture for late-2022 and early 2023. Canterino dominated High-A hitters in 2021 and could be slated for the Double-A Wichita rotation in 2022. No matter where he pitches next season, you can bet that Canterino will have a PEZ dispenser or two handy. Often greeting his 2019 teammates and coaches with a “howdy!” prompted a pitching coach to tag Canterino with the nickname Woody, referring to the famous cowboy from Toy Story. In response, Canterino bought a five-pound bag of PEZ candy and handed it out via a Woody-themed dispenser. He carried the tradition into 2021 and plans to run it back in 2022. Canterino said he recently added a Buzz Lightyear PEZ dispenser, Woody’s galactic best friend from the movies. “If you ever catch me on a day I’m not pitching, Woody will be in my left pocket, and Buzz will be in my right.” Canterino is gearing up with his PEZ dispensers for a January return to Fort Myers. “It’s all systems go for 2022.” MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. The Oakland Athletics drafted Oklahoma outfielder Kyler Murray with the 9th pick in the 2018 Draft. One year and one round later, the Twins drafted Matt Canterino out of Rice. Murray wouldn’t join the A’s, instead opting to quarterback the Arizona Cardinals en route to NFL stardom. Canterino signed with the Twins for $1.1 million. While Murray and Canterino have taken different paths, the two crossed for a duel in Texas. Murray stepped into the box and came up empty against the right-hander. “I struck him out,” Canterino said. Striking hitters out has become a common occurrence for Canterino, who fanned 45 of the 84 batters he faced in a shortened 2021 season. Canterino suffered from elbow tendinitis, ending his dominant campaign prematurely. Canterino, 24, has pitched just 48 Minor League innings since he graduated with a 4.0 GPA in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University. In those 48 innings, he’s struck out 76 and allowed just six total runs for a 1.13 ERA. Rice has a history of pushing pitchers, and the Twins were uber-conservative with Canterino’s workload after the draft in 2019. Then COVID-19 canceled the 2020 Minor League season. Canterino eclipsed 94 or more innings in all three of his seasons in college, which he said shows an aptitude to handle a larger share. So far this offseason, so good. “I’m feeling very healthy and feeling very, very strong.” A herky-jerky, “hitch” delivery helps Canterino generate a fastball in the upper-90s. The 6-foot-2 Texan pairs that fastball, which contains excellent carry, with a sharp, biting slider and an improved changeup. He compared his delivery and mix to future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. Canterino’s changeup moves like a splitter, with enough depth to dart away from lefties and crowd righties who may be looking fastball or slider. That three-pitch combination held hitters to a minuscule .111/.186/.148 batting line in 2021. “I want to think that with success I had in limited reps this year, I want to think that I can sustain that over a full season.” Sustaining a 0.78 ERA and 54% strikeout rate over an entire season would propel Canterino to the top of prospect lists everywhere and likely to Minnesota. Anything close to those gaudy numbers will undoubtedly move Canterino into the Major League picture for late-2022 and early 2023. Canterino dominated High-A hitters in 2021 and could be slated for the Double-A Wichita rotation in 2022. No matter where he pitches next season, you can bet that Canterino will have a PEZ dispenser or two handy. Often greeting his 2019 teammates and coaches with a “howdy!” prompted a pitching coach to tag Canterino with the nickname Woody, referring to the famous cowboy from Toy Story. In response, Canterino bought a five-pound bag of PEZ candy and handed it out via a Woody-themed dispenser. He carried the tradition into 2021 and plans to run it back in 2022. Canterino said he recently added a Buzz Lightyear PEZ dispenser, Woody’s galactic best friend from the movies. “If you ever catch me on a day I’m not pitching, Woody will be in my left pocket, and Buzz will be in my right.” Canterino is gearing up with his PEZ dispensers for a January return to Fort Myers. “It’s all systems go for 2022.” MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Very few Twins pitching prospects have the stuff to match Matt Canterino’s. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a sharp slider and depthy changeup. For those reasons, he’s a breakout candidate for 2022. View full video
  13. Very few Twins pitching prospects have the stuff to match Matt Canterino’s. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a sharp slider and depthy changeup. For those reasons, he’s a breakout candidate for 2022.
  14. Not every pitching prospect is cut out for a starting role in the Major Leagues. That doesn’t mean they’re a failure, as oftentimes these former starters transition into a big role in shorter stints. The Twins have several arms who are candidates for such a transition in 2022. The Twins need some bullpen help in 2022 in addition to significant rotation help. Unfortunately, there’s only so much money to go around. Transitioning some younger arms into bullpen pieces could benefit the players and team alike and get them into the majors that much quicker. The Twins have some great young arms who could be primed to make this switch. Matt Canterino Canterino was a 2nd round pick and has been a starting pitcher for much of his minor league career. His highest ERA in a single season was 1.80 as he’s dominated every stop of the minors to this point. He sports a devastating slider and a solid complementary changeup. His fastball took a big step forward during the pandemic forced break in minor league action. He can now run it up to the high 90s consistently. With such a deep pitch mix, why shouldn’t Canterino be a starting pitcher? Canterino is already 24 years old and has only made it as high as A+ ball in his three years with the Twins. He’s thrown 48 total innings in his professional career thus far. This is partially due to the lost 2020 season, but Canterino also dealt with multiple forearm injuries which eventually ended his 2021 season. Headed into 2022, Canterino has a long way to go in developing as a starter. Staying the course not only would likely keep him out of the majors for another year or two at least, but more innings also make a recurrence of the recent arm troubles more likely. Canterino has the raw stuff to debut very soon and be an effective reliever. It’s an option the Twins could very well consider at this point. Chris Vallimont Recently added to the 40 man roster, Vallimont had too much raw talent for the Twins to risk letting him go. His 6.06 ERA across 91 innings in AA aren’t impressive, but his raw skills were. Vallimont struck out 31.1% of his hitters faced, but walked a crippling 14.6% while allowing a 1.48 HR/9. He has a decent mix of pitches featuring a low to mid 90s fastball and a decent slider, curve and change. Pitchers like Vallimont move to the bullpen all the time. Jorge Alcala was the Twins' latest iteration. Moving into a short burst role actually helped iron out the walks and allowing his stuff to play up in 1-2 inning stints helped him work around the walks he was still issuing. Unlike Alcala however, Vallimont already has a steady pitch mix to immediately have a third option. The Twins protected him in the rule 5 draft because even with his walks and homer issues, Vallimont may have the floor to join a team’s bullpen and contribute in some fashion immediately. With his 40 man spot secured, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins make this move and fast track him to Minneapolis sometime in 2022. Drew Strotman Acquired with Joe Ryan from the Rays, Strotman also already has a 40 man spot. He also has already reached AAA, although he struggled mightily in St. Paul, posting a 7.33 ERA in 54 innings down the stretch after posting a 3.86 mark with the Rays affiliate in his 58 innings prior. It’s very possible he faded down the stretch as 2021 was his first full season coming off Tommy John. He has an impressive 60 grade fastball which he mostly pairs with the strong duo that is his cutter and slider. He also has impressive control. The Twins may be tempted to see if Strotman can hold out his performance in a rotation role again in 2022. It’s possible however, especially if they’re trying to compete, that they acclimate him to the bullpen to start the season and quickly bring him up. His big fastball and command of his pitches give him a solid floor in the bullpen and he lacks a strong changeup which could have him bullpen bound eventually anyways. Strotman also was a reliever for much of his college career. It would be far from a failure given what we’ve already gotten from Joe Ryan if Drew Strotman simply turns out to be a reliable reliever. Are there any other pitchers in the Twins system that are bullpen bound? Would you like to see any of these three stay the course? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forum — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  15. The Twins need some bullpen help in 2022 in addition to significant rotation help. Unfortunately, there’s only so much money to go around. Transitioning some younger arms into bullpen pieces could benefit the players and team alike and get them into the majors that much quicker. The Twins have some great young arms who could be primed to make this switch. Matt Canterino Canterino was a 2nd round pick and has been a starting pitcher for much of his minor league career. His highest ERA in a single season was 1.80 as he’s dominated every stop of the minors to this point. He sports a devastating slider and a solid complementary changeup. His fastball took a big step forward during the pandemic forced break in minor league action. He can now run it up to the high 90s consistently. With such a deep pitch mix, why shouldn’t Canterino be a starting pitcher? Canterino is already 24 years old and has only made it as high as A+ ball in his three years with the Twins. He’s thrown 48 total innings in his professional career thus far. This is partially due to the lost 2020 season, but Canterino also dealt with multiple forearm injuries which eventually ended his 2021 season. Headed into 2022, Canterino has a long way to go in developing as a starter. Staying the course not only would likely keep him out of the majors for another year or two at least, but more innings also make a recurrence of the recent arm troubles more likely. Canterino has the raw stuff to debut very soon and be an effective reliever. It’s an option the Twins could very well consider at this point. Chris Vallimont Recently added to the 40 man roster, Vallimont had too much raw talent for the Twins to risk letting him go. His 6.06 ERA across 91 innings in AA aren’t impressive, but his raw skills were. Vallimont struck out 31.1% of his hitters faced, but walked a crippling 14.6% while allowing a 1.48 HR/9. He has a decent mix of pitches featuring a low to mid 90s fastball and a decent slider, curve and change. Pitchers like Vallimont move to the bullpen all the time. Jorge Alcala was the Twins' latest iteration. Moving into a short burst role actually helped iron out the walks and allowing his stuff to play up in 1-2 inning stints helped him work around the walks he was still issuing. Unlike Alcala however, Vallimont already has a steady pitch mix to immediately have a third option. The Twins protected him in the rule 5 draft because even with his walks and homer issues, Vallimont may have the floor to join a team’s bullpen and contribute in some fashion immediately. With his 40 man spot secured, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins make this move and fast track him to Minneapolis sometime in 2022. Drew Strotman Acquired with Joe Ryan from the Rays, Strotman also already has a 40 man spot. He also has already reached AAA, although he struggled mightily in St. Paul, posting a 7.33 ERA in 54 innings down the stretch after posting a 3.86 mark with the Rays affiliate in his 58 innings prior. It’s very possible he faded down the stretch as 2021 was his first full season coming off Tommy John. He has an impressive 60 grade fastball which he mostly pairs with the strong duo that is his cutter and slider. He also has impressive control. The Twins may be tempted to see if Strotman can hold out his performance in a rotation role again in 2022. It’s possible however, especially if they’re trying to compete, that they acclimate him to the bullpen to start the season and quickly bring him up. His big fastball and command of his pitches give him a solid floor in the bullpen and he lacks a strong changeup which could have him bullpen bound eventually anyways. Strotman also was a reliever for much of his college career. It would be far from a failure given what we’ve already gotten from Joe Ryan if Drew Strotman simply turns out to be a reliable reliever. Are there any other pitchers in the Twins system that are bullpen bound? Would you like to see any of these three stay the course? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forum — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  16. The system went 3-0 and outscored opponents 26-9 Sunday. The Wind Surge smashed seven homers, Matt Canterino was phenomenal in his return to Cedar Rapids, and José Miranda added two more extra-base hits to his amazing Baseball Reference stats page. TRANSACTIONS: C Nick Garland released from organization. OF Nick Anderson released from organization. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Andrew Albers: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: José Miranda (11) Multi-hit games: Miranda (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Mark Contreras (2-for-5, 2 RBI, R), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R) Andrew Albers put together his best start of the season for the Saints, tossing eight scoreless innings and striking out five. Albers now owns a 2.94 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched this season for St. Paul. He’s a call-up candidate with Michael Pineda hitting the injured list (oblique). The Saints’ offense scored 41 runs over this six-game series with Indianapolis. They tacked on eight today, thanks to a five-run first and another José Miranda homer. Miranda’s excellence has been well-documented, but it’s truly remarkable what he’s done in the high minors. He’s hitting .347 with a 1.028 OPS in 41 games for the Saints. St. Paul improved its record to 48-41 and will head home to take on the Iowa Cubs. Now back from Japan, newly acquired starter Joe Ryan could make his Saints debut during the series. WIND SURGE WISDOM Surge 14, Drillers 8 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K HR: BJ Boyd 2 (13, 14), Andrew Bechtold (14), Leobaldo Cabrera (4), Jermaine Palacios (18), Chris Williams (3), Trey Cabbage (13) Multi-hit games: Boyd (2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R), Palacios (3-for-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Cabrera (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB), D.J. Burt (2-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 BB) Another home run barrage for the Surge began less swimmingly. Jordan Balazovic struggled with his command, walking three in a very short outing. None of the six runs scored against him were earned, however, as the Surge made some throwing errors in the field. Wichita entered the game with a league-leading 26 homers in August. They bashed seven more in Sunday’s win. Trey Cabbage hit his seventh homer of the month and BJ Boyd hit another two bombs himself. Boyd has four homers in his last two games and nine over his last 13 games. It was a big win for Wichita as they extend their lead over Tulsa to four games. Wichita is in first place with a 52-38 record after the road series split. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Chiefs 1 Box Score Matt Canterino: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Michael Helman (11), Alex Isola (9) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB), Yunior Severino (2-for-5), Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB), Helman (2-for-3, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB) Matt Canterino was absolutely dominant in his abbreviated return from an elbow injury. He struck out eight of the 10 batters he faced with just one walk of top prospect Jordan Walker. Canterino owns a 0.78 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 23 innings this season. Michael Helman got things going for Cedar Rapids with a solo homer on the first pitch of the third inning. Alex Isola then went yard in the fourth, giving the Kernels a 2-0 lead. Cody Laweryson did an excellent job filling innings after Canterino, striking out six and not allowing a run in four innings of work. The Kernels have certainly enjoyed the return of Matt Wallner from the injured list. The lineup is deeper and presents an opportunity to balance out production. With the activation of Canterino, Cedar Rapids could really start to click. MUSSEL MATTERS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER COMPLEX CHRONICLES THE FCL TWINS DID NOT PLAY SUNDAY TWINS DAILY’S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE DAY: ANDREW ALBERS: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE HITTER OF THE DAY: BJ BOYD: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-6, R #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 8 K #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play (game postponed) #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Did not play #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play View full article
  17. As the Twins experienced further veteran attrition in the rotation, rookie pitchers continued to answer the call with a slate of impressive performances, helping propel Minnesota to a second consecutive winning week against high-quality competition. What more could you ask for at this stage of the season? Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/9 thru Sun, 8/15 *** Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 52-66) Run Differential Last Week: -1 (Overall: -74) Standing: 4th Place in AL Central (16.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 113 | CWS 11, MIN 1: Sox Build Huge Early Lead in Laugher Game 114 | MIN 4, CWS 3: Jax Fans 10 as Twins Eke Out Tight Win Game 115 | MIN 1, CWS 0: Ober and Bullpen Combine for Shutout Game 116 | TB 10, MIN 4: Cruz Homers in Return, Rays Roll Game 117 | MIN 12, TB 0: Maeda and Arraez Lead Charge in Blowout Game 118 | MIN 5, TB 4: Twins Walk Off Tampa, Take 3rd Straight Series NEWS & NOTES The Twins lost two-fifths of their rotation via trade on deadline day, and lost another piece to injury on Friday when Michael Pineda exited with an oblique strain amidst an underwhelming outing against Tampa Bay. He was quickly placed on the Injured List and replaced on the active roster by reliever Ralph Garza Jr., a recent waiver acquisition. Garza Jr. shined in his Twins debut, tossing two perfect innings in Saturday night's blowout win. No timeline was announced for Pineda but he is in all likelihood done for the season. It's been a tough go for the big right-hander in 2021 following a strong start; since the beginning of June, he's been able to make only nine starts while going 1-6 with a 5.80 ERA. The silver lining for the Twins, I suppose, is that re-signing Pineda to solidify the back end of the '22 rotation shouldn't take a whole lot at this point. Pineda's absence will require the Twins to lean even harder on their young pitching depth. Logically the next in line will be Lewis Thorpe, who put up 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball for the Saints on Friday while building up to 65 pitches. Thorpe lines up perfectly for Pineda's next turn in the rotation, on Wednesday against Cleveland. Other roster moves for the week saw Beau Burrows and his 12.54 ERA optioned to Triple-A, replaced by veteran journeyman Nick Vincent (Alex Kirilloff moved to 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man), while Jorge Alcala landed on IL and was replaced in the bullpen by another waiver pickup, Edgar García. HIGHLIGHTS With Pineda sidelined, it's now Kenta and the Kids in the Minnesota Twins rotation. Kenta Maeda looked the part of an exemplary veteran leader on Saturday, firing six shutout innings against the Rays, while the rookies joined the fun with strong performances of their own against first-place teams. Griffin Jax was flat-out dominant against the White Sox on Tuesday night, striking out 10 over six innings. Chicago managed to score three runs on a couple of homers, but Jax was otherwise excellent, pounding the zone with sliders and fastballs to keep a potent lineup in check. Interestingly, Jax has piled up 16 strikeouts over 10 innings with a 20% swinging strike rate in two starts against the White Sox this year, compared to 16 strikeouts in 28 innings and a 6% swinging strike rate against all other opponents. The following day, Bailey Ober helped lift the Twins to a series victory over the division leaders, contributing 5 ⅓ scoreless innings to an eventual shutout. Ober struck out six and walked one, pushing his K/BB ratio to 62-to-16 in 57 ⅔ innings this season. Like with Jax, keeping the ball in the park is the biggest challenge for Ober and on days like this where he's able to do so, he looks quite legit. Ober owns a 3.55 ERA in seven starts dating back to the end of June, and Minnesota has gone 5-2 in those games. Even Charlie Barnes joined in on the rookie revitalization of the rotation. While he wasn't particularly effective in his first outing on Monday, yielding three runs in 4 ⅔ innings as bulk guy behind the opener Burrows, Barnes rebounded on Sunday, holding the White Sox to one run over five frames. The lefty was in line for his first MLB win, leaving with a three-run lead, but the bullpen and defense let him down in the late innings. García was among the culprits, surrendering a two-run homer in the sixth, but it was his only blemish in a strong stretch overall. The right-hander stepped up in a pair of earlier long-relief appearances, allowing just one hit over 4 ⅓ scoreless innings versus Chicago and Tampa. In total he struck out five with only one walk, inducing 12 swinging strikes on 80 pitches (15%) while finding the zone with 68% of his offerings. Combined with Garza Jr.'s outstanding debut on Saturday, it was an encouraging week for the club's latest bullpen waiver adds. It might fairly be described as "too little, too late," but Alex Colomé has quietly become the steady rock of this relief corps, looking very much like the reliable closer he's been in years past following an unbelievably ugly April. Since May 1st, he's got a 3.00 ERA and is 5-for-6 in save opportunities. The past week saw him rattle off a pair of saves, both in one-run games against the Sox, and he also worked a scoreless ninth on Sunday to set up Minnesota's win in the bottom half. Offensively, Jorge Polanco continues to be the star of the show – his 21st homer on Wednesday proved decisive in a 1-0 win, and he walked off the Rays with sac fly on Sunday – but Miguel Sanó's re-emergence should not be ignored. His bat, and more generally his offensive approach, have been resuscitated. The past week saw Sanó collect five hits, including a double and homer, but most importantly, he drew as many walks (4) as strikeouts. After leading the league in Ks last year, and fanning in 39% of his plate appearances through May of this year, Sanó has cut that rate down to 31% since the start of June. During that span he is slashing .249/.321/.477 in 56 games. Spectacular? No. But very serviceable and suggestive that the big slugger still has something left in the tank. LOWLIGHTS The Tampa series was a high point for Brent Rooker, who went 6-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs in his two starts. The Chicago series was anything but. In three games against the White Sox, Rooker went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts, extending a brutal slump at a time where the rookie slugger desperately needs to rake. Prior to his four-hit game against the Rays on Friday night, Rooker was slashing just .098/.159/.171 in the month of August, while regularly slotting in as the Twins' No. 2 hitter. His big weekend was not enough to offset the larger struggles this month, and that's sort of been the story of his season. Rooker shows flashes, but has a .198 average and .676 OPS through 119 plate appearances. His power is not in doubt, but a .252 on-base percentage ain't gonna cut it, especially when you factor in the total absence of defensive value. Unless and until he can find some semblance of strike zone control, it's difficult to project any real value for Rooker as a big-leaguer. In a sense, it feels too soon to rush to judgment on Rooker. But then again, he'll turn 27 this offseason and the Twins are staring down a potential 40-man roster crunch. With the redundant and superior Sanó already in the plans for 2022, where does Rooker fit in? Weeks like these present a crucial opportunity to make his case. Rooker needs more than a random blow-up game here and there to maximize it. Trevor Larnach isn't so much fighting to prove he's got an MLB future – that's not really in doubt – but he too is battling to carve out an immediate spot on the 2022 team. With the way things have been going for him of late, it'll be tough for the Twins to pencil him in. It was another lackluster week for Larnach, who went 1-for-11 with a single and five strikeouts in his four starts. The outfielder's last home run came on July 7th; since then he's batting .156 with a .188 slugging percentage in in 110 plate appearances, while striking out 43% of the time. Larnach doesn't really appear to be benefiting from getting repeatedly beaten by major-league pitching. The signs of growth and adjustment aren't there. With the Triple-A schedule extending through September this year, there's still time to get him back in the minors so he can find his swing and rebuild some confidence. Will the Twins go that route, or are they committed to seeing it through in the majors? TRENDING STORYLINE For those of us keeping a close eye on the Twins' pitching pipeline, Sunday was a big day. Matt Canterino, who ranked 8th in TD's recently-updated prospect rankings, made his first official appearance at Cedar Rapids since May, following a lengthy rest-and-rehab program to address elbow soreness. Canterino picked up right where he left off, overpowering High-A hitters to an absurd degree. After striking out eight of the 10 he faced over three hitless innings on Sunday, he now has a 0.86 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 21 innings for the Kernels. Yes, that is an 18.4 K/9 rate. This isn't even fair. Time to get him up to the next level and see how Double-A fares against him. I'm eager to find out. Even though he has yet to pitch above A-ball, the 23-year-old is going to be fast-tracked and has the ability to factor as a pivotal difference-maker for the Twins next year if he can stay healthy. LOOKING AHEAD Minnesota's run against solid competition rolls on as they welcome Cleveland to Target Field, wrapping up a long homestand before heading to the East Coast for a four-game set against the dreaded Yankees. Can Kenta and the Kids keep it clicking? MONDAY, 8/16: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax TUESDAY, 8/17: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Eli Morgan v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 8/18: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Zach Plesac v. TBD THURSDAY, 8/19: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Kenta Maeda v. RHP Jameson Taillon FRIDAY, 8/20: TWINS @ YANKEES – LHP Charlie Barnes v. LHP Nestor Cortes SATURDAY, 8/21: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Gerrit Cole SUNDAY, 8/22: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Jordan Montgomery 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
  18. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/9 thru Sun, 8/15 *** Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 52-66) Run Differential Last Week: -1 (Overall: -74) Standing: 4th Place in AL Central (16.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 113 | CWS 11, MIN 1: Sox Build Huge Early Lead in Laugher Game 114 | MIN 4, CWS 3: Jax Fans 10 as Twins Eke Out Tight Win Game 115 | MIN 1, CWS 0: Ober and Bullpen Combine for Shutout Game 116 | TB 10, MIN 4: Cruz Homers in Return, Rays Roll Game 117 | MIN 12, TB 0: Maeda and Arraez Lead Charge in Blowout Game 118 | MIN 5, TB 4: Twins Walk Off Tampa, Take 3rd Straight Series NEWS & NOTES The Twins lost two-fifths of their rotation via trade on deadline day, and lost another piece to injury on Friday when Michael Pineda exited with an oblique strain amidst an underwhelming outing against Tampa Bay. He was quickly placed on the Injured List and replaced on the active roster by reliever Ralph Garza Jr., a recent waiver acquisition. Garza Jr. shined in his Twins debut, tossing two perfect innings in Saturday night's blowout win. No timeline was announced for Pineda but he is in all likelihood done for the season. It's been a tough go for the big right-hander in 2021 following a strong start; since the beginning of June, he's been able to make only nine starts while going 1-6 with a 5.80 ERA. The silver lining for the Twins, I suppose, is that re-signing Pineda to solidify the back end of the '22 rotation shouldn't take a whole lot at this point. Pineda's absence will require the Twins to lean even harder on their young pitching depth. Logically the next in line will be Lewis Thorpe, who put up 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball for the Saints on Friday while building up to 65 pitches. Thorpe lines up perfectly for Pineda's next turn in the rotation, on Wednesday against Cleveland. Other roster moves for the week saw Beau Burrows and his 12.54 ERA optioned to Triple-A, replaced by veteran journeyman Nick Vincent (Alex Kirilloff moved to 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man), while Jorge Alcala landed on IL and was replaced in the bullpen by another waiver pickup, Edgar García. HIGHLIGHTS With Pineda sidelined, it's now Kenta and the Kids in the Minnesota Twins rotation. Kenta Maeda looked the part of an exemplary veteran leader on Saturday, firing six shutout innings against the Rays, while the rookies joined the fun with strong performances of their own against first-place teams. Griffin Jax was flat-out dominant against the White Sox on Tuesday night, striking out 10 over six innings. Chicago managed to score three runs on a couple of homers, but Jax was otherwise excellent, pounding the zone with sliders and fastballs to keep a potent lineup in check. Interestingly, Jax has piled up 16 strikeouts over 10 innings with a 20% swinging strike rate in two starts against the White Sox this year, compared to 16 strikeouts in 28 innings and a 6% swinging strike rate against all other opponents. The following day, Bailey Ober helped lift the Twins to a series victory over the division leaders, contributing 5 ⅓ scoreless innings to an eventual shutout. Ober struck out six and walked one, pushing his K/BB ratio to 62-to-16 in 57 ⅔ innings this season. Like with Jax, keeping the ball in the park is the biggest challenge for Ober and on days like this where he's able to do so, he looks quite legit. Ober owns a 3.55 ERA in seven starts dating back to the end of June, and Minnesota has gone 5-2 in those games. Even Charlie Barnes joined in on the rookie revitalization of the rotation. While he wasn't particularly effective in his first outing on Monday, yielding three runs in 4 ⅔ innings as bulk guy behind the opener Burrows, Barnes rebounded on Sunday, holding the White Sox to one run over five frames. The lefty was in line for his first MLB win, leaving with a three-run lead, but the bullpen and defense let him down in the late innings. García was among the culprits, surrendering a two-run homer in the sixth, but it was his only blemish in a strong stretch overall. The right-hander stepped up in a pair of earlier long-relief appearances, allowing just one hit over 4 ⅓ scoreless innings versus Chicago and Tampa. In total he struck out five with only one walk, inducing 12 swinging strikes on 80 pitches (15%) while finding the zone with 68% of his offerings. Combined with Garza Jr.'s outstanding debut on Saturday, it was an encouraging week for the club's latest bullpen waiver adds. It might fairly be described as "too little, too late," but Alex Colomé has quietly become the steady rock of this relief corps, looking very much like the reliable closer he's been in years past following an unbelievably ugly April. Since May 1st, he's got a 3.00 ERA and is 5-for-6 in save opportunities. The past week saw him rattle off a pair of saves, both in one-run games against the Sox, and he also worked a scoreless ninth on Sunday to set up Minnesota's win in the bottom half. Offensively, Jorge Polanco continues to be the star of the show – his 21st homer on Wednesday proved decisive in a 1-0 win, and he walked off the Rays with sac fly on Sunday – but Miguel Sanó's re-emergence should not be ignored. His bat, and more generally his offensive approach, have been resuscitated. The past week saw Sanó collect five hits, including a double and homer, but most importantly, he drew as many walks (4) as strikeouts. After leading the league in Ks last year, and fanning in 39% of his plate appearances through May of this year, Sanó has cut that rate down to 31% since the start of June. During that span he is slashing .249/.321/.477 in 56 games. Spectacular? No. But very serviceable and suggestive that the big slugger still has something left in the tank. LOWLIGHTS The Tampa series was a high point for Brent Rooker, who went 6-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs in his two starts. The Chicago series was anything but. In three games against the White Sox, Rooker went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts, extending a brutal slump at a time where the rookie slugger desperately needs to rake. Prior to his four-hit game against the Rays on Friday night, Rooker was slashing just .098/.159/.171 in the month of August, while regularly slotting in as the Twins' No. 2 hitter. His big weekend was not enough to offset the larger struggles this month, and that's sort of been the story of his season. Rooker shows flashes, but has a .198 average and .676 OPS through 119 plate appearances. His power is not in doubt, but a .252 on-base percentage ain't gonna cut it, especially when you factor in the total absence of defensive value. Unless and until he can find some semblance of strike zone control, it's difficult to project any real value for Rooker as a big-leaguer. In a sense, it feels too soon to rush to judgment on Rooker. But then again, he'll turn 27 this offseason and the Twins are staring down a potential 40-man roster crunch. With the redundant and superior Sanó already in the plans for 2022, where does Rooker fit in? Weeks like these present a crucial opportunity to make his case. Rooker needs more than a random blow-up game here and there to maximize it. Trevor Larnach isn't so much fighting to prove he's got an MLB future – that's not really in doubt – but he too is battling to carve out an immediate spot on the 2022 team. With the way things have been going for him of late, it'll be tough for the Twins to pencil him in. It was another lackluster week for Larnach, who went 1-for-11 with a single and five strikeouts in his four starts. The outfielder's last home run came on July 7th; since then he's batting .156 with a .188 slugging percentage in in 110 plate appearances, while striking out 43% of the time. Larnach doesn't really appear to be benefiting from getting repeatedly beaten by major-league pitching. The signs of growth and adjustment aren't there. With the Triple-A schedule extending through September this year, there's still time to get him back in the minors so he can find his swing and rebuild some confidence. Will the Twins go that route, or are they committed to seeing it through in the majors? TRENDING STORYLINE For those of us keeping a close eye on the Twins' pitching pipeline, Sunday was a big day. Matt Canterino, who ranked 8th in TD's recently-updated prospect rankings, made his first official appearance at Cedar Rapids since May, following a lengthy rest-and-rehab program to address elbow soreness. Canterino picked up right where he left off, overpowering High-A hitters to an absurd degree. After striking out eight of the 10 he faced over three hitless innings on Sunday, he now has a 0.86 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 21 innings for the Kernels. Yes, that is an 18.4 K/9 rate. This isn't even fair. Time to get him up to the next level and see how Double-A fares against him. I'm eager to find out. Even though he has yet to pitch above A-ball, the 23-year-old is going to be fast-tracked and has the ability to factor as a pivotal difference-maker for the Twins next year if he can stay healthy. LOOKING AHEAD Minnesota's run against solid competition rolls on as they welcome Cleveland to Target Field, wrapping up a long homestand before heading to the East Coast for a four-game set against the dreaded Yankees. Can Kenta and the Kids keep it clicking? MONDAY, 8/16: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax TUESDAY, 8/17: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Eli Morgan v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 8/18: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Zach Plesac v. TBD THURSDAY, 8/19: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Kenta Maeda v. RHP Jameson Taillon FRIDAY, 8/20: TWINS @ YANKEES – LHP Charlie Barnes v. LHP Nestor Cortes SATURDAY, 8/21: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Gerrit Cole SUNDAY, 8/22: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Jordan Montgomery 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. TRANSACTIONS: C Nick Garland released from organization. OF Nick Anderson released from organization. SAINTS SENTINEL Saints 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Andrew Albers: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: José Miranda (11) Multi-hit games: Miranda (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Mark Contreras (2-for-5, 2 RBI, R), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R) Andrew Albers put together his best start of the season for the Saints, tossing eight scoreless innings and striking out five. Albers now owns a 2.94 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched this season for St. Paul. He’s a call-up candidate with Michael Pineda hitting the injured list (oblique). The Saints’ offense scored 41 runs over this six-game series with Indianapolis. They tacked on eight today, thanks to a five-run first and another José Miranda homer. Miranda’s excellence has been well-documented, but it’s truly remarkable what he’s done in the high minors. He’s hitting .347 with a 1.028 OPS in 41 games for the Saints. St. Paul improved its record to 48-41 and will head home to take on the Iowa Cubs. Now back from Japan, newly acquired starter Joe Ryan could make his Saints debut during the series. WIND SURGE WISDOM Surge 14, Drillers 8 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K HR: BJ Boyd 2 (13, 14), Andrew Bechtold (14), Leobaldo Cabrera (4), Jermaine Palacios (18), Chris Williams (3), Trey Cabbage (13) Multi-hit games: Boyd (2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R), Palacios (3-for-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Cabrera (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB), D.J. Burt (2-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 BB) Another home run barrage for the Surge began less swimmingly. Jordan Balazovic struggled with his command, walking three in a very short outing. None of the six runs scored against him were earned, however, as the Surge made some throwing errors in the field. Wichita entered the game with a league-leading 26 homers in August. They bashed seven more in Sunday’s win. Trey Cabbage hit his seventh homer of the month and BJ Boyd hit another two bombs himself. Boyd has four homers in his last two games and nine over his last 13 games. It was a big win for Wichita as they extend their lead over Tulsa to four games. Wichita is in first place with a 52-38 record after the road series split. KERNELS NUGGETS Kernels 4, Chiefs 1 Box Score Matt Canterino: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Michael Helman (11), Alex Isola (9) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB), Yunior Severino (2-for-5), Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB), Helman (2-for-3, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB) Matt Canterino was absolutely dominant in his abbreviated return from an elbow injury. He struck out eight of the 10 batters he faced with just one walk of top prospect Jordan Walker. Canterino owns a 0.78 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 23 innings this season. Michael Helman got things going for Cedar Rapids with a solo homer on the first pitch of the third inning. Alex Isola then went yard in the fourth, giving the Kernels a 2-0 lead. Cody Laweryson did an excellent job filling innings after Canterino, striking out six and not allowing a run in four innings of work. The Kernels have certainly enjoyed the return of Matt Wallner from the injured list. The lineup is deeper and presents an opportunity to balance out production. With the activation of Canterino, Cedar Rapids could really start to click. MUSSEL MATTERS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER COMPLEX CHRONICLES THE FCL TWINS DID NOT PLAY SUNDAY TWINS DAILY’S MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE DAY: ANDREW ALBERS: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 5 K TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE HITTER OF THE DAY: BJ BOYD: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-6, R #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB, 8 K #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play (game postponed) #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-3, BB #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Did not play #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play
  20. The Twins organization saw a few new additions courtesy of the trade deadline and the MLB Draft. Are any of them high on the most recent Twins Daily Prospect list? Read to find out! 10. SS Keoni Cavaco (20-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .242/.314/.332, 49 G, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB, 63/18 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #6 It's been a rough year for the Fort Myers offense. Cavaco's .242 batting average is something that will need to improve. Yet before we double down on the guy, let's remember, he's 20-years-old! While he played 25 games in 2019, this is Cavaco's first 'true' season. The guy is an incredible athlete and has shown moments of brilliance in the field and at the plate. Plagued by injuries this season, Cavaco's 2022 season will be a big indicator of his future with the Twins. There's a lot of potential if he can stay healthy. Check out his interview with Seth Stohs from earlier this year! 9. RHP Chase Petty (18-years-old) Season Stats: No Stats Previous Rankings: Not ranked, Minnesota Twins 2021 Top Draft Pick Chase Petty may have been the most electrifying pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. The New Jersey-native can hit triple digits, has good off-speed, and name dropped Mike Trout in post-draft interview. Petty was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey this past year. His fastball speaks volumes but he's also got an excellent slider in his arsenal. Yes, Petty is only 18. Yet he has the confidence of an MLB ballplayer and that is going to work miracles for him as he navigates professional baseball. Expect the Jersey boy to climb the ladder quickly. 8. RHP Matt Canterino (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 5 GS, 20 IP, 0.90 ERA, 0.65 ERA, 16.7 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #4 Matt Canterino didn't drop on our rankings because of poor performance. The Twins' 2019 second-round draft pick was sidelined by an elbow injury for a majority of the summer and just recently hit the bump again. Canterino recently began rehabbing at Low-A Fort Myers. In his August 8th return he was perfect, striking out two and giving up zero hits or walks in two innings. Prior to his injury Canterino was electric, giving up only two earned runs in 10 innings. In that span, hitters racked up a meager .154 batting average against him. In his young professional career Canterino has a 1.20 ERA and 0.64 WHIP. At 23, the young man has an unbelievable upside and a healthy 2022 season will benefit him as much as anyone on this list. 7. RHP Joe Ryan (25-years-old) Season Stats (Triple-A): 57 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 11.8/1.6 K:BB Previous Rankings: N/A (previously in Rays organization) A product of the Nelson Cruz trade with Tampa Bay, Joe Ryan was previously unknown to most Twins fans. That changed when Ryan grabbed the attention of the nation when he helped guide the United States Olympic team to a Silver Medal in Tokyo. Ryan started two games for Team USA, tossing 10 1/3 innings of nine-hit, two-run baseball, while striking out eight and only surrendering one walk. It's clear that Ryan can deal. The 2018 seventh-round draft pick has touted a sub-four ERA in each season since his professional debut. Before being traded to the Twins the San Francisco native was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA on the Durham Bulls staff. Ryan has started 11 games this season with opposing batters hitting .175 against him. With the Olympics serving as a confidence booster, it will be exciting to see what Ryan can do with the Saints for the remainder of the season. 6. 3B Jose Miranda (23-years-old) Season Stats (Double-A + Triple-A): .342/.406/.596, 21 2B, 23 HR, 4 SB, 65 RBI Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #5 Don't be fooled that Miranda is a spot lower than he was a few months back. In fact, Miranda has been as good as he's been all season in the past few days. Miranda recorded a multi-hit game on Thursday night and knocked the go-ahead homer to push the Saints to a win in extra-innings on Wednesday. Miranda has slashed an impressive .338/.402/.606 in just 38 games at Triple-A this season. His numbers were just as strong (if not better) at Double-A Wichita. The best part? Miranda is improving as he increases levels of play. Don't be surprised if the best story of the 2021 Twins organization gets a shot at the MLB level before the 2021 season ends. View full article
  21. 10. SS Keoni Cavaco (20-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .242/.314/.332, 49 G, 7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB, 63/18 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #6 It's been a rough year for the Fort Myers offense. Cavaco's .242 batting average is something that will need to improve. Yet before we double down on the guy, let's remember, he's 20-years-old! While he played 25 games in 2019, this is Cavaco's first 'true' season. The guy is an incredible athlete and has shown moments of brilliance in the field and at the plate. Plagued by injuries this season, Cavaco's 2022 season will be a big indicator of his future with the Twins. There's a lot of potential if he can stay healthy. Check out his interview with Seth Stohs from earlier this year! 9. RHP Chase Petty (18-years-old) Season Stats: No Stats Previous Rankings: Not ranked, Minnesota Twins 2021 Top Draft Pick Chase Petty may have been the most electrifying pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. The New Jersey-native can hit triple digits, has good off-speed, and name dropped Mike Trout in post-draft interview. Petty was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey this past year. His fastball speaks volumes but he's also got an excellent slider in his arsenal. Yes, Petty is only 18. Yet he has the confidence of an MLB ballplayer and that is going to work miracles for him as he navigates professional baseball. Expect the Jersey boy to climb the ladder quickly. 8. RHP Matt Canterino (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 5 GS, 20 IP, 0.90 ERA, 0.65 ERA, 16.7 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #4 Matt Canterino didn't drop on our rankings because of poor performance. The Twins' 2019 second-round draft pick was sidelined by an elbow injury for a majority of the summer and just recently hit the bump again. Canterino recently began rehabbing at Low-A Fort Myers. In his August 8th return he was perfect, striking out two and giving up zero hits or walks in two innings. Prior to his injury Canterino was electric, giving up only two earned runs in 10 innings. In that span, hitters racked up a meager .154 batting average against him. In his young professional career Canterino has a 1.20 ERA and 0.64 WHIP. At 23, the young man has an unbelievable upside and a healthy 2022 season will benefit him as much as anyone on this list. 7. RHP Joe Ryan (25-years-old) Season Stats (Triple-A): 57 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 11.8/1.6 K:BB Previous Rankings: N/A (previously in Rays organization) A product of the Nelson Cruz trade with Tampa Bay, Joe Ryan was previously unknown to most Twins fans. That changed when Ryan grabbed the attention of the nation when he helped guide the United States Olympic team to a Silver Medal in Tokyo. Ryan started two games for Team USA, tossing 10 1/3 innings of nine-hit, two-run baseball, while striking out eight and only surrendering one walk. It's clear that Ryan can deal. The 2018 seventh-round draft pick has touted a sub-four ERA in each season since his professional debut. Before being traded to the Twins the San Francisco native was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA on the Durham Bulls staff. Ryan has started 11 games this season with opposing batters hitting .175 against him. With the Olympics serving as a confidence booster, it will be exciting to see what Ryan can do with the Saints for the remainder of the season. 6. 3B Jose Miranda (23-years-old) Season Stats (Double-A + Triple-A): .342/.406/.596, 21 2B, 23 HR, 4 SB, 65 RBI Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: #5 Don't be fooled that Miranda is a spot lower than he was a few months back. In fact, Miranda has been as good as he's been all season in the past few days. Miranda recorded a multi-hit game on Thursday night and knocked the go-ahead homer to push the Saints to a win in extra-innings on Wednesday. Miranda has slashed an impressive .338/.402/.606 in just 38 games at Triple-A this season. His numbers were just as strong (if not better) at Double-A Wichita. The best part? Miranda is improving as he increases levels of play. Don't be surprised if the best story of the 2021 Twins organization gets a shot at the MLB level before the 2021 season ends.
  22. With former top prospects like Alex Kirilloff (#1 on our preseason list), Trevor Larnach (#3) and Ryan Jeffers (#4) graduating from prospect status, several new names enter the top five in our midseason update. These promising young players all have a chance to play a significant role as the Twins aim to retool and rebound. 5. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .350 AVG, .409 OBP, .614 SLG, 16 HR, 46 RBI 2021 Ranking: 19 When we ranked him No. 19 on our preseason top prospects list, the short synopsis on Miranda was a familiar one: "High-contract righty-swinging infielder needs to find power stroke." The former second-round draft pick has long sat on the fringes of our top-20 rankings because of his many intriguing traits, but the production just wasn't there to justify ranking him much higher. Through his first 379 games in the minors, he slugged .394 with 37 home runs. This year, he found his power stroke. Miranda came out of the gates red-hot at Double-A, opening with a seven-game hitting streak that included three home runs, and he never really slowed down. Miranda slashed .345/.408/.588 with 13 home runs in two months at Wichita, then earned a late-June promotion to St. Paul, where he put together an unforgettable Triple-A debut: 5-6, 3 HR, 6 RBIs. It all came together in a hurry for Miranda and there's not much reason to think his breakthrough isn't legit. He's got a smooth, compact swing from the right side that was always produced high contact rates, and he's clearly turned a corner with his ability to drive the ball. He projects as a third baseman in the big leagues, and perhaps pretty soon, depending on what happens with Josh Donaldson. 4. Matt Canterino, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A+): 18 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1.14 FIP, 51.5 K%, 4.4 BB% 2021 Ranking: 9 Canterino drew considerable hype coming into this season after reports emerged of him touching 100 MPH in a side session. A second-rounder out of Rice University in 2019, he made a strong impression by dominating in his first stint as a pro (1.44 ERA, 11.2 K/9 between rookie and A-ball), but plenty of highly-drafted collegiate players have done that. Taking the next step is the differentiator. Canterino's velo jump, and the behind-the-scenes work it reflected, were seemingly positive indicators. The righty needed to show it on the field. He has. Canterino was brilliant through four starts for Cedar Rapids, now the Twins' High-A affiliate. I mean, we're talking stupid good numbers. Thirty-five strikeouts in 18 innings? A 17.5 K/9 rate?? Canterino was striking out literally more than half the batters he faced. Beyond overpowering. He was likely in line for an imminent promotion to Double-A, but unfortunately the 23-year-old developed a sore elbow and hasn't pitched since May. He is currently on the comeback trail and the Twins hope he'll be able to return to the mound soon – probably in Wichita once he's fully back on track. 3. Jordan Balazovic, RHSP Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA): 21 1/3 IP, 4.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 29.5 K%, 7.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 6 After getting a late start to his season while healing from injury, Balazovic's results through six starts at Double-A have been ... uneven. His 4.44 ERA is nothing to write home about, and he has yet to get through six innings in an outing. With that said, he's been building up – his best, and longest, start was also his most recent – and the signs of that big potential have been on display. In 24 ⅓ innings, he has piled up 33 strikeouts with a 14% swing-and-miss rate. While hitters have had success against him at times, they haven't hit for much power (3 HR and 7 XBH total) and Balazovic's control hasn't really eluded him at any point. For now the key is to continually advance his workload and consistency. 2. Jhoan Duran, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A/AA): 34 1/3 IP, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.64 FIP, 38.2 K%, 9.0 BB% 2021 Ranking: n/a Like Balazovic, Duran's start to the 2021 campaign was delayed by injury following a lost pandemic season. When he took the mound on May 22nd at CHS Field, it was Duran's first time pitching in a minor-league game since August 29th of 2019. He was worth the wait. Unleashing triple-digit heat, Duran dazzled, striking out six over three innings of one-run ball. His next time out he allowed only one hit while fanning eight over four scoreless frames. However, things took a downward turn at this point, as Duran was tagged with losses in his next three appearances (one a long-relief outing), surrendering 8 earned runs with an 8-to-12 K/BB ratio in nine innings. Then, he went on the Injured List with an elbow strain. For now, the Twins hope and believe he'll avoid surgery. Duran has the best stuff in Minnesota's system and some of the best in the minors. He's the real deal talent-wise and the Twins have done a stellar job in targeting, acquiring, and developing him. His biggest barriers are control and health, and we've seen both fully presented this year, with the latter currently sidelining him indefinitely. He's as boom-or-bust as they come, but the ceiling is game-changing and within reach. 1. Royce Lewis, SS Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats: n/a 2021 Ranking: 2 Losing two consecutive full seasons – one to a global pandemic and the next to a torn ACL – in the very crux of one's development is an ordeal many baseball prospects would be unable to overcome. I'd bet on Royce Lewis not being one of them. His much-lauded character and makeup have always positively affected the view and evaluation of Lewis, in certain intangible ways, but these qualities can have a very real impact in how he responds to this challenge. He'll be more than two years removed from playing competitively when he takes the field next spring – or maybe this winter – but has the natural talent to get back up to speed quickly. And "speed" really is the key word: even after knee surgery, he'll be one of the fastest and most athletic prospects in the game. Lewis is a dynamic talent who will likely end up at one of the most important defensive positions on the field – shortstop or center – and should be relatively productive at one of those spots even if his offensive shortcomings are not fully resolved. If the Twins do hope to rebound back into contention next year, they may need to ask quite a bit of their No. 1 prospect, as well as the other four we just profiled. One commonality you will notice among this reshaped top five: They're all 22 or 23 years old, with ETAs of 2022. These players are all verging on big-league ready and in most cases, health is the only significant barrier to surpass. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  23. 5. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .350 AVG, .409 OBP, .614 SLG, 16 HR, 46 RBI 2021 Ranking: 19 When we ranked him No. 19 on our preseason top prospects list, the short synopsis on Miranda was a familiar one: "High-contract righty-swinging infielder needs to find power stroke." The former second-round draft pick has long sat on the fringes of our top-20 rankings because of his many intriguing traits, but the production just wasn't there to justify ranking him much higher. Through his first 379 games in the minors, he slugged .394 with 37 home runs. This year, he found his power stroke. Miranda came out of the gates red-hot at Double-A, opening with a seven-game hitting streak that included three home runs, and he never really slowed down. Miranda slashed .345/.408/.588 with 13 home runs in two months at Wichita, then earned a late-June promotion to St. Paul, where he put together an unforgettable Triple-A debut: 5-6, 3 HR, 6 RBIs. It all came together in a hurry for Miranda and there's not much reason to think his breakthrough isn't legit. He's got a smooth, compact swing from the right side that was always produced high contact rates, and he's clearly turned a corner with his ability to drive the ball. He projects as a third baseman in the big leagues, and perhaps pretty soon, depending on what happens with Josh Donaldson. 4. Matt Canterino, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A+): 18 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1.14 FIP, 51.5 K%, 4.4 BB% 2021 Ranking: 9 Canterino drew considerable hype coming into this season after reports emerged of him touching 100 MPH in a side session. A second-rounder out of Rice University in 2019, he made a strong impression by dominating in his first stint as a pro (1.44 ERA, 11.2 K/9 between rookie and A-ball), but plenty of highly-drafted collegiate players have done that. Taking the next step is the differentiator. Canterino's velo jump, and the behind-the-scenes work it reflected, were seemingly positive indicators. The righty needed to show it on the field. He has. Canterino was brilliant through four starts for Cedar Rapids, now the Twins' High-A affiliate. I mean, we're talking stupid good numbers. Thirty-five strikeouts in 18 innings? A 17.5 K/9 rate?? Canterino was striking out literally more than half the batters he faced. Beyond overpowering. He was likely in line for an imminent promotion to Double-A, but unfortunately the 23-year-old developed a sore elbow and hasn't pitched since May. He is currently on the comeback trail and the Twins hope he'll be able to return to the mound soon – probably in Wichita once he's fully back on track. 3. Jordan Balazovic, RHSP Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (AA): 21 1/3 IP, 4.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 29.5 K%, 7.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 6 After getting a late start to his season while healing from injury, Balazovic's results through six starts at Double-A have been ... uneven. His 4.44 ERA is nothing to write home about, and he has yet to get through six innings in an outing. With that said, he's been building up – his best, and longest, start was also his most recent – and the signs of that big potential have been on display. In 24 ⅓ innings, he has piled up 33 strikeouts with a 14% swing-and-miss rate. While hitters have had success against him at times, they haven't hit for much power (3 HR and 7 XBH total) and Balazovic's control hasn't really eluded him at any point. For now the key is to continually advance his workload and consistency. 2. Jhoan Duran, RHSP Age: 23 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats (A/AA): 34 1/3 IP, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.64 FIP, 38.2 K%, 9.0 BB% 2021 Ranking: n/a Like Balazovic, Duran's start to the 2021 campaign was delayed by injury following a lost pandemic season. When he took the mound on May 22nd at CHS Field, it was Duran's first time pitching in a minor-league game since August 29th of 2019. He was worth the wait. Unleashing triple-digit heat, Duran dazzled, striking out six over three innings of one-run ball. His next time out he allowed only one hit while fanning eight over four scoreless frames. However, things took a downward turn at this point, as Duran was tagged with losses in his next three appearances (one a long-relief outing), surrendering 8 earned runs with an 8-to-12 K/BB ratio in nine innings. Then, he went on the Injured List with an elbow strain. For now, the Twins hope and believe he'll avoid surgery. Duran has the best stuff in Minnesota's system and some of the best in the minors. He's the real deal talent-wise and the Twins have done a stellar job in targeting, acquiring, and developing him. His biggest barriers are control and health, and we've seen both fully presented this year, with the latter currently sidelining him indefinitely. He's as boom-or-bust as they come, but the ceiling is game-changing and within reach. 1. Royce Lewis, SS Age: 22 ETA: 2022 2021 Stats: n/a 2021 Ranking: 2 Losing two consecutive full seasons – one to a global pandemic and the next to a torn ACL – in the very crux of one's development is an ordeal many baseball prospects would be unable to overcome. I'd bet on Royce Lewis not being one of them. His much-lauded character and makeup have always positively affected the view and evaluation of Lewis, in certain intangible ways, but these qualities can have a very real impact in how he responds to this challenge. He'll be more than two years removed from playing competitively when he takes the field next spring – or maybe this winter – but has the natural talent to get back up to speed quickly. And "speed" really is the key word: even after knee surgery, he'll be one of the fastest and most athletic prospects in the game. Lewis is a dynamic talent who will likely end up at one of the most important defensive positions on the field – shortstop or center – and should be relatively productive at one of those spots even if his offensive shortcomings are not fully resolved. If the Twins do hope to rebound back into contention next year, they may need to ask quite a bit of their No. 1 prospect, as well as the other four we just profiled. One commonality you will notice among this reshaped top five: They're all 22 or 23 years old, with ETAs of 2022. These players are all verging on big-league ready and in most cases, health is the only significant barrier to surpass. 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  24. Remember when a global pandemic killed off an entire Minor League Baseball season? That was unfortunate, and it’s been great to have an affiliated season back in full swing, but the Twins have taken their lumps injury wise on the farm too. I have consistently been of the mindset that this Twins team is an outlier when it comes to performance. There’s too much talent on this team for them to be as bad as they’ve been. With that reality, expecting a resurgent turnaround in 2022 is hardly far-fetched. The front office will have the opportunity to supplement the existing core once again. The problem is that depth and development from the farm may not bear the fruit it was expected to. Royce Lewis tore his ACL before even playing a game in 2021. As things stand now, top pitching prospects are all over the IL. Edwar Colina and Blayne Enlow have both had surgery. Jhoan Duran has now been shut down and Matt Canterino is set to return but remains a question mark. Hitting prospect Matt Wallner is still shelved and we still have three months left of the season to make it through. For Minnesota, the chief problem in 2021 has been pitching. The rotation wasn’t expected to have many holdovers a year from now, and both Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda were thought to be awaiting stable mates from the farm. Now that could be less likely than ever, and this current core may find themselves misaligned with the next wave of talent. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be tasked with the decision of whether a rebuild is necessary. Their long-term futures with the organization impact that choice, and how quickly they’d like to rid themselves of this taste will probably be part of the equation. Their hand becomes a bit less fruitful given the development that their cheap and controllable assets are now less reliable than they may have been had things gone differently. It was important for minor league guys to get back in games in order to showcase what they’d done in the time off. The hope would be that some of the top talents could be accelerated and challenged this season. Instead, much of the top 20 is shelved for one reason or another, and there’s more questions than answers in Twins Territory both now, and in the future. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  25. To say that 2021 has not gone as expected for the Minnesota Twins would be putting it lightly. After winning back-to-back AL Central Division titles, this team wasn’t supposed to flop so hard. Now that they have, here’s how they should use the rest of the season. Unfortunately, a series loss against the Baltimore Orioles after the one-third mark of the season should be the proverbial nail in the coffin for this team. Injuries have piled up, and Rocco Baldelli has been tasked with finding enough beating hearts to compile lineups on a nightly basis. With that as the new reality, making sure that 2021 is used productively to set up 2022 now must be the goal. Both Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach have debuted for the Twins. They represent the organization's two best pure hitting prospects, and neither should be sent back to the minors the rest of the way. Getting them regular reps is a must and making sure they’re comfortable to contribute out of the gate next year has to be the focus. Who should join them though? Jhoan Duran Pitching prospect number one, Duran got off to a late start this year dealing with a minor injury. He’s now taken a couple of turns at Triple-A St. Paul and looks every bit the dominant piece that the Twins have been waiting on. Maybe he’s not an ace, but he throws triple-digits and has strikeout stuff. Getting him something like 10 starts at the major-league level this season makes too much sense. Allocate the workload expected for Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ to other guys, this being the number one option. Matt Canterino Starting at High-A never made sense for Canterino. He’ll soon be 24 and is clearly advanced well beyond that level. He should be at Double-A already, and Triple-A by the end of the summer. I don’t know if Canterino necessarily needs big league starts, but there’s no reason for him not to throw major-league innings this year. He’s got dominant strikeout stuff and could be usable in both a starting and relief role. Expecting him to contribute in 2022 makes a lot of sense, so getting the jitters out now needs to happen. Jordan Balazovic This one is a bit trickier given the injury situation. He’ll begin at Double-A Wichita this weekend, but as the Twins top pitching prospect, the stuff could push him along quickly. Balazovic has as high of an upside as anyone in the system. If Derek Falvey is going to develop his own Jose Berrios or better, this is the kid. I’d like to see him get at least one or two starts for Minnesota before the year is over. Josh Winder Another arm in the vein of Canterino, Winder was given more of an aggressive starting point. Having dominated Double-A over his first five outings, it’s time for a step up. He should spend a couple of months with the Saints at Triple-A, and then a 40-man addition along with a big league promotion makes sense. A 7th round pick in 2018, Winder will be 25 by 2022 and could certainly be an arm that the Twins look at when filling out the rotation. Cole Sands A 5th round pick back in 2018, the former Florida State Seminole has done nothing but impress in pro ball. He’ll turn 24 next month and has started strong at Double-A Wichita. There’s been a bit less command in 2021 than previous seasons, but the strikeout stuff plays. Getting him to Triple-A by mid-summer with an end-of-year promotion to the big leagues seems like the right timetable. Another guy that could be called upon in the rotation for '22, there’s no reason not to get his feet wet. Jose Miranda Losing Travis Blankenhorn over a middling reliever wasn’t ideal, but it’s Miranda that likely made him dispensable. The 2nd round pick in 2016 was Rule 5 eligible this winter but went undrafted. He’s crushed Double-A to start the year and owns a .920 OPS. There’s not much reason to keep him down longer, and he could quickly emerge as the next utility option with a bit stronger bat. He’s not a shortstop, but he can play third base, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Minnesota pushes for some outfield flexibility. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
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