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  1. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the Twins pitching staff and bullpen in particular after such an abysmal 2021. There may be help on the way, however. A trio of arms in St. Paul just might be worth holding out hope for 2022. Some possible solutions to the rotation were found with the return from the Nelson Cruz trade on Thursday. Still, the front office has their work cut out for them to improve the pitching staff as a whole. More trades are surely on the way and a fair share of the available payroll will likely be spent on arms. There are three relievers at AAA however who we may see by season’s end that could put a massive patch in the sinking ship that is this pitching staff. Ian Hamilton Nick summarized just about every reason to have hope for Hamilton in one tweet. Hamilton was drafted in the 11th round in 2016 and quickly proved to be an exciting up and coming bullpen arm in the White Sox system. Unfortunately Hamilton’s career was thrown off course by two freak accidents. He struggled thereafter and eventually bounce around waiver claims before the Twins claimed him (and then successfully DFAd him) this spring. Hamilton has spent the entire season in St. Paul which is by no means an indicator of his effectiveness. Instead, it almost seems like the Twins are developing the 26-year-old as if he was a prospect as he weathers his first full season of professional baseball since 2018. This plan appears to have paid dividends, as Hamilton has posted a 34% K rate with a 0.58 HR/9 so far and has sorted out his early season walk issues. He should get a chance by season’s end to showcase his high 90s fastball at Target Field in an attempt to earn a place for 2022. Yennier Cano Signed in 2019 as an international free agent out of Cuba, Cano is a bit different than most prospects in the Twins top 30 as he’s 27 years old. Cano has moved a bit more slowly through the system than expected when he was signed, but he appears to be on the precipice of the Major Leagues after debuting at AA ball this year and getting called up to St. Paul a few weeks ago. Cano got hit around a bit in his AAA debut allowing three Earned Runs in 1 2/3 innings. He’s settled down since then, dropping his ERA to 4.50 with a 3.05 FIP. He’s struck out 28.4% of the hitters he’s faced. He has a pitch mix that profiles extremely well with a mid 90s fastball to go with a great slider and a splitter to equalize left-handed hitters. It’s honestly a bit surprising that Cano hasn’t received The Call already, but it’s easy to foresee him in Minneapolis very soon. Jovani Moran Moran was Cano’s partner in crime when it came to terrorizing opposing lineups out of the AA bullpen to start the year. Moran has long had the reputation of having nasty stuff but has struggled with control thus far in his career. After having 14% walk rates at both levels in 2019, it was encouraging even to see those numbers drop to 10% at AA to start the season. Moran is a left-handed pitcher with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but his changeup is likely one of the best the Twins system has seen since Johan Santana as Lucas points out (tweet above). The pitch allows him not only to avoid big lefty/righty splits, but is also his go-to weapon for swings and misses. He seems to have the right idea, as he’s struck out 46% of AA hitters and 44.4% of AAA hitters thus far. His late arrival to AAA makes him a bit more questionable to debut with the Twins this season, but it’s certainly a possibility depending on how the trade deadline shakes out. Skepticism is warranted after this season, but it’s been a long time since the Twins in particular have developed arms with such high octane, can’t miss stuff. While far from a sure thing, we should get a look at at least a few of them this year. At the very least it’s a bit of excitement in what will be an inconsequential finish to 2021. At best, we just might get a glimpse into a more effective stable of arms for 2022. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  2. Some possible solutions to the rotation were found with the return from the Nelson Cruz trade on Thursday. Still, the front office has their work cut out for them to improve the pitching staff as a whole. More trades are surely on the way and a fair share of the available payroll will likely be spent on arms. There are three relievers at AAA however who we may see by season’s end that could put a massive patch in the sinking ship that is this pitching staff. Ian Hamilton Nick summarized just about every reason to have hope for Hamilton in one tweet. Hamilton was drafted in the 11th round in 2016 and quickly proved to be an exciting up and coming bullpen arm in the White Sox system. Unfortunately Hamilton’s career was thrown off course by two freak accidents. He struggled thereafter and eventually bounce around waiver claims before the Twins claimed him (and then successfully DFAd him) this spring. Hamilton has spent the entire season in St. Paul which is by no means an indicator of his effectiveness. Instead, it almost seems like the Twins are developing the 26-year-old as if he was a prospect as he weathers his first full season of professional baseball since 2018. This plan appears to have paid dividends, as Hamilton has posted a 34% K rate with a 0.58 HR/9 so far and has sorted out his early season walk issues. He should get a chance by season’s end to showcase his high 90s fastball at Target Field in an attempt to earn a place for 2022. Yennier Cano Signed in 2019 as an international free agent out of Cuba, Cano is a bit different than most prospects in the Twins top 30 as he’s 27 years old. Cano has moved a bit more slowly through the system than expected when he was signed, but he appears to be on the precipice of the Major Leagues after debuting at AA ball this year and getting called up to St. Paul a few weeks ago. Cano got hit around a bit in his AAA debut allowing three Earned Runs in 1 2/3 innings. He’s settled down since then, dropping his ERA to 4.50 with a 3.05 FIP. He’s struck out 28.4% of the hitters he’s faced. He has a pitch mix that profiles extremely well with a mid 90s fastball to go with a great slider and a splitter to equalize left-handed hitters. It’s honestly a bit surprising that Cano hasn’t received The Call already, but it’s easy to foresee him in Minneapolis very soon. Jovani Moran Moran was Cano’s partner in crime when it came to terrorizing opposing lineups out of the AA bullpen to start the year. Moran has long had the reputation of having nasty stuff but has struggled with control thus far in his career. After having 14% walk rates at both levels in 2019, it was encouraging even to see those numbers drop to 10% at AA to start the season. Moran is a left-handed pitcher with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but his changeup is likely one of the best the Twins system has seen since Johan Santana as Lucas points out (tweet above). The pitch allows him not only to avoid big lefty/righty splits, but is also his go-to weapon for swings and misses. He seems to have the right idea, as he’s struck out 46% of AA hitters and 44.4% of AAA hitters thus far. His late arrival to AAA makes him a bit more questionable to debut with the Twins this season, but it’s certainly a possibility depending on how the trade deadline shakes out. Skepticism is warranted after this season, but it’s been a long time since the Twins in particular have developed arms with such high octane, can’t miss stuff. While far from a sure thing, we should get a look at at least a few of them this year. At the very least it’s a bit of excitement in what will be an inconsequential finish to 2021. At best, we just might get a glimpse into a more effective stable of arms for 2022. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  3. A selloff is coming for the 2021 Minnesota Twins, and that's in large part because they've been a bad baseball team. To capitalize on being interesting down the stretch, there's some names that belong on the bump. Rocco Baldelli came into this season expecting to compete for a third straight division title. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, that reality isn’t going to play out. The second half now should be about evaluation for Minnesota. As 40-man and 26-man roster spots open up, it will be imperative for the Twins to look at fresh faces and see what they have. On the pitching side, here are some names to consider: Before individual deep dives, I think the trio of Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic, and Cole Sands all fit here. Winder needs to debut, having already made his way to Triple-A. I can understand not starting the clock on Balazovic and Sands missed time due to injury. Of the names in this article, though, these are all the premier prospect types. There's also the recent call ups and guys with little time that need extended run. Throw Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax, and now Charlie Barnes into this category. Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe (when healthy) would join them as well. Beau Burrows A former first-round pick and solid prospect for the Tigers, Burrows is now a reclamation project for the Twins. He was blown up in his Major League debut, and he was awful at Triple-A Toledo. Still just 24, Burrows is the exact type of prospect a team like the Twins should be taking a flier on. Strikeouts haven’t ever followed him in large quantities, but a new development infrastructure could bear fruit. He’ll need to accumulate a more substantial sample size at Triple-A St. Paul before getting a call but putting him out there with a tweaked repertoire may make for an interesting acquisition. Yennier Cano Signed by Minnesota back in 2019, Cano is now 27 and not a prospect. He was slow-played but has finally made his way to Triple-A St. Paul. The stuff has been legit at each professional level, and he’s currently rocking a 2.37 ERA across 30 1/3 innings between Double and Triple-A this season. With a 12.5 K/9 and just a 3.3 BB/9, that’s shaping up like an arm both Wes Johnson and Rocco Baldelli could utilize in relief. There’s not much reason to continue holding him back at this point, and Cano could resemble a late-blooming pen arm. Ian Hamilton Having been through injury, a car accident, and many hurdles halting his big league career, Hamilton is one of the few waiver claims from this winter that hasn’t shown up in Minnesota. He owns a 1.08 ERA across 25 innings for the Saints, but it comes with a gaudy 18 walks. The strikeouts are there (35), and he’s allowed just three homers which have helped limit the damage. With a high-velocity fastball, this is an arm the Twins need to take a look at before allowing him a new landing spot in 2022. Hector Lujan A 35th round pick back in 2016, Lujan has earned every single opportunity he’s been provided in pro ball. Now at Double-A Wichita, the 26-year-old owns a 2.49 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. His strikeout numbers are modest by today’s standards, but he’s been tremendous at limiting free passes (1.8 career BB/9). He pitched at Double-A back in 2019 and should already be getting run for the Saints. Maybe there isn’t a ton of upside here, but there’s also a seemingly safe floor that could factor in as a nice middle relief piece. Ryan Mason Picked in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, Mason has consistently climbed the ladder for the Twins. He’s at Double-A now and has compiled a 2.67 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. It’s been time for a promotion to Triple-A, and the 4.2 BB/9 in 2021 is uncharacteristic for a guy with a 1.9 BB/9 career mark. He gets his strikeouts, and Mason has never had an ERA north of 2.77 as a reliever. He’ll be 27 in 2022 and is already well above the average age of his current level. You’re probably not getting a high leverage guy here, but there’s no reason Mason can’t be seen as a middle innings gap guy. Jovani Moran Drafted out of school in Puerto Rico back in 2015, Moran is now 24 and playing at Double-A Wichita. It’s his second turn through the level, and he’s been dominant with a 1.91 ERA across 37 2/3 innings. He’s striking out over 15 batters per nine, and the career 4.1 BB/9 is workable in relief. Moran should get a bump to Triple-A in short order, and with some final tweaks, it could be a nice success story through a longer progression for the Twins. Chris Vallimont Minnesota acquired Vallimont alongside Sergio Romo back in 2019. He was a former 5th round draft pick and is now 24 at Double-A. The strikeout stuff has always been good, and while the walks are higher than you’d like for a starter, he’s done well to avoid damage. Vallimont owns a 3.96 ERA for Wichita this year, and despite throwing less than 40 innings, a promotion to Triple-A could make sense soon. Maybe he debuts in the bullpen for Minnesota, but I think this is an arm you’d like to see get some big-league run. 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
  4. Rocco Baldelli came into this season expecting to compete for a third straight division title. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, that reality isn’t going to play out. The second half now should be about evaluation for Minnesota. As 40-man and 26-man roster spots open up, it will be imperative for the Twins to look at fresh faces and see what they have. On the pitching side, here are some names to consider: Before individual deep dives, I think the trio of Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic, and Cole Sands all fit here. Winder needs to debut, having already made his way to Triple-A. I can understand not starting the clock on Balazovic and Sands missed time due to injury. Of the names in this article, though, these are all the premier prospect types. There's also the recent call ups and guys with little time that need extended run. Throw Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax, and now Charlie Barnes into this category. Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe (when healthy) would join them as well. Beau Burrows A former first-round pick and solid prospect for the Tigers, Burrows is now a reclamation project for the Twins. He was blown up in his Major League debut, and he was awful at Triple-A Toledo. Still just 24, Burrows is the exact type of prospect a team like the Twins should be taking a flier on. Strikeouts haven’t ever followed him in large quantities, but a new development infrastructure could bear fruit. He’ll need to accumulate a more substantial sample size at Triple-A St. Paul before getting a call but putting him out there with a tweaked repertoire may make for an interesting acquisition. Yennier Cano Signed by Minnesota back in 2019, Cano is now 27 and not a prospect. He was slow-played but has finally made his way to Triple-A St. Paul. The stuff has been legit at each professional level, and he’s currently rocking a 2.37 ERA across 30 1/3 innings between Double and Triple-A this season. With a 12.5 K/9 and just a 3.3 BB/9, that’s shaping up like an arm both Wes Johnson and Rocco Baldelli could utilize in relief. There’s not much reason to continue holding him back at this point, and Cano could resemble a late-blooming pen arm. Ian Hamilton Having been through injury, a car accident, and many hurdles halting his big league career, Hamilton is one of the few waiver claims from this winter that hasn’t shown up in Minnesota. He owns a 1.08 ERA across 25 innings for the Saints, but it comes with a gaudy 18 walks. The strikeouts are there (35), and he’s allowed just three homers which have helped limit the damage. With a high-velocity fastball, this is an arm the Twins need to take a look at before allowing him a new landing spot in 2022. Hector Lujan A 35th round pick back in 2016, Lujan has earned every single opportunity he’s been provided in pro ball. Now at Double-A Wichita, the 26-year-old owns a 2.49 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. His strikeout numbers are modest by today’s standards, but he’s been tremendous at limiting free passes (1.8 career BB/9). He pitched at Double-A back in 2019 and should already be getting run for the Saints. Maybe there isn’t a ton of upside here, but there’s also a seemingly safe floor that could factor in as a nice middle relief piece. Ryan Mason Picked in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, Mason has consistently climbed the ladder for the Twins. He’s at Double-A now and has compiled a 2.67 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. It’s been time for a promotion to Triple-A, and the 4.2 BB/9 in 2021 is uncharacteristic for a guy with a 1.9 BB/9 career mark. He gets his strikeouts, and Mason has never had an ERA north of 2.77 as a reliever. He’ll be 27 in 2022 and is already well above the average age of his current level. You’re probably not getting a high leverage guy here, but there’s no reason Mason can’t be seen as a middle innings gap guy. Jovani Moran Drafted out of school in Puerto Rico back in 2015, Moran is now 24 and playing at Double-A Wichita. It’s his second turn through the level, and he’s been dominant with a 1.91 ERA across 37 2/3 innings. He’s striking out over 15 batters per nine, and the career 4.1 BB/9 is workable in relief. Moran should get a bump to Triple-A in short order, and with some final tweaks, it could be a nice success story through a longer progression for the Twins. Chris Vallimont Minnesota acquired Vallimont alongside Sergio Romo back in 2019. He was a former 5th round draft pick and is now 24 at Double-A. The strikeout stuff has always been good, and while the walks are higher than you’d like for a starter, he’s done well to avoid damage. Vallimont owns a 3.96 ERA for Wichita this year, and despite throwing less than 40 innings, a promotion to Triple-A could make sense soon. Maybe he debuts in the bullpen for Minnesota, but I think this is an arm you’d like to see get some big-league run. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. I wrote a few days ago on starting pitchers that we are likely to see in the dog days of summer. This of course assumes that the Twins are going to continue down the horrid path that they've gotten off to in the first 40 games of the season, and expiring deals like Michael Pineda and J.A. Happ are moved. The bullpen also contains two names who were brought in on one year deals, one throwing very well, and the other getting off to a horrid start. If someone told you that one would be good and one would be bad, you may not be shocked, but the fact that Robles has outperformed Colome is surprising. If the Twins do decide that they are going to sell, those two will certainly be moved. Some other names like Tyler Duffey or Taylor Rogers could also find themselves being traded, but as I'm writing this I don't foresee it happening. Either way, with injuries, taxing bullpen arms, or relievers not performing, there will be plenty of chances for the Twins brass to bring up some young, intriguing arms. RHP Yennier Cano Cano was signed as an older international free agent in 2018 for 750,000 dollars, just before the international period was about to end. The Twins essentially traded OF Zack Granite to the Rangers for Cano, as 750,000 in international money is what the Twins received in compensation. Cano was ranked as the #2 player in the international class, behind OF Victor Victor Mesa. Cano features a unique three-quarters delivery in which he features a fastball sitting in the mid-90's, topping out at 97 MPH. Cano also features a heavy sinker which induces a lot of ground balls, and works a slider and splitter for strikeouts. Cano is currently in AA Wichita, and has gotten off to a torrid start. At the time of this writing, he's worked 6.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, no walks, and no home runs. Cano is likely going to be called up to Saint Paul in the near future, and if things go well, there is no doubt that the 27 year old will be up with the Twins. Due to his age, the ceiling is limited, but Cano could prove to be a useful middle reliever on a team the could badly use one. RHP Dakota Chalmers Chalmers was acquired as a lottery ticket arm in the 2018 trade that sent Fernando Rodney to the Oakland A's, after being a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft, being signed way over slot at 1.2M. Chalmers battled injury issues early in his career, and received the dreaded Tommy John Surgery in 2018. Due to Chalmers missing much of the 2018 season, the Twins sent Chalmers to the Arizona Fall League in 2019, where things didn't go according to plan. Chalmers made 6 starts, totaling 17.2 IPs, allowing 17 hits and 12 walks. However, Chalmers, who has always had 80 grade stuff, struck out 25 batters. Despite the rough outing in 2019, the Twins added Chalmers to the 40 man roster. Chalmers has continued to work as a starter in 2021 at AA Wichita, but the results still haven't turned around. Chalmers has walked 4 in 8.2 innings, and given up 8 hits, including 4 home runs. Due to Chalmers having 20 or 25 grade control, his chances at starting seem slim to none. Getting Chalmers in the bullpen as an effectively wild pitcher is the best hope for both him and the Twins brass. RHP Tom Hackimer Hackimer is an under the radar pitcher within the Twins organization, not appearing on any top prospect list on any site. However, Hackimer has been a very effective reliever in the minors, largely due to his unique delivery. The Twins righty throws with a submarine type wind-up, which he compares to former Astros reliever Joe Smith. Hackimer doesn't have blow you away type stuff, with a fastball that sits around 90 MPH, topping out at 94 MPH, but due to the spin rate and unique arm angle, it plays faster than it is. He also features a big, sweeping slider that can get right handed hitters out. He is also working on developing a changeup in order to get left handed hitters out more effectively, but it's a work in progress. If Hackimer is ever going to crack the big leagues, at least with the Twins, this is going to be the year he does so. He is not on the 40 man roster as of now, but with the expected trades, the Twins can make a move to get him a look if they feel like he can succeed. Hackimer is currently at AAA Saint Paul, putting up a scoreless 7.1 innings pitched, and 11 strikeouts. During his minor league career, he's thrown 176.1 innings of 2.65 ERA, while striking out 204 batters.
  6. Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A) Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions. He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances. Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A) Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out. Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate. Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A) Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen. Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder. What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. With no minor league action last year, it was certainly tough to evaluate prospects this past winter. Games are underway and a few prospects have already started to standout. Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A) Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions. He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances. Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A) Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out. Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate. Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A) Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen. Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder. What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. 5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson has focused on slider development since joining the organization and many players have seen positive growth. Here are the best sliders among the Twins top prospects.5. Blayne Enlow Current/Future Slider: 50/50 The last time Enlow appeared in a professional game, he was pitching well at High-A as a 20-year-old. Now he is 22-years old, and he has made some adjustments. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but he has a ton of spin on it, which can make it tough for hitters to make solid contact. When he locates his slider, it can be his best pitch. Some refer to his slider as a cutter because he gets similar action on the pitch. He should be pitching in the upper levels of the minors this year as he continues to improve his repertoire. 4. Yennier Cano, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Cano might be the least recognizable name on this list as the team signed him out of Cuba back in 2018. His fastball can reach the high-90s but his arm slot allows him to throw a slider, sinker, and splitter. He has experience on the Cuban National Team and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s already 26-years old and he has never pitched higher than High-A. That being said, his fastball and slider combination might be enough for him to earn a middle relief job at the big-league level. 3. Edwar Colina, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Colina is going to be used in the bullpen and he will likely be relying on two pitches, an overpowering fastball and a slider. His slider is hard for batters to make strong contact because of how hard he throws it. He commands his slider better than his fastball and he can rely on the pitch in almost any count. Colina’s stocky build and starter experience might give way to him becoming a multi-inning reliever in the years to come. Either way, he is a very intriguing relief prospect. 2. Jordan Balazovic, RHP Current/Future Slider: 50/55 Like the top name on this list, Balazovic was a late addition to the team’s alternate site and reports were good. Out of the team’s top two pitching prospects, Balazovic is the only one that throws a slider, and it is his second-best pitch overall. This is the pitch he uses to miss bats and his mechanics allow it to play up against right-handed hitters. As he continues to develop, his slider should also be a weapon against lefties, especially with the presence of his ever-improving changeup. 1. Matt Canterino, RHP Current/Future Slider: 55/60 During last season, Canterino was a late addition to the team’s alternate site, but he is clearly one of the team’s top pitching prospects. His slider and his changeup both project to be plus pitches and his fastball can hit the mid-90s. His four-pitch mix gives him a chance to be a big-league starter and his slider projects to be the best pitch. Since being drafted, he has slowly moved up Twins prospect lists and he can end the 2021 season in the team’s top-5 prospects. How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES -Fastball Prospects -Speed Tool Prospects -Hit Tool Prospects -Power Tool Prospects MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  10. If you missed the first round rounds, you can view them here. A brief primer: We're taking 16 players with "prospect" or "rookie" status. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under the picks were made by the person making the selection.) Round 9 Seth Stohs - DaShawn Keirsey, OF 2019 was a tough season for Keirsey. He struggled and he just wasn’t able to stay on the diamond for an extended period of time. But, he is as athletic as anyone in the organization, and he can play a very good defensive centerfield. Steve Lein - Moises Gomez, RP Happy to land the guy I voted for as Twins Daily's 2019 Relief Pitcher of the year. He led Twins minor leaguers in K/9 rate at 13.3 and held hitters to an average under .150. He finished his season by being sent to the Arizona Fall League. Ted Schwerzler - Chris Williams, C The bat wasn’t what it was in 2018 with Elizabethton, but Chris Williams put on a show during his pro debut year. He swatted 15 dingers right out of the gate, and even in a down 2019, reached double digits. Lots to like here, and while he may not be the ideal defender behind the plate, I’m banking on the offense. Cody Christie - Jacob Pearson, OF I’ve been a big fan of Pearson since the Twins acquired him from the Angels. The organization has been aggressive with him and he put up some of his best offensive numbers after getting to the FSL last season. If the Twins continue to be aggressive with him, I think there will be positive results. Jeremy Nygaard - Yennier Cano, RP The Twins signing MLB.com’s #2 international free agent didn’t make big news as it came at the close of the 2019 IFA period and amidst the Twins division pennant run. Cano struggled with control during his American debut, but has the chance to move very quickly (and be a steal at this point in the draft.) I should also note Thievin’ Ted took the other two guys I targeted for this pick. Matt Braun - Yeltsin Encarnacion, SS I needed a shortstop like a plant needs water. Encarnacion fills the role with a passable bat for the position and the opportunity to move as Royce Lewis moves through the minor league system. Plus, his name is “Yeltsin”, what isn’t to love? Round 10 Matt Braun - Gabe Snyder, 1B Snyder provides the standard 1st base pop that was needed in my lineup. He isn’t as flashy of an option as someone like Zander Wiel but a 131 wRC+ at Cedar Rapids is great no matter how you slice it. Jeremy Nygaard - Anthony Prato, 2B Had to reverse course after plans to add power in Julien or Wiliams was foiled. Prato, who lacks power, makes up for it with speed and on-base skills. Between the top three of Celestino-Prato-Wade, there will be plenty of guys on base (who can also pose a threat to steal) for Wiel. Now just need to find more power bats... Cody Christie - Charles Mack, 2B The Twins took Mack out of high school back in 2018 and he played all last season with the E-Twins. He’s been young for both levels he has played at so far and he has been able to hold his own. Defensively, he has split time between third and second base. I’ll pencil him at second since I already have Steer at third. Ted Schwerzler - Max Smith, OF Smith was a late round pick in 2019, and while he was old for the Appy League, he showed up nicely. Power isn’t something I’d expect from him, but he did put seven balls over the fence. Add in that he can play all three outfield positions and this is where I’ll build that group from. Steve Lein - Caleb Hamilton, C Lot of reliever arms still left I like here, but pitchers need someone to throw to, right? Hamilton has played all over the diamond, but I'll keep him at catcher to utilize his leadership. Hamilton also gets on base and flashes power. Seth Stohs - Jovani Moran, LHRP He struggled a bit in 2019, primarily with control, but Moran has a track record of dominance. In 34 innings in 2019, he struck out 50 batters. Then he struck out 14 batters in nine innings in the AFL. From a roster construction standpoint, it will be good to have a lefty in the bullpen too. Round 11 Seth Stohs - Wander Valdez, 3B In the GCL last summer, Valdez hit .323 with six doubles and four home runs. This spring training in Ft. Myers, Valdez was one of the most impressive young prospects that I saw. He’s big, strong and athletic and looks to have a ton of power potential. Steve Lein - Tom Hackimer, RP The sidewinding righty has been phenomenal in the Twins system thus far with a 2.77 ERA and K/9 rate north of 10 as a pro. Surgery held him back for most of the 2018 season, slowing his rise, but rebounded in 2019 and could be an option for the Twins bullpen in the near future. Ted Schwerzler - Ernie De La Trinidad OF Acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade with the Diamondbacks, De La Trinidad brings it across the board. None of the tools are flashy, but all have a chance to be average or better. Another strong outfield type, he’ll fit nicely out there on my team. Cody Christie - Victor Heredia, 1B Heredia showed some power during his time in the DSL but that power didn’t follow him last year as he made his debut with the GCL Twins. With another year of experience under his belt, I think the power will return and he completes the right side of my infield. Jeremy Nygaard - Zach Neff, LHRP Neff was a late-round pick in 2018, but has impressed enough to get a post-2019 invite to the AFL. He’s not great against right-handed batters, but dominates lefties and has posted over 9.00 K/9s both seasons as a pro. Matt Braun - Hector Lujan, RHRP Lujan had an odd year in 2019 as he struck out less hitters than usual at Fort Myers but then walked more hitters than usual at Pensacola. He’s been remarkably consistent so far in his career and his miniscule homerun rate made him an attractive candidate for my first reliever spot. Round 12 Matt Braun - Ryan Shreve, RHRP Everyone has “their guy” in the system and Shreve is certainly mine. He struck out 29.9% of batters in rookie ball for his first taste of professional baseball and that will work at any level. Once his BABIP is under control, he should move quickly through the system. Jeremy Nygaard - Drew Maggi, 3B Adding a 31-year-old to provide veteran leadership to an infield that includes two guys making their full-season debut. Good for getting on base, I also expect Maggi to bring double digits home runs and stolen bases to the lineup. Cody Christie - Anthony Escobar, RHRP I need to fill up a bullpen with the rest of my picks and Escobar is a good starting point. The 19-year old made his GCL debut last season and was asked to finish games for the first time in his career. His strikeout numbers aren’t there yet, but he doesn’t walk a ton and he has the potential to add to his small frame. Ted Schwerzler - Jimmy Kerrigan, OF Kerrigan was undrafted and has spent time in Indy Ball, but he’s also flashed at different stops in the Twins system. There’s both power and speed potential here, and rounding out my outfield this is a safe pick. Steve Lein - Jordan Gore, SS Ted sniped me above with Kerrigan, but I've also been planning to start shuffling some prior picks around the diamond to accomodate what is left. I like Gore's defense at SS a bit more than Gordon's, so I'll shift Nick to 2B. There's not been much bat here yet, but is a switch hitter with some speed and arguably the best hair in the organization. Side Note - Gore has been moved to the mound and is 100% a pitcher in 2020, so Steve has a true dual threat on his hands! Seth Stohs - Michael Helman, 2B Helman had a fantastic college career, and the Twins made him their 11th round pick in 2018. After signing, he quickly moved up to Cedar Rapids. He was pushed very aggressively to Ft. Myers to start 2019 and really struggled with the bat until a season-ended wrist injury. But he could hit, and he is a terrific middle-infield glove. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. We kick off the back-half of the draft with rounds nine through 12. By this point, each drafter is digging fairly deep into their minor league knowledge for their picks. Drafting at this point is not unlike searching for supplies during an apocalypse as you're really hoping that no one is looking where you're looking. Each snipe is even more brutal as there are generally very few players who can now replace the guy you were looking at. Let us know who you think is shaping up to have the best roster after 12 full rounds.If you missed the first round rounds, you can view them here. A brief primer: We're taking 16 players with "prospect" or "rookie" status. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under the picks were made by the person making the selection.) Round 9 Seth Stohs - DaShawn Keirsey, OF 2019 was a tough season for Keirsey. He struggled and he just wasn’t able to stay on the diamond for an extended period of time. But, he is as athletic as anyone in the organization, and he can play a very good defensive centerfield. Steve Lein - Moises Gomez, RP Happy to land the guy I voted for as Twins Daily's 2019 Relief Pitcher of the year. He led Twins minor leaguers in K/9 rate at 13.3 and held hitters to an average under .150. He finished his season by being sent to the Arizona Fall League. Ted Schwerzler - Chris Williams, C The bat wasn’t what it was in 2018 with Elizabethton, but Chris Williams put on a show during his pro debut year. He swatted 15 dingers right out of the gate, and even in a down 2019, reached double digits. Lots to like here, and while he may not be the ideal defender behind the plate, I’m banking on the offense. Cody Christie - Jacob Pearson, OF I’ve been a big fan of Pearson since the Twins acquired him from the Angels. The organization has been aggressive with him and he put up some of his best offensive numbers after getting to the FSL last season. If the Twins continue to be aggressive with him, I think there will be positive results. Jeremy Nygaard - Yennier Cano, RP The Twins signing MLB.com’s #2 international free agent didn’t make big news as it came at the close of the 2019 IFA period and amidst the Twins division pennant run. Cano struggled with control during his American debut, but has the chance to move very quickly (and be a steal at this point in the draft.) I should also note Thievin’ Ted took the other two guys I targeted for this pick. Matt Braun - Yeltsin Encarnacion, SS I needed a shortstop like a plant needs water. Encarnacion fills the role with a passable bat for the position and the opportunity to move as Royce Lewis moves through the minor league system. Plus, his name is “Yeltsin”, what isn’t to love? Round 10 Matt Braun - Gabe Snyder, 1B Snyder provides the standard 1st base pop that was needed in my lineup. He isn’t as flashy of an option as someone like Zander Wiel but a 131 wRC+ at Cedar Rapids is great no matter how you slice it. Jeremy Nygaard - Anthony Prato, 2B Had to reverse course after plans to add power in Julien or Wiliams was foiled. Prato, who lacks power, makes up for it with speed and on-base skills. Between the top three of Celestino-Prato-Wade, there will be plenty of guys on base (who can also pose a threat to steal) for Wiel. Now just need to find more power bats... Cody Christie - Charles Mack, 2B The Twins took Mack out of high school back in 2018 and he played all last season with the E-Twins. He’s been young for both levels he has played at so far and he has been able to hold his own. Defensively, he has split time between third and second base. I’ll pencil him at second since I already have Steer at third. Ted Schwerzler - Max Smith, OF Smith was a late round pick in 2019, and while he was old for the Appy League, he showed up nicely. Power isn’t something I’d expect from him, but he did put seven balls over the fence. Add in that he can play all three outfield positions and this is where I’ll build that group from. Steve Lein - Caleb Hamilton, C Lot of reliever arms still left I like here, but pitchers need someone to throw to, right? Hamilton has played all over the diamond, but I'll keep him at catcher to utilize his leadership. Hamilton also gets on base and flashes power. Seth Stohs - Jovani Moran, LHRP He struggled a bit in 2019, primarily with control, but Moran has a track record of dominance. In 34 innings in 2019, he struck out 50 batters. Then he struck out 14 batters in nine innings in the AFL. From a roster construction standpoint, it will be good to have a lefty in the bullpen too. Round 11 Seth Stohs - Wander Valdez, 3B In the GCL last summer, Valdez hit .323 with six doubles and four home runs. This spring training in Ft. Myers, Valdez was one of the most impressive young prospects that I saw. He’s big, strong and athletic and looks to have a ton of power potential. Steve Lein - Tom Hackimer, RP The sidewinding righty has been phenomenal in the Twins system thus far with a 2.77 ERA and K/9 rate north of 10 as a pro. Surgery held him back for most of the 2018 season, slowing his rise, but rebounded in 2019 and could be an option for the Twins bullpen in the near future. Ted Schwerzler - Ernie De La Trinidad OF Acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade with the Diamondbacks, De La Trinidad brings it across the board. None of the tools are flashy, but all have a chance to be average or better. Another strong outfield type, he’ll fit nicely out there on my team. Cody Christie - Victor Heredia, 1B Heredia showed some power during his time in the DSL but that power didn’t follow him last year as he made his debut with the GCL Twins. With another year of experience under his belt, I think the power will return and he completes the right side of my infield. Jeremy Nygaard - Zach Neff, LHRP Neff was a late-round pick in 2018, but has impressed enough to get a post-2019 invite to the AFL. He’s not great against right-handed batters, but dominates lefties and has posted over 9.00 K/9s both seasons as a pro. Matt Braun - Hector Lujan, RHRP Lujan had an odd year in 2019 as he struck out less hitters than usual at Fort Myers but then walked more hitters than usual at Pensacola. He’s been remarkably consistent so far in his career and his miniscule homerun rate made him an attractive candidate for my first reliever spot. Round 12 Matt Braun - Ryan Shreve, RHRP Everyone has “their guy” in the system and Shreve is certainly mine. He struck out 29.9% of batters in rookie ball for his first taste of professional baseball and that will work at any level. Once his BABIP is under control, he should move quickly through the system. Jeremy Nygaard - Drew Maggi, 3B Adding a 31-year-old to provide veteran leadership to an infield that includes two guys making their full-season debut. Good for getting on base, I also expect Maggi to bring double digits home runs and stolen bases to the lineup. Cody Christie - Anthony Escobar, RHRP I need to fill up a bullpen with the rest of my picks and Escobar is a good starting point. The 19-year old made his GCL debut last season and was asked to finish games for the first time in his career. His strikeout numbers aren’t there yet, but he doesn’t walk a ton and he has the potential to add to his small frame. Ted Schwerzler - Jimmy Kerrigan, OF Kerrigan was undrafted and has spent time in Indy Ball, but he’s also flashed at different stops in the Twins system. There’s both power and speed potential here, and rounding out my outfield this is a safe pick. Steve Lein - Jordan Gore, SS Ted sniped me above with Kerrigan, but I've also been planning to start shuffling some prior picks around the diamond to accomodate what is left. I like Gore's defense at SS a bit more than Gordon's, so I'll shift Nick to 2B. There's not been much bat here yet, but is a switch hitter with some speed and arguably the best hair in the organization. Side Note - Gore has been moved to the mound and is 100% a pitcher in 2020, so Steve has a true dual threat on his hands! Seth Stohs - Michael Helman, 2B Helman had a fantastic college career, and the Twins made him their 11th round pick in 2018. After signing, he quickly moved up to Cedar Rapids. He was pushed very aggressively to Ft. Myers to start 2019 and really struggled with the bat until a season-ended wrist injury. But he could hit, and he is a terrific middle-infield glove. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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