Prospect Report: Twins 2023 Imminent Big Leaguers
Below is an evaluation of the prospects in the Minnesota Twins farm system who readers should consider “imminent big leaguers,” players who might reasonably be expected to play in the majors at some point this year. This includes all prospects on the 40-man roster as well as those who have already established themselves in the upper levels of the minors but aren’t yet rostered. I tend to be more inclusive with pitchers and players at premium positions since their timelines are usually the ones accelerated by injuries and scarcity. Any Top 100 prospects, regardless of their ETA, are also included on this list. Reports, tool grades, and scouting information for all of the prospects below can also be found on The Board.
This is not a top-to-bottom evaluation of the Twins farm system. I like to include what’s happening in minor league and extended spring training in my reports as much as possible, since scouting high concentrations of players in Arizona and Florida allows me to incorporate real-time, first-person information into the org lists. However, this approach has led to some situations where outdated analysis (or no analysis at all) was all that existed for players who had already debuted in the majors. Skimming the imminent big leaguers off the top of a farm system will allow this time-sensitive information to make its way onto the site more quickly, better preparing readers for the upcoming season, helping fantasy players as they draft, and building site literature on relevant prospects to facilitate transaction analysis in the event that trades or injuries foist these players into major league roles. There will still be a Twins prospect list that includes Emmanuel Rodriguez, Marco Raya and all of the other prospects in the system who appear to be at least another season away. As such, today’s list includes no ordinal rankings. Readers are instead encouraged to focus on the players’ Future Value (FV) grades.
Let’s revisit what FV means before I offer some specific thoughts on this org. Future Value (FV) is a subjective valuation metric derived from the traditional 20-80 scouting scale (where 50 is average and each integer of 10 away from 50 represents one standard deviation) that uses WAR production to set the scale. For instance, an average regular (meaning the 15th-best guy at a given position, give or take) generally produces about 2 WAR annually, so a 50 FV prospect projects as an everyday player who will generate about that much annual WAR during his pre-free agency big league seasons.
Why not just use projected WAR as the valuation metric, then? For one, it creates a false sense of precision. This isn’t a model. While a lot of data goes into my decision-making process, a lot of subjectivity does too, in the form of my own visual evaluations, as well as other information related to the players’ careers and baseball backgrounds. A player can have a strong evaluation (emphasis on the “e”) but might be a great distance from the big leagues, or could be injury prone, or a superlative athlete, and context like that might cause one to augment the player’s valuation (no “e”). Using something more subjective like Future Value allows me to dial up and down how I’m interpreting that context.
There are also many valuable part-time players who can only generate so much WAR due to their lack of playing time. As such, FV grades below 50 tend to describe a role more than they do a particular WAR output; you can glean the projected roles from the players’ reports. In short, anyone who is a 40+ FV player or above projects as an integral big league role player or better.
Now some Twins thoughts. The Twins have recently begun to alter how they scout, track, and pursue players on the international market. You can kind of see why when you glance at the group of near-ready prospects and realize there isn’t a homegrown international player among them. There are good international prospects lower in the system, but the Wander Javiers and Misael Urbinas of the world haven’t worked out, and so things are changing.
Injuries and an unreliable bullpen were largely to blame for the Twins’ frustrating down-the-stretch swoon in 2022. Here they have a deep contingent of optionable pitching on the 40-man roster, lurking at St. Paul should one of the big league starters go down. In addition to the many starters in this cross section of the system, Bailey Ober is also currently stashed down at Triple-A. Unfortunately, many key components of the team are already injured, as the Twins currently have 10 players on the IL. Josh Winder (not a “prospect” anymore, but a talented young hurler currently out with a shoulder strain) and Chris Paddack (his TJ was last May, so we’re creeping up on that 12 month post-op mark that usually indicates that rehab outings loom) should both pitch in at some point during the 2023 season but are currently shelved. This mini list is also a glorified injury update for Lewis and Martin, who each have defensive question marks they can only answer by playing.
|Simeon Woods Richardson||22.5||MLB||SP||2023||45|
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.
Pitching is hard to predict, isn’t it? Much more so than hitting. Jordan Balazovic and Simeon Woods-Richardson and Jhoan Duran and Matt Canterino were Top 100 prospects not too long ago. Duran is now a reliever (although he was good last year), and Balazovic and Woods-Richardson and Canterino look rather iffy. But now Louie Varland looks like a strike-throwing machine who will pitch in the big leagues and David Festa seems to have come out of nowhere.