Top 39 Prospects: Minnesota Twins by Eric Longenhagen January 15, 2021 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Minnesota Twins. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been altered begin by telling you so. For the others, the blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside the org than within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there. Lastly, in effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both in lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value. All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here. Editor’s Note: Danny De Andrade was added to this list after he agreed to a deal with the Twins on January 15. Top Prospects Team Lists 2021 2020 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Twins Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Alex Kirilloff 23.2 AA RF 2021 60 2 Royce Lewis 21.6 AA SS 2022 60 3 Trevor Larnach 23.9 AA RF 2021 55 4 Ryan Jeffers 23.9 MLB C 2021 50 5 Jordan Balazovic 22.3 A+ SP 2021 50 6 Jhoan Duran 23.0 AA SP 2021 50 7 Matt Canterino 23.1 A MIRP 2022 50 8 Aaron Sabato 21.6 R 1B 2024 45 9 Misael Urbina 18.7 R CF 2023 45 10 Gilberto Celestino 21.9 AA CF 2021 45 11 Keoni Cavaco 19.6 R 3B 2024 45 12 Brent Rooker 26.2 MLB 1B 2021 40+ 13 Josh Winder 24.3 A SP 2022 40+ 14 Cole Sands 23.5 AA SP 2021 40+ 15 Matt Wallner 23.1 A RF 2022 40+ 16 Alerick Soularie 21.5 R 2B 2024 40 17 Blayne Enlow 21.8 A+ MIRP 2022 40 18 Chris Vallimont 23.8 A+ SP 2023 40 19 Emmanuel Rodriguez 17.9 R CF 2025 40 20 Jose Miranda 22.5 AA 2B 2021 40 21 Edwar Colina 23.7 MLB SIRP 2021 40 22 Bailey Ober 25.5 AA MIRP 2021 40 23 Marco Raya 18.4 R SP 2025 40 24 Ben Rortvedt 23.3 AA C 2021 40 25 Spencer Steer 23.1 A 2B 2022 40 26 Jovani Moran 23.7 AA SIRP 2021 40 27 Danny De Andrade 16.8 R SS 2025 40 28 Will Holland 22.7 R 2B 2023 40 29 Travis Blankenhorn 24.5 MLB 2B 2021 40 30 Edouard Julien 21.7 R LF 2023 40 31 Seth Gray 22.6 A 3B 2023 35+ 32 Luis Rijo 22.4 A+ SP 2022 35+ 33 Yunior Severino 21.3 A 2B 2023 35+ 34 Yennier Cano 26.9 A+ SIRP 2021 35+ 35 Willie Joe Garry Jr. 20.6 R CF 2023 35+ 36 Wander Javier 22.0 A SS 2022 35+ 37 Nick Gordon 25.2 AAA SS 2021 35+ 38 Jair Camargo 21.5 A C 2021 35+ 39 Charles Mack 21.2 R C 2023 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 60 FV Prospects 1. Alex Kirilloff, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Plum HS (PA) (MIN) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/60 60/60 50/60 30/30 40/40 60 I remember the remarkable consistency with which Kirilloff struck balls deep into the outfield during the 2016 PG All American Game Home Run Derby. His swing looked much different than all the other kids’. At the time I wasn’t sure whether that was good, or if I thought it would work in actual pro games. I’ve seen other high schoolers hit balls much harder and farther than he did at that age, but I still haven’t seen anyone scoop the ball in the air with that kind of consistency in a derby or BP setting. And now Kirilloff — despite missing 2017 due to Tommy John, and after dealing with recurring right wrist issues that tanked his offensive output in 2019 then being unable to rebound statistically in 2020 because of the pandemic — was asked to make his big league debut during the playoffs and is likely to be handed an everyday role in 2021. The departure of both Eddie Rosario and Nelson Cruz means the Twins need two more big league lineup cornerstones, and Kirilloff is the by far most likely internal candidate to be one right away. Healthy Kirilloff is going to hit and hit for power. Part of why I was skeptical of his swing in high school is because he strides open, his front foot drifting way down the first base line rather than back toward the pitcher. This allows him to turn on balls most hitters are jammed by, but he still has the plate coverage and swing path to lift contact the other way when pitchers work away from him. Ironically, Eddie Rosario’s swing worked in a similar fashion, and the two are also similarly free-swingers. I was skeptical of Rosario’s at the time (incorrectly), and he doesn’t have the kind of power Kirilloff does. A thickening build has slowed Kirilloff down, and he’s now spent some time at first base after beginning his career in CF/RF. I think we’ll see him play a combination of first base, right field and DH depending on the starter the Twins are matched up against on a given day. Corner bats who like to swing as much as Kirilloff does can be pretty risky, but I have a high degree of confidence in this one because he tracks pitches well and sprays hard contact all over the place. I think he’s going to be a 3-ish annual WAR, middle-of-the-order anchor. (Alternate site, MLB) 2. Royce Lewis, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from JSerra HS (CA) (MIN) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/70 40/60 60/50 40/45 50 One of the top-billed high schoolers during a superlative year for talent in Southern California, Lewis began garnering Derek Jeter comparisons while he was still an amateur. To a degree those remain reasonable, though they’re no longer applicable across nearly as much of Lewis’ skillset as they once were. Initially, those comps came from his penchant for on-field leadership, his swing’s finish (though he’s way more pull-oriented than Jeter was), his frame, and, less positively, his future as a defensive shortstop. The Twins took him first overall in 2017 and cut a below slot deal, as Lewis was seen as one of five options in a tightly-packed top tier of talent. Throughout his first 18 months as a pro, Lewis had statistical success while being promoted aggressively before a developmental hiccup in 2019. His overall production has slowly come down at each subsequent level, and during a 2019 season split 3-to-1 at Hi- and Double-A, he had a .290 OBP. Then came a robust .353/.411/.565 Arizona Fall League line (he went to pick up reps after an oblique strain during the year) and League MVP award. But in Arizona Lewis still clearly had issues. His swing is cacophonous — the big leg kick, the messy, excessive movement in his hands — and it negatively impacts Lewis’ timing. He needs to start several elements of the swing early just to catch fastballs, and he’s often late anyway. This also causes him to lunge at breaking balls, which Lewis doesn’t seem to recognize very well. All of this is bizarre in context, as an advanced hit tool was a huge driver of his amateur profile, but Lewis now looks like a guess hitter. His mannerisms — Nomar-level batting glove tinkering; deep, heavy, deliberate breaths between pitches; constant uniform adjustment — are manic, and they seem to pull focus away from the task at hand rather than ground him in a ritualistic way, and the game often seems too fast for him. His swing looked the same during 2020 spring training but, based on a little bit of video sent to me by an executive from another team, appears to have been tweaked at the alt site. He’s starting with an open stance now, and the angle of his bat as he sets up is also different (more north/south and away from his shoulder), but he still has that excessive leg kick and extraneous noise in the way his hands load. I don’t think the swing works as currently constituted — it’s a mechanical departure from when Lewis was successful in high school — but I think it’ll get dialed in eventually because of his athleticism and work habits. Plus, we now have evidence that he’s open and able to make adjustments. As the org stated he would in mid-March, Lewis focused on playing shortstop at the alt site. Their public desire to move Jorge Polanco around as a super utility type perhaps opens the door for him to get big league reps at short next year unless the Twins sign a stopgap option. I still think Lewis’ eventual role will be that of a multi-positional rover who plays center field and a couple different infield spots. We won’t know anything about whether his new swing has had an impact on his hitting until we have a sufficient 2021 performance sample, but as I said last year, I’m betting big on Lewis’ makeup and physical talent. His BPs were the best in the entire Fall League. He is an exceptional teammate, leader, and worker, who did more early infield work than anyone else I saw in the AFL, willing himself to become a viable left side defender even though he lacks the traditional grace and fluidity for those positions. Even if some of the pitch recognition stuff proves to be a long-term issue, the floor here is that of a multi-positional role player who hits for considerable power. There may be an adjustment period similar to the one Javier Báez experienced early in his career because of the approach issues, but the star-level talent will eventually shine through. (Alternate site) 55 FV Prospects 3. Trevor Larnach, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Oregon State (MIN) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 223 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/55 65/65 50/60 40/40 35/40 55 There’s not much new to say here since Larnach was at the alt site. He hit several balls in excess of 110 mph during Oregon State’s opening weekend his draft season, and he ended up slugging .652 that year while falling to the back of the first round amid concerns about his defensive ability. Larnach remains a sluggish, diffident outfielder, but he’s very likely to get to much of his titanic raw power in games thanks to the ease with which he generates the pop — Larnach doesn’t swing with violence or effort, it’s just there — and a refined approach. His swing is a little more compact now than it was in college but Larnach will really get extended on balls away from him and punch them the other way. I think he’s a 30-plus homer, high-OBP corner outfielder whose defensive ability drags his profile down a little bit. (Alternate site) 50 FV Prospects 4. Ryan Jeffers, C Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from UNC Wilmington (MIN) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 60/60 45/55 40/40 55/55 55 The Twins were at the forefront of the now common style of catching from one knee (some teams have their receivers ditch it with two strikes and/or runners on base, others don’t), which seems to have a positive impact on called strikes while detracting from ball-blocking (which clubs consider to be less important), and, depending on the situation, pitch tipping. Jeffers took to this style and answered some of the defensive questions he faced in college, when it was unclear if he’d catch or end up at first base. Eyeball evaluations of his receiving are still mixed but according to my sources (and not just ones with Minnesota), the framing metrics in the minors were good, and they were very positive during his month-long stay in the big leagues last year when Jeffers was thrust into the lineup due to Mitch Garver‘s injury. So long as he can stay back there, Jeffers is pretty easily an everyday player. He has average bat-to-balls skills, above-average thump, and the ability to hit the ball in the air consistently. He essentially made the leap from Hi-A to the big leagues in 2020 and hit .273/.355/.436. I think it’s fair to expect the Jeffers will experience a BABIP regression in 2021, but I think we’ll see his strikeout rate (which historically was close to 20% and was 30% in his initial big league trial) come down, too, which will help balance that out. His athleticism, breaking ball recognition, and, perhaps most importantly, plate coverage are all a tick below average, but I still think there’s enough offensive ability here for Jeffers to profile as an everyday catcher. Garver’s presence could impact Jeffers’ playing time, and since most of Jeffers’ defensive value is tied to his receiving, his overall career production might be front-loaded due to the looming possibility of electronic strike zones. (Alternate site, MLB) 5. Jordan Balazovic, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from St. Martin HS (CAN) (MIN) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 55/55 40/45 45/55 91-94 / 96 After a breakout 2018, Balazovic spent most of 2019 dominating the Florida State League as a 20-year-old. Perhaps the most important takeaway was that he retained his stuff amid an innings increase. My hope was that he’d endure another 20-inning uptick in 2020 and continue tracking toward a traditional, innings-eating starter’s workload. But, uh, he didn’t get a chance to do that. Instead, Balazovic arrived at the alt site in September and looked his usual self, sitting 92-96 there, which is the top end of his velo band from 2019. He throws strikes with four pitches, several of which either project to miss bats or do so right now. Chief among them is his fastball, which is tough for hitters to pick up out of Balazovic’s hand as they’re misdirected by his limbs flying all over the place during the delivery. Even with a somewhat lower arm slot, Balazovic’s heater plays at the top of the zone. He can vary the shape of his breaking balls — the slider is the out pitch, the curveball gets dropped in for strikes — and both play up against righties because of the mechanics. And while Balazovic’s glove-side slider command should be enough for him to deal with lefties eventually anyway, his change improved in 2019. He throws an unusually high number of strikes for such a young, lanky, cold-weather arm with a somewhat violent delivery, and he’s had no health or control issues thus far. He pretty firmly projects as a No. 4 starter right now. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 6. Jhoan Duran, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (ARI) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Splitter Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 45/50 60/60 40/45 95-99 / 101 Often exciting, and sometimes frustrating during his inconsistent early career with Arizona, both Duran and his stuff have matured since Minnesota acquired him as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal. His frame filled out and his velocity became more consistent start to start, resting in the 95-99 range and touching 101 throughout 2019. Duran also worked with better angle after the Twins acquired him, a change that improved the playability of his breaking ball without detracting from his changeup’s movement, though that pitch seemed to be de-emphasized in 2019 even though it looked promising to my eye while he was with Arizona. His curveball will have more obvious humpback movement when he throws it for a strike, and has more two-plane tilt when he’s trying to bury it down and away from righties. I’m doing something a little different with Duran’s pitch data over on The Board since I’ve become aware that he has two very different types of fastballs, a four- and two-seamer with an unusual spin difference between the two. Duran works downhill rather than with flat angle, so I think the two-seamer (the org calls it a “splinker”, as in splitter/sinker, and I have this pitch graded in the splitter column on The Board) will be his better fastball, and even though that pitch has the lower spin rate, it’s the one you’ll see represented on The Board. That amount of demarcation in spin and movement makes Duran a four-pitch starter prospect with elite velocity and fastball characteristics that will lead to less swing-and-miss than you’d expect given his velocity, similar to what Sixto Sánchez and Brusdar Graterol have exhibited during their respective big league tenures. Duran’s delivery is very upright and kind of stiff, and he doesn’t have pinpoint feel for location, instead just living in and around the strike zone enough to start. I think he’s going to bully hitters with velo and sink en route to a fourth starter (2-ish WAR) outcome. (Alternate site) 7. Matt Canterino, MIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Rice (MIN) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 222 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/60 50/55 55/60 40/45 90-93 / 95 Canterino sure looks like a reliever. He doesn’t have the usual trim starter’s build, nor the statuesque posture, nor the mechanical ease and grace of a typical starter’s delivery. He sure as hell has starter-quality stuff, though. He arrived at the Twins alt site later than their initial group (which was tailored to provide big league depth rather than develop prospects) and came in throwing 92-96 with two plus breaking balls, all of which is pretty standard for Canterino. But he also began to develop a changeup in the cross-faced style of Devin Williams, and that pitch took a huge leap in quality during his 2020 development. Of course, it’s the Twins who initially tipped me to this development. But because they opted into sharing data from their alternate site, I was able to confirm with sources outside the organization that Canterino’s cambio has improved, and now has better velocity separation from his fastball, as well as impact tail and fade. So now this guy has four impact pitches, and remember, he’s always been able to locate his fastball consistently despite his R-rated delivery. Does that make him a starter? I think some of the superficial elements that make it appear he is not slide Canterino behind pitchers with comparable stuff but a more obvious starter body and delivery. But he has four potential impact pitches and hasn’t had strike-throwing issues since his freshman year in college, so you can’t just bucket him in relief. He’ll be toward the back of the top 100 with other mid-rotation starter types. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League) 45 FV Prospects 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from North Carolina (MIN) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 60/60 35/55 30/30 40/50 50 As I’ve talked about ad nauseam on this site, the track record for righty-hitting first base-only college hitters is historically bad, and until some recent success stories the industry went a long time with Eric Karros as the only one of this sort who had any kind of big league success. That brings us to Sabato, who played shortstop in high school but is absolutely a first base-only player, if he can even play there at all. Despite this, as I shopped these rankings around baseball, folks thought my pre-draft 40+ FV grade was light due to their confidence in his ability to hit and hit with power. Sabato started mashing the second he arrived at Chapel Hill, clubbing 18 homers as a freshman. He was sophomore eligible draftee, and therefore only played 83 career games, and still teams were about as sure of Sabato’s hitting ability as they were of any player’s in the 2020 draft. He takes full-body rips but still has acute barrel control. Sabato’s issues are mobility and defense. He was a hefty guy for a college sophomore and projects as a 1B/DH-only prospect as he continues to age into his 20s. It means Sabato needs to keep raking to clear that sky high offensive bar, but that’s exactly what he’s done against elite college pitching. He was in the mix for several teams picking in the middle of the first round before falling to Minnesota, which reads like Trevor Larnach’s draft day journey. Sabato will be a 50 FV prospect if he produces on paper up through the upper-minors. (Fall Instructional League) 9. Misael Urbina, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIN) Age 18.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/50 25/50 55/50 40/50 45 Urbina was one of the more advanced hitters in his July 2 signing class from both a bat control and physical development perspective, and since he’s begun to generate a little bit of stateside data, including during intrasquads against Twins pitching much older than him, he’s continued to show an advanced idea for what he should be doing at the plate. Urbina’s power projection is somewhat limited by his stocky frame, which may be an issue if he does eventually move to a corner. He’s an explosive rotator though, and this guy’s power doesn’t just come from size and strength, but rather an upper body that unwinds kind of like Yuli Gurriel’s does. Currently an above-average runner, there’s a fair chance he ends up in left field due to a lack of top-end speed, though it might depend on how his body develops. But what’s driving the profile here is the bat. Urbina’s timing, hand-eye coordination, and all-fields feel for contact at a young age are all advanced for his age. His level of talent is commensurate with high school outfielders typically taken late in the first or sandwich round of a draft. Because of the potential corner profile and lack of physical projection, Urbina will need to perform on paper to climb the FV scale, but the eyeball reports from his amateur days through this Fall all indicate he will. (Fall Instructional League) 10. Gilberto Celestino, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (HOU) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 40/40 30/35 60/60 55/60 60 I was surprised last year when Kiley McDaniel and I sourced Celestino’s exit velos and learned the ball leaves his bat at 90 mph on average, which is above the big league average. I don’t think that means Celestino is going to hit for power, or even that he has more raw than we thought, just that he hits the ball hard with consistency, a pervasive trait in this system. At a compact 6-foot or so, he’s unlikely to grow into much more thump even though he’s still just about 22 years old. Instead, Celestino is a potential everyday player because of his bat-to-ball skills and his center field defense. Celestino was more of an instincts/feel defender as an amateur, but he’s sped up as he’s grown into his modest frame and projects as a plus glove now. His athleticism is evident not only on defense, but in the batter’s box, too, where Celestino stays well balanced during a long, slow leg kick. The lack of power projection caps his ceiling, but I like the defense and bat enough to consider Celestino a potential low-end regular, and a low-variance sort of prospect. He began the 2020 LIDOM season with Gigantes del Ciabo but only played regularly for the first week of the season or so before Jose Siri claimed everyday reps in center field. (Alternate site, LIDOM) 11. Keoni Cavaco, 3B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Eastlake HS (CA) (MIN) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 55/60 25/55 60/55 40/50 55 A growth spurt buoyed Cavaco’s tools and draft stock, and he was 2019’s most prominent pop-up high school prospect. He may have had the best frame in the entire draft but had already grown into considerable power as a senior, which he got to in games despite an awkwardly-timed stride and very uphill swing. At times clumsy on defense, Cavaco may still be growing into his new body. He was also catching early in high school, and had to move all over the infield during his upperclass days because talented young shortstop Marcelo Mayer (a potential top five pick in 2021) went to the same high school and was playing short. It seemed likely that, considering his absence from the summer showcase circuit (again, this kid had a late growth spurt), Cavaco might struggle to adjust to the quality of pro pitching. But his 2019 summer after signing was worse than anticipated. He hit .172 and struck out in more than a third of his plate appearances. He had no opportunity to rebound in 2020 because of the cancellation of the minor league season, and like many of us, Cavaco’s body yo-yo’d between thick and thin during the year. He’s certainly a high-risk prospect but his present power, power projection, and the possibility that he plays a premium position with more reps gives him one of the higher ceilings in this system. (Fall Instructional League) 40+ FV Prospects 12. Brent Rooker, 1B Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Mississippi State (MIN) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 65/65 50/60 40/40 35/40 35 Things are coming into focus a little more for Rooker, who remains one of the more interesting and prominent pop-up senior/redshirt junior prospects (like Kody Hoese in 2019), a group the industry often struggles to contextualize. The background here is odd. As a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore, Rooker hit .324/.376/.528 with 11 homers at Mississippi State, and the Twins drafted him in the 38th round. He didn’t sign, returned to school, hit .287/.496/.810, with 23 homers and 18 steals, and was drafted 35th overall. Nobody was totally sure what to make of such remarkable improvement, and Rooker lives in the dreaded right/right 1B/DH bucket for most evaluators, but he had among the best raw power and exit velos in his draft class and emphatically torched the best conference in college baseball. Rooker has moved quickly since entering pro ball (he needed to, as he’s already 26) and played his entire second full season at Triple-A, where he mashed (.280/.398/.535), though his inability to deal with breaking balls was worrisome. After beginning the summer at the alt site, Rooker got a week-long cup of coffee in September and crushed a bunch of the fastballs he saw, but struggled against breaking stuff. He’s a pull-heavy fastball hitter to whom I think opposing pitchers will adjust, but while I typically put corner role-playing bats like this in the 40 FV bucket, Rooker’s raw power is so exceptional that I think he’ll have unusual impact for a player in that role, so he’ll likely graduate as a 40+ FV part-timer. (Alternate site, MLB) 13. Josh Winder, SP Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Virginia Military Institute (MIN) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/50 45/50 45/50 40/45 91-93 / 96 Winder’s role projection tends to depend on who you talk to, with scouts putting him in a leveraged relief role and analysts more likely to say he can start. What anyone thinks of Winder also depends on how they view his 2020 velocity spike in a developmental context. After sitting 91-93 in 2019, he was 93-96 and touching 97 in the Fall of 2020. Last year, I wrote that Winder had some interesting rotation piece elements — a broad, square-shouldered, 6-foot-5 frame, a repeatable delivery, an arm slot that enables the fastball to compete in the zone — and that the development of his secondaries would determine if he gets there or ends up in a lesser role. Well, like Canterino, his changeup was altered in 2020 and now has a little more armside fade than it did before, and he’s also added a couple hundred rpm to his curveball. Again, all of this is much more difficult to evaluate in the context of Instructional League intrasquads, where development is the sole focus, but Winder has gone from a backend starter prospect to someone whose value could explode if he shows this kind of velo deep into outings and under the stress of an actual season-long workload. (Fall Instructional League) 14. Cole Sands, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Florida State (MIN) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 55/55 45/50 40/45 91-94 / 96 I wrote in last year’s list that Sands’ stuff is nasty enough that were it not for his long history of injuries, he’d be in the 40+ or 45 FV tier on this list. Because of the minor league shutdown he wasn’t able to work a full season of innings and begin to quell those concerns, but analysts from other teams saw a change in his pitch data that indicates he might really blow up this year if he’s healthy and can pitch a full slate. His fastball will creep into the mid-90s with big time tail, the kind that can run off the hip of left-handed hitters and back over the plate. He also has a sweeping, two-plane breaking ball that’s consistently plus and now has more spin, velocity, and lateral action than it did last season. I don’t know if the change is mechanical in nature or if it has impacted the characteristics of Sands’ fastball, which spins a lot and missed bats despite limited vertical movement in 2019. And again, there have been lots of injury hiccups here. Sands was on the 60-day IL in 2018 and made three IL trips in 2019, though one was for a blister and another for a calf strain, not arm stuff. Sands will be 24 soon and needs to be put on the 40-man next offseason, so his 2021 health and performance are important. (Fall Instructional League) 15. Matt Wallner, RF Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Southern Mississippi (MIN) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 70/70 35/60 40/35 45/50 60 The cement on Wallner’s body is dry and he was one of the older hitters at Minnesota’s 2020 instructs, the kind of player whose grade is much more likely to move because of superlative performance rather than noted physical or technical development in a backfield setting, so his report is basically the same as last year’s. Wallner hit for power all three years of college, even while pitching part-time as a freshman and sophomore, but an arm injury kept him off the mound in his junior year, where some clubs thought he had real pro potential. He had some of the most explosive raw thump in the 2019 draft class, drawing 70 or 80 grades from scouts, and will hit balls 10 rows into the bleachers even when he doesn’t get fully extended. He has some moderate swing-and-miss issues characteristic of hitters who have power-driven approaches, which were made more evident after Wallner signed. But he’s also willing to take a walk, so the power and OBP give him a shot to be a regular in right field. He’ll more likely settle into the larger half of a platoon role. (Fall Instructional League) 40 FV Prospects 16. Alerick Soularie, 2B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Tennessee (MIN) Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/55 35/50 55/55 45/55 45 There’s a very wide range of opinions regarding Soularie, which is atypical for an SEC hitting prospect but not surprising when you consider that he was at San Jacinto Junior College for his freshman year, and then struggled during the early part of his brief, pre-draft junior year. Ultimately, he hit a robust .336/.448/.586 at Tennessee (again, it’s one season plus a few weeks) and walked more than he struck out during that time. He’s not a big guy but Soularie is an explosive rotational athlete whose swing at times looks really sweet and at others looks totally unplayable. Where he fits defensively isn’t certain yet, either. He caught and played some second base in high school before moving to the outfield for the Volunteers, but the Twins are going to try him at second. That would give him the best chance of profiling. Lots of the profile characteristics here are good: the performance, the clear athleticism, the defensive projection, the short levers. But some scouts just don’t think the swing is going to work and had Soularie as more of a fourth or fifth round prospect. (Fall Instructional League) 17. Blayne Enlow, MIRP Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from St. Amat HS (LA) (MIN) Age 21.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 45/50 50/55 40/45 91-94 / 96 Enlow was 92-96 during instructs and his fastball has some of the most raw spin in the minors, though its axis doesn’t lead to impact movement. As someone from a neutral org looked at his pitch data with me on the phone they asked, “Is this guy working on a cutter?” which is strange because Enlow’s slider/cutter, when located properly, was his best pitch in 2019. It was one of four viable, if sub-optimal pitches he worked with that year. It’s a starter’s repertoire but from the sounds of his instructs look, there’s still pitch execution development needed for Enlow to start, so for now I have him projected as a multi-inning reliever because of his repertoire depth. (Fall Instructional League) 18. Chris Vallimont, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Mercyhurst (MIA) Age 23.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/50 45/50 40/50 40/50 89-93 / 95 A fifth rounder from a small, D-II school in Pennsylvania, Vallimont was traded from Miami in 2019 to help balance the Sergio Romo deal. He has a fastball with traits teams covet with increasing frequency. He only sits 89-93 and tops out at 95, but his arm angle and ability to really backspin the fastball creates big life on the pitch, enabling him to beat hitters at the top of the zone. He’s struck out a lot of guys in 2019 (29% on the year) and was promoted to Hi-A before the trade, which is fine for a 22-year-old but impressive for someone who came out of such a small program just one year prior. Based on info I’ve obtained from the Twins’ Instructional League camp, he now has two distinct breaking pitches and has added a little bit more velocity, but his release consistency remains a bit of an issue. A 35+ on last year’s list, he’s now a likely backend starter rather than a small school dev project. (Fall Instructional League) 19. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIN) Age 17.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/55 25/50 50/50 40/50 50 Minnesota’s top 2019 signee is very short to the ball, has great hand-eye coordination, a swing that has lift out front, and hit in games when seen as an amateur. Back then, Rodriguez had a tweener build and speed, but in the last year he has developed relevant bulk and power. This is not a tweener anymore. Indeed, Rodriguez has become kind of a beast. We just don’t yet know what sort of impact that will have on his performance because he didn’t come stateside for instructs. but it’s exactly the kind of development you’re looking for from a prospect whose foundation is skills-based rather than tools-based. I think Rodriguez has a chance to really blow up over the next year or so. (At-home dev) 20. Jose Miranda, 2B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Leadership Christian HS (PR) (MIN) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 50/50 30/50 50/45 40/45 55 Miranda did not participate in the Twins’ alternate site and instead went to instructs (he was not on the roster I have and I initially wrote here that he skipped instructs) and got at-bats in the Clemente League in Puerto Rico. He raked there against mostly poor pitching. Making contact and hitting the ball hard hasn’t really been an issue for Miranda, though. He didn’t post a strong 2019 statline (about .250/.300/.360 in the Florida State League) but his underlying data and the visual evaluations of his bat-to-ball acumen were still strong. He has the ability to move the barrel all over the zone, and he generates consistent doubles power despite being very short to the ball, which makes him tough to beat within the strike zone. It’s possible he would have been picked in the Rule 5 had he been seen on video at the alt site or instructs, but that he was passed over forced me to do some soul-searching on a player that I had a 45 FV on a couple of years ago. Miranda does expand the zone too often, and even though he often finds ways to make contact anyway, doing so drastically impacts the quality of his contact. He also has some holes in his swing in the sense that Miranda can’t do damage with pitches all over the zone, but he rarely swings and misses. There’s also the defensive end of things where Miranda looks more and more like a shift-enabled 2B/3B type, and there are enough guys in that bucket who either hit for real power, or have better plate discipline or handedness, that Miranda should fall behind them. I still like Miranda as a bat-first role player but think it’ll be more of the 1-ish WAR variety. (Fall instructional league, LigaPRC) 21. Edwar Colina, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (MIN) Age 23.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 40/40 40/45 94-98 / 100 I’m not deriving anything from Colina’s lone, poor 2020 big league outing, although I will point you to his slider’s spin rate from that day. It was 2800 rpm, up about 300 rpm from what I sourced for last year’s list. A stocky, hard-throwing starter with upper-90s heat, Colina’s fastball doesn’t play as an elite pitch despite his velocity — it has middling movement and he’s an extreme short strider who loses two ticks of perceived velo — but it’s tough to square up because of how hard it is. Similarly, Colina’s short, cuttery slider is effective because of how firm it is, and because he has excellent glove-side command of it. He also has a firm changeup that may have been shelved, or at least de-emphasized, since Colina moved to the bullpen late in 2019. His strike-throwing ability (there’s pretty precise slider command but bully-you in the zone fastball control) might enable him to go multiple innings, in which case you could argue he’s a 40+ FV, but I think Colina has more of a single-inning middle relief look. (Alternate site, MLB) 22. Bailey Ober, MIRP Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from College of Charleston (MIN) Age 25.5 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 40/40 45/50 60/60 60/60 85-87 / 88 The Twins added Ober to their 40-man this offseason even though he was neither at the alt site nor Instructional League. He doesn’t throw hard at all and his cut/life fastball only sits 86-88, but Ober’s giant 6-foot-9 frame and delivery create really tough angle on his stuff, and he locates at the top of the zone with consistency. In fact, the consistency with which he executes all four of his pitches is pretty remarkable considering Ober’s size and lack of athleticism. He recently told MiLB.com that his body feels horrible the day after he pitches, and he spent 2020 trying to rework his body and delivery to prevent this. I have him projected as a “look” reliever, the kind whose stuff works in short bursts because of how weird it is for hitters to suddenly have to face someone with a strange delivery, similar to guys like Josh Collementer and the Rays low-leverage middle relievers. (At-home dev) 23. Marco Raya, SP Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from United South HS (TX) (MIN) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 45/50 40/55 35/55 88-92 / 95 Among all of the high school pitchers in the 2020 draft, Raya was one of the better on-mound athletes and had perhaps the most graceful, repeatable delivery of the group. He commands his fastball in and out, has glove-side breaking ball command, and his velocity was peaking in the mid-90s during quarantine bullpens. The Twins may need to work to take some of the natural cut out of his fastball, and there’s definitely a difference between airing it out in an indoor bullpen and throwing in live games for an entire summer (Raya’s velo was down into the upper-80s during instructs) but he’s a good developmental project. I was too low on him before the draft as he was seen pretty widely by teams before the Shriner’s Classic in Houston. It sounds like Seattle was in on him, too. (Fall Instructional League) 24. Ben Rortvedt, C Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Verona HS (WI) (MIN) Age 23.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/50 30/40 30/30 40/45 55 Rortvedt was added to Minnesota’s 40-man this offseason and what I have from scouts on his Fall is similar to what I had last year, namely that Rortvedt is a viable defensive catcher whose swing limits his offensive abilities. Now that he’s a solid defender (he was not in high school), Rortvedt’s ball/strike recognition and strength-driven raw power give him a chance to play a big league role if the two can work together. He can hit for power on pitches up and away from him (which he takes the other way), and, when he can catch up to them, on pitches down-and-in (which he golfs out to his pull side). Right now he looks more like a backup, but Rortvedt has tweaked his swing a bit since high school and perhaps more can be done so he’s not driving so much into the ground. (Fall Instructional League) 25. Spencer Steer, 2B Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Oregon (MIN) Age 23.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/50 30/45 50/45 45/50 50 As has been the case with most of the recent college draftees who played instructs for the Twins this Fall, I don’t have much to add here other than it sounds like the developmental focus for Steer will be getting his raw power to play in games. He is a slightly stiff, hit-over-power (again, in games), muscular infielder from Oregon who the Twins took in the third round last summer. He projects in the late-career Asdrúbal Cabrera role, a bat-driven, multi-positional infielder most likely to fit at either second or third base, though the Twins will continue to give him some run at shortstop. He has sneaky straight-line speed but the lateral agility to be a viable shortstop just wasn’t there when I saw Steer in Eugene pre-draft. (Fall Instructional League) 26. Jovani Moran, SIRP Drafted: 7th Round, 2015 from Carlos Beltran Academy HS (PR) (MIN) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/45 70/70 40/40 90-93 / 95 Moran leapt onto the prospect radar during his 2017 Appy League run, during which he struck out 45 hitters in just 24 innings. He’s never quite been that dominant again, and his pro career is freckled with bouts of elbow and shoulder injuries, including a 2016 surgery to remove bone chips. When Moran arrived in Arizona for the 2019 Fall League, he looked out of shape and his velocity was down. It rebounded during 2020 instructs where he sat 90-95. The big pitch here, though, is Moran’s changeup, which has 12 to 15 mph of velocity separation from his fastball. That pitch could spearhead a good middle-relief profile (40 FV) but until we see him hold his velo in a normal, season-long setting and stay healthy for a while, I’m rounding down a bit. (Fall Instructional League) 27. Danny De Andrade, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIN) Age 16.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/50 30/45 20/40 50/50 40/50 50 De Andrade is an international prospect straight out of central casting. He has a well-rounded collection of tools hovering around average quality, he’s got a relatively projectable frame, and precocious baseball feel and instincts. He is not a remarkable or especially explosive athlete right now. 28. Will Holland, 2B Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Auburn (MIN) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/50 30/45 70/70 30/40 55 Holland was a toolsy college player who struggled to perform amid constant tinkering with his swing. One scout called him a “bull in a china shop” defensively because while he has the physical ability to play all three up-the-middle positions, he lacks feel and instincts. While it sounds like some of those defensive issues still exist, Holland’s swing situation is a little more stable now and he had an encouraging instructs with the bat. He’ll need to go out and perform next year but he has a chance to break out, though the Twins will still need to find him a defensive home. (Fall Instructional League) 29. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Pottsville HS (PA) (MIN) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 55/55 40/45 40/40 40/40 50 Blankenhorn played in one big league game in 2020 but otherwise spent the year at the alternate site, so his report is the same. He’s a situational bat-first piece who might need a change of scenery to carve out the sort of bench role I think he’s capable of playing. He’s had some injury stuff and isn’t very mobile, but Blankenhorn now has a track record of hitting up through Double-A. He makes consistent, hard contact but without a lot of lift. You want to hide this guy at second base or left field and let him mash. (Alternate site, MLB) 30. Edouard Julien, LF Drafted: 18th Round, 2019 from Auburn (MIN) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 35/55 40/40 40/45 40 No change to Julien’s report: It was an eventful, strange 2019 for Julien, who was coming off a very promising freshman year at Auburn during which he hit 17 dingers and slashed .278/.398/.556. He was ruled eligible as a sophomore not because of his age but because he had attended a year of secondary school in Canada before heading to college, which made him three years removed from high school. He was suddenly a young-for-the-class college bat who might have gone very high if he’d hit like he did the year before and got better at second base. He did neither. Julien’s stock fell early during the season before he got hot during a tumultuous postseason run by Auburn. The Twins drafted him on Day Three. Julien tweeted he was coming back to school, went to the Cape, where had a great two weeks, and the Twins offer rose to just shy of $500,000, inspiring him to sign. Then he had Tommy John in August. I currently view his as a positionless, bat-first college prospect who has a chance to have enough in-game power to have some kind of big league role. (Fall Instructional League) 35+ FV Prospects 31. Seth Gray, 3B Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Wright State (MIN) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 35/55 45/45 45/50 55 Gray had a breakout junior year at Wright State in 2019, growing into raw and game power while also doubling his walk total. He has a good frame, and good hands and baseball athleticism, but is a hit-over-power, late-count hitter whose approach is on the line between passive and patient. His swing was a little quieter and cleaner in the Fall of 2020 and some folks think Gray fits among the role-playing, strength-based infield prospects in the 40 FV tier, but I’d have wanted to see him perform at an age-appropriate level in 2020 to move him. (Fall Instructional League) 32. Luis Rijo, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (NYY) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 55/55 45/50 50/60 90-94 / 96 Part of Minnesota’s return from New York for Lance Lynn, Rijo throws in the mid-90s (he was 92-96 at the alt site), has been a hyper-efficient strike thrower, and his curveball has gorgeous movement, seemingly floating as it approaches the plate before it begins to bend and dive away from right-handed hitters. So why has a prospect like this been passed over twice in the Rule 5 draft? That was the question I asked scouts and analysts as I worked on this list, and it has to do with a combination of things. First, Rijo’s fastball doesn’t move enough to miss bats, even though it’s pretty firm. Second, because it’s a slower, loopy pitch, his curveball may not miss bats against upper-level hitters. It’s hard to square up because of how much depth it has, and Rijo locates it well, but it’s easy to identify out of his hand because its shape is so different than anything else he throws. I still think Rijo’s advanced command makes him a candidate to spot start, and his age gives him time to make some kind of adjustment and bounce back into the 40 FV tier. (Fall Instructional League) 33. Yunior Severino, 2B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (MIN) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/35 55/60 35/45 50/50 35/40 50 Severino missed much of 2019 due to a thumb fracture (he suffered torn ligaments as well) and then missed all of 2020 because of the pandemic, and neither did his at-bat quality any favors as he continued to swing recklessly during 2020 instructs. He’s a bulky switch-hitter, especially for his age, who takes giant, uppercut rips, and his peak projection was that of a Mark Bellhorn sort of player. It’s tough to find potential infielders with this kind of bat speed but Severino’s hit tool just hasn’t had a chance to develop. He’s now in Nander De Sedas territory. (Fall Instructional League) 34. Yennier Cano, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIN) Age 26.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/55 45/50 45/45 92-95 / 97 Signed just before the clock struck midnight on the 2018 July 2 period, Cano got a $750,000 bonus from the Twins, using the international bonus money acquired from the Rangers in the Zack Granite trade. Cano touched 95 while working out for teams but sat there during Fall Instructional League in 2020 and has been up to 97, which is consistent with report I have from Cano’s time on the Cuban National Team and for Ciego de Avila. He works from a low three-quarters slot with a sinker, slider, and splitter troika that generates groundballs more than it does strikeouts. After instructs, Cano picked up a couple innings in the Clemente League in Puerto Rico, where he threw strikes and overpowered the equivalent of (mostly) low-level hitters. I think he’s good relief depth more than a firm, on-roster middle relief candidate due to his age and the movement profile on his fastball. (Fall Instructional League, LigaPRC) 35. Willie Joe Garry Jr., CF Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Pascagoula HS (MS) (MIN) Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/55 25/50 55/50 45/50 50 A twitchy, good-framed athlete with explosive hands, Garry’s a toolsy lower-level prospect with swing and miss volatility. He was a $225,000 sign out of high school, and he has a pretty exciting skillset, and performed in the Appy League until a putrid August tanked his statline for the summer. The 2020 Fall looks at him indicate he’s still pretty raw (you can’t expect someone to develop feel to hit when they’re not playing), but he looked to be in incredible shape and was clearly working hard in the areas he could during the layoff. He’s a high-risk prospect. (Fall Instructional League) 36. Wander Javier, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIN) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 45/55 30/45 55/50 45/50 60 There are instances when knowing less about a prospect actually improves the industry’s view of them. There’s space to dream and fill in the gaps in the profile with optimism, as we may not know about relevant underlying issues lurking beneath the surface. Such was the case with Javier, who signed for a IFA franchise record $4 million back in 2015 and basically missed two of his four pro seasons due to quad and hamstring injuries, along with labrum surgery. Finally (mostly) healthy in 2019, Javier went to full-season ball, struck out a ton, and hit .177. His bat-to-ball ability and pitch recognition were not great, but part of that was surely because he hasn’t seen a lot of pro pitching due to the injuries. Then 2020 happened and Javier lost yet another year of actual development. Twins instructs included nothing but intrasquads against pitchers who were about the same age as Javier, and according to teams that watched video from those in preparation for the Rule 5, he continued to struggle from a bat-to-ball standpoint in the Fall. In the last year we’ve gone from not knowing much about Javier’s contact/approach to knowing it’s either not good or lags way behind because of the lack of reps. (Fall Instructional League) 37. Nick Gordon, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Olympia HS (FL) (MIN) Age 25.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 50/50 30/40 55/55 40/45 55 Gordon had a really excellent 2019 statline but neither visual evaluations nor underlying TrackMan data support it. He had a really rough bout with COVID in 2020, so bad he never made it to the alt site. It continued a bizarre career trajectory for a prospect who was once considered a polished defender at short, then later became a mistake-prone second baseman who was selling out for power, and now looks like a fringe role player. (At-home dev) 38. Jair Camargo, C (LAD) Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 65/65 30/50 20/20 35/45 55 Camargo was the most anonymous member of the Maeda/Brusdar deal. He’s a physical catcher who hit for some oppo power on the Dodgers’ backfields before the trade. His bat head drags into the zone, which causes him to be late on a lot of fastballs, but Camargo is so strong that he can still make impact contact the other way. His exit velos were huge for a 20-year-old: 91 mph on average with a hard hit rate of 47%, which is a 65 on the scale. He needed lots of defensive work but the Twins had been pretty good at improving catchers’ receiving under Tanner Swanson, who is now with the Yankees. Camargo never got a chance to go to an affiliate and show that he had improved, so he’s still a late-blooming, pop-based lottery ticket for now. (Fall Instructional League) 39. Charles Mack, C Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Williamsville East HS (NY) (MIN) Age 21.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 45/50 30/40 50/50 20/45 40 Stocky and physical, Mack is converting to catcher after spending his first two pro seasons as an infielder. He hasn’t yet had to catch in actual games even though the conversion began last year. Mack has some strength-driven power that could enable him to profile as a backup if the conversion works out. (Fall Instructional League) Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Position Player Pu Pu Platter Kala’i Rosario, OF Jeferson Morales, C Carlos Aguiar, OF Gabriel Maciel, CF DaShawn Keirsey, CF Michael Hellman, 2B Malfrin Sosa, OF Caleb Hamilton, C/3B Rosario was a 2020 high school draftee from Hawaii who had a vanilla showing for me during the summer of 2019. He’s a right/right power-hitting corner outfielder with limited physical projection. Most teams couldn’t get to Hawaii before the shutdown but the Twins think they have something here. Morales, age 21, is a very muscular 5-foot-8; he’s got some twitch, average raw, and more walks than strikeouts so far. He has a good body but it has no projection. He has plus raw arm strength but he’s mechanically inconsistent exiting his crouch so his pop times vary. That inconsistency extends to the defense. Aguiar missed 2019 with an elbow injury. He’s a physical projection/visually pleasing swing corner outfield prospect who signed for $1 million back in 2017. He was young for the class but has now missed two consecutive seasons and his body isn’t as cut as it was when he popped onto the radar. Maciel is a 70 runner but I don’t see an offensive impact enabling anything more than a fifth outfielder there. Keirsey could maybe be a 60 run and center field glove with doubles power, but he had hip issues again in 2019 after suffering a pretty severe hip injury while in college. Sosa is also a young-for-the-class power projection bat who signed for $900,000 last year. Caleb Hamilton is an older guy who might end up in the Tuffy Gosewisch, upper-level org guy role. He was a great defensive third baseman at Oregon State and converted to catcher in pro ball but doesn’t make enough contact. Pitching Depth and Wild Cards Dakota Chalmers, RHP Griffin Jax, RHP Charlie Barnes, LHP Derek Molina, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Ben Gross, RHP Cody Lawyerson, RHP Chalmers has 40+ FV stuff (94-97, 60-grade power mid-80s changeup, above-average low-80s curveball) but 20-grade control. Jax is a sinkerballer who lives in the low-90s and has a deep, vanilla repertoire. Barnes has a great changeup but the rest is below-average. Molina is a fastball-only type whose heater generated a 17% swinging strike rate in 2019. Mooney (95 mph), Gross and Lawyerson (both around 93) have had pretty substantial upticks in velocity over the last year even though they were training remotely. System Overview This Twins regime has now been in place since 2016 and some clear talent acquisition trends are emerging. The amateur side appears focused on drafting college hitters who show measurable power in their TrackMan data. Sprinkled among them are often a couple sleeper-ish, six-figure high school prospects with sexy tools or projection. Meanwhile, the pro department seems good at picking off guys they know the player dev group can tweak and change for the better, especially pitchers. Because Ops President Derek Falvey comes from Cleveland, expect Minnesota to employ some of the roster building tactics that club has used to build a sustainable contender. Letting a productive player like Eddie Rosario go because of his arb projection is evidence of this, though it certainly helps that the Twins have guys like Kirilloff and Larnach waiting in the wings to take over. I bet they’d be content platooning someone like Jake Cave with Brent Rooker if they had to, though. Also somewhat similar to Cleveland’s operational style is a pattern of age-related talent preference internationally. Though they’re not laser-focused on switch-hitting infielders, Minnesota’s international signees are often young for their class and yet are typically described as polished hitters and instinctive defenders. I think you could make the argument that gaps in age between prospects are more important the younger they are, and Minnesota behaves as if that’s true, since some of the college hitters they’ve drafted recently are actually old for their class. I think this system needs to add some actual middle infield depth. Not more chonky guys who can kind of play second base, but actual up-the-middle athletes for what seems to be a good dev group to work with. Part of the reason the team is feeling around for a big league shortstop right now is because there’s nobody like that in the system.