Top 42 Prospects: Minnesota Twins

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Minnesota Twins. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. 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 the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Editor’s Notes: Brusdar Graterol, previously ranked fifth on this list, and Luke Raley, ranked 35th, were traded to the Dodgers as part of the Kenta Maeda deal.

Catcher Jair Camargo was added to the list; he was received from Los Angeles in the same deal.

Twins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Royce Lewis 20.7 AA CF 2022 60
2 Trevor Larnach 23.0 AA RF 2021 50
3 Alex Kirilloff 22.3 AA 1B 2021 50
4 Jhoan Duran 22.1 AA RHP 2020 50
5 Jordan Balazovic 21.4 A+ RHP 2021 50
6 Ryan Jeffers 22.9 AA C 2021 45+
7 Lewis Thorpe 24.2 MLB LHP 2020 45
8 Keoni Cavaco 18.7 R 3B 2024 45
9 Gilberto Celestino 21.0 AA CF 2021 45
10 Misael Urbina 17.8 R CF 2023 40+
11 Jose Miranda 21.6 AA 3B 2021 40+
12 Wander Javier 21.1 A SS 2022 40+
13 Matt Canterino 22.2 A RHP 2022 40+
14 Matt Wallner 22.2 A RF 2022 40+
15 Cole Sands 22.6 AA RHP 2021 40
16 Edwar Colina 22.8 AAA RHP 2020 40
17 Brent Rooker 25.3 AAA 1B 2019 40
18 Blayne Enlow 20.9 A+ RHP 2022 40
19 Yunior Severino 20.4 A 2B 2023 40
20 Luis Rijo 21.4 A+ RHP 2022 40
21 Devin Smeltzer 24.4 MLB LHP 2020 40
22 Ben Rortvedt 22.4 AA C 2021 40
23 Josh Winder 23.3 A RHP 2022 40
24 Travis Blankenhorn 23.5 AA 2B 2020 40
25 Spencer Steer 22.2 A 2B 2022 40
26 Akil Baddoo 21.5 A+ CF 2021 40
27 LaMonte Wade 26.1 MLB LF 2020 40
28 Cody Stashak 25.7 MLB RHP 2020 40
29 Will Holland 21.8 R 2B 2023 40
30 Jorge Alcala 24.5 MLB RHP 2020 40
31 Emmanuel Rodriguez 16.9 R CF 2025 40
32 Edouard Julien 20.8 R LF 2023 40
33 Yennier Cano 25.9 A+ RHP 2021 40
34 Jovani Moran 22.8 AA LHP 2020 40
35 Nick Gordon 24.3 AAA SS 2020 35+
36 Willie Joe Garry Jr. 19.7 R CF 2023 35+
37 Jair Camargo 20.6 R C 2021 35+
38 Chris Vallimont 22.9 A+ RHP 2023 35+
39 Seth Gray 21.7 A 3B 2023 35+
40 Bailey Ober 24.6 AA RHP 2021 35+
41 Caleb Hamilton 25.0 AAA C 2020 35+
42 Charles Mack 20.2 R C 2023 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from JSerra HS (CA) (MIN)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/65 40/60 60/50 40/45 50/50

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 as Lewis’ skillset as they once were. Initially, those comps came from Lewis’ penchant for on-field leadership, some elements of his swing and frame, and, less positively, his future as a defensive shortstop. The Twins took him first overall 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. Don’t let the robust .353/.411/.565 Arizona Fall League line (he went to pick up reps after an oblique strain during the year) and MVP award fool you — 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, and after the advanced hit tool was a huge driver of his amateur profile, 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 grounding him in a ritualistic way, and the game often seems too fast for him.

So why are we still so high on him? We’re betting big on Lewis’ makeup and physical talent. His BP’s 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 Eric saw in the AFL, willing himself to become a viable left side infield defender even though he lacks the traditional grace and fluidity for those positions. We don’t think the swing works as currently constituted — it’s a mechanical departure from when Lewis was successful in high school — but we think it’ll get dialed in eventually because of his athleticism and work habits. Even if some of the pitch recognition stuff proves to be a long-term issue, we still think Lewis will be a versatile defender who plays several premium positions (we have him listed in center field because if we had to pick one spot where we think he’ll eventually be best, that’s it) and 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.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Oregon State (MIN)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 223 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 65/65 50/60 40/40 40/45 55/55

Larnach hit several balls in excess of 110 mph during Oregon State’s opening weekend of 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. We think he’s a 30-plus homer, high-OBP corner outfielder.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Plum HS (PA) (MIN)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 60/60 45/55 30/30 45/50 60/60

Kirilloff’s numbers weren’t as nutty as they were two seasons ago — .283/.342/.413 down from .348/.392/.578 — but that’s partly because he was on the IL twice with wrist issues. His power output was way down for the first few weeks after he returned from both, which is typical of wrist injuries, but that the issue recurred is somewhat concerning on its own. Healthy Kirilloff is going to hit and hit for power. He can turn on balls most hitters are jammed by because of the way he strides open and clears his hips, but he still has the plate coverage and swing path to lift contact the other way when pitchers work away from him. A thickening build has slowed Kirilloff down, and he’s now begun seeing a lot of time at first base. This, combined with a pretty aggressive approach, makes him somewhat risky from some teams’ perspectives, who see a first baseman with below-average plate discipline, but we think he’s a safe bet to be a .340 to .360 wOBA guy even with how swing-happy he can be.

4. Jhoan Duran, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 50/60 45/50 95-99 / 101

Duran seemingly drew lots of trade interest while with Arizona. Loose, lean, and wielding premium stuff, his name was rumored to be on some PTBNL lists before he was ultimately traded to Minnesota as part of the Eduardo Escobar deal in 2018. During his first few pro seasons, Duran’s velocity yo-yo’d a bit; at times, he was in the upper-90s, while he was more 91-95 at others. He was also demoted from the Northwest League back to the AZL in 2017 for reasons apparently unrelated to performance. The following spring, not only was Duran’s velocity more stable — in the 93-96 range — but he was throwing strikes and had more consistent secondary stuff.

Duran continued to fill out into 2019 and his velocity kept climbing, settling in the upper-90s and cresting 100. He worked with better angle after the Twins acquired him last summer, a change that improved the playability of his breaking ball without detracting from his changeup’s movement, though that pitch has been de-emphasized based on our sources’ looks. He’s tracking like a mid-rotation starter.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from St. Martin HS (CAN) (MIN)
Age 21.4 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, and while he hasn’t yet worked a major league starter’s regimen, he’ll be on pace to do so if he can add 20-30 frames over each of the next two years.

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.

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from UNC Wilmington (MIN)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 55/55 45/55 40/40 45/50 55/55

Jeffers has 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 our sources (and not just ones with Minnesota), the framing metrics are pretty good. The Twins, along with a growing number of other orgs, have their catchers set up on one knee (some have their receivers ditch it with two strikes, others don’t), which seems to affect how many called strikes they steal, at least in the minors.

Jeffers spent most of his first full pro season at Hi-A Fort Myers (120 wRC+) and had a strong final month at Double-A Pensacola. He has average bat-to-balls skills, above-average thump, and the ability to hit the ball in the air consistently. The athleticism, breaking ball recognition, and, perhaps most importantly, plate coverage are all a tick below average. We’re still a tad concerned Jeffers may have to play first base sometime soon, which is the only thing keeping him from the 50 FV tier.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Australia (MIN)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 55/55 50/50 45/50 89-93 / 95

Thorpe is now pretty far removed from the severe injury issues that plagued him early in his pro career, and he’ll likely be in the Twins rotation all of next year. The flat-planed nature of his fastball enables the pitch to miss bats despite mediocre velocity, but it also makes Thorpe fly ball prone. Of his three secondary pitches, his curveball has the most visually pleasing movement but it’s much slower than his other pitches and might be best if used less than his sweeping slider.

He’s a high probability No. 4/5 starter for us, though there are industry folks who have him in the No. 3/4 area because of the quality of the secondaries.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Eastlake HS (CA) (MIN)
Age 18.7 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 55/55

A growth spurt buoyed Cavaco’s tools and draft stock, and he was last year’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. 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 went to the same high school. He may end up at second or third base, or get a try in center field if his hands and actions don’t improve. He’s one of the 2019 draft’s higher risk, higher reward prospects.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 21.0 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 50/60 60/60

We were pretty surprised when we sourced Celestino’s exit velos and learned the ball leaves his bat at 90 mph on average, which is above the big league average. We don’t think that means Celestino is going to hit for power, or even that it means 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 thump. 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 we like the defense and bat enough to consider Celestino a potential regular, and a low-variance sort of prospect.

40+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIN)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/50 25/50 55/50 40/50 40/45

Urbina was one of the more advanced hitters in his July 2 signing class from both a bat control and physical development perspective. He was also one of the youngest. 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.

Urbina’s power projection is somewhat limited by his size, 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 a an upper body that unwinds kind of like Yuli Gurriel’s does. Urbina also has many promising bat-to-ball traits — timing, hand-eye coordination, all-fields feel — at a young age. He’s one of the high priority Florida minor league/extended spring prospects to see, and we currently have him FV’d just a shade behind the top prep outfielders in the 2020 class.

11. Jose Miranda, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Leadership Christian HS (PR) (MIN)
Age 21.6 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 55/55

He didn’t post a strong 2019 statline (about .250/.300/.360 in the Florida State League) but we’re still on Miranda because of his ability to move the barrel all over the zone, and because he generates consistent doubles power despite being very short to the ball. It makes Miranda tough to beat within the strike zone. Instead, the way to deal with him is to hope he chases stuff out of the zone (and even then he often finds ways to make contact). There are some holes in the swing in the sense that Miranda can’t do damage with pitches all over the zone, but he rarely swings and misses. We’ve shaded his FV down from last year’s 45 because we now think he ends up playing more third base than second in the long run, but we still really like Miranda’s bat control and quality of contact.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/55 30/45 55/50 45/55 60/60

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 that relevant underlying issues lurk 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 are not great, but part of that is surely because he hasn’t seen a lot of pro pitching due to the injuries. We’re not moving off of Javier entirely — he’s just too talented. He still has a frame typical of power-hitting SS/3B types, he’s athletic enough to play either of those spots, and he already has notable raw power for his age. But in the last year we’ve gone from not knowing much about his contact/approach to knowing it’s either not good or lags way behind because of the lack of reps.

13. Matt Canterino, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Rice (MIN)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 222 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 50/55 40/40 40/45 90-93 / 95

Canterino regularly showed a plus fastball/breaker combo (a big, mid-90s two-plane breaker) as a sophomore and the summer before his draft spring, but there was some effort and violence to the delivery, and thus perceived relief risk. At that point, some teams saw enough strike-throwing to project him as a starter and look past the delivery. In his draft spring, his stuff was down a bit as Canterino appeared to be dialing things down to aim for more strikes and go deeper into games. When uncorked, we expect him to bump 96 with big life, and incorporate a mix of two breaking balls rather than rely heavily on the slider and barely use his curve. If he can throw strikes with his breaking stuff, he has a chance to start and miss bats with three pitches. If he can’t, he might be a high-leverage reliever.

14. Matt Wallner, RF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Southern Mississippi (MIN)
Age 22.2 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 60/60

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.

40 FV Prospects

15. Cole Sands, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Florida State (MIN)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 50/55 40/45 91-94 / 96

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. 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 wiping, two-plane breaking ball that’s consistently plus. He 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. A potential No. 4 starter (more likely No. 4/5), Sands turns 23 next year and should reach Double-A.

16. Edwar Colina, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (MIN)
Age 22.8 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 50/50 94-98 / 100

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 be 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.

17. Brent Rooker, 1B
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Mississippi State (MIN)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 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 40/45 35/35

Things are coming into focus a little more for Rooker, who remains one of the more interesting and prominent “pop-up senior or redshirt junior” prospects (like Kody Hoese in 2019), who 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 25) and played his entire second full season at Triple-A, where he mashed (.280/.398/.535), but his inability to deal with breaking balls is worrisome. We think he’s more of a platoon 1B/DH/LF type, maybe a low-end regular at one of those.

18. Blayne Enlow, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from St. Amat HS (LA) (MIN)
Age 20.9 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 has developed a pretty strong four-pitch mix in pro ball. His fastball sits in the mid-90s early in starts before settling in around 93. It’s more of a sinker/velo-centric fastball than one with bat-missing life, and the same goes for Enlow’s power, upper-80s changeup. The bat-misser in the arsenal is a cutter/slider in the upper-80s that has serious length when Enlow locates it to his glove side. He has a slower, two-planed slurve he can throw for strikes, but it isn’t an impact pitch. Right now he looks like a No. 4/5 starter, but there’s a No. 4 ceiling if the command beats our projections, which seems possible given Enlow’s age.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 50/50 40/45 50/50

We have Severino projected as a three-true-outcomes middle infielder à la Rickie Weeks, or peak Mark Bellhorn and Dan Uggla. He’s a bulky (especially for 20) switch-hitter who takes giant, uppercut rips. He missed much of 2019 due to a thumb fracture (he suffered torn ligaments, as well), so he may start 2020 back at Cedar Rapids and need to perform to be promoted. The power/middle infield combo gives him ceiling, while the strikeouts and rapidly maturing frame also make him quite risky.

20. Luis Rijo, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (NYY)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 60/60 45/50 50/60 90-94 / 96

Part of Minnesota’s return from New York for Lance Lynn, Rijo is a hyper-efficient strike thrower whose curveball moves like a Wiffle ball, seemingly floating as it approaches the plate before it begins to bend and dive away from right-handed hitters. Because it’s a slower, loopy pitch, it may not miss bats against upper-level hitters, but it’s hard to square up because of how much depth it has, and Rijo locates it well.

So, too, can he spot his low-90s fastball where his catcher asks for it, working up at the letters and to both corners of the plate at will. His ceiling will likely be limited by stuff quality — though only 20, Rijo is physically mature and unlikely to grow into much more velocity — but the command makes him a high-probability backend starter and one who could move quickly.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from San Jacinto JC (TX) (LAD)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/50 55/55 50/50 55/55 87-91 / 92

Mechanical funk, glove-side breaking ball command, and a viable changeup all enable Smeltzer to induce weak contact despite meager velocity. He worked in a multi-inning capacity at the big league level last year and projects to do so going forward.

22. Ben Rortvedt, C
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Verona HS (WI) (MIN)
Age 22.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 205 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 55/55

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 prominent 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.

23. Josh Winder, RHP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Virginia Military Institute (MIN)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/50 40/50 45/50 91-93 / 95

Winder has 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 the development of his secondaries will determine if he gets there or ends up in a lesser role. He was old for the Midwest League in 2019, but he was also a late Day Two pick out of a very small school, so we’re not discounting his numbers too much. He could be a four-pitch backend starter.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Pottsville HS (PA) (MIN)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 55/55 40/45 40/40 40/40 50/50

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.

25. Spencer Steer, 2B
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Oregon (MIN)
Age 22.2 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 20/45 50/45 45/50 50/50

Steer is a slightly stiff, hit-over-power, muscular infielder from Oregon who the Twins took in the third round last summer. He projects into the late-career Asdrúbal Cabrera role, a bat-driven, multi-positional infielder.

26. Akil Baddoo, CF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Salem HS (GA) (MIN)
Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 30/45 60/60 40/50 40/40

Baddoo has some promising physical ingredients — speed, raw power — seasoned by high walk rates. He missed most of 2019 because he needed Tommy John in mid-May. He lacks deft barrel accuracy, but Baddoo has run well above-average walk rates to this point and he may be able to get to most of his power by hunting the right pitches, even if his swing’s a little grooved. He’s tracking like a power/OBP fourth outfielder or platoon guy.

Drafted: 9th Round, 2015 from Maryland (MIN)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 45/45 30/35 50/50 55/55 40/40

Wade intrigues as the larger half of a corner outfield platoon. He’s not exactly tooled up, but he walks a lot — more than he strikes out against right-handed pitchers, in fact — and he’ll make up for some of what he lacks in power with rangy, corner outfield defense. It’s not spectacular, but there’s a clear role here.

28. Cody Stashak, RHP
Drafted: 13th Round, 2015 from St. John’s (MIN)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 40/40 55/60 88-92 / 94

Stashak spent two years at Cumberland County College before heading to St. John’s, where he had one statistically middling season for the Red Storm. He got $100,00 on Day Three of the 2015 draft and reached Hi-A as a starter before two injuries forced a late-season move to the bullpen in 2017. Stashak’s fastball/breaking ball combo was very effective during that initial run out of the ‘pen, and the Twins left him there. He’s since had two dominant relief seasons, including very low walk rates for a reliever, while reaching Triple-A. The fastball plays in large part due to it’s vertical movement, and his breaking ball shape varies enough that it may be two different pitches, but for now he projects as a two-pitch reliever with a modern approach: fastballs up, breaking balls down.

29. Will Holland, 2B
Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Auburn (MIN)
Age 21.8 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 45/50 55/55

Holland is the classic toolsy college player who hasn’t even put things together yet and performed. 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. Holland had lots of trouble hitting during his draft spring due in large part to tinkering with his mechanics, but he was a fringe first rounder before that, so he was a nice buy-low lottery ticket in the fifth round.

30. Jorge Alcala, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 40/40 92-97 / 98

As had long been prophesied, Alcala began transitioning to a relief role in the middle of 2019 and ended his season with a September sip of espresso in Minnesota’s bullpen. As you might expect, the move corresponded with a small jump in velo, as Alcala was 91-96 as a starter last year, then 94-97 out of the bullpen. He has set-up man stuff — the heater and a vertically-breaking power slider — but poor pitch execution will likely limit him to middle relief.

31. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 16.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 40/50 20/40 50/55 40/50 45/50

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. Rodriguez has a tweener build and speed, so the bat may need to max out as plus or better for there to be a role here, but that seems plausible based on the amateur looks.

32. Edouard Julien, LF
Drafted: 18th Round, 2019 from Auburn (MIN)
Age 20.8 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 40/40

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.

We 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.

33. Yennier Cano, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIN)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 45/50 45/50 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. In late March, Cano touched 95 while throwing for teams in Miami but he topped out at at least 97 in the past while pitching on the Cuban National Team and for Ciego de Avila. You could argue he should have been developed as a starter because of his repertoire depth and the way the pitch mix, which lacks a swing and miss offering, plays, but the Twins put him in the bullpen immediately.

It’s a sinker/slider/splitter look that generates groundballs more than it does strikeouts. He’s nearly 26 and should move quickly as a relief piece.

34. Jovani Moran, LHP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2015 from Carlos Beltran Academy HS (PR) (MIN)
Age 22.8 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 / 94

Moran has a dominant out-pitch changeup, though the rest of his profile is pretty vanilla. His body and control backed up in 2019, but he remains a likely relief piece.

35+ FV Prospects

35. Nick Gordon, SS
Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Olympia HS (FL) (MIN)
Age 24.3 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 45/50 55/55

Eyeball evaluations of Gordon don’t match his 2019 statline. He’s more of a bench/depth type now than potential low-end regular at second or shortstop.

Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Pascagoula HS (MS) (MIN)
Age 19.7 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 50/50

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, has a pretty exciting skillset, and performed in the Appy League until a putrid August tanked his statline for the summer. He has concerning underlying stats but is tooled-up enough to monitor closely in the Midwest League next year.

37. Jair Camargo, C
(LAD)
Age 20.6 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 45/50 55/55

Camargo is a very physical 20-year-old catcher who is currently an average receiver and going to an org that has shown an ability to improve how catchers frame. His bat head drags into the zone, which causes him to be late, but he’s so strong that he can still make impact contact the other way. His exit velos are huge for a 20-year-old: 91 mph on average with a hard hit rate of 47%, which is a 65 on the scale. It’s going to be interested to see what happens with the body and how that impacts his ability to catch, and his approach is enough of an issue that it will likely detract from the power production.

38. Chris Vallimont, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Mercyhurst (MIA)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/50 40/50 40/50 89-93 / 95

A fifth rounder from a small, D-II school in Pennsylvania, Vallimont was traded to help balance the Sergio Romo deal with Miami. He has a fastball with traits teams covet with increasing frequency. He only sits 89-93 and tops 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 (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 last year.

39. Seth Gray, 3B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Wright State (MIN)
Age 21.7 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 55/55

Gray had a breakout junior year at Wright State, 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, fringe passive/patient type who likely won’t show much in terms of batting average.

40. Bailey Ober, RHP
Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from College of Charleston (MIN)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/45 60/60 60/60 85-87 / 88

There’s very little precedent for someone with Ober’s velocity having big league success, but it’s clear why his mid-80s fastball has been dominant to this point. His size and deceptive, overhand release point create tough angle on his stuff, and he misses bats at the top of the zone. Ober also has a plus changeup. It might work in a relief role.

Drafted: 23th Round, 2016 from Oregon State (MIN)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 50/50 35/40 50/50 50/55 60/60

Hamilton was a great defensive third baseman in college who took to catching in pro ball. He’s an interesting 26th-man candidate as a third catcher and defensive replacement at various positions.

42. Charles Mack, C
Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Williamsville East HS (NY) (MIN)
Age 20.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/50 30/50 50/50 40/50 40/40

Stocky and physical, Mack is converting to catcher after spending his first two pro seasons as an infielder. He has some strength-driven power that should at least enable him to profile as a backup if the conversion works out.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Relief Types
Dakota Chalmers, RHP
Moises Gomez, RHP
Zach Neff, LHP
Cody Laweryson, RHP
Erik Cha, LHP

Chalmers had Tommy John in April of 2018, then was acquired from Oakland in exchange for Fernando Rodney in August of that year. He has 40+ FV stuff, he’ll flash three plus pitches (94-97, power mid-80s changeup, low-80s curveball), and he had some dominant starts during the summer after he returned, but he’s very wild, and was erratic in the Fall League. He’s on the 40-man and should debut this year. Gomez touches 98 but his slider quality is very inconsistent. Neff and Cha are low-slot relievers with tailing fastballs and sweeping breakers, classic specialist types who need something else to profile under the new three-batter minimum rule. Laweryson relies on deception and a good breaking ball. He struck out 63 over 46 innings in the Appy League while topping out at 92.

Depth Starters
Tyler Wells, RHP
Griffin Jax, RHP
Charlie Barnes, LHP
Landon Leach, RHP
Sean Mooney, RHP

Wells missed 2019 because of Tommy John. His pitches have tough angle because of his size (he’s 6-foot-8) and arm slot. Pre-surgery, his secondaries were average and his heater was above. Jax is 90-94 with a 50 slider and change and above-average command; that’s at least a spot starter. Charlie Barnes has a plus changeup and his fastball has enough sink to offset it’s lack of velo (87-90) and keep him from getting too hurt. Leach was a 40 FV developmental No. 4/5 starter type until he missed all of 2019 with a shoulder issue. Mooney had TJ before the 2019 draft and fell to Day Three. He’s 88-91 with a cutter, curveball, and change, another likely depth arm who may have another gear coming off of rehab.

Position Player Pu Pu Platter
Jeferson Morales, C
Carlos Aguiar, OF
Gabriel Maciel, CF
DaShawn Keirsey, CF
Malfrin Sosa, OF

Morales, age 20, 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 so he’ll still be 18 all of next year. Maciel is a 70 runner but we 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.

System Overview

The Twins still have a very deep system, but their position as buyers was leveraged pretty well by sellers ahead of the trade deadline. The players traded to San Francisco for Sam Dyson (Jaylin Davis, Prelander Berroa, and Kai-Wei Teng are on the Giants list) were all pretty good, and Dyson absolutely tanked after the deal, amid some controversy related to the condition of his shoulder. Arguable top 100 prospect Lewin Diaz was sent to Miami for a few months of Sergio Romo.

Much of the pitching in this system will have an opportunity to impact the big league club at some point next season due to the departures from the 2019 rotation. Thorpe will likely be in the rotation at some point, Graterol may be there or in the back of the bullpen, the Twins might hit the gas on Jhoan Duran’s development if they think he’s one of the best five arms in the org at some point later in the summer, and many of the 40 FV arms will likely come up in 2020 as well. Just eyeballing the list, we’d guess about seven pitchers are poised to graduate next year, which, if we assume the Twins will take on a buyer’s posture again next summer, means this system seems likely to take a dip over the next 12 months. But of course, that means there are a bunch of good, young players who’ve grabbed hold of big league roles.

We hoped you liked reading Top 42 Prospects: Minnesota Twins by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel!

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