This year has seen considerable transformation throughout the top of the Twins’ prospect rankings, with four of the organization’s top 10 prospects graduating to the Majors as part of the arrival of the new generation of core players -- including significant contributions from Jose Miranda, Joe Ryan and Jhoan Duran for a playoff-hopeful team.
In that sense, the pipeline has already been quite fruitful for these Twins. But there could have been so much more, with significant injuries to the club’s longtime top three prospects serving as a reminder that development -- and production -- is never a guarantee.
Not only have longtime No. 1 and No. 2 prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff each undergone season-ending surgeries in consecutive seasons, but Trevor Larnach has also missed a large chunk of this season with a core injury -- and the club is fortunate to have the top prospect depth to be able to weather their absence.
With all that in mind, this will mark a new-look top of the list, considering not only those graduations, but also many departures in the organization’s flurry of four moves at the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline and an extremely fruitful first two rounds of the ‘22 MLB Draft, in which the Twins were thrilled to land two new members of their top five -- including their new top overall prospect. Let’s take a look at how things now shape up.
Here’s a look at the Twins’ top prospects:
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:
Jump: Marco Raya, RHP (Preseason: 26 | Midseason: 7)
A small-framed youngster with a very live arm, Raya was the Twins’ fourth-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft but hadn’t seen affiliated action as a professional due to the COVID-19 shutdown and a shoulder strain. He entered the year with the potential to quickly build his stock, and he’s done just that. Armed with an uptick in his fastball velocity and three polished secondary pitches, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.02 WHIP through his first 15 outings for Class A Fort Myers -- and he only just turned 20 years old.
This isn’t a happy list of three for the Twins, seeing as it encompasses the top prospect they acquired in last summer’s deal that sent José Berríos to Toronto (Martin), their top organizational pitching prospect from the last two seasons (Balazovic) and their first-round Draft pick from 2021 (Sabato). It also doesn’t help that their 2020 first-rounder, Keoni Cavaco, fell out of the rankings altogether for the first time in this update.
Martin’s future at shortstop is in question and his bat has taken a major step back in a season during which the Twins hoped he could add some ability to impact the ball. Balazovic has had a disastrous season in Triple-A, never finding his past form following a knee injury early in the year. And Sabato has had concerning strikeout numbers in the low Minors, an issue considering his defensive limitations.
New to the list
Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:
2. Brooks Lee, SS (Draft)
4. Connor Prielipp, LHP (Draft)
13. Tanner Schobel, SS (Draft)
Impact callup: Ronny Henriquez, RHP (No. 22)
While his overall numbers aren’t great (5.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), Henriquez does have some weapons, namely a fastball that has touched triple digits and a slider he relies on heavily that has elicited a 37 percent whiff rate in Triple-A. He’s been getting work out of the bullpen this month, perhaps a sign the Twins might ask him to help bolster the big league relief corps down the stretch.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 65 -- Brooks Lee
Power: 60 -- Matt Wallner
Run: 70 -- Royce Lewis
Arm: 65 -- Matt Wallner
Field: 60 -- Jermaine Palacios
Fastball: 75 -- Steven Cruz
Curveball: 55 -- Matt Canterino (Simeon Woods Richardson, Blayne Enlow)
Slider: 70 -- Connor Prielipp
Changeup: 60 -- Simeon Woods Richardson
Control: 55 -- Connor Prielipp (Matt Canterino)