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Twins farm system update

@JonathanMayo
November 18, 2019

It’s been a one-year-on, one-year-off pattern for the Twins in the AL Central of late. The 2019 campaign was obviously an on year as the Twins won the division with 101 victories. They were a Wild Card team in 2017 and finished over .500 in 2015 as well. The even

It’s been a one-year-on, one-year-off pattern for the Twins in the AL Central of late.

The 2019 campaign was obviously an on year as the Twins won the division with 101 victories. They were a Wild Card team in 2017 and finished over .500 in 2015 as well. The even year seasons haven’t been as kind, though that’s allowed them to pick up some early first-round Draft picks that fill up much of the top of their Top 30 list.

The Twins have long prided themselves on a strong farm system and promoting from within, typically having a very homegrown big league roster vying for the postseason. Their system has often been well-regarded, landing in the top 10 in six of the 10 farm system rankings MLB Pipeline has done since the start of the 2015 season.

State of the System
AL East BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
NL East ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
Division Team

TOP 5 PROSPECTS

1) Royce Lewis, SS (No. 9 on Top 100)
2) Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B (No. 15)
3) Brusdar Graterol, RHP (No. 53)
4) Jordan Balazovic, RHP (No. 76)
5) Trevor Larnach, OF (No. 77)
Complete Top 30 list »

HITTING & PITCHING PROSPECTS OF THE YEAR

Trevor Larnach, OF (No 5): Taken 20th overall in the 2018 Draft out of Oregon State, Larnach had a strong first full year in professional baseball. In 127 games across Class A Advanced and Double-A, he hit .309 with an .842 OPS. He knocked 13 homers and had 66 RBIs.

Jordan Balazovic, RHP (No 4): At just 20 years old during this year's Minor League season, Balazovic posted impressive numbers, including a 2.69 ERA in Class A and Class A Advanced, with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.98 WHIP. He added a whole batter per nine innings to his strikeout rate, after posting 11.4 strikeouts per nine in 2018 in Class A. More »

STOCK UP/DOWN

green up arrow Jordan Balazovic, RHP (No. 4): Balazovic began the 2019 season ranked 19th on the Twins Top 30, but moved up to the top of the list, and firmly onto the Top 100, with his breakout performance. He spent nearly all of it in the Florida State League, but got bumped up to Double-A Pensacola for a playoff start at the end of a season that also included a perfect inning in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

red down arrow Wander Javier (No. 7): The Twins clearly had high hopes for Javier after signing him for $4 million in July 2015. After missing most of his first summer (2016) with a hamstring injury, he showed what the fuss was about with a strong U.S. debut in the Appalachian League in 2017. But a torn labrum forced him to miss all of 2018 and while he did return to the field in late May this past season, he had trouble shaking off the rust with a .177/.278/.323 line in 80 Midwest League games.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS

Draft: Keoni Cavaco, SS, 1st round (No. 6); Matt Canterino, RHP, 2nd round (No. 13); Matt Wallner, OF, CBA (No. 15); Will Holland, SS, 5th round (No. 16); Seth Gray, 3B, 4th round. Complete Draft list »

International: Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (No. 8 on International Top 30; No. 24 on Twins Top 30)

Trade: Chris Vallimont, RHP (No. 29)

While the Twins gave up prospect Lewin Diaz to get reliever Sergio Romo during their run to an AL Central title, they also got Vallimont, a 2018 fifth-round pick out of Division II Mercyhurst, back from the Marlins. The big right-hander had a solid first full season across two levels of Class A ball and fits in nicely with the crop of four college players from the 2019 Draft who were on the Draft Top 200 list. Minnesota also got Cavaco, a high school infielder, in the first round, giving them a potential dynamic up-the-middle player. Rodriguez also could stick up the middle in center field, one of the top international prospects from the July 2 signing class who got $2.5 million to join the Twins.

2020 IMPACT PROSPECT

Brusdar Graterol, RHP: Twins fans got a glimpse of Graterol’s plus stuff when he was brought up to help the big league bullpen out down the stretch, and he even tossed a perfect inning in the Division Series. He maintains that stuff when he’s starting and there are openings in the rotation to be claimed. If the Twins do decide to shorten Graterol up long term, he could be a Rookie of the Year contender as a setup man or even closer.

Best tools

Hit: Alex Kirilloff
Power: Brent Rooker
Run: Aaron Whitefield
Field: Ryan Jeffers
Arm: Matt Wallner
Best athlete: Royce Lewis

Fastball: Brusdar Graterol
Curveball: Jhoan Duran
Slider: Edwar Colina
Changeup: Jovani Moran
Control: Bailey Ober

How they were built

Draft: 18
International: 6
Trade: 5
Free agent: 1

The Twins had the most homegrown roster of all the AL playoff teams, using both the Draft and the international market very well. That filters down to their top prospects, where they currently have five former first-round picks in the top half of the Top 30. There are high-priced international free agents like Wander Javier and, most recently, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and bigger bargains like Brusdar Graterol on the list. They’ve also done a good job of adding young talent via trades, even when they were buyers at the last deadline.

Top 30 breakdown by position:

C: 2
1B: 1
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 5
OF: 8
RHP: 10
LHP: 1

While there are arms to be excited about, with Graterol and Balazovic the prime examples, the Twins are definitely hitter-heavy right now. Seven of their top 10 prospects are position players and they are tied with the A’s and Giants with the most hitters (19) on a Top 30 list.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.