Where Twins' top prospects will start season

May 2nd, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- Though the Twins' newly shuffled top four Minor League affiliates announced their rosters on Saturday ahead of the Minor Leagues' scheduled Opening Day on Tuesday, Minnesota's top two pitching prospects won't be in action when play gets underway.

According to farm director Alex Hassan, both Jordan Balazovic (ranked No. 4 in the organization by MLB Pipeline) and Jhoan Duran (No. 5) are still ramping up from injuries sustained during camp and are likely weeks away from being able to pitch out of the starting rotation.

Duran sustained some trapezius tightness early in camp, but he was able to pitch two rounds of batting practice on Saturday, Hassan said. Balazovic, who was dealing with a back injury during Spring Training, is tracking a bit behind Duran and is just now starting to get into live sessions.

Otherwise, the majority of the Twins' group is ready to get underway following a year away from the field, spread across the organization's new affiliate alignment featuring Triple-A St. Paul, Double-A Wichita, High-A Cedar Rapids and Low-A Fort Myers -- though it was a more difficult task than usual to sort players into levels.

"I think it was difficult for two reasons," Hassan said. "The first is not having last year’s statistics to work off of to say where -- how players performed, [what] we can derive from a development perspective. A lot of times, they’ll tell you when they’re ready for the next level, and we just didn’t have that track record of performance from last year to be able to work off of.

"So that was the first challenge, and then the second challenge is obviously the physical one of, these guys were largely inactive for most of the year."

Hassan said he emphasized to many players that these rosters only represent a starting point and that the organization leaned more conservatively when making decisions. Those could quickly change.

One fortunate development for the Twins is that they were able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to their personnel during Minor League spring training. The first dose came in the first week of camp, and the second was given to players and staff just before they broke for their full-season assignments, Hassan said.

"We had really good turnout, and our percentage is very high of Minor League players that have received their second dose," Hassan said.

Here's a list of the club's Top 30 Prospects starting the season in each level of the Minors:

Triple-A St. Paul: No. 3 Trevor Larnach, No. 5 Duran, No. 12 Brent Rooker, No. 18 Travis Blankenhorn, No. 24 Bailey Ober

Double-A Wichita: No. 8 Gilberto Celestino, No. 14 Josh Winder, No. 15 Cole Sands, No. 19 Jose Miranda, No. 30 Dakota Chalmers

High-A Cedar Rapids: No. 7 Matt Canterino, No. 11 Blayne Enlow, No. 13 Matt Wallner, No. 22 Wander Javier, No. 26 Seth Gray, No. 27 Luis Rijo

Low-A Fort Myers: No. 6 Aaron Sabato, No. 9 Keoni Cavaco, No. 23 Will Holland