Twinkie Town Prospect Voting 2022: Round 5 | Minnesota Twins top prospects

Jordan Balazovic leaves the board in the fourth round. If all goes well for him, we could see him make his debut for the Twins this summer.

  1. Royce Lewis 40% (Martin 37%, Balazovic 23%)
  2. Austin Martin 65% (Balazovic 25%, Duran 7%, Woods-Richardson 2%)
  3. Joe Ryan 43% (Balazovic 27%, Miranda 24%, Duran 4%, Woods-Richardson 2%)
  4. Jordan Balazovic 48% (Miranda 45%, Duran 4%, Woods-Richardson 2%, Celestino 1%)

Lose a pitcher add a pitcher this turn. Twins (for the first time I can remember) are deeper in throwing prospects than position players.

Jhoan Duran was signed in 2015 by the Diamondbacks as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. He slowly moved up the rookie leagues by increasing foot count in his first two seasons (K/BB around 2, Run Average around 5). He showed modest improvement in 2017 with an improved strikeout rate and low A-ball promotion, but his ERA was still 4.24. His breakthrough came in pitching for Kane County in the Midwest League in 2018 with a 9.9 K/9 before the trade. The Twins acquired him at the deadline as part of Eduardo Escobar’s carry. Duran quickly impressed by pitching a 7-inning shutout in one of his first games as a core. He finished the 2018 season with a 10.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 4.65 AR/9 in 100-2/3 innings in the Midwest League. Core Manager (now Saints) Toby Gardenhire describes Duran like having “lead power…he makes guys hunt a lot in the zone. He’s got a really good arm, he’s got a four seam, he runs up there at almost 97 miles an hour. He can sinking him at 91, 92.” Baseball America calls his sinking fastball a “splinker” and said the Twins also improved his change and curve (good article with video). In 2019, he started at Fort Myers, posting an 11.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 3.35 RA in 78 innings, earning him a July promotion to Double-A. In Pensacola, he kept his strikeout rate at 10.0 K/9 and cut his walks to 2.2 BB/9, but his run average dropped to 4.86 in 37 innings. He has the stuff and the build (6’5” 230 lbs) to succeed at the major league level, but will need to learn to sequence his four pitches to be effective as a starting pitcher. He was added to the 40-man roster before 2020 and used an optional one-year training at the alternate training site. 2021 was set to be a big year for Duran with a promotion to Triple-A, but instead he pitched just 16 innings due to injury. 2022 will be a breakthrough season with Duran using his 3rd option. Sending him to the bullpen is a possibility if he is unable to earn a promotion as a starting pitcher by midseason.

Simeon Woods-Richardson began his professional career in the Dishes organization after making him their 2018 second-round pick. He went from high school in Sugar Land, TX to rookie ball that summer in the Gulf Coast League and dominated 5 games at that level. This earned him promotion to the Appalachian League team for his last 2 starts of the summer and his last line was 13.5 K/9 and 6.5 K/BB. The Mets promoted him to singles A Columbia and he continued to impress with an 11.1 K/9 and 5.7 K/BB in 78.1 innings. His time at Columbia was cut short when he was traded to the Blue Jays as part of the Mets deal for Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays promoted him to Dunedin and Woods-Richardson finished the year strong at that level. He was named to multiple Top 100 prospect lists following the 2019 season and once again after COVID-19 halted the 2020 minor league season. He started the 2021 season with another promotion to Double-A New Hampshire but had mixed results. He was still knocking out players (13.3 K/9) but his walk rate soared (5.7 BB/9) as his control suffered from free time. He was appointed to Composition of the American team for the Olympic Games and in Tokyo was swapped to twins as part of the package for Jose Berrios. After winning an Olympic silver medal, he joined the Twins organization in Wichita. He continued to struggle with the steps, but it’s important to realize that at age 20 he was throwing Double-As when many players his age were still undrafted amateurs. Expect him to start the 2021 season at Double-A to work on his control. If he is able to return to his previous form, he could be a mainstay in the Twins rotation as early as 2023.

Puerto Rican Jose Miranda was the 73rd overall pick in 2016 MLB Draft. He made his debut with the GCL Twins and hit .227 while playing three positions in the field. In 2017, the Twins sent him to Elizabethton and played him mostly in 2B because the team had Andrew Bechtold in 3B. Miranda improved at the plate in 2017 hitting .283/.340/.484 in 247 plate appearances. In 2018, he split time defensively between second base and third. He started the season at Cedar Rapids and hit .277/.326/.434 in 104 games. He earned a late-season promotion to Fort Myers and initially struggled to bat .216 in 27 games to end the season, but hit .400 with two homers in the playoffs, helping the Miracle to win the state of florida League Championship. The Twins sent him back to Fort Myers and in 2019 and he continued to split time at 2B and 3B with a bit of SS for good measure. His swing is designed to get the ball over the fence, but Fort Myers is a tough place to hit dingers and Miranda only hit 8 HR while chopping .248/.299/.364. He started 2021 at Double-A Wichita and had no trouble hitting that level posting a .345/.408/.588 slash line and earning a promotion to Triple-A. With the Saints, he maintained that production level hitting .343/.397/.563 – enough to earn him the Twins Award for Best Minor League Hitter. He seems best suited for 3B but the Twins have groomed him for a utility role by playing him fairly regularly at 2B and 1B. Miranda is ready to contribute to the Twins now and should get her chance next summer.

Gilberto Celestino was signed as an international free agent by the Houston Astros for a bonus of $2.5 million in 2015. He ranked as the #7 international perspective this signing period. As an outfielder who throws left and hits right, a combination that mostly worked for Rickey Henderson, he is a rarity. He runs fast and throws hard, which has earned him an excellent reputation as an outfielder. After hitting .268/.331/.379 as an 18-year-old in the Appalachian League, the Astros promoted him to the New York-Penn league in 2018. He hit .323/.387/. 480 for the Tri-City Valley Cats. . Celestino was acquired along with Jorge Alcala in 2018 in exchange for reliever Ryan Pressly. After being acquired by the twins he was sent back to the Appalachian League to play with the Elizabethton Twins instead of being assigned to Cedar Rapids. He finished the 2018 season with .266/.308/.349 which was a downgrade from his past performances in the same league. He made his 2019 debut at Cedar Rapids and hit .276/.350/.409 with plenty of doubles and excellent defense. He earned a late-season promotion to Fort Myers and hit .300/.333/.433 in 33 AP at that level. He was added to the 40-man roster to ensure he wasn’t selected in the 2019 draft. He used an option in 2020 while working at St. Paul. In 2021, he started the season at Wichita with .250/.344/.381 in 21 games before a Byron Buxton injury necessitated his big league debut. He has terrific tools and is considered an average MLB defender in center field, but struggled at the plate with just .136 as a Twin. Celestino was demoted to Triple-A St. Paul and adjusted well to that level hitting .290/.384/.443 in 49 games to end the season. Look for him to get more development time at Triple-A with another call likely in 2022.

Josh Winder was selected in the 7th round of the 2018 Virginia Military Institute MLB Draft. He left after his junior season with the highest withdrawal rate in school history and ranked second on their career strikeouts list. He spent his first summer as a twin in Elizabethton and threw well (9.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 3.96 AR). In 2019, he pitched for the Cedar Rapids Kernels and had a very productive season (8.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 3.08 RA in 125-2/3 IP). He was named a Midwest League All-Star (with Chris Vallimont) and led the league will dance. He throws at least four pitches (fastball, curveball, change and slider) and he throws them for strikes. At 6’5″ and 210 pounds, he has the build of scouts as in a starting pitcher and still has the potential to add muscle. In 2020, working mostly alone, he was able to increase his fastball speed to 97 MPH. He also impressed the scouts at fall educational training. He skipped the high A-ball and started 2021 at Double-A Wichita where he was very impressive (10.7 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 1.98 RA9) in 10 starts. This led to a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul in June and a spot on the MLB Futures Game roster. A right shoulder injury ended his season in July, ending a trajectory that likely would have led to a major league recall. The Twins have added him to the 40-man roster and he will fight for a spot on the team this spring.

Survey

Twinkie Town 2022 Prospect Voting: Round 5

  • 16%
    Simeon Woods-Richardson

    (15 votes)

  • 0%
    Gilberto Celestino

    (0 votes)


90 voices in total

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About Walter J. Leslie

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