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Twinkie Town Community Prospect Vote 2019: Round 14

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Two catchers join a crowded ballot in round fourteen

Kent Hrbek
Kent Hrbek is baffled by his choices for this round of voting

Congratulations to Blayne Enlow for winning round 13 after two rounds as the runner-up. The 2017 draft is looking good so far with three prospects in our top thirteen.

2019 Twinkie Town Prospect Voting Results

  1. Royce Lewis 52% (Kirilloff 44%, Graterol 4%)
  2. Alex Kirilloff 90% (Graterol 4%, Gordon 4%, Larnach 2%)
  3. Brusdar Graterol 56% (Gordon 19%, Larnach 12%, Thorpe 8%, Gonsalves 5%)
  4. Trevor Larnach 42% (Thorpe 25%, Gordon 21%, Gonsalves 12%)
  5. Lewis Thorpe 31% (Gordon 30%, Rooker 14%, Javier 13%, Gonsalves 11%)
  6. Nick Gordon 39% (Rooker 20%, Gonsalves 18%, Javier 17%, Alcala 5%)
  7. Stephen Gonsalves 35% (Rooker 28%, Javier 28%, Alcala 5%, Baddoo 4%)
  8. Brent Rooker 43% (Javier 41%, Baddoo 6%, Enlow 6%, Alcala 4%)
  9. Wander Javier 70% (Baddoo 12%, Enlow 7%, Alcala 7%, Duran 4%)
  10. Jorge Alcala 32% (Baddoo 28%, Enlow 23%, Duran 14%, Celestino 3%)
  11. Jhoan Duran 39% (Enlow 31%, Baddoo 25%, Severino 3%, Celestino 2%)
  12. Zack Littell 56% (Enlow 28%, Baddoo 11%, Severino 2%, Celestino 2%)
  13. Blayne Enlow 50% (Baddoo 33%, Balazovic 10%, Severino 4%, Celestino 3%)

I am adding a pair of catchers to this round so they can compete for your votes head to head.

Akil Baddoo, CF

2019 Age: 20

2018 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Akil Baddoo was drafted in the second round in 2016 and was considered a toolsy work in progress with exceptional athletic talent (comparisons to Carl Crawford and Jacque Jones) but in need of refinement at the plate. Not unexpectedly, he hit .178 that summer in rookie ball. In 2017 it all came together in a hurry. He improved to .267/.360/.440 playing for the Gulf Coast Twins and was promoted to Elizabethton where he did even better. He hit .357/.478/.579 with more walks (27) than strikeouts (19) at Betsy and drew rave reviews for his approach at the plate. In 2018 he spent the summer at Cedar Rapids and thrived in a leadoff role. His batting average dipped (.243) but he did well getting on base (.351 OBP) and maintained his power (44 XBH) while showcasing his speed (11 triples, 24 SB, 4 CS). The chink in the armor was a rise in strikeouts (124) and his struggles against more advanced left-handed pitching (.220/.304/.339) but considering his age he performed admirably. His grade 70 speed allows him to cover centerfield but his arm might keep him in left in the majors. Expect to see him in Fort Myers in 2019 but by 2021 he might be making his debut in the spacious LF of Target Field.

Gilberto Celestino, CF

2019 Age: 20

2018 High Level: Corpus Christi (AA)

Gilberto Celestino was signed as an international free agent by the Houston Astros for a $2.5M bonus in 2015. He ranked as the #7 international prospect that signing period. As an outfielder who throws left and bats right, a combination that worked mainly for Rickey Henderson, he is a rarity. He runs fast and throws hard which has helped him build an excellent reputation as an outfielder. He also does well on the basepaths stealing 22 bases while only being caught once in 2018. His minor league experience is rather unusual. 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. Don’t let the brief stint at Double-A Corpus Christi fool you, he only had 8 at-bats at that level. Celestino was acquired along with Alcala last summer in return for reliever Ryan Pressly. After he was acquired by the Twins he was sent back to the Appalachian League to play with the Elizabethton Twins instead of assigning him to Cedar Rapids. He finished the season hitting .266/.308/.349 which was a downgrade from his past performance in the same league. He has tremendous tools and should be a plus defender but needs work at the plate. Expect to see him playing for Cedar Rapids this summer.

Yunior Severino, 2B

2019 Age: 19

2018 High Level: Elizabethton (Rookie)

Yunior Severino was part of the Braves high profile class of international free agent signings headed by Kevin Maitan in 2016. Unfortunately for the Braves those signings became even more high profile when MLB voided the signings and made most of the players free agents again last winter. Severino originally signed a $1.9M contract with the Braves and he gets to keep all of that money. The Twins were able to sign him for $2.5M so the young man has done quite well already. Severino is a switch hitting second baseman from the Dominican Republic. He was promoted after 10 games from the Braves’ Dominican Rookie team to the GCL team and hit .286/.345/.444 in his debut. Scouts believe he has power and he has shown it, albeit inconsistently. He is considered a bat-first infielder who is learning how to play 2B and some scouts think he may need to move to 3B if he grows significantly. Severino stayed in extended spring training working on fundamentals until Elizabethton started their season last summer. He hit .263/.321/.424 and started off hot but faded as the season went on. His fielding at 2B was solid but he struggled in a few games at SS. As a switch hitter he will be taking lots of extra batting practice to improve on his offense in 2019.

Jordan Balazovic, P

2019 Age: 20

2018 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Jordan Balazovic was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. He was committed to pitch at Auburn but the Twins went over slot and signed him for a $515,000 bonus. He was one of the youngest players in the draft that summer due to a September birthday and he has since grown from 6’3” 170 lbs to 6’5” 195 lbs. On draft day he impressed with his fastball command and a decent changeup. Since draft day his fastball has increased in velocity from 89 MPH to 94 MPH, the changeup has improved and he has added a good slider while maintaining his above average command. After two seasons with the Gulf Coast Twins the Twins sent him to Cedar Rapids where he impressed with an 11.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 3.94 Run Average in 60-1/3 innings. Expect to see him in Fort Myers again in 2019 but this time as a member of the Miracle.

Ben Rortvedt, C

2019 Age: 21

2018 High Level: Fort Myers (A+)

Ben Rortvedt was drafted out of high school in Wisconsin by the Twins in the second round in 2016. Scouts loved his glove behind the plate and were encouraged by his hitting. He started off with the GCL Twins and was pushed up to Elizabethton after just 20 games. He didn’t hit very well (OPS below 600) but impressed the talent evaluators enough to start 2017 with Cedar Rapids. He was quite young for Cedar Rapids and it showed in his struggles at the plate. He hit just .224/.284/.315 for the Kernels in 2017. He did make significant progress with his offense after starting the season with a brutal April and May that left him hitting just .140 at the beginning of June. The Twins were impressed with his defense and encouraged enough by his ability to adjust at the plate that they still considered the aggressive promotion a success. He began the 2018 season at Cedar Rapids and earned a promotion to Fort Myers after 29 games. His combined batting line at two levels of A-ball was .262/.331/.379 which is a significant improvement over the previous season but still lacking in power. If he is able to learn to drive the ball he may have a future as a big league starter, otherwise his glove suggests he would be a valuable backup. Expect him to begin the 2019 season back at Fort Myers with an eye on a mid-season promotion to Double-A.

Ryan Jeffers, C

2019 Age: 22

2018 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Ryan Jeffers was the Twins second round draft pick last summer from UNC-Wilmington. In college he was named all-conference twice and was the best hitter on the Seahawks his junior season. The Twins sent him to Elizabethton after he signed and it was little challenge for Jeffers as he hit .422/.543/.578 in 28 games. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids to end the season and he continued to hit well, putting up a line of .288/.361/.446. His bat is considered his best asset and he has a strong arm but his overall glove work is below average for a catching prospect. Twins scouts think he should do well enough to stay behind the plate with comparisons to Mitch Garver defensively. Jeffers could start the 2019 season back in Cedar Rapids but is likely to play most of his games in Fort Myers.

Poll

Who do you think is the 14th best prospect in the Twins’ system

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Akil Baddoo
    (125 votes)
  • 5%
    Gilberto Celestino
    (15 votes)
  • 7%
    Yunior Severino
    (19 votes)
  • 11%
    Jordan Balazovic
    (29 votes)
  • 9%
    Ben Rortvedt
    (24 votes)
  • 17%
    Ryan Jeffers
    (46 votes)
258 votes total Vote Now