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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2020: Round 7

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2019 KAABOO Del Mar
There are no pictures of Jhoan Duran in the database. Enjoy this picture of Duran Duran instead.
Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

Is there something I should know? Yes! Our choice for #6 prospect on our list is Jhoan Duran (and he dances on the sand).

Twinkie Town 2020 Prospect Voting Results

  1. Alex Kirilloff 40% (Lewis 28%, Graterol 24%, Larnach 8%)
  2. Royce Lewis 48% (Graterol 29%, Balazovic 12%, Larnach 12%)
  3. Brusdar Graterol 59% (Balazovic 22%, Larnach 19%, Cavaco 1%)
  4. Trevor Larnach 48% (Balazovic 43%, Duran 8%, Cavaco 1%)
  5. Jordan Balazovic 78% (Duran 11%, Rooker 9%, Jeffers 2%, Cavaco 0%)
  6. Jhoan Duran 52% (Rooker 19%, Thorpe 16%, Jeffers 10%, Cavaco 3%)

I am replacing Duran on the ballot with an outfielder who was the top international free agent signing a couple years ago. It was more than a couple years ago that Duran Duran was one of the top international musical groups.

Keoni Cavaco, SS

2020 Age: 19

2019 High Level: Gulf Coast Twins (Rookie)

Keoni Cavaco was the Twins first round pick in the 2019 MLB draft out of Eastlake High School in California. As the draft approached the word most used with Cavaco was “helium” as he had risen up draft boards all the way to the Twins at pick #13, the fifth highest pick among high school players. Cavaco fits the mold of a “toolsy” draft pick as his arm and speed are impressive and he has some pop in his bat but he has not seen as high level of pitching as other players. This was evident in his performance in rookie ball where he hit just .172/.217/.253 in 92 PA. The Twins played Cavaco mainly at shortstop during rookie ball but many scouts think his long-term position is third base. Cavaco believes he will be ready to contribute in the majors in “three years” and while I admire the optimism I don’t think anyone will be surprised if his development takes longer. Expect to see Cavaco start the year in extended spring training with another stint in rookie ball in Fort Myers or Elizabethton late this summer.

Ryan Jeffers, C

2020 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Ryan Jeffers was the Twins second round draft pick in 2018 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. Jeffers started the 2019 season in Fort Myers and earned a promotion after hitting .256/.330/.402 in 79 games at that level. He hit even better after the promotion with a .287/.374/.483 triple slash in Double-A. His bat is considered his best asset and he has a strong arm but his overall glove work is just average for a catching prospect. Twins scouts think he should do well enough to stay behind the plate with comparisons to Mitch Garver defensively. He is likely to spend the whole season in the minors this season assuming the big leaguers avoid injuries but Alex Avila only has a one year contract and Jeffers will get a look in 2021.

Brent Rooker, LF/1B

2020 Age: 25

2019 High Level: Rochester (AAA)

Brent Rooker was drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2017 draft (35th overall) out of Mississippi State. He was drafted as a redshirt sophomore in the 38th round of the 2016 draft by the Twins but decided to return for his junior season. He improved his draft stock considerably with a terrific junior year culminating in being named SEC player of the year among other honors. The Twins sent him to Elizabethton and he hit so well (.282/.364/.588) that they skipped over Cedar Rapids and promoted him to Fort Myers. Rooker hit .280/.364/.552 for Fort Myers against competition roughly the same age. In Double-A Chattanooga in 2018 he saw his first struggles hitting as a professional with a lousy April and underwhelming May due to a drop in batting average. He made adjustments ended the season with a respectable .254/.333/.465 batting line for the year. Last summer he spent the season in Triple-A Rochester and hit even better posting a batting line of .281/.398/.534 while being named an International League All-Star. However, he struggled with injuries spending a large portion of the season on the injured list and also with strikeouts as his K rate increased from 26% of his plate appearances to 35%. Rooker is seen as a competent LF and can play 1B but it is his bat that will get him to the big leagues. He could end up making the big league roster if they don’t add another infielder this off season. If not he will be one of the first call ups this summer.

Lewis Thorpe, P

2020 Age: 24

2019 High Level: Twins (MLB)

Confirmed Australian Lewis Thorpe was signed for a $500k bonus by the Twins in 2012. By 2014 he reached Cedar Rapids with a performance of 10.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 4.65 RA despite being 4 years younger than the average player in the Midwest League. That offseason the young lefty made the Baseball Prospectus top 101 list. Unfortunately in 2015 he had elbow issues in spring training which led to ligament replacement surgery. During his 2016 comeback he contracted mono and was shut down without pitching in a game. By 2017 he had faded into the background with newer prospects getting the attention of prospect lists. He started the 2017 season with Fort Myers, gradually building up his pitch count while posting a nice 9.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 3.16 RA in 77 innings. That earned him a spot start for Chattanooga in August. The Twins added him to the 40 man roster to keep him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft after the 2017 season. In 2018 he started at Double-A Chattanooga and pitched excellent with a 3.58 ERA and 10.9 K/9 against just a 2.5 BB/9. Thorpe built up his strength as the season went on and his fastball gained velocity. He earned a late promotion to Triple-A Rochester where he was able to maintain his production in 4 starts at that level. His great rate stats over 130 innings (a new high for Thorpe) led to the Twins naming him the 2018 minor league pitcher of year. He started 2019 back at Triple-A Rochester and continued to pitch well with (11.1K/9, 2.1 BB/9) but the super-ball used in AAA led to a 4.76 Run Average. More importantly he stayed relatively healthy for a second season in a row. He made his Twins debut last summer in the bullpen and his strikeouts (10.1 K/9) and walks (3.3 BB/9) were good but he gave up a bunch of runs (6.18 RA). One knock on Thorpe is that his pitch sequencing and command are great but he lacks one plus-plus pitch that can dominate batters. This limits his ceiling to a #4 starter. The Twins have an opening in the rotation to start the season and Thorpe would fill a niche as a lefthanded option. I expect him to get first dibs at that open rotation spot. If he falters the Twins can use his last option and move him back to Triple-A.

Misael Urbina, OF

2020 Age: 18

2019 High Level: DSL Twins (Foreign Rookie)

Misael “Misa” Urbina was the top international free agent signed by the Twins in 2018 costing them a $2.75M bonus with an additional $300k for college. He ranked #5 among international free agents who were available in the 2018 signing period. He came to the Twins from Venezuela where he had been participating in the Venezuelan Winter League development program for young players. He played his first summer in the system in the Dominican rookie league and did very well hitting .279/.382/.443 with more walks than strikeouts. He has plus speed and scouts rated his centerfield defense as among the best in the league. He should make his way to the United States this summer to play in a rookie league but his Twins debut is unlikely before 2023.

Poll

Who should be the #7 prospect on our list?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Keoni Cavaco
    (18 votes)
  • 28%
    Ryan Jeffers
    (108 votes)
  • 36%
    Brent Rooker
    (137 votes)
  • 24%
    Lewis Thorpe
    (90 votes)
  • 5%
    Misael Urbina
    (22 votes)
375 votes total Vote Now