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Twinkie Town Prospect List 2021: Round 3

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We’re just getting started, join us for round three!

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Minnesota Twins Summer Workouts
Congratulations to our Round Two winner Royce Lewis!
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Royce Lewis was the round two winner in a landslide vote. It should be fun being a Saints fan this summer. You should get a look at many of the top prospects on our list.

Twinkie Town 2021 Prospect Voting Results

  1. Alex Kirilloff 68% (Lewis 19%, Balazovic 9%, Larnach 5%)
  2. Royce Lewis 65% (Larnach 17%, Balazovic 16%, Duran 2%)

I try to keep a mix of bat-first, glove-first and pitching prospects on the list. Since we elected a glove-first prospect I’ll add a new one to the list this round.

Trevor Larnach, OF

2021 Age: 24

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Trevor Larnach was the Twins first round draft pick (#20 overall) in 2018 after his College World Series win with Oregon State including a game where he hit a dramatic 9th inning home run. His college career ended with Trevor being named an All-American in the outfield. After he signed the Twins sent him to rookie-level Elizabethton to get his feet wet. He quickly proved that rookie ball was not a challenge and was promoted after 18 games to Cedar Rapids. With the Kernels he hit .297/.373/.505 in 24 games showing he can produce at the plate as well as nearly anyone in the Midwest League. The Twins promoted him aggressively starting 2019 at Fort Myers. He responded well hitting .316/.382/.459 and earned a mid-season promotion to Double-A Pensacola. At Pensacola he continued to hit posting a .295/.387/.455 batting line. Larnach has played primarily in RF and should be the starter there in Triple-A St. Paul to start 2021. If he continues to hit he will make his Twins debut this summer.

Jordan Balazovic, P

2021 Age: 22

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

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” 215 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 95 MPH and added sinking movement. The changeup has improved and he has added a good slider while maintaining his above average command. In 2019 he started the year back in Cedar Rapids and was dominant (14.4 K/9, 1.7 BB/9) in four starts earning a promotion to Fort Myers. In 73 innings at that level he impressed again with a 11.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 and earned a September promotion to Double-A Pensacola for the playoffs. He is no longer a “sleeper” prospect after joining Royce Lewis at the MLB Futures game at All-Star Weekend 2019. He also played for Team Canada in the Pan Am games that summer. Balazovic was one of the prospects at last summer’s St. Paul training site. Expect him to start the season with the Saints but a major league debut is likely in 2021.

Jhoan Duran, P

2020 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Jhoan Duran was signed in 2015 by the Diamondbacks as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. He moved slowly up the rookie leagues putting up pedestrian numbers in his first two seasons (K/BB ~ 2, Run Average ~ 5). He showed modest improvement in 2017 with an improved strikeout rate and promotion to low A ball but his ERA was still 4.24. His breakthrough came 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 the haul for Eduardo Escobar. Duran impressed quickly by throwing a 7 inning shutout in one of his earliest games as a Kernel. He finished the 2018 season with a 10.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 4.65 RA/9 in 100-2/3 innings in the Midwest League. Kernels (now Saints) manager Toby Gardenhire described Duran as having a “power sinker...he gets guys to chase a lot down in the zone. Got a really good arm, has a four-seamer he runs up there close to 97 miles per hour. He can sink it at 91, 92.” Baseball America calls his sinking fastball a “splinker” and said that the Twins also improved his changeup and curveball (good article with video). In 2019 he started in Fort Myers, posting an 11.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 3.35 RA in 78 innings which earned him a July promotion to Double-A. In Pensacola he kept his strikeout rate up at 10.0 K/9 and reduced his walks to 2.2 BB/9 but his run average went up to 4.86 in 37 innings. He has the stuff and the build (6’5” 230 lbs) to be successful at the big league level but will need to learn how 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 option year last season training at the alternate training site. Expect him to spend most of this season with the Saints with a Twins debut likely some time this summer.

Ryan Jeffers, C

2021 Age: 24

2020 High Level: Twins (MLB)

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. When Mitch Garver was injured last summer it gave Jeffers an opportunity to make his major league debut. He impressed with his bat hitting .273/.355/.436 in 62 plate appearances which was enough to earn him the starting job in both playoff games. His bat is considered his best asset and he has a strong arm but his overall glove work is just average for a catcher. He manages to provide a low target by setting up on his knees which helps his framing but makes it more difficult to block pitches in the dirt. He also only threw out 13% of base stealers. Despite not being a finished product he is expected to share the big league catching duties with Mitch Garver in 2021.

Poll

Vote for your favorite in Round 3

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Trevor Larnach
    (122 votes)
  • 37%
    Jordan Balazovic
    (122 votes)
  • 5%
    Jhoan Duran
    (17 votes)
  • 20%
    Ryan Jeffers
    (68 votes)
329 votes total Vote Now