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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2021: Round 6

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Ryan Jeffers wins round five of our poll

Wild Card Round - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game One
“I’m number five” - Ryan Jeffers
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Ryan Jeffers wins round five in what is almost certainly his last year on our list. It was a close race but he was able to hold off Jhoan Duran. Duran becomes the favorite for round six.

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%)
  3. Trevor Larnach 37% (Balazovic 37%, Jeffers 21%, Duran 5%)
  4. Jordan Balazovic 73% (Jeffers 18%, Duran 7%, Sabato 3%)
  5. Ryan Jeffers 45% (Duran 43%, Sabato 6%, Canterino 6%)

I’ll add a prospect from a defensive position to the list as well as an outfielder known for his defense.

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.

Aaron Sabato, 1B

2021 Age: 22

2020 High Level: NCAA

With the 27th pick in the 2020 MLB amateur draft the Twins selected Aaron Sabato, a sophomore first baseman from the University of North Carolina. In his abbreviated college career Sabato earned several honors including Collegiate Baseball Co-National Freshman of the Year, first-team All-America and Freshman All-America, ACC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-ACC. He did this by hitting .343/.453/.696 and hitting a Tar Heels freshman record 18 HR while leading the team in hits, batting average, doubles and slugging percentage. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic but he still managed a streak of 6 HR in 7 games. The 6’2” 230lb kid from Rye Brook, New York was a top rated SS in high school which shows you that most big leaguers were a pitcher, catcher, shortstop or centerfielder in high school. His glove is not what impressed the scouts; Sabato is expected to play 1B or DH in the big leagues. Expect to see him creating outfield souvenirs at low-A Fort Myers to start the season. A promotion to high-A Cedar Rapids is possible before the summer is over.

Matt Canterino, P

2021 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

The Twins drafted Matt Canterino in the second round of the 2019 MLB draft. He spent three seasons at Rice University and led the team in strikeouts all three seasons. The right-handed pitcher was named Conference USA pitcher of the year in 2019. He has a four pitch mix (fastball, curve, slider, change) and his strikeout pitch is his slider but he is best known for having great control. As a mechanical engineering major who was all-academic in his conference he is known to think a bit about his pitching. He made his professional debut in 2019 for the Gulf Coast Twins rookie team but was promoted after just 5 innings. In 20 innings at Cedar Rapids he had a 2.25 RA9, 11.3 K/9 and 0.65 WHIP. Canterino spent most of last summer working out on his own but he did report to the alternate training site in St. Paul at the end of the summer. When he arrived he impressed with an improved changeup and consistent 94 MPH velocity on his fastball. He could start 2021 back at high A Cedar Rapids or possibly move up to double-A Wichita. With his college experience the organization will not be afraid to promote him quickly as long as he pitches well. He could be pitching regularly for the Twins as soon as 2022.

Keoni Cavaco, SS

2021 Age: 20

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 believed he would be ready to contribute in the majors in “three years”. I admire the optimism I don’t think anyone will be surprised if his development takes longer. Expect to see Cavaco play this summer in class A Fort Myers.

Gilberto Celestino, CF

2021 Age: 22

2019 High Level: Fort Myers (A+)

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. 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 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 2018 season hitting .266/.308/.349 which was a downgrade from his past performance in the same league. He debuted in 2019 at Cedar Rapids and hit .276/.350/.409 with lots of doubles and excellent defense. He earned a late season promotion to Fort Myers and hit .300/.333/.433 in 33 PA at that level. He was added to the 40 man roster to ensure he wasn’t picked in the 2019 draft. He used an option in 2020 working out in St. Paul. He has tremendous tools and should be a plus defender but is still quite young and needs more time to develop. Expect to see him play 2021 at Double-A Wichita with a Twins debut possible if Buxton ends up with an extended stay on the disabled list.

Poll

Pick from five in round six

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Jhoan Duran
    (151 votes)
  • 5%
    Aaron Sabato
    (10 votes)
  • 10%
    Matt Canterino
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Keoni Cavaco
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Gilberto Celestino
    (9 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now