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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote: Round 7

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I don’t have to use a Duran Duran picture this year!

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins
From this angle it looks like Duran won round six
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Jhoan Duran came into round six as the favorite and won in a landslide. He’s close enough to the majors now that there are stock photos of him in the database and I can stop making Duran Duran jokes! But I won’t cry for yesterday. There’s an ordinary world, somehow I have to find and as I try to make my way to the ordinary world I will learn to survive.

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%)
  6. Jhoan Duran 79% (Canterino 9%, Sabato 5%, Celestino 4%, Cavaco 2%)

I’m adding a prospect to the list who made a great impression in his MLB debut last summer. Hopefully he will continue to impress this season.

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 but 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.

Brent Rooker, OF/1B

2021 Age: 26

2020 High Level: Twins (MLB)

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. In 2019 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%. On September 4th he was called up from the alternate training site due to a Max Kepler injury and made his debut for the Twins. He hit .316/.381/.579 over the course of seven games before suffering his own injury when a pitch by Zach Plesac fractured his forearm. Rooker is seen as a competent LF and can play 1B but his bat is his best asset. He will have a chance to earn a spot on the 2021 team during spring training.

Poll

Vote in Round 7

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Aaron Sabato
    (31 votes)
  • 26%
    Matt Canterino
    (58 votes)
  • 3%
    Keoni Cavaco
    (8 votes)
  • 7%
    Gilberto Celestino
    (16 votes)
  • 47%
    Brent Rooker
    (103 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now