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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2021: Round 17

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Congratulations to Cole Sands!

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 21 Florida State at Miami
Cole Sands wins round 16
Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cole Sands lost the tiebreaker in round fifteen but no tie breaker was needed in round sixteen. Sands is likely to pitch in the majors as long as he can avoid injury.

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%)
  7. Brent Rooker 47% (Canterino 26%, Sabato 15%, Celestino 8%, Cavaco 4%)
  8. Matt Canterino 39% (Sabato 32%, Celestino 15%, Enlow 12%, Cavaco 2%)
  9. Aaron Sabato 43% (Enlow 21%, Celestino 21%, Cavaco 10%, Urbina 6%)
  10. Gilberto Celestino 36% (Enlow 33%, Cavaco 17%, Urbina 8%, Wallner 6%)
  11. Blayne Enlow 41% (Winder 20%, Cavaco 19%, Urbina 15%, Wallner 5%)
  12. Keoni Cavaco 29% (Winder 25%, Urbina 20%, Sands 14%, Wallner 11%)
  13. Josh Winder 33% (Urbina 28%, Sands 19%, Wallner 13%, Miranda 7%)
  14. Misael Urbina 42% (Colina 28%, Sands 17%, Wallner 12%, Miranda 1%)
  15. Edwar Colina 35% (Sands 35%, Wallner 20%, Rodriguez 7%, Miranda 3%)
  16. Cole Sands 47% (Wallner 27%, Vallimont 11%, Rodriguez 8%, Miranda 7%)

We’re getting thin on pitchers and we haven’t added a glove-first candidate in a while. This round I’m adding a player who could be an injury or two away from making his big league debut.

Matt Wallner, RF

2021 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

The Twins drafted Matt Wallner 39th overall in the 2019 MLB draft out of Southern Mississippi. They had previously drafted him in the 32nd round out of Forest Lake High School (Go Rangers!) after being named the East Metro player of the year and Mr Baseball but he made the easy choice to go to college instead. He had been committed to North Dakota to play college baseball but that school dropped their baseball program in April of his senior year and Wallner changed his destination to Hattiesburg, MS. Despite the late change things worked out well as Wallner became one of the best players in Southern Miss history. He was named Conference USA freshman of the year splitting his time between RF and P. His sophomore year he was named an All-American and although he dropped pitching his junior year he kept piling up awards and became the highest draft pick in the history of Southern Miss. He hit .337/.461/.652 with 58 HR in 189 games over his college career. The Twins started Wallner at Elizabethton and he hit .269/.361/.452 in 53 games before a late promotion to Cedar Rapids where he hit .205/.340/.455 in 12 games. His best asset is his power left handed bat and as a former pitcher his arm in RF is a plus. Brian Dozier was the last Twin picked from Southern Mississippi. We can all hope this local kid has that level of career for the Twins.

Jose Miranda, IF

2021 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Puerto Rican Jose Miranda was the 73rd overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft. He made his debut with the GCL Twins and hit .227 while playing three infield positions. In 2017 the Twins sent him to Elizabethton and had him play mostly 2B because the team had Andrew Bechtold at 3B. Miranda improved at the plate in 2017 hitting .283/.340/.484 in 247 plate appearances. In 2018 he split time defensively between second base and third. He started the season at Cedar Rapids and hit .277/.326/.434 over 104 games. He earned a late season promotion to Fort Myers and initially struggled batting .216 in 27 games to end the season but he hit .400 with two home runs in the playoff series helping the Miracle win the Florida State League championship. The Twins sent him back to Fort Myers and in 2019 and he continued to split time at 2B and 3B with a little SS for good measure. His swing is designed to get the ball over the fence but Fort Myers is a difficult place to hit dingers and Miranda hit only 8 HR while slashing .248/.299/.364. He played 1 game in Pensacola to end the season and I would expect him to start 2021 back at Double-A. Miranda played a few games in the Puerto Rican Winter League and helped his team advance to the Caribbean Series. Twins scouts have done well in Puerto Rico finding Jose Berrios, Kennys Vargas, and Eddie Rosario in recent years. Let’s hope they found another quality player in Jose Miranda.

Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF

2021 Age: 18

2019 High Level: N/A

The Twins made Emmanuel Rodriguez their top international free agent signing of 2019 with a $2.7M bonus. The Dominican outfielder was ranked 10th on MLB’s list of international free agent prospects and 19th by Fangraphs. The 5’10” outfielder has a good approach at the plate and his left-handed swing has drawn favorable comparisons to Eddie Rosario. He will probably start his career as a CF and move to a corner as he gets closer to the majors. He is considered a good base runner and, also like Rosario, has a strong outfield arm. He will probably make his professional debut this summer in a foreign rookie league and is unlikely to be a Twin before 2024.

Chris Vallimont, P

2021 Age: 24

2019 High Level: Fort Myers (A+)

Chris Vallimont was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft by the Miami Marlins. He played his college baseball at Division II Mercyhurst where he became their all-time single season leader in strikeouts with 147. He started his pro career at Batavia and had a lot of trouble throwing strikes his first season. In 2019 he pitched much better for Clinton in the Midwest League (10.4K/9 3.4BB/9) and was promoted after 13 starts to Jupiter in the Florida State League. He was doing well enough at Jupiter to impress Twins scouts who made sure Vallimont was included in the trade of Sergio Romo for Lewin Diaz. The Twins kept him in the Florida State League to finish the season and in 10 starts at that level he had a 3.70 RA, 10.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. At 6’5” 235 he has the build of a starting pitcher and he has the repertoire to back it up. His fastball clocks between 92 and 96 MPH, he also throws a sweeping slider in the mid-80s, a hard breaking curveball and a decent changeup. Expect him to start this summer at Double-A Wichita with a goal of a promotion to Triple-A St. Paul.

Ben Rortvedt, C

2021 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Ben Rortvedt was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Wisconsin. 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. He started 2019 back at Fort Myers and showed the best power of his career to start the season earning another aggressive promotion to Double-A Pensacola. His bat cooled down again after the promotion (.239/.332/.355) and a knee injury requiring surgery ended his season early. The Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League for a few games and he was healthy last spring. 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 2021 season playing every day at Double-A Wichita with a probable mid-season promotion to Triple-A St. Paul.

Poll

Vote in Round 17

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Matt Wallner
    (59 votes)
  • 5%
    Jose Miranda
    (7 votes)
  • 10%
    Emmanuel Rodriguez
    (13 votes)
  • 20%
    Chris Vallimont
    (24 votes)
  • 13%
    Ben Rortvedt
    (16 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now