Catcher Ben Rortvedt made our list at eighteen. He could debut this summer if the major league starters get dinged up.
Twinkie Town 2021 Prospect Voting Results
- Alex Kirilloff 68% (Lewis 19%, Balazovic 9%, Larnach 5%)
- Royce Lewis 65% (Larnach 17%, Balazovic 16%, Duran 2%)
- Trevor Larnach 37% (Balazovic 37%, Jeffers 21%, Duran 5%)
- Jordan Balazovic 73% (Jeffers 18%, Duran 7%, Sabato 3%)
- Ryan Jeffers 45% (Duran 43%, Sabato 6%, Canterino 6%)
- Jhoan Duran 79% (Canterino 9%, Sabato 5%, Celestino 4%, Cavaco 2%)
- Brent Rooker 47% (Canterino 26%, Sabato 15%, Celestino 8%, Cavaco 4%)
- Matt Canterino 39% (Sabato 32%, Celestino 15%, Enlow 12%, Cavaco 2%)
- Aaron Sabato 43% (Enlow 21%, Celestino 21%, Cavaco 10%, Urbina 6%)
- Gilberto Celestino 36% (Enlow 33%, Cavaco 17%, Urbina 8%, Wallner 6%)
- Blayne Enlow 41% (Winder 20%, Cavaco 19%, Urbina 15%, Wallner 5%)
- Keoni Cavaco 29% (Winder 25%, Urbina 20%, Sands 14%, Wallner 11%)
- Josh Winder 33% (Urbina 28%, Sands 19%, Wallner 13%, Miranda 7%)
- Misael Urbina 42% (Colina 28%, Sands 17%, Wallner 12%, Miranda 1%)
- Edwar Colina 35% (Sands 35%, Wallner 20%, Rodriguez 7%, Miranda 3%)
- Cole Sands 47% (Wallner 27%, Vallimont 11%, Rodriguez 8%, Miranda 7%)
- Matt Wallner 47% (Vallimont 20%, Rortvedt 15%, Rodriguez 11%, Miranda 6%)
- Ben Rortvedt 32% (Vallimont 26%, Miranda 17%, Rodriguez 14%, Soularie 10%)
There is a glut of potential utility players in to choose from for our next candidate. I’ll grab the guy who already made his big league debut.
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.
Alerick Soularie, LF/2B
2021 Age: 22
2020 High Level: NCAA
The Minnesota Twins selected Alerick Soularie in the second round (59th pick) of the 2020 MLB Draft. The junior from the University of Tennessee was the leading hitter for the Volunteers while playing 1B, 2B and all outfield positions. He started his college career at San Jacinto Junior College and was named a third team junior college All-American after his freshman season. He transferred to Tennessee for his sophomore year, led the team in batting average, OBP and SLG and was named All-SEC. His junior season in 2020 was cut short but he still managed to hit 5 HR in 60 AB. He also went 10 for 11 stealing bases as a Volunteer. The Twins gave him a $900,000 bonus to forgo his senior year and become a professional. It looks like the Twins will try to see if they can develop him as a second baseman but left field is a more likely future position. Expect to see Soularie skip the rookie leagues and play A-ball in Fort Myers this summer.
Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/3B
2021 Age: 24
2020 High Level: Twins (MLB)
Travis Blankenhorn was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. Scouts liked his approach at the plate and his left-handed bat. He graded out as an above average athlete but didn’t have a “natural” position. He did well enough in his first two seasons at the plate to earn mid-season promotions, first to Elizabethton and then to Cedar Rapids. He started the 2018 season red hot at the plate but hit an extended slump that dropped his overall numbers. Still he was able to improve his production year-on-year at Cedar Rapids hitting .251/.343/.441 with 13 HR. He spent a brutal 2018 in Fort Myers hitting just .231/.299/.387 and followed that up with some lousy production in the Arizona Fall League. 2019 was a critical year and Blankenhorn responded by hitting .269/.377/.404 in 15 games at Fort Myers before being promoted to Double-A. At Pensacola he continued to swing a hot bat hitting .278/.312/.474 with 18 HR for the remainder of the season. After splitting time at second and third base for several seasons he added occasional starts in LF to add to his flexibility as a utility player. Blankenhorn trained in St. Paul last summer and made his Twins debut when Marwin Gonzalez got sick. He should end up back in St. Paul this summer with the Saints and is just a phone call away from filling in again.
Vote in round 19
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