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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2022: Round 3

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College World Series - Michigan v Vanderbilt - Game Three
Austin Martin wins round 2
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Austin Martin won round 2 of our voting handily. He should be an incentive to buy a Saints ticket this summer.

  1. Royce Lewis 40% (Martin 37%, Balazovic 23%)
  2. Austin Martin 65% (Balazovic 25%, Duran 7%, Woods-Richardson 2%)

We have five players per ballot. I’ll try to make sure we have a mix of pitching and hitting prospects on the list but this round is pretty pitcher heavy.

Jordan Balazovic, P

2022 Age: 23

2021 High Level: Wichita (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 the St. Paul training site in 2020. After getting a late start due to a back injury, Balazovic spent 2021 pitching for Double-A Wichita. He made 20 starts with mixed results averaging less than 5 innings per start with an RA9 of 4.45. He has had a great fastball and added a splitter to complement it last summer. Expect to see him in St. Paul this summer with a possible Twins debut.

Jhoan Duran, P

2022 Age: 24

2021 High Level: St. Paul (AAA)

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 around 2, Run Average around 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 training at the alternate training site. 2021 was poised to be a big year for Duran with a promotion to Triple-A but instead he pitched just 16 innings due to injury. 2022 will be a make-or-break season with Duran using his 3rd option. Sending him to the bullpen is a possibility if he isn’t able to earn a promotion as a starting pitcher by mid-season.

Simeon Woods-Richardson, P

2022 Age: 21

2021 High Level: Wichita (AA)

Simeon Woods-Richardson began his professional career in the Mets organization after they made him their second round pick in 2018. He went from high school in Sugar Land, TX to rookie ball that summer in the Gulf Coast League and dominated in 5 games at that level. That earned him a promotion to the Appalachian League team for his final 2 starts of the summer and his final line was a 13.5 K/9 and 6.5 K/BB. The Mets promoted him to single-A Columbia and he continued to impress with a 11.1 K/9 and 5.7 K/BB in 78.1 innings. His time at Columbia was interrupted when he was traded to the Blue Jays as part of the Mets deal for Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays promoted him to high-A Dunedin and Woods-Richardson finished the year strong at that level. He was named to several top 100 prospect lists after the 2019 season and once again after COVID-19 interrupted the 2020 minor league season. He began the 2021 season with another promotion to Double-A New Hampshire but had mixed results. He was still striking players out (13.3 K/9) but his walk rate spiked (5.7 BB/9) as his control suffered from the time off. He was named to the Team USA roster for the Olympics and while in Tokyo was traded to the Twins as part of the package for Jose Berrios. After winning an Olympic silver medal he joined the Twins organization in Wichita. He continued to struggle with walks but it is important to realize that at age 20 he was pitching in Double-A while many players his age were still undrafted amateurs. Expect him to begin the 2021 season back at Double-A to work on his control. If he is able to get back to his previous form he could be a mainstay in the Twins rotation as soon as 2023.

Jose Miranda, 3B

2022 Age: 24

2021 High Level: St. Paul (AAA)

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 started 2021 in Double-A Wichita and didn’t have any trouble hitting at that level posting a .345/.408/.588 slash line and earning a promotion to Triple-A. With the Saints he maintained that level of production hitting .343/.397/.563 - enough to earn him the Twins award for best minor league hitter. He seems to be best suited for 3B but the Twins have kept him prepared for a utility role by playing him at 2B and 1B fairly regularly. Miranda is ready to contribute to the Twins now and should get his chance next summer.

Joe Ryan, P

2022 Age: 26

2021 High Level: Twins (MLB)

Joe Ryan was drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He spent his college years pitching for the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors and was named a Division 2 All-American as a senior while leading all of college baseball with 127 K. His 2018 minor league debut for low-A Hudson Valley went well with 3.5 BB/9 and 12.6 K/9 in 36.1 IP. He had an outstanding season in 2019 earning two in-season promotions up to double-A while posting 183K against 23BB in 123.1 IP. This impressed the Rays enough to name him their 2019 minor league pitcher of the year. The 2020 minor league season was wiped out and Ryan spent that year training with the Rays at the alternate training site. He started the season pitching well for Triple-A Durham (1.6 BB/9, 11.8 K/9) getting the attention of Sports Illustrated before joining the US Olympic baseball team. While with the US Olympic team Ryan was traded to the Twins as part of the package for Nelson Cruz. In Tokyo he pitched 10.1 IP with a 1.74 ERA and earned a win against Israel. Once he returned to the Twins organization it only took two games in St. Paul to convince the team to promote him to the big leagues. With the Twins he made 5 starts, with a 1.7 BB/9, 10.1 K/9 and 4.05 RA9 in 26.2 IP. Barring injury he will spend 2022 in the Twins starting rotation.

Poll

2022 Prospect Vote: Round 3

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Jordan Balazovic
    (37 votes)
  • 4%
    Jhoan Duran
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Simeon Woods-Richardson
    (3 votes)
  • 23%
    Jose Miranda
    (33 votes)
  • 43%
    Joe Ryan
    (60 votes)
139 votes total Vote Now