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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2022: Round 1

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Something to heat up the cold stove

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MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Philadelphia Phillies Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 2022 version of our Twins Prospect poll. We’ll probably vote for 30 rounds but if the lockout extends indefinitely we might just rank the whole minor league system (we’re not doing that).

Hopefully you enjoyed the recap of what happened to our top prospects from 2021. The list is going to look different this year and it might start at the top. There has been disagreement from other lists about who the #1 prospect is in the Twins system. We’ll give you three choices to start out.

Royce Lewis, SS

2022 Age: 23

2019 High Level: Pensacola (AA)

Royce Lewis had a pretty big setback last season when he tore his ACL in February and missed the entire 2021 season. Because of the injury and the pandemic he hasn’t played competitive games since 2019. Drafted first overall in 2017, Royce Lewis did his best to live up to those lofty expectations. In 2017 he was aggressively promoted to Cedar Rapids after performing well at Rookie ball and hit .296/.363/.394 despite being 3 years younger than competition. He followed that up in 2018 by hitting .315/.368/.485 before a mid-year promotion to Fort Myers. In Fort Myers his batting average dropped to .255 but he kept drawing walks (.327 OBP) and hitting the ball relatively hard. He started 2019 back at Fort Myers and hit just .238/.289/.376 but the Twins gave him an aggressive promotion to Double-A Pensacola mid-season. At Pensacola he continued to struggle with his batting average hitting .231/.291/.358. Some scouts believe he will have to re-tool his whole approach at the plate to improve contact but he has the athletic ability to revamp his swing. He has impressive speed with 68 steals in three seasons but his 16/8 SB/CS ratio in Pensacola was not quite break-even. Scouts like his range at SS but he is still learning the position. Everyone places him at SS/2B/3B or CF long term as his speed will play at any of those positions and he did move around the field for the first time during the 2019 Arizona Fall League. Another positive of his time in Arizona was his offensive production, where he hit .353/.411/.565 and was named the league MVP. The questions for Lewis are whether he can consistently hit for average and whether he stays at SS or shifts to a different position long term. He spent 2020 at the alternate training site in St. Paul, rehabbed in 2021 and will start 2022 in either Wichita or St. Paul.

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.

Austin Martin, IF/OF

2022 Age: 23

2021 High Level: Wichita (AA)

Austin Martin was the top prospect the Twins received when they traded Jose Berrios to the Blue Jays at the 2021 trade deadline. He was drafted in the late rounds out of high school in 2017 but decided to play college baseball at Vanderbilt. He was named a freshman All-American by four different publications. His sophomore season he lead the SEC in batting average and on-base percentage and his 87 runs scored topped Division 1 baseball. He was named an All-American, All-SEC and one of the top college prospects leading into 2020. The pandemic wiped out his chance to play most of his junior season but he still was a possiblity for the top pick in the MLB draft. The Blue Jays were thrilled to grab him 5th overall and signed him with an over-slot $7,000,825 bonus. The Blue Jays were aggressive starting Martin at Double-A New Hampshire in 2022. He hit .281/.424/.383 at that level and earned a spot in the 2021 Futures Game. After the trade to the Twins he was sent to Wichita where he continued to get on base, ending his season with a .270/.414/.382 batting line and 14 stolen bases against 4 caught stealing. Martin is a true leadoff hitter on offense with a great eye, the ability to barrel the ball and plus speed. On defense he has good range but his trial at SS led to a lot of throwing errors and an .897 fielding percentage. He played all over the field in college and was known for soft hands and an erratic arm. I think he has All-Star potential leading off and playing LF next to Byron Buxton. Austin Martin will be one reason to buy Saints tickets in 2022.

Who is your top prospect for 2022?

Poll

2022 Prospect Vote Round 1

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Royce Lewis
    (57 votes)
  • 23%
    Jordan Balazovic
    (33 votes)
  • 36%
    Austin Martin
    (52 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now