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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2022: Round 17

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” - Babe Ruth

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Welcome to round 17
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Blayne Enlow is our pick in round 16. We hope he comes back from surgery as good as he was before the injury.

  1. Royce Lewis 40% (Martin 37%, Balazovic 23%)
  2. Austin Martin 65% (Balazovic 25%, Duran 7%, Woods-Richardson 2%)
  3. Joe Ryan 43% (Balazovic 27%, Miranda 24%, Duran 4%, Woods-Richardson 2%)
  4. Jordan Balazovic 48% (Miranda 45%, Duran 4%, Woods-Richardson 2%, Celestino 1%)
  5. Jose Miranda 68% (Woods-Richardson 12%, Duran 10%, Winder 9%, Celestino 2%)
  6. Jhoan Duran 32% (Winder 24%, Woods-Richardson 20%, Canterino 20%, Celestino 4%)
  7. Josh Winder 45% (Woods-Richardson 28%, Canterino 14%, Petty 9%, Celestino 4%)
  8. Matt Canterino 51% (Woods-Richardson 35%, Celestino 7%, Petty 6%, Urbina 0%)
  9. Simeon Woods-Richardson 79% (Petty 10%, Celestino 10%, Cavaco 1%, Urbina 0%)
  10. Chase Petty 60% (Celestino 30%, Strotman 7%, Cavaco 2%, Urbina 1%)
  11. Gilberto Celestino 45% (Wallner 38%, Strotman 14%, Urbina 2%, Cavaco 2%)
  12. Matt Wallner 45% (Sands 30%, Strotman 15%, Urbina 9%, Cavaco 1%)
  13. Cole Sands 55% (Strotman 18%, Miller 15%, Urbina 10%, Cavaco 2%)
  14. Noah Miller 47% (Strotman 24%, Sabato 14%, Urbina 13%, Cavaco 2%)
  15. Misael Urbina 44% (Strotman 23%, Enlow 22%, Sabato 9%, Cavaco 3%)
  16. Blayne Enlow 38% (Strotman 27%, Sabato 15%, Rodriguez 14%, Cavaco 5%)

For this round I’m adding a pitcher with local ties who was a surprise top performer after being drafted in a low round.

Keoni Cavaco, SS

2022 Age: 21

2021 High Level: Fort Myers (A)

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 it is clear his development will take longer. Cavaco played shortstop at class-A Fort Myers in 2021 hitting an improved but still underwhelming .233/.296/.301. He was also charged with 24 errors in 465 innings. Expect him to repeat at that level for at least a half season.

Drew Strotman, P

2022 Age: 25

2021 High Level: St. Paul (AAA)

Drew Strotman was the 4th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2017 draft. He played his college baseball at St. Mary’s in California. As a Gael he didn’t get many awards or accolades and worked mostly out of the bullpen. The Rays made him a starting pitcher and he pitched well in 2018 at Single-A Bowling Green (8.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 4.11 RA9) before an injury that led to ligament replacement surgery in his elbow. He was promoted to High-A Charlotte in 2019 after his return from surgery. He struggled (7.3 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, 5.63 RA9) there and wasn’t much better in the Arizona Fall League. The pandemic wiped out his 2020 season and he didn’t get a chance to pitch. Despite this the Rays added him to their 40 man roster to keep him from being selected in the rule 5 draft. Strotman skipped over Double-A but held his own at Triple-A Durham (9.6 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, 3.86 RA9) before the trade to the Twins as part of the package for Nelson Cruz. He finished the year at St. Paul and struggles with walks limited his effectiveness. Strotman throws a fastball in the mid-90s, a curveball and a slider. He also added a cut fastball during the 2020 pandemic. Expect him to spend the season in Triple-A St. Paul with a Twins debut just a phone call away.

Aaron Sabato, 1B

2022 Age: 23

2021 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A+)

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. He was sent to low-A Fort Myers to start the season and struggled to make contact, hitting .189/.365/.357 at that level. After a promotion to high-A Cedar Rapids he seemed to find his stroke, slugging .253/.402/.613 in 97 PA to end the season. Expect him to make it to Double-A Wichita in 2022. If he keeps his slugging percentage above .600 he will make it to the big leagues quickly.

Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF

2022 Age: 19

2021 High Level: Florida Complex Twins (Rookie)

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 made his professional debut last summer with the rookie league team in Fort Myers and hit .214/.346/.524 while playing mostly centerfield. The batting average is a little low but he showed decent strike zone judgement and good power. He is unlikely to be a Twin before 2025.

Louie Varland, P

2022 Age: 24

2021 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A+)

Louie Varland was the Twins 15th round pick in the 2019 draft. He spent three seasons with the Division II Concordia St. Paul Golden Bears and was known as a strike-thrower with a good 4.86 K/BB ratio. The Twins sent him to Elizabethton where he was effective in 3 games. He lost the 2020 season to the pandemic but used that time to add a few ticks to his fastball, now sitting 94 MPH. Mechanical adjustments improved the spin on his 4-seam fastball and he also was able to add velocity to his breaking ball. He started the 2021 season at Class-A Fort Myers and was impressive with a 2.66 RA9 and 4.75 K/BB in 47-1/3 innings. He was just as good after his promotion to high-A Cedar Rapids posting a 2.26 RA9 and 4.71 K/BB in 55-2/3 IP. The Twins recognized this impressive season naming him the minor league pitcher of the year. We should get to see Varland compete for Double-A Wichita this summer. There is sure to be a huge hometown crowd waiting for this St. Paul native if he is able to make his Saints debut.

Poll

Twinkie Town Prospect Vote 2022: Round 17

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Keoni Cavaco
    (1 vote)
  • 26%
    Drew Strotman
    (24 votes)
  • 35%
    Aaron Sabato
    (32 votes)
  • 8%
    Emmanuel Rodriguez
    (8 votes)
  • 26%
    Louie Varland
    (24 votes)
89 votes total Vote Now