Prospect Pool Review - Risers and Sinkers

The other day, I requested a prospect round up. Some suggested I go ahead and post one. I don't know that I'm the best person to deliver on that suggestion, and I kind of laughed it off for a couple of days...hoping someone else would post one.

Seeing no other prospect reviews, I put together some stats to assess how the prospects list from prior to the season was looking. The future has some bright spots and some other diamonds in the rough seem to have lost their shine. I'm going to share the place that these guys were listed in our preseason review, and provide a letter grade for what I see in the stats compared to expectations.

The main reason I don't consider myself the best person to deliver this is because I don't pay for any subscriptions and have very little information regarding fielding ability or scouting reports. With that disclaimer out there, here we go:

1. Royce Lewis; Age 23.13. Finally seemed to be delivering on the potential that has had him atop the Twins' prospect list for years. In 34 AAA games, he had a .313 BA, .405 OBP and .534 Slugging, adding 12 stolen bases. With the Twins finding some guys on the DL, the hot start for Lewis made him a natural call up and he seemed to be up to the challenge. He was hitting right at .300 with a .317 OBP in 41 plate appearances across 12 MLB games before another injury sidelined him for the season. Showed enough promise to keep him at or near the top of the prospect rankings.

Grade: A _ Future looks bright if he can just stay healthy.

2. Austin Martin; Age 23.34. I wasn't too familiar with Austin Martin, but there are a few things that stand out for this prospect. Aside from the name, the speed to steal 22 bases(in 63 games) and the propensity to reach base via HBP about once every 4 games really stand out. The .249 batting average and .313 slugging in AA Wichita do not inspire great confidence, but the .378 OBP with that speed suggests a guy who might be a weapon down the road. He was a very good college hitter. The batting average and power have not yet translated, but could come around with a couple more years of experience.

Grade: B- _ Expected a little more from the #2 rated prospect than a .691 OPS, but still lots of reason for optimism.

3. Joe Ryan; Age 26.13. You may have noticed Joe Ryan up with the Twins a bit this year, including getting the nod for opening day. Given his 2.89 ERA and 1.049 WHIP, I think it's fair to say that he's delivering on the promise that he'd shown in earlier years. Currently at a 7-3 record, the only thing I felt like I could have hoped going better for Joe Ryan would have been health. Despite a few weeks off in late May & early June, Joe Ryan is leading the Twins in innings pitched, wins, and starting pitcher ERA(2 relievers below him). The Twins have received quality starting pitching much of the year, but nobody is more trusted from game to game than Mr. Ryan.

Grade: A _ He's proven that his opening day nod was deserved. The Twins have won 2/3 of the games he's started.

4. Jordan Balazovic; Age 23.85. Balazovic has been highly touted for a while and may someday deliver on the potential that placed him in the top 100 of some baseball rankings, but this season has been anything but promising. The average age of AAA players is 4 years older than he is this year, but with an ERA of 10.41 and a WHIP of 2.313, he seems to be so far over his head at this stage that it's difficult to see him making a positive contribution in the MLB before 2024, at the earliest. He didn't post an amazing year at Wichita in 2021, but I guess some within the organization thought he needed to be elevated. It looks to have hurt his development. In his last 4 AAA games, he's gone just 7.1 innings while giving up 23 hits, 7 HRs, and 18 earned runs.

Grade: F _ As deflating as a demotion could be, I think it's probably the best option right now.

5. Jose Miranda; Age 24.07. Jose Miranda showed a lot of potential last year and it seemed inevitable that he would find his way to the MLB squad this year. He has not disappointed. After a solid start AAA, and a Sano derailment, Miranda was called up and has found himself in the Twins lineup with regularity. For a rookie, the .262 batting average and .751 OPS simply looks solid, but it did take Miranda a while to find his groove. Through 19 games, Miranda had posted just a .164 BA and .484 OPS(70 plate appearances). In his last 137 plate appearances across 40 games, he's delivered a .313 BA and .889 OPS. His bat has come to life and it seems like he's going to be in the show for a while.

Grade: B _ Similar stats in AAA, but slightly better in MLB this season. Room for improvement, but the bat will play.

6. Jhoan Duran; Age 24.54. The rookie has been the most consistent man to come out of the bullpen for the Twins this year, leading the team with a 2.30 ERA and a .953 WHIP through 43 innings across 34 games. I couldn't have asked for better. He's the guy you most hope is ready to enter the game for high leverage situations in the late innings. Not much more you could hope for from a rookie reliever.

Grade: A+ _ High velocity and excellent control. Could be the next great Twins closer.

7. Josh Winder; Age 25.79. Winder has been an intriguing young pitcher for a few years. He was highly effective last season in AA Wichita(posting a 1.98 RA9), and wasn't roughed up too badly when elevated to AAA late in the year. He's worked most of 2022 at the MLB level and the rookie has delivered a solid 3.77 ERA in 45.1 innings. Lots of inconsistency so far, but enough good outings to offset the few rough outings, leading to a 4-3 record so far. Not established as a strikeout pitcher, Winder seems to have enough savvy and control get the job done more often than not. Hopefully he has more development left in him, but if he near his ceiling, he might still be a solid back end of the rotation guy.

Grade: B- _ In a livelier ball era, I suspect his ERA would be higher, but he's been fairly solid for a rookie.

8. Matt Canterino; Age 24.61. 2019 2nd rounder has posted phenomenal minor league stats each year, currently at a 1.83 ERA and 50 Ks in 34.1 innings on the season. A couple of elbow strains in back to back years have the team moving slowly with him, but if healthy, he could be elevated in the near future. Given the 13.1 SO9 at AA Wichita, it's clear his offerings are going to have some swing and miss. He'll need to develop his control a bit, but the potential is there for a high end pitcher.

Grade: A- _ Stats suggest an A+, but I'm downgrading due to elbow concerns.

9. Simeon Woods-Richardson; Age 21.83. As the youngest pitcher at AA Wichita by well over a year, it looks very promising to me to see Woods-Richardson at a 3.40 ERA. Team ERA for Wichita is 4.50, so he's more than just getting experience there. He had been contributing some solid innings early. He did see some struggles in June before getting shut down for injury/illness concerns for a while. Hopefully he'll find more success as he works his way back from the injured list, most recently due to COVID.

Grade: B+ _ The plus is for above average results despite being significantly younger than the rest of the roster.

10. Gilberto Celestino; Age 23.44. Fielding ability and plate discipline have Celestino getting MLB time at a relatively young age. Royce Lewis is the only player younger than Celestino to get into a Twins lineup this season. A contact hitter with a solid all-around game, he seems to have very good, but not elite speed. Nothing in the stats will wow you, but the fact that he's already a trusted fielder at the major league level and a competent hitter prior to his 24th birthday is the biggest reason to believe better days are ahead for Celestino as he gains experience and refines his craft.

Grade: B+ _ Filling in capably at an age that most guys haven't even had their first MLB cup of coffee is pretty solid.

11. Matt Wallner; 24.62. Power hitter had 21 HRs in 78 games for AA Wichita. Solid BA of .299 and 62 walks elevate his OBP to .436. The 107 strikeouts(31.3% of plate appearances) gives minor reason for concern, but with the ball flying off his bat, Wallner is on the rise. A recent promotion to AAA for the late 1st rounder from 2019, but just 4 games in AAA so far, so I'm not reporting on that small sample size.

Grade: A- _ Really like the 40 HR pace for a 162 game season, but minor concerns for consistent contact at MLB level.

12. Cole Sands; 25.02. I was surprised to see him selected that early in the preseason prospect review, and there's more skepticism now. Cole Sands has posted a 6.02 ERA in 43.1 innings at AAA St. Paul, across 12 games and 11 starts. He continues to record strikeouts, but a 1.615 WHIP seems to be working against him. He still has another year or 2 to develop, but I'm not holding out much hope for him exceeding a below average pitcher. The opposition at AAA is batting over .300, on average this season, so he has a lot of work to do.

Grade: D _ 6.65 RA9 isn't very good. He has performed better than Balazovic, so he can hang his hat on that, I guess.

13. Noah Miller; Age 19.7. Late 1st round pick in 2021 from high school. Agile SS likely has a long development path ahead, currently at A Ft. Myers, but despite lack of success in the batting average department(.235), he is getting on base at a very solid pace(.361 OBP). Speed and fielding clearly put him in 1st round of the draft and he has a lot of time to develop, so hopefully his bat starts finding more success and pop as he gains more experience.

Grade: C+ _ Not loving the batting average so far, but certainly reasons for optimism.

14. Misael Urbina; Age 20.25. The start of Urbina's 2022 campaign was delayed while he dealt with visa issues, so we have limited stats. Don't want to speculate on his development due to small sample size, but the young player has loads of potential. In 8 games at A Ft. Myers, he's delivered 9 hits and a .971 OPS.

Grade: I _ I anticipate him developing into an MLB player, but giving him an incomplete due to visa issues.

15. Blayne Enlow; Age 23.35. Starting P prospect with fewer than 50 innings pitched over last 3 seasons. Once promising young player may see a move to relief pitching in his future. That's completely my take, but with his injury concerns, it's hard for me to picture him becoming a starting pitchers the Twins and count on. He's been a mid-level pitcher at AA since coming back from rehab this year, currently at a 4.50 ERA and 5.91 RA9.

Grade: C _ Maybe he comes back stronger the further he gets away from the TJ surgery, but hard to know right now.

16. Aaron Sabato; Age 23.14. Lots of power when he connects, but the .217 batting average and 32.9% strikeouts per plate appearance has me a little concerned that he ends up a bit like Sano. Not sure how his fielding is, and the .738 OPS isn't horrific, but given that he's older than the average player at A+ Cedar Rapids, I think the expectations were higher than he's delivered to this point.

Grade: D+ _ The plus is because it sounds like he hit a grand slam earlier today, but I don't have it in my stats.

17. Louie Varland; Age 24.62. Wichita has a 4.50 team ERA, so the 3.64 ERA and 4.12 RA9 is solid and Varland leads the team in innings pitched by a wide margin. 1.33 WHIP could be a little lower, but he's battled and won at the AA level. Could be competing for MLB back of rotation in a couple years.

Grade: B _ Excellent 2021 at lower level and showing solid results at AA so far. Not dominating, just solid.

18. Edouard Julien; 23.24. Toolsy 18th round(2019) Canadian. Could cut back on strikeouts(25.6% of plate appearances), but showing better potential than Sabato at this point in their careers. At AA Wichita, Julien has a .285 batting average, .424 OBP, and .892 OPS, along with 9 HRs and 10 steals in 67 games.

Grade: A- _ No idea if he can continue the excellent OBP, but with work at multiple IF positions in the minors(2B, 3B, 1B), could be a solid utility player if he's not able to claim a starting role.

19. Drew Strotman; Age 25.89. Curently at AAA with a 7.53 ERA. No signs flashing competent MLB pitcher here, but maybe he surprises and find some pitch control and take his game to the next level.

Grade: D- _ Due to the SO9 of 11.4, I'm not delivering the F, but I don't really see anything else promising here.

20. Emmanuel Rodriguez; Age 19.4. Was off to an incredible start at A level Ft. Myers. His batting average had come down to a .272, but with a .493 OBP and 1.044 OPS. More walks than strikeouts. Season ending knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear cut short a very promising year in A ball. Could elevate to A+ Cedar Rapids next season.

Grade: A+ _ Young for A ball, but showing all sorts of tools. Excited to see how this kid develops.

21. Spencer Steer; Age 24.63. Very strong start in AA(.307 BA, .385 OBP, and .976 OPS) led to a relatively early promotion to AAA. Continues to show good power and ability to get on base. Power hitter who has been striking out less than 20% of plate appearances. .250 batting average in AAA St. Paul, with .338 OBP and .861 OPS. Reasons to believe he can hit at the next level. History at 3B and 2B, so not much opportunity to get called up to MLB right now.

Grade: B+ _ Seems like a legit MLB player down the road. Hard to know what level of player, but skills are there.

22. Keoni Cavaco; Age 21.15. At A Ft. Myers, he's around the average age and has a .279 OBP with 89 strikeouts(34.5% of plate appearances) in 64 games. I hope his fielding is further along than his hitting…

Grade: C- _ I knew his hitting was a work in progress, but 8 HRs and 5 triples show something could be there.

23. Ronny Henriquez; Age 22.1. Not sure they did Henriquez any favors starting him at AAA, where he's 5 years younger than the average player. He struggled to the tune of a 7.45 ERA in his first 10 appearances, but seems to be progressing in his last handful of games. Currently at a 6.08 ERA. Surprisingly young for AAA, so must be a reason the team has that level of belief in him.

Grade: C _ Compared to some of the other older guys who are getting knocked around, it's hard to grade too harshly.

24. Marco Raya; Age 19.96. In A ball at Ft. Myers, Marco Raya is looking very solid at a young age, posting a 2.65 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. 2020 4th round high school prospect has a ways to go, but excellent potential.

Grade: A _ No reason to doubt him at this point given how well he's doing before the age of 20.

25. Christian Encarnacion-Strand; Age 22.65. 2021 4th rounder has been promoted to AA for last 7 games where he's continued to punish the ball with a .400 BA and 1.271 OPS through 7 games. In 74 games a A+ Cedar Rapids, he bashed 20 HRs and 68 RBI, with a .296 BA and .370 OBP, achieving a .968 OPS. Definitely has moved ahead of Sabato and might be pushing Matt Wallner as the top developmental power hitter.

Grade: A _ With this level of power hitting, strikeouts in 25.76% of plate appearances doesn't seem too poor.

26. Steven Hajjar; Age 21.96. 63 Ks in 39 2/3 innings at A level Ft. Myers. 2021 2nd round prospect had nice college numbers and is progressing nicely in his first year of A ball. A move to A+ would not be surprising in the near future. 1.059 WHIP with more walks(22) than hits allowed(20).

Grade: A _ 2.04 ERA and 2.5 RA9 is very solid. If he can improve control, his future is very bright.

27. Cade Povich; Age 22.29. 99 Ks in 73 2/3 innings and a 1.235 WHIP at A+ Cedar Rapids. Those stats make his 4.4 ERA and 5.38 RA9 a bit surprising. 2021 3rd rounder leads Cedar Rapids in innings pitched. He's shown some flashes of great outings, but struggles with consistency. Most recent outing was the worst of his minor league career.

Grade: C _ Hopefully better days ahead.

28. Jovani Moran; Age 25.25. Another guy showing effective pitching at the MLB level. Not a ton of innings, but 2nd lowest ERA on the Twins, 13 SO9, and a solid 1.19 WHIP. May not have been ready last season, but he's stepping up to the challenge well so far this year.

Grade: B _ He hasn't done as well at AAA this year, but his MLB innings have been rather solid so far.

29. Alerick Soularie; Age 22.05. 2020 2nd rounder seemed overmatched early in the year at A+ Cedar Rapids, with a .180 batting average through 38 games. He's come around with a .257 batting average in the last 37 games. He has some tools, so if he can develop his bat, he might have a shot down the road.

Grade: C _ My expectations aren't overly high at this point in the prospect list, but some potential there.

30. Danny De Andrade; Age 18.29. He's currently at the Florida complex rookie league. Young international prospect(2.2M) from Venezuela is far away from MLB, but potential is there. Currently a .250 BA and .336 OBP.

Grade: C _ Don't know how to evaluate numbers at Florida complex league.

31. Kala'i Rosario; Age 20.06. Mentioned in the last prospect vote, but did not get named in top 30. 2020 5th round pick from Hawaii has a penchant for striking out, with just a .220 BA, but shows a bit of pop in his bat. Half of his hits are going for extra bases.

Grade: C- _ Concerned about ability to put bat on ball, but maybe he can develop that.

32. Yasser Mercedes; Age 17.69. Mentioned in the last prospect vote, but did not get named in top 30. $1.7M signing for Yasser early in 2022 from the Domincan Republic. Only foreign league stats so far, but doing well there w/ .341 BA.

Grade: B _ Competition is questionable, but .412 OBP and .946 OPS seem somewhat promising.

33. Osiris German; Age 23.73. Not mentioned by author in prospect voting, but I like the cut of his jib, so I'm including him. Roughed up in first 6 games at AA, but batters averaging under .200 in last 16 games with a 1.00 WHIP over that time, which has helped him lower his ERA at that level to 3.76. Promoted early after 6 A+ appearances with Cedar Rapids, where he had recorded a 1.17 ERA and 5 saves in 5 save opportunities.

Grade: B _ Something could be there as a future reliever even if he's a couple years away.

34. Cody Laweryson; Age 23.56. Started the season at A+ Cedar Rapids with a 1.95 ERA and 1.026 WHIP. Promoted recently to AA Wichita, he's putting up even better numbers there so far.

Grade: B _ These guys might not become top 30 players, but seem worth keeping an eye on.

So, that's a lot of content.

Which prospect has exceeded your expectations the most???

If anyone has any commentary about fielding ability, I'd encourage you to add that in the comments as well.