Edouard Julien was champ in round 4. A lot of love for the fast-rising prospect after a hot spring. The lefty infielder could make a big impact on the Twins this season.
- Brooks Lee 49.7% (Lewis 41.9%, Rodriguez 8.4%)
- Royce Lewis 76.4% (Rodriguez 15.4%, Varland 5.3%, Wallner 2.9%)
- Emmanuel Rodriguez 44.1% (Julien 38.4%, Varland 10.4%, Wallner 7.1%)
- Edouard Julien 57.9% (Prielipp 13.6%, Woods Richardson 9.5%, Martin 8.2%, Wallner 5.4%, Varland 5.4%)
We’ll keep the list long and add another young, but talented pitcher in Marco Raya to go with the leftovers from last round. Comment and let me know if there’s someone you feel like should be included in the next round who I left out. Vote below or on Twitter!
Connor Prielipp, SP
2023 Age: 22
2022 Stats: None!
Prielipp immediately became Alabama’s No. 1 starter as a freshman and didn’t allow a run while striking out 35 in 21 innings before the coronavirus pandemic ended the 2020 season. He looked like a potential No. 1 overall pick for 2022 before injuring his elbow in his first start as a sophomore, leading to Tommy John surgery in May 2021. He returned to the mound with a bullpen workout in front of more than 100 evaluators in late May and showed he had fully regained his stuff three weeks later at the Draft Combine, enough to give the Twins confidence to take him in the second round and go slightly over slot to sign him for $1.83 million.
Prielipp’s slider was one of the most devastating pitches in the college class, sitting in the mid-80s and touching 90 mph with two-plane break that enables it to drop off the table as it approaches the plate. He also can elicit swings-and-misses with a low-90s fastball that peaks at 95 mph with run and downhill plane. He has a quick arm and could add more velocity the further removed from his elbow reconstruction he gets.
Prielipp hasn’t used his changeup much but shows feel for an 82- to 85-mph offering with some sink. He pitches with confidence, and while he doesn’t have the smoothest delivery, he’s athletic and locates his pitches where he wants. Assuming a return to full health, he has all the ingredients to become a frontline starter.
Simeon Woods Richardson, SP
2023 Age: 22
2022 Stats (MLB/AAA/AA): 112.1 IP, 2.77 ERA/2.93 RA9, 1.053 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, .199 BAA
Originally a second-round pick of the Mets in 2018, Woods Richardson has already been involved in two big trades, first getting sent from the Mets to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal in 2019, then going from Toronto to Minnesota as part of the Jose Berrios trade at the 2021 Deadline. After a breakout in 2019, Woods Richardson’s stuff backed up in 2021, and he only pitched briefly for the Twins after being on Team USA’s pitching staff for the Olympics.
At his best, Woods Richardson is an intriguing combination of size, stuff and feel for pitching. The Twins are working with him to regain the velocity on his fastball, which still features good movement but averaged only around 91 mph in 2021. He touched 96 mph, so the organization thinks more consistent velocity is in there if he can access it. His curve, an upper-70s downer, is a tick better than his low-80s slider, but it’s his changeup that is his only plus pitch right now, thrown with good fade and deception.
Austin Martin, IF/OF
2023 Age: 24
2022 Stats (AA/ROK): 92 G, .241/.368/.317, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 35 SB
Thought to be the top hitter in the 2020 Draft class, Martin left Vanderbilt with a .368/.474/.532 career line that helped him become the No. 5 overall pick in that year’s Draft, taken by the Blue Jays. After time at Toronto’s alternate training site that summer, Martin went straight to Double-A for his pro debut in 2021 and showcased his impressive on-base skills. He also went to the Futures Game before he was sent to the Twins at the Trade Deadline for right-hander José Berríos.
Martin has many desirable attributes as a right-handed hitter. He makes a ton of contact and can use the entire field. He limits strikeouts and has incredible plate discipline, as evidenced by his .414 on-base percentage in his first year as a pro. While Martin did show more extra-base authority from year-to-year at Vandy, there are questions about whether a lack of physicality will limit his power and impact at the plate.
A solid athlete with good hands, Martin faces more quandaries about where he might find his long-term defensive home, with throwing issues the main concern. He’s played shortstop and center field as a pro after moving all over the diamond in college, with the outfield perhaps a better overall fit. His contact skills give him the chance to be a good hitter, and added strength could make him a special one, regardless of where he plays.
Matt Wallner, OF
2023 Age: 25
2022 Stats (MLB/AAA/AA): 146 G, .272/.403/.524, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 195 SO
As a three-year starter at Southern Miss, Wallner hit for power consistently, even when pitching his first two years. He set the school’s career home run mark when he hit 23 out as a junior, leading to him being taken in the Compeititive Balance Round A by the Twins. The pop has shown up as a pro, along with the swing-and-miss concerns, even despite missing a good chunk of 2021 with a broken hamate. He made up for lost time and showed off his carrying tool in the Arizona Fall League.
While it’s possible Wallner came back too soon from the hamate fracture, thus impacting his hit tool, the power did come back and he slugged .606 in the AFL. He has as much raw pop as anyone in the system and despite some swing issues, he’s shown he can get to it. There will likely always be high strikeout rates, but he has shown a better hit tool in the lower part of the strike zone, and the Twins have worked with him to tone down his swing so he can be more consistent at the top of the zone.
Wallner has a plus arm that fired mid-90s fastballs as a reliever in college that works well in right field, though he’s a fringy, at best, defender. If he can continue to shrink the zone in order to increase the damage he can do when he puts the ball in play, he does have a Joey Gallo-esque offensive ceiling. (Twinkie Town editor’s note: lmao)
Louie Varland, SP
2023 Age: 25
2022 Stats (MLB/AAA/AA): 152.1 IP, 3.20 ERA/3.67 RA9, 1.256 WHIP, 9.9 K/9
There have been a grand total of four players ever drafted from Division II Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., and two of them are named Varland. Gus went in round 14 in 2018 and is now with the Dodgers, while younger brother Louie went a year, and one round, later. He was a revelation in his first full season in 2021, showing improved stuff and dominating across two levels of A ball en route to being named the organization’s Minor League pitcher of the year, then has followed that up by pitching his way to Triple-A in 2022. (TT Editors Note: this was before his MLB debut)
A focus on changing his arm action to reduce joint stress led to increased velocity and movement on his fastball, not to mention nastier secondary stuff. Varland entered pro ball maxing out at 92 mph, but averaged 94 mph in 2021 and touched 98 mph. His changeup is his best secondary offering, thrown with really good action to it, but his slider might be catching up. He throws it in the mid-80s and will continue to work on adding side-to-side movement in order to miss bats with it. He can still fold in a get-me-over slower curve to give hitters a different look.
Marco Raya, SP
2023 Age: 20
2022 Stats (A): 65 IP, 3.05 ERA/3.46 RA9, 1.077 WHIP, 10.5 K/9
The 2022 season was the first time Raya pitched in affiliated games since the Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft due to a shoulder strain that sidelined him for most of last season, and the Twins were eager to see how the relatively polished stuff of the 19-year-old from Laredo, Texas, was going to play in live action after he passed up a commitment to Texas Tech to sign with the organization. Raya didn’t disappoint, throwing extremely well with Single-A Fort Myers.
There could be a little bit of physical development left on the 6-foot, 165-pound frame, but his body is already twitchy and athletic. He knows he’s on the smaller side and is said to love to model himself after Marcus Stroman, though he’s got a fundamentally different profile reliant on a big four-seamer alongside three high-quality secondary pitches that entered the organization with great pitch profiles, with the Twins feeling like there’s not too much work needed on those. The fastball sat in the low 90s while he was in high school but was said to be up to 95-96 and touching 97 entering ‘22.
Raya pitches with a chip on his shoulder and is said to have made big strides in his mental development toward the end of ‘21, and as is the case with many young pitchers, the Twins hope he’ll simplify and attack the strike zone with his quality stuff, which he’s done in the past. He has the ability to quickly build his stock with strong live outings.
Twinkie Town Prospect Vote Round 5
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Simeon Woods Richardson