2020 Prospect Opportunities — Twins

Today, we continue with the American League Central teams in our 2020 Prospect Opportunities series, as I move along to the Twins. The Twins have an awesome offense, with every starter projecting for at least a 1.9 WAR. That means few obvious prospect replacement opportunities. So rather than go position by position for the at risk folk, let’s just discuss a couple of the top options.

Brent Rooker | OF – Who doesn’t love a three true outcomes hitter? We all do! And Rooker currently is its newest club member. With a double digit walk rate and mid-30% strikeout rate in Triple-A, he offset all those strikeouts with a .254 ISO and 26.4% HR/FB rate. Oh, and a strong batted ball profile drove an absurd .417 BABIP. Even with a strikeout rate over 30%, the projections forecast a wOBA over .300, so imagine how he’d perform if he brought his strikeout rate back to the mid-20% range like at Double-A!

Trevor Larnach | OF – Though he hasn’t played above Double-A, he has shown good plate patience and solid home run power. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate has risen at every single stop, and even with a HR/FB rate over 20%, he was only able to muster a .160 ISO. His BABIP skills are intriguing, though, as he rarely pops up and hits line drives, driving BABIP marks of at least .338 at every stop, peaking so far at a crazy .390.

Alex Kirilloff | OF – He also hasn’t appeared above Double-A, drastically reducing his chances of making the club this year, but he strikes out less than Larnach. He owns 60 grade raw power, but that hasn’t translated to actual performance yet, with HR/FB rates hovering in the high single digits to low teens, and ISO marks on the downswings since Single-A. Because of the better strikeout rate, Kirilloff is probably safer than Larnach, but the latter is currently more exciting from a fantasy perspective.

At Risk: Homer Bailey
Replacement: Bailey Ober, Lewis Thorpe, Jhoan Duran

Bailey Ober only throws in the high 80s, but a deceptive delivery has allowed him to dominate the minors so far through Double-A. In 24 innings at the level, he posted a 40.5% strikeout rate and tiny 2.4% walk rate! I’d love to see what he would do at the MLB level.

Lewis Thorpe earned an audition in Minnesota last year, throwing 27.2 innings of ugly 6.18 ERA ball. But a 4.07 SIERA suggests it was mostly bad luck (.438 BABIP!), though that inflated BABIP must have been somewhat deserved given the high 31.3% LD%. Anyway, he has posted strong strikeout and walk rates, supported by high SwStk% marks, in the minors. He doesn’t throw hard, but his slider was elite. He should be given another opportunity.

How does Jhoan Duran generate an insane 20.2% SwStk% at Double-A, but only post a 26.8% strikeout rate? Bizarre. Armed with a high 90s fastball that tops out over 100 MPH, his strikeouts haven’t been quite as strong as you might expect, though his SwStk% marks suggest better. He is also an extreme ground ball pitcher, so I’m extremely intrigued here. He hasn’t pitched at Triple-A yet, but you need to keep him on your radar.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

newest oldest most voted

How about Travis Blankenhorn? Any chance he gets a shot this year?