No. 12 Blayne Enlow, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Nate’s Rank: 9, Gary’s Rank: 15
19-year-old Blayne Enlow was the Twins 3rd round pick in the 2017 draft. Minnesota parlayed their under-slot bonus signings of #1 overall pick Royce Lewis and 2nd round choice Landon Leach into the acquisition and signing of the highly regarded Enlow; with ranks from Baseball America at #27 and MLB.com at #29 pre-draft. The team convinced the right-hander to forego his commitment to LSU with a bonus offer of $2 million, almost $1,250,000 over the slot value of the 76 pick in that draft.
MLB.com also ranked Enlow’s curveball as the best in the 2017 draft.
"Enlow, who didn’t allow an earned run in 13 innings for Team USA’s gold medal-winning Pan American Championships team last October, has a 12-to-6 hammer in the low 80s"
Assigned to A-Level GCL Twins following the draft, Enlow pitched 20.1, allowing 10 hits, with 19 strikeouts and four walks, an ERA of 1.33, and a WHIP OF 0.689.
After his strong debut, Enlow was assigned to lower Level-A Cedar Rapids to start the 2018 campaign. MLB.com has the 6′, 3″, 190 pounder holding on to his 9th position among Twins prospects, grading both his fastball and curve as 60 on the 20-80 scale. FanGraphs ranks him 16th overall, with a 55 fastball to go with a 60 curve.
Enlow, with league pitchers averaging nearly three years his senior has thrown 89 innings, giving up 90 hits, with 64 strikeout and 33 walks, and an ERA of 3.24. It’s worth highlighting that Enlow is beginning to dominate as he settles into his first full season as a pro. The the last ten appearances, he has given up just 12 runs on 45 hits in 52.1 innings for an ERA of 2.06
Enlow’s forte is throwing strikes, though he will not rank high in strikeouts. His low-90’s fastball is complemented by the exceptional breaking ball. The key to his future success is developing a strong change-up and combining a good three-pitch mix to stay ahead of the more experienced batters he will be facing at higher levels.
He has time and talent on his side, and he has been decidedly trending upward over the last two months. Digging deeper here, I think Nate’s ranking of #9 overall is more fitting than my #16. Fort Myers will very likely be the next stop, and if Enlow starts strong, he could make it to AA Chattanooga as a 20-year-old. He really could be special.