Minnesota Twins Preseason 2022 Top 50 Prospects: Top 5 and Full Recap
Minnesota Twins Top 5 Prospects
We’ve finally reached the Top 5 prospects in the Minnesota Twins system, the players that have some of the best potential and best production combined with the best chance to make the Major League roster.
Prospect No. 5: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
Still just 21 years old, Simeon Woods Richardson had a tough year dealing with control in 2021, walking batters at twice the rate he ever had (though he did up his strikeout numbers to some of the best of his career). But it’s not hard to believe the Top 100 prospect can bounce back in 2022.
First, Woods Richardson spent the first half of the year with the Toronto system, went to play baseball in the Olympics, then was traded to the Twins. Now, he finally is getting settled, and will have every chance to prove last year was just a fluke. His four pitch mix and high floor make him a strong candidate to reach the majors, even if he doesn’t reach his potential.
Prospect No. 4: Joe Ryan, RHP
Coming into the Twins system from the Nelson Cruz trade as very solid prospect with big league potential, Joe Ryan lit it up in two starts at Triple-AAA. He posted a 17-2 K-BB ratio and allowed two runs over nine innings before he was promoted to the majors. He kept his hot streak going, posting a 30-5 K-BB ratio.
Ryan has a strong four pitch mix, with a solid fastball and three other pitches that allow him to miss a lot of bats. He may give up a lot of homers because he really goes after the zone. He’ll graduate from prospect status by the time the next list comes out, but Ryan could be a Number Two starter if he develops properly.
Prospect No. 3: Jordan Balazovic, RHP
A Top 100 prospect for almost every major prospect list, Jordan Balazovic has all the makings of a big league starter. He’s big (6’5″), has a mid-90s fastball, and two other pitches with the potential to develop into top shelf options.
He rebounded well from back issues that caused him to miss some time, but he put up good numbers at his first stint at Double-AA. He gave up a few more walks and hits then usual, but if those secondary pitches develop properly, Balazvoic has real top of the rotation potential. If not, he’s still fit for a middle of the rotation opening.
Prospect No. 2: Royce Lewis, SS
Now almost 23, we haven’t seen Royce Lewis play in a game since his red-hot Fall League stretch in 2019. After a Torn ACL cost him all of his 2020 season, his 2022 season is going to be a big one for the former No. 1 Overall Pick.
From all accounts, he’s ready to prove he can still reach his lofty potential. We already know he has the tools: elite speed, a strong glove (whether he lands at shortstop or center field), some possible power, and a potentially solid hitting ability, but he needs to prove that he can reach his ceiling with a strong 2022. He might even finally make his MLB debut this year if things go perfectly.
Prospect No.1: Austin Martin, 2B/SS/OF
Brought over in the deal for Jose Berrios with Woods Richardson, Austin Martin was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 Draft. When he was drafted out of Vanderbilt, Martin was viewed as an advanced college hitter who would move quickly through the system and offer some power potential as well.
Because of his advanced abilities, Martin spent the year at Double-AA, and while he didn’t hit particularly well, his on-base abilities and steals were very solid. He needs to make some improvements in 2022 and show some of his power potential in order to truly show his insanely high ceiling. Much like many prospects on this list, 2022 is a big year for him.