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It’s hard to believe that the Twins’ phenomenal Bomba Squad 2019 was almost four years ago, but 2023 will be here before we know it. 

As the time approaches, its fun to look back at the Twins’ top 30 prospects of the time, according to MLB.com, and how their 2022 seasons panned out across the majors and minors. 

Here’s how the top 30 Twins prospects from 2019 had their 2022 seasons end up.

On Active Rosters for the end of 2022
3. Brusdar Graterol

The Twins’ fastest throwing arm at the time, Brusdar Graterol, was ranked as their highest pitching prospect going into the 2019 season. 

This year, Dodgers counted on Graterol often in high-leverage opportunities and will likely continue to do so in 2023 as their bullpen gets reconfigured. Graterol’s fastball is still one of the fastest in the game averaging 99.4 mph for the sixth highest in MLB according to Baseball Savant. 

Whether the Dodgers will use Graterol as their main closer in 2023 or keep him as a high-leverage reliever remains to be seen. His greatest tool will always be as the flamethrower of the Dodgers bullpen. 

7. Jhoan Duran
Baseball’s newest and most successful rookie flamethrower was the Twins second-best pitching prospect in 2019. Now he has exceeded expectations as the Twins’ best reliever having the best rookie campaign for an American League reliever since Jonathan Papelbon with the Red Sox in 2006. 

In 2019, Duran was still being used as a starter making 22 starts between Pensacola and Fort Myers. Back then Duran was not the ace reliever we know him to be know as he pitched 115 innings, posted a 3.76 ERA and struck out 136 batters. Now he looks to keep his title of being enshrined as baseballs fastest pitcher. 

10. Nick Gordon
Back in 2019, Gordon spent all season at Triple-A Rochester while battling injuries that set back his MLB debut so long.  With two full seasons under his belt now, Gordon looks to be the go-to backup outfielder for the Twins in 2023 in left and center fields. 

His time as an infielder will be more limited with the addition of Kyle Farmer last month. Still, if Gordon continues to build off the success he’s had in 2022. There should be no doubts concerning what he can do for the 2023 Twins. 

12. Akil Baddo
Baddo’s second season in Detroit was a complete sophomore slump. Injuries kept him out for a portion of the season. And when he was healthy, the energy that brought about the success of his rookie campaign just was not there. 

2019 was Baddo’s first big injury setback in his career, keeping him to just 29 games played that season, all in Ft. Myers. His numbers in those 29 games looked similar to that of his 2022 season in Detorit as he posted a .214/.290/.393 triple slash and .683 OPS in 2019.

14. Jose Miranda
Miranda spent all but one game of his 2019 season in Fort Myers. At that time he did not look like the player he is now, but the Twins have full confidence in his abilities from 2021 and 2022 to make him the everyday third baseman for the 2023 season. 

Three years ago, Miranda was still coming into his own at the Twins High A affiliate. His numbers did not exactly pop off as they did the last two seasons in the organization as he posted a .252/.302.369    triple slash and a .671 OPS in 119 games. 

15. Gilberto Celestino
Once an unknown prospect acquired from the Houston Astros for Ryan Pressly, Gilberto Celestino became the Twins’ fourth outfielder for the team this year. 

Celestino’s first full season in the Twins system was mainly spent in Cedar Rapids where he had one of the best professional seasons of his career. Celestino played in 125 games and posted a .277/.349/.410 triple slash and .759 OPS with career highs in home runs (10) and runs batted in (54). 

16. Ryan Jeffers
The Twins’ hopeful starting catcher in 2022 will now be splitting time in a platoon role with new arrival Christain Vazquez. 

2019 was Jeffers first full professional season splitting time between Fort Myers and Pensacola. His promise as a future starting catcher for the Twins showed during that season as he hit .264/.341/.421 for a triple slash and posted a .762 OPS in 103 games. 

Now, the Twins are hopeful that Jeffers can remain healthy more than anything else and rebuild his promise as a 26-year-old platoon catcher in 2023. 

17. Luis Arraez
The 2022 American League Batting Champion looks to remain with the Twins for now despite faulty rumors of him being a part of a trade to the Miami Marlins for Pablo Lopez.

Back in 2019, Arraez graduated off the prospect lists and to the Majors taking the Twins fandom by storm. He proved the contact hitter going the opposite way was not dead in baseball and quickly became a fan favorite.

The only limitations ahead for Arraez are consistent playing time at first base or DH, depending on how the team wants to move forward with those roles in the remainder of the off-season. While his name may still be floated around in trade rumors, Twins fans can be more hopeful he will remain with Carlos Correa not coming back. 

22. LaMonte Wade Jr. 
Like Baddo, Wade Jr. had a hard time repeating his success of 2021 season in 2022. 

2019 was the year Wade Jr. graduated off the prospect list and debuted with the Twins in late June. Wade Jr. had 26 games with the Twins in his rookie campaign and spent the majority of his season with the Rochester Red Wings hitting .246/.392/.356 for a triple slash and posting a .748 OPS. 

Wade Jr. looks to continue as a back up outfielder for the Giants next season and his best hope is to develop himself back into the quality fourth outfielder he was in 2021. 

23. Griffin Jax
Jax being limited to five starts in all of 2017 was knocked off the Twins Top 30 prospect list in 2018. He found his way back onto the list going into the 2019 season when he pitched his best professional season to date between Double A and Triple A. 

The 2019 season certainly showed Jax’s highest promise as a future Twins starter as he posted a 2.90 ERA in 127.1 innings pitched across 23 starts. Unfortunately that never turned into reality with Jax’s first season in the majors. 

He fell into the old adage of being a failed starter that turned into a good reliever. Hopefully Jax can continue to live up to this season’s success in 2023. 

Played in 2022 but were mainly hurt
1. Royce Lewis

His future as the Twins man at shortstop is all but secured now once he heals from injury in July 2023. Every Twins fan knows Lewis had the best start to a season before retearing his knee in late May of this year.

Back in 2019 though, Lewis had a down season in the Minors compared to his 2018 season. That is when the Twins decided to send him to the Arizona Fall League to rejuvenate his talents. 

Lewis did of course do that tearing apart the Fall League’s pitching hitting .353/.411/.565     for a triple slash and posting a .975 OPS across 22 games. 

2. Alex Kirilloff
Kirilloff has not had the best of luck staying healthy since making his MLB debut in 2020. While his MLB debut was an elimination playoff game, Kirilloff has only managed to play in 104 games across the last two seasons due to his wrist injuries. 

Injuries still bugged him 2019, but Kirilloff played in a decent amount of games totaling 93 all at Double A Pensacola. He had a triple slash of .283/.343/.413 and OPS of    .756.

Kirilloff’s injury history is unique and only Kirk Gibson has had the success and longevity  after battling the wrist problems. If Kirilloff plays in at least half the Twins games this season, fans can certainly expect him to continue platooning time between first base and the outfield.     

5. Trevor Larnach
Before getting his call up in 2021 and battling injuries in 2022, Larnach had his best professional season ever in 2019. Larnach played his season between Fort Myers and Pensacola hitting .309/.384/.458 with a .842 OPS. 

Larnach’s injuries in 2022, compared to that of Kirilloff’s, had more optimism for a sooner return and recovery. He did play in a few games to end the season with the St. Paul Saints. One has to assume, Larnach will see more time in left field than Kirilloff with how the roster currently sits as Kirilloff and Arraez are most likely to platoon between first and designated hitter roles. 

18. Jorge Alcala
Some Twins fans (including this writer), forgot that Jorge Alcala pitched in any games for the Twins during the 2022 season. The two games Alcala came into relief for were in the Opening Series against the Seattle Mariners. 

The good news, those two outings were scoreless. The bad, he was out for the remainder of the season. Alcala had surgery on August 3 for right elbow arthroscopic debridement. He is still expected to be ready and healthy for Spring Training 2023. 

Back in 2019, Alcala was splitting time as a starter and reliever in the minor leagues. That changed once he made his MLB debut with the team on September 21 of that year. 

Played in 2022, mostly in the Minors or Indy Ball
4. Wander Javier 

Wander Javier once had such promise as a prospect, he now joins a long list of minor league players who never reached their full potential as the Twins parted ways with him earlier in the off-season. 

The 2019 season was the beginning of Javier’s fall. After spending all of 2018 on the Minor League IL, Javier played 80 games for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Over the course of those 80 games, Javier found himself struggling posting a .177/.278/.323 triple slash over the season.

6. Brent Rooker
Brent Rooker spent time between the Padres and Royals organizations in 2022 as he was a piece that brought in one of the most controversial relievers in Twins history. 

2019 Rooker was another player than he is now. While he battled injuries, Rooker was very productive for the Rochester Red Wings. Rooker hit 14 home runs and had 47 runs batted in along with a .282/.399/.530 triple slash and a .929 OPS in 67 games. 

8. Lewis Thorpe 
Thorpe found his way out of the Twins organization after one start with the St. Paul Saints in April. Three years ago he was a hyped up pitching prospect who finally found his way onto the Twins roster. 

Thorpe pitched in 12 games and made two starts for the Twins when called up in 2019 and couldn’t repeat the success he had in the minors as he posted a 6.18 ERA in 27.2 innings. Time in Triple A was better for Thorpe in 2019 but not by much as he made 19 starts and posted a 4.58 ERA in 96.1 innings. 

9. Blayne Enlow 
Enlow’s best path to get to the Majors now looks to be from the bullpen as he battled injuries and struggles on the mound throughout the 2022 season. He split time between the rotation and bullpen at Double-A Wichita this year and found more success as a reliever. 

During the 2019 season, Enlow split time between the Twins’ Low and High A affiliates as a starter. He pitched decently totaling 20 starts across 110.2 innings and posted a 3.82 ERA for the season.

11. Stephen Gonsalves 
After debuting with the Twins in 2018, Gonsalves spent the majority of his 2019 season on the injured list and when healthy, was on three of the Twins’ Minor League affiliates. 

Gonsalves only pitched in 13 innings the whole season, recording only one more out than he did in 2022 for the Iowa Cubs. Gonzalves has not announced that he is stepping away from professional baseball for 2023, but has not pitched since May of this year, it hard to say if he’ll do so again. 

13. Yunior Severino 
One of many players still in the Twins system three years on. Severino had one of his better professional seasons in 2022 splitting time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. 

Severino has had a long journey through the lower Minor League affiliates in the Twins organization. 2019 was a season filled with injuries that kept his playing time limited to 28 games at rookie ball and Cedar Rapids. 

Fortunately for Severino, the last two seasons have seen a great increase in his hitting ability giving him a good chance to get a call-up to St. Paul sometime in 2023. 

19. Jordan Balazovic 
While he struggled mightily for the 2022 season and didn’t see his number improve until the last month of the season. Jordan Balazovic was a completely different pitcher in 2019, working his way up the Twins system. 

Balazoivc spent the 2019 season between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids, dominating Low and High A pitchers with a 2.69 ERA, 129 strikeouts and a 0.98 WHIP in 93.2 innings pitched. 

The big question for Balazoivc is if he can replicate the pitcher he once was in 2019 and break his way onto the Twins roster at some point during the 2023 season.

20. Misael Urbina 
Currently, the Twins’ eighth-best prospect according to MLB.com,  Misael Urbina broke into the Twins’ minor league system as a 17-year-old kid in 2019. The Twins touted Urbina out in the Dominican Summer League that season and played in 50 of the team’s 64 games.

Urbina’s numbers for his first 50 professional baseball games were solid as he posted a .279/.383/.443 triple slash with a .825. 

While Urbina has not been able to repeat the same success of hitting the last two seasons in the minors, he is still a spring chicken in age as he only turns 21 this upcoming April. There is still plenty of time for him to redevelop as a solid starting outfielder over the course of the 2023 season. 

21. Zack Littell 
After pitching briefly with the Twins in 2018, Littell graduated off the prospect list in 2019 as he had 29 relief outings in the Majors with the team and posted a 2.68 ERA in 37 innings. 

Littell did not have the same success in the Majors this last year as he had in 2019 as his outings became worse and worse with the Giants in 2022 before a meltdown sent him to the Minors to end the season. 

Littell was released by the Giants last month and no team has taken a bite on signing him yet. It is still likely for Littell to land a minor league deal with a team before Spring Training rolls around. 

24. Ben Rortvedt
2019 was a slight drop-off season for Rortvedt from his 2018 campaign in the minors. Rortvedt played in 79 games across Fort Myers and Pensacola hitting .238/.334/.379 for a triple slash and posting a    .714 OPS, four points higher than 2018.

Rortvedt never saw time in the Majors this season after being traded to the Yankees with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Filefa for Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez. He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League to strengthen himself but only has four hits in 41 at-bats across 12 games. 

25. Gabriel Maciel 
An outfielder who has never played a game above the High A level, Gabriel Maciel looked to be the real deal back in 2019. He was one of many players who did not benefit from the loss of the 2020 Minor League season. 

Maciel spent all of his 2022 season with the Oakland A’s High A affiliate the Langsing Lugnuts, and recovered well from his 2021 season in Cedar Rapids. The A’s parted ways with him after the conclusion of the Minor League season and with Maciel turning 24 next year with no time above High-A, it’s hard to say if a team will bring him aboard a minor league contract. 

26. Luke Raley 
Raley was one of three players the Twins received from the Dodgers in the Brian Dozier trade back in 2018. He only spent one full season in the Twins organization in 2019 as he was flipped back to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda the next off-season.

While Raley was in the Twins system, he did not accomplish much as he was limited to 38 games that season. He did hit well while healthy hitting .310/.361/.517 for a triple slash with a .878 OPS. The Twins did send him with Royce Lewis to the Arizona Fall League that season too.

Raley spent all of 2022 in the Rays organization hitting really well while in Triple-A Durham but not as well while with the Major League club. He is still with the Rays as of now and looks to serve as a utility player for the 2023 season. 

27. DaShawn Keirsey
DaShawn Keirsey has battled his way through the Twins system since being drafted out of college in 2018. Keirsey spent all of the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita and the outfielder put together a strong candidacy to move up the ladder to St. Paul next season. 

In 2019, Keirsey was fairly unknown to most Twins fans in the system as only played in 43 games between Cedar Rapids and Rookie Ball in Elizabethton. 

While he is not on any current top prospect lists for the Twins, Keirsey may be a name for fans to keep an eye on in 2023 for a future outfield call-up. 

28. Travis Blankenhorn
Back in 2019, Blankenhorn was far off from being an immediate call-up to the Twins. However, he was an effective hitter between Single and Double-A as he hit .277/.321/.466 with a .787 OPS in 108 games that season. 

Now he is a minor league free agent after spending the 2022 season in the Mets organization. After 92 games played this year and having defensive versatility, it is possible some team will offer Blankenhorn a minor league deal. 

29. Michael Helman
In 2019, Michael Helman had his worst year in professional baseball. Now he has become a minor league player many Twins fans are familiar with as he had his best season yet, mostly with the St. Paul Saints in 2022. 

Helman is like Kyle Farmer as a utility player and can play all the infield and outfield positions. Considering the lack of off-season moves currently at hand for the Twins, Helman realistically could make his MLB debut sometime in 2023.

30. Luis Rijo
Luis Rijo did not have a pleasant 2022 season, to say the least. He only pitched in 12 games, started 11, and out of those games came a 6.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 30 innings pitched. 

Back in 2019, Rijo had potential as he was a much different pitcher posting a 3.87 ERA, and struck out 99 batters in 107 innings pitched across 19 starts. 

The Twins parted ways with him in October of this year leaving him as he enters minor league free agency. 

Totals: 
10 players on Active MLB rosters
4 players who could be on Active Rosters but are hurt
16 players who are in the Minors, Japan, or Indy Ball

Fortunately for all of these former Twins prospects, all of them played professional baseball at some level during the 2022 season. Some, like Thorpe and Gonsalves, may be done but have yet to be confirmed.

Others have a ways to go in their career, but the majority look like they’ll be around Major League or Minor League Baseball for the 2023 season. 

 

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