MLB

Twins top prospects 2022: Austin Martin, acquired in deadline trade, heads Minnesota’s list

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Major League Baseball’s owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams.

That journey finds us today focusing on the Minnesota Twins’ farm system. 

Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.

1. Austin Martin, CF/SS

The Twins acquired Martin, the fifth pick in the 2020 draft, as part of a deadline trade that sent José Berríos to Toronto. Martin spent his first pro season in Double-A, hitting .270/.414/.382 with five home runs and 14 steals (on 18 tries). There’s no doubting his feel for contact or his command of the strike zone; nevertheless, there remain questions about his power potential and his defensive home. If Martin is slugging at below-average levels, and if he has to move down the defensive spectrum, then that complicates his overall profile. Let’s see how Martin fares with a full offseason of instruction from the Twins before rushing to any conclusions. 

2. Royce Lewis, SS

The No. 1 pick of the 2017 draft, Lewis has had a rough couple of years. He remade his swing in 2019, and the results were poor until the Arizona Fall League. He hasn’t been able to build upon that AFL stint: first because of the global pandemic wiping out the 2020 minor-league campaign, and then because of a torn ACL he suffered in spring. It’s anyone’s guess as to how Lewis looks come this spring; at the peak of his prospect powers, he had a dynamic power-speed skill set with a chance to stick at short.

3. Joe Ryan, RHP

Another deadline acquisition, the Twins nabbed Ryan as part of the Nelson Cruz trade with the Rays. Ryan boasts one of the oddest pitching profiles in the sport, as he’s extremely dependent on his low-90s fastball despite being a starter. During a five-game cameo with the Twins last season, he used his fastball some 67 percent of the time. That approach continued to work for him, as he posted a 106 ERA+ and a 6.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in an admittedly small sample of 26 innings. It’s to be seen if he can continue to work his magic every fifth day against MLB lineups. At this point, though, it would be foolish to completely ignore or discard his track record.


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