2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 46-50

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here, players 51-55 here, and all segments in the series here.

50. Jordan Balazovic (--)
DOB: 9/17/1998; Age: 18
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'4", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round in 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/GCL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

Jordan Balazovic was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2016 draft from St Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, ON, Canada.  Balazovic was the highest ranked Prep from Canada in the 2016 draft and comes from a baseball family, with both his father and grandfather playing professionally, the latter in the Cleveland Indians organization as an outfielder in the 1950s.  He has a great feel for the game.  He commands his low 90s fastball well and his changeup is close to a plus pitch.  He never threw a breaking ball until age 14 (that was 4 years ago) so his slider is a work in progress at this point, but it has been improving.  Very good mechanics and projectible build.  Has the potential to add velocity, but still very young.  In his first professional season he pitched in 8 games in the GCL league making 8 starts for 32 innings, striking out 16  (4.5 K/9, 12 K%) and walking 5 (1.4 BB/9, 8.3 K-BB%).  He had a 1.97 ERA, 3.54 FIP and 0.970 WHIP (.248 BABIP).  Still very raw, but with a plus changeup, very good control and command of the fastball and feel for the game, there is a lot of potential for Balazovic.

Likely 2017 path:  In EST and then the Elizabethton rotation.

49. Eduardo Del Rosario (--)
DOB: 5/19/1995; Age: 21
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'0", Weight: 145 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent signing 2012
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Eduardo Del Rosario was signed by the Minnesota Twins as an internation free agent from the Dominican Republic on Dec. 21, 2012, as a 17 year old and started his professional career at the Dominican Summer League in 2013.  There he has shown enough potential as a starter to make his stateside debut in Extended Spring Training and the Gulf Coast League the following season.   Del Rosario adjusted to the life in the United States as a reliever in 2014 and returned to starting and the GCL in 2015.  There he started 10 games (47-1/3 IP) striking out 50 (9.5 K/9, 27.8 K%), and walking 9 (1.7 BB/9, 22.8  K-BB%) and held opponents to a .217 average.  He finished with a 1.90 ERA, 2.08 FIP, 0.95 WHIP (.310 BABIP). He also made an emergency start in Elizabethton and got shelled (4 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 ER.)  He started 2016 in Extended Spring Training again, and was promoted to class A Cedar Rapids bypassing Elizabethon in June. In Cedar Rapids he started 16 games (83-1/3 IP) walking 32 (3.5 BB/9, 14 K-BB%) and striking out 81 (8.8 K/9, 23.3 K%), allowing a .244 opponent average without major slip deviations against lefties or righties.  He had a 3.67 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP (.304 BABIP). 

He did show an improvement in effectiveness as the season went along (his ERA went from 6.58 in June to 2.83 in July and 1.69 in August,) however his biggest issue, wildness, was pretty constant.  In addition to the fairly high 3.5 BB/9 walk rate, in those 83-1/3 innings he threw 12 wild pitches and hit 5 batters. Del Rosario has excellent command of this low 90s fastball and he pitches ahead of hitters and then tries to get them out by swinging at his secondary stuff (changeup and slider) outside the zone.  He has been inducing massive strikeout numbers in bunches, including this appearance were he struck out 11 in 6 innings.. His problem is that his secondary staff is average and, on more than an occasion, hitters are ignoring it and sitting on the fastball or taking walks.  Improving his secondary stuff and their command will get him a long way; regardless, it is refreshing seeing a Twins' pitcher not being afraid to pitch outside the zone.

48. Taylor Clemensia (--)
DOB: 2/20/1997; Age: 19
Positions: LHP
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 6'1", Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 2015
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/GCL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

Taylor Clemensia was signed by the Twins as an International Free Agent from the Netherlands in 2015.  2016 was his first professional season in the United States, as well as his first full season as a pitcher, playing 3 professional seasons in the Dutch League as an outfielder, and appearing only 5 games as a pitcher last season.  He started the season in Extended Spring Training and then moved to the Gulf Coast League where he pitched in 11 games, 10 as a starter, for 43-2/3 innings, striking out 47 and walking 12. He also threw 8 wild pitches and hit 6 batters.  He finished with a 2.47 ERA, FIP, and 1.214 WHIP (BABIP). 

Big fastball that is all over the place, above average curveball, good feel for the changeup and very consistent mechanics on a frame that suggests durability.  The command and control issues are concerning, but Clemensia has only pitched a season and a half, so there is a lot of room for improvement.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training and then in the Elizabethton rotation, depending on the Twins' 2017 draft

47. Nelson Molina (--)
DOB: 4/30/1995; Age: 21
Positions: IF
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2013
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2020

Nelson Molina was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB J Draft from Antonio Luchetti High School in Arecibo, PR.  He has been developing slowly for the Twins, starting and repeating the GCL level his first two seasons, moving to Elizabethton in 2015 and to A level Cedar Rapids in 2016.  He was drafted as a SS, but has played every infield and the corner outfield positions, concentrating recently at third base that will likely be his position of the future.  Molina always had good plate discipline, but had a hard time making contact.  However something clicked for him this season, hitting .300/.374/.381 overall (with only a 13.9 K% and 9.9 BB%) and .321/.383/.419 against RHPs.  He is tall and lanky with limited power, but the potential to establish it as he grows.  He has some speed, stealing 12 bases in Elizabethton, but this season he only had 6 attempts (and 5 SB.) He has been improving at third base, but made 9 errors in 67 games last season.  At this point his bat is ahead of his glove, which will catch up as he is settles in one position.  However, this might be a catch-22 for Molina, because positional versatility might be his key to the majors at some point and I suspect that will be the path that the Twins take for his development, unless his bat jumps yet another level and the power and speed numbers improve yo be projected as a potential starter in the hot corner.  It will be interesting to see how he will respond in higher levels of competition, esp facing better off-speed pitches, and with more aggressive coaches at the base paths.   

Likely 2017 path:  On the Fort Myers Miracle roster as a utility player

46. Tyler Benninghoff (--)
DOB: 9/17/1997; Age: 19
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'4", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2016
Professional Experience: -; Highest level: - (-)
ETA: 2020+

The Twins drafted Tyler Benninghoff in the 11th round in the 2016 draft from Rockhurst High in Kansas City, MO.  Benninghoff who was committed to Arkansas before the draft was a top 100 High School Prospect and projected to be drafted in the first 3 rounds, before his 2016 was derailed with Tommy John surgery and recovery.  The Twins drafted him and signed him to an overslot value bonus ($600K vs $100K slot value) to entice him away from college.  Benninghoff is a project in many respects, but before his injury he had a plus hammer curve and an above average fastball, seating at 90-92 mph and touching mid 90s.  Projectible body and still growing, the health of his arm being the major concern.  If healthy and if he develops a third pitch or improves his fastball, he could rise fast in the organization.  2017 will be an assessment season for him.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training

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