Skip to main content

Future of Twins starting pitching prospects is promising

The Twins rotation is struggling but help is on the way ... eventually.
Jhoan Duran

In the summer of 2013, it was a nightly occurrence at Target Field. Whether it was Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey or Scott Diamond on the mound, a Minnesota Twins starter would cruise through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would walk to the mound and signal to the bullpen and Twins fans would stand up and give a standing ovation for a less-than-quality start.

Two months into the 2021 season, the Twins are dangerously close to becoming a throwback team. With Kenta Maeda (5.27), J.A. Happ (5.61) and Matt Shoemaker (7.28) carrying ERA's north of 5.00 the sixth-inning ovation has made a comeback at Target Field.

But reinforcements could be on the way in Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino. This trio of Twins prospects is something that should give fans hope for the future.

The group starts with Duran, who is currently pitching with Triple-A St. Paul. A key piece of the 2018 trade that sent Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Duran has snuffed out hitters with a fastball that's reached over 100 mph and a strikeout pitch that nobody knows what to call it.

Duran's start to the season was delayed by a shoulder injury but he's bounced back to allow a 3.27 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings (three starts). While he's on the Twins' 40-man roster, his 2021 stats are the only appearances he has over High-A ball. That could make a late-season promotion to the majors unlikely.

Balazovic and Canterino are prospects that will make their debut in 2022 at the earliest but have also shown promise.

Balazovic was a fifth-round pick but the Twins in the 2016 MLB Draft and made his debut for Double-A Wichita on Saturday night. In 3.1 scoreless innings of work, Balazovic struck out five batters but also had control issues with two hit batters and a wild pitch.

The control could be some rust after dealing with a back injury but Balazovic has the tools to be a long-term starter. In 2019, Balazovic had a 5.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio between Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers and a fastball that tops out at 96 mph. With a slider that checks in at 85 mph, Balazovic has strikeout ability and control to go with it.

In Canterino, the Twins have a prospect that could become a fan favorite. On the mound, the Rice product has a unique delivery that generates a fastball between 94-95 mph. He also has a plethora of strong secondary pitches including a changeup, curveball and slider.

But that's not why Twins fans will fall in love with him. When Canterino strikes out a batter to end the inning, he breaks into a full-blown sprint, hurdling over the third base line and into the dugout.

Canterino's season was going well in his first four starts at High-A Cedar Rapids, compiling a 35-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 18 innings this season. Unfortunately, Canterino was placed on the injured list with a strained right elbow.

Even with the injury woes, Duran, Balazovic and Canterino should provide a solid future for the Twins rotation. If everything pans out Derek Falvey could have a group similar to the one he had with the Cleveland Indians with Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale and Zach Pleasac at the top of the rotation.

Perhaps this group doesn't have a Cy Young Award winner but it should be able to get the Twins out of the sixth inning.

Next Up


Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.


Devin Smeltzer

Who steps up if Twins don't make a move to improve rotation?

The Twins have some depth, but they should really add a pitcher.

Jake Odorizzi

How can the Twins upgrade their starting rotation?

With less than a month until spring training, the Twins could use another starting pitcher.

Alex Kirilloff

Twins Daily: Comparing Twins' top prospects to MLB stars

What time does the World Series parade start?

Jhoan Duran

Twins Daily prospect rankings: #6 Jhoan Duran

Counting down the top prospects, and Duran has a chance to make waves this season.

5 Twins prospects land in MLB Pipeline's Top 100

The Twins had the second-largest number of prospects on MLB's list.