Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game of baseball. They can happen when you least expect them to but are always inopportune because they take away chances for growth and development. This is especially true for minor leaguers because they’re already so raw in their own development, and they are subsequently missing time to not only grow into their bodies but also harness their craft. That being said, all is not lost because of these injuries, as they’re not necessarily the be-all and end-all of anyone’s career. Here are some updates from prospects within the Twins’ organization that have missed time and will miss the rest of the 2022 season.
Earlier this summer, it was announced that Canterino would be undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Arguably one of, if not the best pitching prospect within the entire organization, Canterino will miss the rest of this season and most of next season as well while recovering from this injury. It’s a devastating blow to the franchise that will be looking to replenish its starting rotation in the future. What makes the injury that much more difficult to swallow, is that even when a pitcher recovering from Tommy John Surgery returns to the mound, it’s typically the fastball command that takes the longest to replenish.
Matt Canterino, one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects, will undergo Tommy John surgery.
AGM Jeremy Zoll: “It felt like we didn’t have any more stones to turn over and Matt was feeling like surgery was the right call for him to try and get him back up and running from there.”
— Betsy Helfand (@betsyhelfand) August 11, 2022
Conclusion: While this is not a career-ending injury, it is something that Matt Canterino will have to carry with and learn from in the years to come. As he enters his age 25 year later this winter in December, he may not be back to his old dominant self until he’s around 27 years old. That being said, he was performing at an elite level before the injury, and he does possess three non-fastball above-average pitches with the potential to be plus pitches. Consider this a detour in his route to still be an impact pitcher for the Twins.
Lewis came flying out of the gate and into the major leagues and was able to hit for a .300/.317/.550 triple slash line with two home runs in 41 plate appearances. Unfortunately for him and the Twins, Lewis re-injured his knee while crashing into the outfield wall, and re-tore his ACL, requiring a surgical repair for it. Having just recovered from a torn ACL on the same knee a year earlier was a huge undertaking for him, but with similar knee injuries being eerily common in baseball with regards to ACL injuries, Lewis will now miss another year of development himself. The good news for him is that he’s already been through this before, and he should understand the mental toll that this can take on recovery. For instance, the first time around, he was able to concentrate more on his upper body strength, his accuracy with throwing, and his fielding skills. Additionally, he’s apparently ahead of schedule and the Twins are aggressive in their plans to have him recuperate.
Royce Lewis is here today, cleared for his first day of walking.
Took him until 5.5 weeks after his first surgery to walk, but it only took him 3 weeks this time. Said they’re being “aggressive.” It’s early, but he hopes to push recovery timeline from 12 months to 10-11 months.
— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) July 12, 2022
Conclusion: Royce Lewis exceeded my expectations when he broke in with the Twins earlier this season. He showed an ability to recover and adapt, while making up for lost time, and proving his worth to the Twins. On the one hand, it’s discouraging that Lewis re-injured himself, costing yet another year of showcasing his talents. On the other hand, his determination and his body’s reaction time are both encouraging traits, making it possible that he returns to the team by next year’s All-Star Break.
A breakout prospect this season, Rodriguez was seemingly putting everything together in an impressive fashion. Over 199 plate appearances at A-Ball, the nineteen-year-old outfielder hit nine home runs and stole eleven bases, while displaying an immense amount of patience at the plate (28.6% walk rate, .492 OBP) while opening the eyes of baseball scouts everywhere. What’s more, he was doing this while being around two years younger than his competition and providing excitement with seventeen extra-base hits. Now, with a torn meniscus, Rodriguez looks to be on track to miss the beginning of the 2023 Minor League season and may require a stay in his current level of development in order to prime himself for the all-important promotion.
Heard today that #MNTwins Top 10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez will have knee surgery followed by 3-4 months of rehab. The 19-year-old was leading the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in several on base and power numbers.
— Seth Stohs (@SethTweets) June 13, 2022
Conclusion: Regardless of this injury, Emmanuel Rodriguez is someone to monitor next season to see if his talent matches his numbers and can continue to grow within the organization. He exploded onto the scene in 2022 and is looking to take his talents to the next level if his body will allow it. If he can, the ceiling could be quite high for him and the Twins in the future.
Dave Funnell covers the Minnesota Twins minor leagues for Prospects1500. Located just south of Toronto in the city of Hamilton, he's an hour away from Buffalo (and the Bisons). He's been a fan of baseball his entire life and doesn't have a favorite team, which hopefully gives way for objectivty in analysis. Dave is in multiple keeper fantasy baseball leagues and is active on Twitter at @sportz_nutt51.