Minnesota Twins' top prospects may be involved in Tyler Mahle trade talks with Reds

·4 min read
Minnesota Twins' Royce Lewis runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Minnesota Twins' Royce Lewis runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Wednesday's reports that the Minnesota Twins are believed to be involved in trade conversations about right-handed pitcher Tyler Mahle left Reds fans wondering whether Cincinnati might look to acquire any of the AL Central-leading Twins' top prospects in exchange for the starting pitcher.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Twins were in the market for Luis Castillo, who was traded Friday night to the Seattle Mariners for four prospects. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reported that the Twins were more interested in Castillo's teammate, Mahle, than in Castillo.

Mahle allowed two runs in six innings and retired the final 13 batters he faced in the Reds' 8-2 win Saturday night in what may have been his final start as a Red at Great American Ball Park.

Mahle has posted a 4.40 ERA and 1.25 WHIP through 19 starts this season. He led the National League with 33 starts last season, posting a 3.75 ERA.

MLB Pipeline ranks just one Twins prospect - shortstop Royce Lewis - among its most recent top 100, checking in at No. 39. Lewis, 23, is hitting .300 (12-for-40) with four doubles, two homers and five RBIs this season for the Twins. He was the first overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft - one pick ahead of Reds rookie pitcher Hunter Greene.

In June, the Twins announced that Lewis would need a full year to recover after undergoing reconstructive ACL surgery on his right knee for the second year in a row.

MLB Pipeline analysis of Lewis:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55  

The No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft, out of the Southern California high school ranks, Lewis played up to advanced billing in his first year-plus of pro ball, with a .292/.352/.451 slash line across two levels of A ball in his first full season. He struggled in '19, though he went to the Futures Game and reached Double-A. He seemed to right the ship with an MVP performance in the Arizona Fall League, but he didn’t play a competitive game for two years because of the pandemic and a torn ACL suffered in Spring Training of '21. He made a triumphant return to competitive play in '22, earning his first callup to the big leagues, only to tear the same ACL when he crashed into the center-field wall in his second Major League stint.

More from MLB.com about the four players who round out the team's top five prospects:

OF/SS Austin Martin, age 23

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Thought to be the top hitter in the 2020 Draft class, Martin left Vanderbilt with a .368/.474/.532 career line that helped him become the No. 5 overall pick in that year’s Draft, taken by the Blue Jays. After time at Toronto’s alternate training site that summer, Martin went straight to Double-A for his pro debut in 2021 and showcased his impressive on-base skills. He also went to the Futures Game before he was sent to the Twins at the Trade Deadline for right-hander José Berríos.

RHP Jordan Balazovic, age 23

Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50

The best prospect in Canada from the 2016 Draft class, Balazovic inspired the Twins to take him in the fifth round and go over slot value to sign him. Then, he was a thin, super-projectable high school right-hander. He’s made steady progress since, making his full-season debut in 2018, pitching across two levels of A-ball and going to the Futures Game in 2019 and pitching well at the Twins’ alternate training site and in instructs in 2020 to earn a spot on the 40-man roster. Although a back issue kept him from making his Double-A debut until June 2021, he still managed to miss bats while setting a career high in innings pitched.

RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, age 21

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50

Originally a second-round pick of the Mets in 2018, Woods Richardson has already been involved in two big trades, first getting sent from the Mets to the Blue Jays in the Marcus Stroman deal in 2019, then going from Toronto to Minnesota as part of the Jose Berrios trade at the 2021 Deadline. After a breakout in 2019, Woods Richardson’s stuff backed up in 2021, and he only pitched briefly for the Twins after being on Team USA’s pitching staff for the Olympics.

RHP Matt Canterino, age 24

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

Canterino left Rice University as a three-year starter who had struck out 100-plus batters in all three seasons, leading him to being taken by the Twins in the second round of the 2019 Draft. Since then, it’s been hard to see him on a mound, with the pandemic in 2020 and a forearm strain in 2021 limiting him to a total of 48 professional innings since being drafted entering the 2022 season.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Tyler Mahle trade talks may involve Minnesota Twins' top prospects