Blayne Enlow Enters Make Or Break Season – Twins Minor League Talk

Blayne Enlow was once considered one of the Twins’ best pitchers. Now he enters the most pivotal season of his pro career as he must put himself back on the prospect map.

Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge

Minnesota drafted Blayne Enlow in the third round of the 2017 Louisiana high school MLB Draft. He received a $2 million signing bonus to take him out of his commitment to Louisiana State University. After signing, the Twins assigned him to the GCL Twins and saw immediate results. In 20 1/3 innings, he allowed three earned runs with a 19-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Twins were aggressive against Enlow in 2018 by sending him to Cedar Rapids, where he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition. For the season, he only faced younger batters in 13 at bats. In 94 innings, he posted a 3.26 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP. He allowed one hit per inning and his 6.8 K/9 was low, but there were other positives to work on as he climbed the organizational ladder.

Enlow started the 2019 season back at Low-A where he saw his pass rate improve to 9.6 K/9. In eight starts, he had a 4.57 ERA with a 1.38 WHIP. Most of his struggles were tied to his home run rate jumping from 0.4 HR/9 to 0.9 HR/9. He continued to make improvements after being promoted to High-A. Through 69 1/3 innings, his ERA fell to 3.38 and his H/9 fell below 8.0 for the first time since rookie ball. Enlow held his own while young for his level.

Unfortunately, Enlow faced a number of challenges over the next two seasons. Like many players, he missed a critical year of development with no minor league season in 2020. Enlow worked on fine-tuning his performance during the shutdown and he entered the 2021 season with something to prove. His hit rate rose to 14.1 K/9 over his first three starts, while limiting his opponents to three earned points. Shortly into the season, he threw a bullpen and his speed was slow. Eventually, the organization discovered he had a torn UCL and Tommy John required surgery.

Enlow missed the rest of 2021, but returned to the mound in May 2022, 11 months after his surgery. Also, the Twins appreciated Enlow enough to add him to the 40-man roster even though he would return from injury. In 25 appearances (11 starts), he posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.63 WHIP and 9.9 K/9. He posted the highest H/9 and BB/9 of his career, but it can take a while for a pitcher to return to his previous form after Tommy John.

Last season, Enlow pitched all year with Double-A, where he was still young for his level. He will probably return to Double-A this season now that he is further away from his procedure. 40-man roster spots are valuable, so Enlow needs to get closer to the player he was before surgery. The Twins will likely need pitching depth in 2023, and Enlow’s presence on the 40-man roster makes it more likely that he will make his big league debut. If Enlow is struggling, the Twins will need his roster spot ahead of other players.

Enlow’s 2023 season will be intriguing for fans to watch. He is part of the team’s pitching pipeline, but questions remain about his future. Can he regain his form as a top contender? Or will he finish the season with another organization? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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