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  • Cody's Top 10 Twins Prospects: Post-Draft Edition

    At the end of last week, the Twins added some strong talent to their organization through the MLB Draft. Minnesota's farm system was already considered one of the best in baseball and having another top 5 pick should only improve their high-level talent.

    My last prospect ranking came back when I was helping put together the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. There have been a few changes to the list as players begin to move closer to the big leagues. Aaron Hicks has graduated off this list (he had been ranked 4th) and Joe Benson is now with another organization after he had been ranked in the top 20.

    There was a bit of shifting at the top with new numbers one and two, and new players in the top five. It's an exciting time for the Twins' minor league teams and it starts with the players at the top of this list.

    1. Byron Buxton (Previous Rank: 2)- OF - Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Buxton has been better than the Twins could have ever thought. He has been tearing up the Midwest League to the tune of batting .350/.444/.578 with seven home runs, eight triples, and 14 doubles. Buxton has also been terrific in the field as many fans saw on FSN earlier this week. There is a chance for him to be the number one prospect in all baseball by the end of the year. Buxton Fever is hitting Twins Territory and he is still multiple levels away from making his big league debut.

    2. Miguel Sano (1) - 3B- New Britain Rock Cats
    Since I started writing this blog back in 2010, Sano has been a name that I have routinely penciled in at the top of this list. He might be the best pure power hitter in the minor leagues. He had destroyed the usually pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Over 56 games, he hit .330/424/.655 with 16 home runs and 15 doubles. In the past his defense at third base has been questioned but he continues to improve, with 11 errors so far this year. It's not like Sano is doing anything wrong to have been moved out of the number one spot; Buxton has just been that good.

    3. Oswaldo Arcia (5) - OF- Rochester Red Wings
    Fans have gotten a little taste of Arcia at the beginning of this year. He has been back and forth between Rochester and the MLB club. This year he is hitting .255/.318/.449 with four home runs and five doubles in 30 big league games. The power is definitely there and he will continue working to raise some of his other numbers. He's played more games at the MLB level than at Triple-A so there is a rookie learning curve affecting his numbers.

    4. Eddie Rosario (7) - 2B - New Britain Rock Cats
    Rosario continues to be one of the better hitting prospects in the organization. His recent promotion to the Rock Cats will test some of his skills but he has a very advanced swing for his age. With quick wrists he is able to send the ball to all fields and could continue to move quickly through the organization. In 52 games for Fort Myers this year he batted .329/.377/.527 with six home runs, five triples and 13 doubles. This is only the sophomore year playing second base for the former outfielder and there will continue to be bumps along the way; this year he has only four errors in 275 chances at his new position.

    5. Kohl Stewart (NR) - RHP
    This year's fourth overall pick has yet to sign but he should quickly become the teamís best pitching prospect. It will take him some time to develop in the minor leagues but he could be the ace this team has been searching for since Johan Santana left. Stewart's name will likely be near the top of this list for multiple seasons as he works his way up from the lower levels of the minors. He has a killer fastball, a dominant slider, and fans will have to hope he can develop the rest of his arsenal along the way. For the first time he won't be worrying about the up-coming football season and that could bode ill for opposing batters.

    6. Alex Meyer (3) - RHP - New Britain Rock Cats
    In his first year in the Twins organization, Meyer has been putting up decent numbers at the Double-A level. The 23-year old righty has posted a 3.69 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 27 walks in 61 innings. His 1.311 WHIP is the highest of his young professional career. He hasn't pitched since June 1st after he felt some discomfort in his throwing shoulder. We hope it is nothing seriously wrong and he just needs to miss a few starts to rest his arm.

    7. Jose Berrios (9) - RHP - Cedar Rapids Kernels
    A supplemental first round pick in last year's draft, Berrios has settled nicely into the rotation for the Kernels. Over 42.1 innings, he has a 3.61 ERA and 50 strikeouts with 12 walks. He is giving up more than a hit an inning but he has the ability to strike batters out, a skill that has been lacking in the Twins system. If Berrios and Stewart can both make it as starters, they could provide a powerful front end of the rotation.

    8. Kyle Gibson (8) - RHP - Rochester Red Wings
    It shouldn't be long before Gibson joins the rotation of the Minnesota Twins. The club is looking for more consistency out of him on his way back from Tommy John surgery. In his last ten starts, he has an ERA under 3.00 with a 6-3 record. He has pitched close to 80 innings this season with 69 strikeouts and 26 walks. His walk rate is higher than most would like but this still shouldn't stop him from becoming part of the Twins' rotation for the better part of the next decade.

    9. Travis Harrison (11) - 3B - Cedar Rapids Kernels
    I have been high on Harrison since the Twins drafted him in the supplemental round of the 2011 Draft. He is beginning to realize some of his power potential this season in Cedar Rapids. He has nine home runs and 17 doubles in 61 games. His defense at third base hasnít been the greatest with 12 errors in 57 games. He might have to move from the hot corner but his power is legit.

    10. Jorge Polanco (14) - 2B - Cedar Rapids Kernels
    There are plenty of prospects up and down the roster for the Kernels. Polanco might get lost in the shuffle but this takes nothing away from his results. So far this year, the switch-hitting infielder is hitting .291/.342/.447 with 26 extra-base hits. It has been tough for the Twins to develop middle infielders but Polanco is among a promising crop at multiple levels in the system.

    Just Missed: Max Kepler, Kennys Vargas, Trevor May, Adam Walker, Josmil Pinto
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Top 10 Prospects: Post-Draft Edition started by Cody Christie
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Pretty good - there are teams that would be thrilled to have your HMs.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Kohl is not even signed and is a top 5 prospect. Well, that's hype for ya! For me, I think an important factor that is left out of the "prospect" equation on individual team's lists, is how fast they get to or can get to the MLB team. With most lists, they are devalued as they get more MLB ready (except the ones that include all the teams, perhaps), where as they actually become more valuable as they get closer to contributing, like Arcia (who may not really get to be called a prospect now). Kohl Stewart, for the very fact that in the Twins organization he is at least 3 years away, and more likely 4 or 5 or even 6........ well, his value is not as great in my mind. Kyle Gibson, as the pitcher most ready to actually contribute, would be surely ahead of Stewart for the Twins. But I respect your post and offering, for sure.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      If only half these guys pan out, then the next decade will be a lot of fun for Twins fans.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Nice to see 5 thru 8 were starting pitchers.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I don't get how Gibson keeps getting that low relative to other pitchers. We are pretty much 100% certain he is a MLB starter, I don't know we know that about Berrios or Meyer for sure yet. I get that they might have a higher upside, but we don't really know their floor. But, that's really a nit, generally the list looks good (both how you ranked them, and that the list has good players on it).
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Prospect lists have to balance ceiling with certainty and each ranking takes them into account differently. Guys like Sickels value certainty while rankings from someone like KLaw value ceiling. This list would tend to be a little closer to the latter. Nothing wrong with that.

      It'll be interesting to see where Stewart ends up on the national lists this off-season.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I don't get how Gibson keeps getting that low relative to other pitchers. We are pretty much 100% certain he is a MLB starter, I don't know we know that about Berrios or Meyer for sure yet. I get that they might have a higher upside, but we don't really know their floor. But, that's really a nit, generally the list looks good (both how you ranked them, and that the list has good players on it).
      You don't know that. The Twins wont promote him so it is impossible to know that. Potential is weighed heavily in prospect lists, that is the nature of the sport. Coming into the year I would have had Arcia as the number one prospect because of how well he performed at such a young age. The reason people are rating Buxton so high is because his ceiling right now is a HOF player, same can be said about Sano. Imagine 3 HOF players on the Twins at the same time! That assumes Mauer gets in, which I think he should. Gibson doesn't have a lot of projection left yet either. We know what he is, and his stuff looks to be better than a #3 pitcher, but not a #1.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I don't get how Gibson keeps getting that low relative to other pitchers. We are pretty much 100% certain he is a MLB starter, I don't know we know that about Berrios or Meyer for sure yet. I get that they might have a higher upside, but we don't really know their floor. But, that's really a nit, generally the list looks good (both how you ranked them, and that the list has good players on it).
      Agreed. Kyle Gibson's delivery has some of the same precision and balance as Mark Appel. Gibson will be the team's ace pitcher the moment he ascends the mound at Target Field.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      We do not know anything....but if you had to bet right now, which non-Kohl pitcher do you think is more likely to have a good MLB career, who would you bet your life on?
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Gibson is underrated but I will take Meyer and Stewart above him. I would also bump Stewart into the #3 spot.
    1. BabyJesusBuxton's Avatar
      BabyJesusBuxton -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Agreed.Gibson will be the team's ace pitcher the moment he ascends the mound at Target Field.
      Agreed but all that basically means is that he has a pulse.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      We do not know anything....but if you had to bet right now, which non-Kohl pitcher do you think is more likely to have a good MLB career, who would you bet your life on?
      Do I have to bet my life? Can I bet somebody else's life on it instead?
    1. 3rd Inning Stretch's Avatar
      3rd Inning Stretch -
      Hmmm mine are:
      Buxton
      Sano
      Arcia
      Rosario
      Meyer
      Berrios
      Stewart
      Gibson
      Pinto
      Kepler

      Ceiling alone, I'd but Stewart 3, but is dropped with the certainty factor and how far from majors in my rankings.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I like Stewart, but I am not putting him ahead of Gibson, Meyer, or Berrios. He is just ahead of May for me. I am rather surprised that so many are willing to put Stewart on such a pedestal.

      I don't think the Twins drafted well in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so my top 60 prospect list isn't going to change all that much because of the draft. I will put Eades somewhere, of course, and Turner, but the latter's very realizable floor is Danny Lehmann. His ceiling is past Butera, but I don't know how much higher.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by IdahoPilgrim View Post
      Do I have to bet my life? Can I bet somebody else's life on it instead?
      Sure, but only if you place a value on it.
    1. launchingthrees's Avatar
      launchingthrees -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      We do not know anything....but if you had to bet right now, which non-Kohl pitcher do you think is more likely to have a good MLB career, who would you bet your life on?
      J.O. followed by Meyer
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I like Stewart, but I am not putting him ahead of Gibson, Meyer, or Berrios. He is just ahead of May for me. I am rather surprised that so many are willing to put Stewart on such a pedestal.

      I don't think the Twins drafted well in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so my top 60 prospect list isn't going to change all that much because of the draft. I will put Eades somewhere, of course, and Turner, but the latter's very realizable floor is Danny Lehmann. His ceiling is past Butera, but I don't know how much higher.
      People said this last year with Buxton. How did that turn out? Elite talent is elite talent no matter what level they are at. I don't see the point of knocking Stewart just because he hasn't played in the minors yet.
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Strib reporting Navaretto and Turner have signed.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by launchingthrees View Post
      J.O. followed by Meyer
      You are braver than me....gibson is in AAA, and appears ready to be a number 3 starter in the majors in the next year or so. JO is in low A, and some scouts feel his FB is too straight. You, sir, are brave.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      So people seem fine with Buxton at #1, Berrios is many people's top pitcher and no one has complaints about Polanco or Harrison and Kepler has been thrown into the mix. However Stewart is a big question mark? Buxton, Berrios, Polanco and Harrison are still all low A and Kepler has yet to play there. Stewart was picked about 30 spots ahead of Berrios, I think people are underrating where he belongs.
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