• 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. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      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?
      Is that the best way to think of prospects though? It would be silly to argue anyone other than Gibson is more likely to have a good MLB career, but that is also pretty much the ceiling of Gibson at this point. The ceiling of Meyer and Stewart are much higher. Meyer could be a legit #1 for several years and he is not that far away. This value counts for something. i still want to see another year from Berrios.

      I would rank the pitchers:
      Meyer
      Stewart
      Gibson
      Berrios
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      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 hasn't yet to play there. Stewart was picked about 30 spots ahead of Berrios, I think people are underrating where he belongs.
      Who has Berrios as their top pitcher?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am a Gibson, Meyer, Berrios, Stewart, May guy.

      HOLY HELL, that's five guys! Probably need one or maybe two lefties in the mix though.

      It is good to think that I will now have 5 starting pitchers at spots 4,5,7, 8, and 10 for the Twins.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I am a Gibson, Meyer, Berrios, Stewart, May guy.

      HOLY HELL, that's five guys! Probably need one or maybe two lefties in the mix though.

      It is good to think that I will now have 5 starting pitchers at spots 4,5,7, 8, and 10 for the Twins.
      I would order them the same way. I tend to favor proximity to the Majors with pitchers, but not with hitters. Pitchers get injured more frequently and tend to be harder to project. I wouldn't be shocked if I flipped Berrios and Stewart by seasons' end.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      I would order them the same way. I tend to favor proximity to the Majors with pitchers, but not with hitters. Pitchers get injured more frequently and tend to be harder to project. I wouldn't be shocked if I flipped Berrios and Stewart by seasons' end.
      That's right, though I do the same with position players too. Once they find success in AA I give them an extra boost in my rankings.

      Berrios is crazy good. He was a sleeper pick last year. Stewart is headed to GCL, undoubtedly, and may end up in E-Town. I hope Stewart forces me to change my mind, because that would be good for the Twins.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      With all the hype around Buxton, I still think that Sano is the top prospect. I am still waiting for Buxton to hit high A pitching. What Sano did (improve his OPS by close to 200 points from the MWL to the FSL) is practically insane and should be rewarded. I'd like Buxton to do the same before the conversation of him being better than Sano should even begin.

      I would not ever rank Steward at this point, because he has not signed yet. If he signs, I'd like to have a look at him before I even place him, because everything else would be heresay and based on High School scouting reports.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I am a Gibson, Meyer, Berrios, Stewart, May guy. .
      Hard to rate those, but at this point I would have Baxendale at least ahead of May and maybe even ahead of Berrios. May would really have to impress me at this point because he has taken a step back since he has not improved in his second AA season.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Stewart, Meyers, Gibson, Berrios, Mays for me. I don't understand knocking people because they haven't had a chance to play at X level yet. Give me elite tools any day.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Stewart
      Meyer
      Gibson
      Berrios

      May is in an entirely different tier for me and I might even consider ranking another pitcher ahead of him.

      This also isn't underrating Gibson and Berrios. I think both of them are easily top 100 overall prospects but Meyer and Stewart are top 50 (approaching top 25) prospects. The Twins might not have the pitching depth in the minors but four pitchers in the overall top 100 is a claim that not many teams can make.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      The issue comes down to upside with Stewart vs. the field. Last season, I couldn't rate Buxton above guys like Arcia, Sano and Rosario after the seasons they had. I don't really think Meyer is in the same league as these guys. Now, Buxton has put some terrific results up this year, and has showed why he deserves recognition (still put Sano above him though). What sticks out is 2 plus-plus pitches, that is more plus-plus pitches than what was in the entire organization. With how aggressive the Twins have been lately with prospects, it might not take very long to get a look at him.
    1. launchingthrees's Avatar
      launchingthrees -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      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.
      Scouts that I respect universally rave about J.O.'s stuff. There's no right answer here but I think Gibson is likely to be somewhere between a bit above average to a bit below average. I'm def open to the idea of Meyer first though.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Here was my pre-draft Top 20, with draft picks in parentheses (pre-signing):

      1 - Buxton
      2 - Sano
      3 - Arcia
      4 - Meyer
      (Stewart)
      5 - Berrios
      6 - Rosario
      7 - Gibson
      8 - Vargas
      9 - Polanco
      10 - Harrison
      11 - May
      12 - Walker
      13 - Pinto
      14 - Kepler
      15 - Goodrum
      16 - Wimmers
      17 - Santana
      18 - Tonkin
      19 - Z Jones
      (Gonsalves)
      20 - Rogers
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      The issue comes down to upside with Stewart vs. the field. Last season, I couldn't rate Buxton above guys like Arcia, Sano and Rosario after the seasons they had. I don't really think Meyer is in the same league as these guys. Now, Buxton has put some terrific results up this year, and has showed why he deserves recognition (still put Sano above him though). What sticks out is 2 plus-plus pitches, that is more plus-plus pitches than what was in the entire organization. With how aggressive the Twins have been lately with prospects, it might not take very long to get a look at him.
      I understand new things can be scary but scouts are pretty good now of days identifying talent. BA just put out an article today about how the first round picks from last year are doing and for the most part it shows that elite talent will transfer to the minors. Most of the 1st rounders are doing better than expected. Here is what they had to say about Buxton:

      Center fielder Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick last June, has been better than even the Twins could have hoped. Buxton has shown speed, power, defense and a very advanced hitting approach as he’s dominated the low Class A Midwest League. He’s arguably the best prospect in baseball.

      Scouting is more than just numbers.

      Link to article:

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/in-review-each-teams-top-pick-from-the-2012-draft/
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Here was my pre-draft Top 20, with draft picks in parentheses (pre-signing):

      1 - Buxton
      2 - Sano
      3 - Arcia
      4 - Meyer
      (Stewart)
      5 - Berrios
      6 - Rosario
      7 - Gibson
      8 - Vargas
      9 - Polanco
      10 - Harrison
      11 - May
      12 - Walker
      13 - Pinto
      14 - Kepler
      15 - Goodrum
      16 - Wimmers
      17 - Santana
      18 - Tonkin
      19 - Z Jones
      (Gonsalves)
      20 - Rogers
      Did you forget Eades? He has to be above several of those guys IMO.
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      I like Berrios he dominanting after less than a year at double. A potential 2014 twin that can miss bats. I admit Gibson is movating Pelf with every solid start but still hate the innings thing.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
      Who has Berrios as their top pitcher?
      Quote Originally Posted by launchingthrees View Post
      J.O. followed by Meyer
      It was one. I said many, but it was unintentional hyperbole. I was referring to all the thought that Berrios should be ranked ahead of Stewart.

      Berrios is such an odd case. When drafted, most people were not familiar with him and in fact had a different choice for the 32nd pick with Mitch Brown, Lance McCullers, Matt Smoral and Joey Gallo getting requests from what I can recall of that night. Even though everyone seemed to have lost out on their horse, Berrios somehow instantly became a favorite, I think in part because of his tearful draft day video and the videos of his workouts. Interestingly, Luke Bard, the following Twins pick, who more people were familiar with, seemed to be a largely unpoplar pick. For fans of drafts, it is very rare that the unknown is embraced while the known is not.

      Anyway, I'm getting at the fact that Berrios became a favorite on this site even before he threw a professional pitch. Stewart doesn't seem to be driving the same excitment despite being taken 28 picks higher the following draft.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
      Is that the best way to think of prospects though? It would be silly to argue anyone other than Gibson is more likely to have a good MLB career, but that is also pretty much the ceiling of Gibson at this point. The ceiling of Meyer and Stewart are much higher. Meyer could be a legit #1 for several years and he is not that far away. This value counts for something. i still want to see another year from Berrios.

      I would rank the pitchers:
      Meyer
      Stewart
      Gibson
      Berrios
      Well, to me, it about balancing upside and downside and "probabilities" (which I put in quotes because it's not like I'm doing real risk analysis calculations here). I think it is probable (others can disagree with good reason I admit) that Gibson is a number 3 or better pitcher in the majors. I think it is possible Meyer and Stewart are number 1 types, but I think it about as probable that Meyer is a number 3 or 4 or RP. To me, the fact that Gibson has succeeded at a higher level is a big deal. BTW, I think Stewart is the top pitching prospect right now, because his ceiling is so high......again, it's a side of the napkin calculation for me.

      So, would I always say a guy that is likely to be in the majors is a better prospect than a higher upside, but riskier player? No. Sometimes the riskier guy is the better prospect. But I also think that some people in their lists underestimate the value of the guy that will definitely be in the majors. Look at Thielbar, for example. he's there, and successfull. I count that for a lot over a guy in low A that is currently a starter, but probably needs to be converted to a reliever. Those guys are very unklikely to make the majors, if you look at history and the numbers that don't make it. But Thielbar has made it, and to me, that's super valuable.

      others disagree, and I 'm not sure that is bad. If we all agreed, and all took the same approach to solving problems, our solutions would not be as good in the long run.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I really should type those long replies in Word or Mail or something, to get the speeeeling right......sigh.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      Did you forget Eades? He has to be above several of those guys IMO.
      I was wondering the same. He's more or less Wimmers minus TJ and a few years younger. I'd at least put him in that #15 range.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Mike, your explanation puts you very much in the John Sickels camp best I can tell.
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