• Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects: 16-20

    Our Top 50 series continues today with a look at my choices for Minnesota Twins Prospects 16-20. There are certainly a few intriguing names on today's list.

    Again, at the bottom of today's segment, you will find links to the first six parts of this series. In the first part, I talked a bit about some of the things I look at in determining my prospect list.

    Enjoy today's installment of the Twins Top 50 prospect list, and be sure to start formulating your top 10, or top 20 or top whatever you like.

    Part 7: 16-20

    In today's set of five prospects, you'll find some prospect that, if they take another step forward could become regulars in a lineup or in the middle of a big league staff. We have a shortstop who takes good at-bats and plays very solid defense. We have a couple right-handers that can hit 94-95 with their fastballs. We have a David Ortiz-clone (to some degree), and we have another one of my 2013 minor league award winners.



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    #20 – Niko Goodrum – SS (21)

    Goodrum was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2009, one of the many players in recent years to be drafted from a Georgia high school. Goodrum was long and lanky when the Twins drafted him. He’s listed at 6-3, but hard work last offseason put him over 200 pounds. Defensively, he is pretty smooth up the middle and has a good, accurate arm. Offensively, he puts together good at-bats. In 103 games for the Kernels, he hit .260/.364/.369 (.732), showing a very impressive walk rate. He had 22 doubled, four triples and four home runs, but he has the strength and frame to continue to add power.

    #19 – Taylor Rogers – LH SP (22)

    Rogers was the Twins 12th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He signed quickly and spent a short time in Elizabethton before finishing the season in Beloit. He was the Cedar Rapids Kernels opening night starter this year, but three starts later, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he was terrific. There, the lefty went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA. Rogers works quickly and efficiently, getting quick outs and eating a lot of innings. He had three complete games (2 shutouts) for the Miracle. That doesn’t count his nine shutout innings in his Miracle playoff start. He has a low 90s fastball and a good slider. He has good command. He was my choice for Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.

    #18 – Fernando Romero – RH SP (18)

    Another GCL kid with a mid-90s fastball. Signed late in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, Romero came to the States in 2013 and did well in the GCL. Overall, he went 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in 45 innings split between six starts and six relief appearances. Most impressive, in his final four outings, he gave up just one earned run over 23.2 innings. Romero throws very hard, but he will need to work on secondary pitches. Another positive, when he debuted in the Dominican Summer league in 2012, he struck out 8.1 per nine, but he walked 4.1 per nine (in 31 innings). In 2013, he struck out 9.4 per nine and dropped his walk rate to 2.6 per nine. Hopefully those are numbers we can see more of as he moves forward.

    #17 – Ryan Eades – RH SP (21)

    If Eades weren’t a 2nd round pick, you might choose to look at his debut numbers in Elizabethton and be alarmed. In 10 relief appearances, he threw 15.2 innings and gave up 13 hits, walked 12 while striking out 13. Definitely not a typical top college pick debut in the rookie league. But consider, he went 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA over 17 starts at powerhouse LSU. He has the type of stuff that could develop into a front of the rotation starter. At 6-3 and 205 pounds, he throws a fastball that sits 91-93 but hits 95 at times. He has a very good breaking ball and a changeup that has a chance to be very good as well. Typically, he has shown very good control. He has a chance to be pretty good. And, if you’re looking for bonus reason for optimism, he is represented by Scott Boras, which means he must be pretty good, right?

    #16 – Kennys Vargas – 1B (23)

    Vargas is a big, happy-go-lucky individual who seems to really enjoy life and enjoy playing some ball. At 6-5, he is listed at 215 pounds, but my guess is you can add 40 to 50 pounds to that number. After seeing him in Beloit for a long series a year ago, the similarities between Vargas and his friend David Ortiz are stunning. They look alike, they have monster power, their walk/strut is the same, and Vargas points to the sky after touching home plate after home runs the same way that Ortiz does. I guess the negatives of that comparison are that they share similar foot speed and have similar amounts of “grace” around first base. Vargas put together a very solid season in Ft. Myers, really his first full season as a professional. In 125 games, he hit .267/.344/.468 (.813) with 33 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs and 93 RBI. He hits pretty well from both sides of the plate as well. Don’t get carried away. Don’t expect Vargas to become the next David Ortiz. But, I think he can get to the big leagues as a DH with some pop in his bat.

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    There was Part 7 of what will be a ten part series with my Top 50 Twins Prospects. Next week, we'll work through the Top 15 Twins prospects (in my opinion). In case you missed any of the previous installments, here are those links:

    Part 1: 46-50
    Part 2: 41-45
    Part 3: 36-40
    Part 4: 31-35
    Part 5: 26-30
    Part 6: 21-25
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      It sounds like we have some pretty talented pitchers in the lower levels. Where do Eades and Rogers start next year, and how quickly could they move up?
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Interesting to see Fernando Romero in the top 20. I suppose the development of his secondary pitches will determine if he ends up being a starter or a reliever.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Surprised to see Eades this high. You pointed out his disastrous numbers this year. 2014 is a key year for him--presumably at Cedar Rapids. For me, he must show something or I will consider him a bust. On the other hand, another chip for Gonsalves to have on his shoulder considering the Twins picked Eades ahead of him...
    1. Smcginnity's Avatar
      Smcginnity -
      I read this blog daily and barely know about Fernando Romero. I realize he is in the GCL but I know Thorpe, Rosario, Jorge, Landa but this Romero kid...I have never heard anything about him really.

      Is there a prediction on which pitchers will start where next season? It seems like we have a plethora of starting pitchers but not enough spots to start them. I imagine the following:

      Rochester:
      Logan Darnell
      Alex Meyer
      Trevor May
      Pat Dean
      Tom Stuifbergen

      New Britain:
      Taylor Rogers
      DJ Baxendale
      Matt Summers
      Alex Wimmers
      Tyler Duffey

      Fort Myers:
      Jose Berrios
      Ryan Eades
      Mason Melotakis
      Tim Atherton
      Tim Shibuya
      Hudson Boyd
      Jason Wheeler

      Cedar Rapids (This is where it gets tough...):
      Kohl Stewart
      Yorman Landa
      Lewis Thorpe
      Miguel Sulbaran
      Randy Rosario
      Felix Jorge
      Stephen Gonsalves
      Aaron Slegers


      What say you Seth?
    1. Smcginnity's Avatar
      Smcginnity -
      Plus we have Kuo Hu Lo and Fernando Romero...not a bad problem to have I guess
    1. SarasotaBill's Avatar
      SarasotaBill -
      Romero over Jorge Felix seems like a stretch.

      Rogers over Baxendale doesn't make sense. Baxendale was pushed faster and he totally dominated A+ where Rogers finished.
      Baxendale was drafted in 2012 where Rogers was drafted in 2011 (both from college).
      Obviously the Twins see more potential with Baxendale since they pushed him ahead of the 2011 draft class.
      Yes - he struggled in AA but Hicks struggled in the Majors because he wasn't ready for that level.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Seth, I've got a general question about your rankings, driven by Rogers being in the top 20....

      How much weight do you give to strikeout rates?

      Rogers is 22 years old and posted 83K in 123 IP in HIgh A, in a pitcher's league. To me, that seems like a guy who almost no chance of having any meaningful career in MLB, not even as a reliever.

      Now, maybe at this number, none of these guys have much hope of a MLB career, but I would think Goodrum would, and relievers that are lower on this list might too. So is there something you know about Roger that we don't - like he's an extreme groundball guy or something - or do you discount strikeout rate, which I notice you often don't include if it's not impressive.

      Thanks.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Unfortunately, the similarities of Vargas aka Baby Papi with Big Papi expand to the way the Twins are thinking of them. There was absolutely no reason for Vargas not to move to New Britain when Sano and Rosario did. At the all star break he was hitting .286/.364/.542 (.906 OPS, pretty close to Eddie Rosario's .903 with the Miracle) with 12 HR and 51 RBI. Instead the Twins signed 27 year old non-prospect Reynaldo Rodriguez to play first base for the Rock Cats.

      I just hope that history does not repeat itself here...
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Did they keep Vargas at Ft Myers so he could work with the trainers? I have heard the training facilities are the best there.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      the similarities between Vargas and his friend David Ortiz are stunning.
      Do you mean that literally--are Vargas and Ortiz friends? Or do you mean it in the Senatorial, "My good friend from West Virginia" way?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      It sounds like we have some pretty talented pitchers in the lower levels. Where do Eades and Rogers start next year, and how quickly could they move up?
      I would guess Rogers starts in New Britain and Eades starts in Ft. Myers.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Surprised to see Eades this high. You pointed out his disastrous numbers this year. 2014 is a key year for him--presumably at Cedar Rapids. For me, he must show something or I will consider him a bust. On the other hand, another chip for Gonsalves to have on his shoulder considering the Twins picked Eades ahead of him...
      We preach and preach and preach not to make a big deal out of the great numbers that college pitchers can put up in E-Town. I don't think it's worth worrying about what happened in 14-15 innings either. It's about 2 years too early to consider anything close to the word bust.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      Do you mean that literally--are Vargas and Ortiz friends? Or do you mean it in the Senatorial, "My good friend from West Virginia" way?
      When Ortiz started this season on the DL, he went to a few of the Miracle games. He has befriended Sano and Vargas. I can't speak to the extent of that, but I know there was time spent together.
    1. Outlier's Avatar
      Outlier -
      Quote Originally Posted by Smcginnity View Post
      I read this blog daily and barely know about Fernando Romero. I realize he is in the GCL but I know Thorpe, Rosario, Jorge, Landa but this Romero kid...I have never heard anything about him really.

      Is there a prediction on which pitchers will start where next season? It seems like we have a plethora of starting pitchers but not enough spots to start them. I imagine the following:

      Rochester:
      Logan Darnell
      Alex Meyer
      Trevor May
      Pat Dean
      Tom Stuifbergen

      New Britain:
      Taylor Rogers
      DJ Baxendale
      Matt Summers
      Alex Wimmers
      Tyler Duffey

      Fort Myers:
      Jose Berrios
      Ryan Eades
      Mason Melotakis
      Tim Atherton
      Tim Shibuya
      Hudson Boyd
      Jason Wheeler

      Cedar Rapids (This is where it gets tough...):
      Kohl Stewart
      Yorman Landa
      Lewis Thorpe
      Miguel Sulbaran
      Randy Rosario
      Felix Jorge
      Stephen Gonsalves
      Aaron Slegers


      What say you Seth?
      That is quite a log jam, and you didn't even count the guys who don't make the majors such as Hendriks, Worley, Diamond, Albers, Walters, etc.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Eades is one of the most interesting Twins prospects to me. His "massive" 15.2 innings after an insanely long college season mean zero to me. If can add some more strength with professional trainers and figure out if he wants to throw a slider or a curve, instead of a slurve, he could be a steal. He was a top 20 draft prospect for most the year and ended in the top 35 of a lot of lists.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Smcginnity View Post
      I imagine the following:

      Rochester:
      Logan Darnell
      Alex Meyer
      Trevor May
      Pat Dean
      Tom Stuifbergen

      New Britain:
      Taylor Rogers
      DJ Baxendale
      Matt Summers
      Alex Wimmers
      Tyler Duffey

      Fort Myers:
      Jose Berrios
      Ryan Eades
      Mason Melotakis
      Tim Atherton
      Tim Shibuya
      Hudson Boyd
      Jason Wheeler

      Cedar Rapids (This is where it gets tough...):
      Kohl Stewart
      Yorman Landa
      Lewis Thorpe
      Miguel Sulbaran
      Randy Rosario
      Felix Jorge
      Stephen Gonsalves
      Aaron Slegers


      What say you Seth?
      Fun to think about, but just a few notes:

      1.) remember that, especially in the lower levels, innings counts matter, so we'll likely see many of these guys get the opportunity to start throughout the year. Cedar Rapids went with a 6-man rotation this year, and even then, many of their starters got a couple of weeks in the bullpen too.
      2.) Rochester - Stuifbergen is a free agent at this point. I know he's still talking with the Twins, but after having Tommy John mid-summer, he may not be back anyway until mid-season.
      3.) Just because of innings, I wouldn't be at all shocked to see Alex Meyer get 3-4 starts in New Britain before moving up.
      4.) That New Britain rotation sounds about right.
      5.) Boyd may get another shot in the rotation, but ultimately, he could be a bullpen guy. (same with Melotakis, though I think he did enough to keep starting)
      6.) I could see the Twins keeping a couple of those Cedar Rapids guys in EST due to weather concerns, but also just to keep them starting and stretched out so when there is a need, they can be called up.
      7.) Guys like Shibuya and Atherton could pitch out of the bullpen. Sulburan pitched the full season at Low-A, he could/should move up to Ft. Myers' rotation too.
      8.) Remember too that they will sign a few minor league contracts at those upper levels as well, as they should.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by SarasotaBill View Post
      Romero over Jorge Felix seems like a stretch.

      Rogers over Baxendale doesn't make sense. Baxendale was pushed faster and he totally dominated A+ where Rogers finished.
      Baxendale was drafted in 2012 where Rogers was drafted in 2011 (both from college).
      Obviously the Twins see more potential with Baxendale since they pushed him ahead of the 2011 draft class.
      Yes - he struggled in AA but Hicks struggled in the Majors because he wasn't ready for that level.
      Rogers was the Twins 12th round pick in '12, one round after Baxendale. Both out of college. I would argue they should/could be closer together. Rogers gets bonus points for being left-handed and having a very good slider. He could drop a couple of spots due to lack of Ks. Baxendale should be up a few spots as well due to his pitch mix. I like both. They should be closer together. Having seen both, I'll stand by my slight edge to Rogers, though I know that most will disagree... (It's my list! HA!)
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Seth, I've got a general question about your rankings, driven by Rogers being in the top 20....

      How much weight do you give to strikeout rates?
      It's a piece, for sure. If he averaged 8.0 K/9 or more, he'd probably be top 10. And, as I admitted in the previous message, I may have him a few spots too high. I put more weight on the pitches as I learn more about pitchers. I've seen him pitch a couple of times. Good low-90s fastball. Works quick. Good control. Terrific slider. Has the size to grow into a little more velocity.

      At the end of the day, he might become Scott Diamond (pick which Scott Diamond you wish, the really good 2012 version or the not-so-good 2013 version), and he could be either one of those... or he may not advance beyond AA.

      I do think K/9 is important, but it can't be the be all, end all for back-of-the-rotation ceiling guys.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Unfortunately, the similarities of Vargas aka Baby Papi with Big Papi expand to the way the Twins are thinking of them. There was absolutely no reason for Vargas not to move to New Britain when Sano and Rosario did. At the all star break he was hitting .286/.364/.542 (.906 OPS, pretty close to Eddie Rosario's .903 with the Miracle) with 12 HR and 51 RBI. Instead the Twins signed 27 year old non-prospect Reynaldo Rodriguez to play first base for the Rock Cats.

      I just hope that history does not repeat itself here...
      I guess you could argue that, or you could say that he struggled the rest of the way enough that his OPS dropped to .813.

      I don't want to speak for the Twins, but I could venture a couple of guesses:

      1.) It was his first full season. Remember last year, he missed a bunch of games at the beginning of the season due to his 50 game suspension. He tired.
      2.) The Miracle lineup was different after Sano and Rosario moved. He didn't have the same protection in the lineup. They maybe wanted to see how he would respond when he was suddenly pitched a little differently.
      3.) He is an absolute butcher at 1B. Why not let him spend more time with Doug Mientkeiwicz and see if he can get any better? What harm could that do?

      I'm not saying that these are the reasons, but in my mind, they are very fair reasons. Also, Reynaldo Rodriguez had a solid year, and as Jack G mentioned in another thread response to you, sometimes those veteran types purpose is so that they don't hurt a prospect by moving him too quickly.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      Did they keep Vargas at Ft Myers so he could work with the trainers? I have heard the training facilities are the best there.
      They are the best, but I don't think that has anything to do with it.
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