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.
#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.
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