• Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects: 11-15

    Over the last two weeks, we've been counting down my choices for the Top 50 Minnesota Twins prospects. The series will culminate this week as we dive into the Top 15 prospects.

    I've talked some about what goes into my rankings, but it's certainly not a science. It is subjective. I do try to take many factors into account, but one thing I do try to consider is guys with certain tools that stand out as elite. As we get into the Top 15 prospects, you'll start to see some of those elite tools and that's why they are up this high.

    Part 8: Prospects 11-15

    In today's installment, there is a mix of youth and some guys who have been around awhile and should be close to the big leagues. In fact, one of them had a pretty impressive big league debut in September. Two other players on the 40 man roster should debut in 2014. One lefty made an impressive pro debut in July. The other has immense power and offensive potential.


    #15 Danny Santana SS (22)

    Santana is a difficult prospect to get a good read on. He was added to the 40 man roster a year ago, and certainly did enough at AA New Britain to keep that spot. He hit .297/.333/.386 (.719) with 22 doubles, ten triples and two home runs. He is incredibly fast which helps his batting average. He could afford to walk more, though at this point we may not be likely to see more than a little improvement. He stole 30 bases, though he was also caught 13 times. Defensively, Santana is tough to read. His speed gives him remarkable range and he can make a lot of highlight reel plays. He also committed 32 errors, many on more routine plays. He will turn 23 years old later this week and should spend the 2014 season in Triple-A with a shot at a late-season big league debut.

    #14 Stephen Gonsalves LH SP (19)


    After a very good but somewhat controversial season at Cathedral Catholic high school in San Diego, the Twins used their 4th round pick last June on the left-hander. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, he has some room to gain strength. It would be great if he could add a couple miles per hour to his fastball which currently sits between 89 and 92 and has touched 94 at times. He also has an inconsistent curveball and a pretty good changeup. Both pitches have the chance to be very good pitches. Hes still young, and he has room to improve and grow, but the Twins got a steal when he fell to them in the 4th round.

    #13 Trevor May RH SP (24)


    Trevor May came to the Twins about a year ago from the Phillies in the Ben Revere trade. The right-hander returned to the Eastern League for a second consecutive season. He did show minimal improvement in just about every category. His ERA and WHIP fell just a little bit. His walk rate dropped from 4.7 per nine to 4.0 per nine, while his strikeouts increased from 9.1 per nine to 9.4. He threw over 150 innings. In two more innings than a year earlier, he gave up eight fewer home runs. It wasnt a big step forward, but he stayed healthy and did show some improvement. May throws hard and has the pitches to be a starter. In the AFL hes been pitching out of the bullpen. He will need to begin the 2014 season in the Rochester starting rotation. He was one of three Twins's minor league full-season starters to strike out more than a batter an inning.

    #12 Travis Harrison 3B (21)


    Harrison was the Twins first supplemental first round pick in 2011 out of high school in California. The man has very strong hands, wrists and forearms which certainly bodes well for him becoming a very good power hitter for the Twins. He has power to all fields. On the season in Cedar Rapids he hit .253/.366/.416 (.782) with 28 doubles and 15 home runs. It did appear the length of the full season wore him down as he struggled the final six weeks of the season. Defensively, he remains a work-in-progress at third base. At all six of the games I saw Cedar Rapids, he was on the field as much as five hours before the game taking ground ball after ground ball from manager Jake Mauer. He could also eventually move to a corner outfield spot or first base. I do think that in time he will have enough bat to play those positions.

    #11 Josmil Pinto C (24)


    Pinto was up with the Twins for only a month, but he showed what Josmil Pinto is and can be. Starting with the positive, the guy can hit. He began the year in AA and hit .308/.411/.482 (.892). He moved up to Rochester, and in 19 games hit .314 (with an .819 OPS). Right before September, he was promoted to the Twins where he hit .342/.398/.566 (.963) in 21 games. He had five doubles and four home runs. To summarize, he can hit for average, has a very good approach at the plate and knowledge of the strike zone and very good pop in his bat for a catcher. Defensively, there is no question that he remains a work in progress. He struggled at times, but some of that is part of learning a new league. Hes a little stiff, but people talk about how hard he works, so I think he will make himself an adequate glove man. Offensively, he is ready now.

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    Thank you for reading part Part 8 of what will be a ten part series with my Top 50 Twins Prospects. Next up, the Top 10 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
    Part 7: 16-20
    Comments 38 Comments
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Pinto was up with the Twins for only a month, but he showed what Josmil Pinto is and can be. Starting with the positive, the guy can hit. He began the year in AA and hit .308/.411/.482 (.892). He moved up to Rochester, and in 19 games hit .314 (with an .819 OPS). Right before September, he was promoted to the Twins where he hit .342/.398/.566 (.963) in 21 games. He had five doubles and four home runs. To summarize, he can hit for average, has a very good approach at the plate and knowledge of the strike zone and very good pop in his bat for a catcher.
      I'll admit to not following Pinto's career very well so far, so I have some more basic questions. It looks like his hitting game is a high-average, high-OBP kind of thing, which is very encouraging as most catchers don't do those things very well. Throwing out his SSS appearance in the majors, what is your read on whether the power stays with him? Is he a legitimate home run threat too? Can he keep his ~.300 batting average with some seasoning in the major leagues? Is he actually a threat to reach ~.400 OBP in the majors?

      I guess what I'm asking is how you'd project him as a big league guy. Most reports I've seen don't really peg him as a star, just a solid starter. On the other hand, if he can get his stats to where they were in the upper minor leagues while wearing a Twins uniform, I think you have one of the top hitting catchers in the league. There are only 3 or 4 catchers in the whole league who can OPS .800. Is this a real possibility somewhere down the line?
    1. NoCryingInBaseball's Avatar
      NoCryingInBaseball -
      I would expect to see Sano and Meyer up by about the end of June. I'd expect to see Rosario and Sano up by early August. Couple them with top prospects who surpassed the prospect innings/at bats like Arcia, Hicks and Gibson, and you've got a good start. Theilbar and Pressly came up last year and contributed already. May will be up by July or so as well.

      Guess I am assuming Buxton coming up in early August, since Sano is listed twice. I like how Seth descibes the "waves" of farm system talent coming up. It's seems like we are in the middle of the first wave (2013-2014) with the second wave (
      Berrios, Kepler, Walker, Thorpe, Polanco and Stewart) coming up in 2016-2017.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by wagwan View Post
      You are right. That makes 10 roster spots to prospects in less than 2 years. I guess you could not go faster than that. By the way, did you mean Rosario and Buxton in early August? Sano might be a big enough guy to need two debuts tho...
      Ha! Yes, I did. The two have been together as teammates since they signed, so maybe they are as one in my mind?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      I'll admit to not following Pinto's career very well so far, so I have some more basic questions. It looks like his hitting game is a high-average, high-OBP kind of thing, which is very encouraging as most catchers don't do those things very well. Throwing out his SSS appearance in the majors, what is your read on whether the power stays with him? Is he a legitimate home run threat too? Can he keep his ~.300 batting average with some seasoning in the major leagues? Is he actually a threat to reach ~.400 OBP in the majors?
      A .400 OBP is pretty tough, but i think he can be a .280/.360/440 type and be right in that .800 OPS range... for a catcher, that's tremendous. I wouldn't expect that right away next year. He was voted the "Best Plate Discipline" (or something to that effect) in the Eastern League this year. He takes good at bats and knows the strike zone. He is strong. He's a big weight room guy who is said to outwork most. So, we'll see, but I think an .800 OPS is realistic. Maybe optimistic too, but not out of the realm of possibility.
    1. Outlier's Avatar
      Outlier -
      I'm curious as to what causes Aderlin Meija to be left off of a top 50 prospects list.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Outlier View Post
      I'm curious as to what causes Aderlin Meija to be left off of a top 50 prospects list.
      Well the OPS did drop at the end of the year to a much more pedestrian number. He should repeat A+ and then we'll really see.
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      Does anybody know what Josmil Pinto stats were over the full season of AA, AAA and the majors?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by pierre75275 View Post
      Does anybody know what Josmil Pinto stats were over the full season of AA, AAA and the majors?
      It looks like about .900 OPS, with 19 homers, 37 doubles, 72 walks, and 105 strikeouts.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      Seth as always great work. Trying to remember how long I have been reading your stuff. 8 years now? Maybe. Anyways, I have seen just about all these guys play either in Beloit or CR and I always find it interesting and exciting to see your comments on them to compare to mine. Never been a Santana guy, just don't see it. beresford was my SS of choice for the Snappers. I liked Goodrum, he plays pretty fluid for a guy his size and I would think he could stay at Short, plus he has a cannon over there. Next to Buxton the bat that really excited me this year at CR was Polanco. He squared up on everything he hit and laced balls all over the field. I got to see him play short when Goodrum was out and it really made it clear that he is a second baseman in the future. The question I had was is he better then Rosario who I saw a year earlier? I think it is close. Rosario may have more power, but Polanco is better in the field at this level. What a nice place to be with 2nd. Harrison I might put a bit lower, but not much. He has the frame to develop into that big corner bat that could really team with Sano and Vargas (DH) to cause nightmares among pitchers. Hopefully will get a look at Gonsalves this year in CR, maybe Thorpe and Stewart at some point too? Thanks again Seth.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Outlier View Post
      I'm curious as to what causes Aderlin Meija to be left off of a top 50 prospects list.
      It's a great question because he came out of nowhere. Obviously he was supposed to go to ETown, but ended up in FM and hit for high average. Since I started the rankings, I've learned more and more of him. Tiny, slap hitter with speed. Very good gloved and a very strong arm. He should probably be in the late 30s or somewhere in the 40s.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It looks like about .900 OPS, with 19 homers, 37 doubles, 72 walks, and 105 strikeouts.
      Yes, I admit, Pinto should probably be a little bit higher.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Gotta Love My Sleeper
      Adam Brett Walker wins Topps/MWL Player of the Year | Cedar Rapids Kernels News
      Midwest League Player of the Year
      Well deserved
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I agree with the comments on May. He's going to get every opportunity to start, and while the ERA didn't necessarily show it, the peripheral stats all showed him taking a step forward. Hopefully we see that walk rate in particular drop a bit more in Rochester next year. If he can keep it around 3/9, he's going to be a very good starter.

      Pinto is way too low. He has an outside shot to be a top 100 guy on a lot of lists this offseason. He's far better than where you have him ranked. He's a catcher that can hit. Defense is a work in progress I agree, but he's good enough to stick there.

      I'm with Jim on Santana. Not sure what to think there. The bat doesn't excite me unless he gets some gap power or something.

      Twins have and will have plenty of power. In fact at the major league level that is the category they were closest to league average. OBP and batting average on the other hand was pathetic and the main reason they did not score runs. OBP excites me. Gap power is just a bonus. We need guys on base and guys that make contact with guys on base.
    1. ajstolt_09's Avatar
      ajstolt_09 -
      Loving the rankings of these guys as well. I just think its funny that the MLB.com top 20 rankings are nowhere even close to these, aside from the possible top 5. I was worried that Walker fell apart or something because he wasn't in their top 20! I trust someone who lives and breathes these players. And reading stuff like this gets me jacked for whats coming! I was so withdrawn from Twins baseball back in the 90's, along with being only a teenager at that time, so the last rebuilding process was mostly lost on me till '01 when things really came around. But following these guys coming up and waiting their call-ups is pretty much what a Twins fan has to look forward too these days. I cant wait till February!!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I guess there are a lot of Twins Top 20s or Top 30s... the mlb.com one is always a little out there.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      In regards to why Mejia didn't make the top 50, also realize that the slick-fielding James Beresford, who hit over .300 with a .360 OBA in AA and AAA didn't make it. Top prospect lists are more about ceilings than floors... but it doesn't mean Mejia (or Beresford) won't have a significant MLB career!
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      If Santana can play SS in the majors, that would be huge for this team. May was what we were warned by the internet experts this year, I thought. Pinto should, IMO, be the starting catcher next year. It amazes me people think they cannot compete next year, and would risk Mauers health next year. This is a list with upside, but low floors too. Which is what you would expect at this level in the rankings.
      I can't imagine Santana being any better than Florimon is. His defense is significantly worse and while his offensive potential is decent, it's hardly exciting.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Outlier View Post
      I'm curious as to what causes Aderlin Meija to be left off of a top 50 prospects list.
      I think he should be a 40s-50s, but he really doesn't provide anything besides batting average and OBP. Even those are a bit questionable right now. There's no reason to believe he'll get some pop or speed and there's not much potential. If he gets a good glove, proves his offense, and can stick it at SS rather than 3B, than he's got a chance. That's a lot to ask, however, and he's got a pretty long road to travel.
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