• Cody's 2014 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects: 1-10

    One of the benefits of being a bad team for multiple seasons is the fact the Twins have been able to replenish some of their farm system with high draft picks the last two years. Add these players into a group that already included some top-notch talent and the future of the Twins organization continues to look bright.

    In the Minnesota Twins case - very bright. At the beginning of last week, I released the first portion of my top 20 list. Now it's time for the Top 10:


    10. Adam Walker- OF
    2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2013 Stats: .278/.319/.526, 31-2B, 7-3B, 27 HR, 109 RBI, 10 SB
    Walker burst onto the scene with a power-packed performance in 2013. He led the Midwest League in home runs and he made improvements in most other offensive areas. If he can continue to improve, Walker could turn out to be a steal as a third round pick. He'll jump to Fort Myers next year and the Florida State League (High A) will test his offensive chops.

    9. Max Kepler- OF/1B
    2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2013 Stats: .237/.312/.424, 11-2B, 3-3B, 9 HR, 40 RBI
    An arm injury cost Kepler part of this season but he still showed some promise in 61 games. His batting average wasn't good, but power is still part of his game. He was used primarily as an outfielder in his first three years with the organization but the club shifted him to spending more time at first base. With a healthier 2014 and some graduations off the top of this list, he could see his rating rise in the coming years.

    8. Josmil Pinto- C
    2013 Team(s): New Britain Rock Cats, Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins
    2013 MILB Stats: .309/.400/.482, 32-2B, 1-3B, 15 HR, 74 RBI
    2013 MLB Stats: .342/.398/.566, 5-2B, 0-3B, 4 HR, 12 RBI
    This is the a name on the lips of many fans as the organization has moved Joe Mauer to first base. Pinto's outstanding offensive numbers in September make it easy to get excited about his future. He put together some very good numbers in the minor leagues as well and these have helped move him up prospect lists. His defense continues to improve but the Twins will likely want him to get more seasoning at Rochester before they will hand over the starting catching spot.


    7. Jorge Polanco- SS/2B
    2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2013 Stats: .308/.362/.452, 32-2B, 10-3B, 5 HR, 78 RBI
    Minnesota is desperate to develop some middle infielders within the organization. Polanco fits this mold and he is slowly working his way into the organization's long-term thoughts. He continues to improve on the offensive side but there are still a few wrinkles to iron out defensively. This was one of the main reasons he continues to see time at both middle infield positions. His bat is for real and he was able to prove this in a full-season league for the first time this year.

    6. Jose Berrios- RHP
    2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2013 Stats: 7-7, 3.99 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 103.2 IP, 40 BB, 100 K
    The small stature of Berrios doesn't fit the normal profile of a starting pitcher but that doesn't take anything away from what he has done since being drafted by the Twins. Indications continue to point toward him being able to team with Meyer and Stewart to form a formidable top of the rotation trio. Berrios will likely spend most of 2014 in Fort Myers and it will be interesting to see how he fares in a league that is considered tough for hitters.

    5. Eddie Rosario- 2B/OF
    2013 Team(s): Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
    2013 Stats: .302/.350/.460, 32-2B, 8-3B, 10 HR, 73 RBI, 10 SB
    Rosario has been in the news lately but for the wrong reasons. He will be suspended 50 games at the start of next season for taking a performance enhancing drug while he was recovering from an injury. This is a tough blow for one of the best hitting prospects in the organization. Rosario was on pace to make his debut in 2014 but this could get pushed back because of his suspension. His defensive transition to second base continues to take form and the club will need to decide if Brian Dozier or Rosario is the future at that position.

    4. Alex Meyer- RHP
    2013 Team(s): New Britain Rock Cats, GCL Twins (Rehab)
    2013 Stats: 4-3, 2.99 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 78.1 IP, 32 BB, 100 K
    When the Twins traded away two-thirds of their starting outfield last offseason, the acquisition of Meyer signaled a shift in the Twins system. The team needed talented arms to rebuild a franchise coming off some terrible seasons. Meyer missed a little time in 2013 with a shoulder issue but he built up some innings in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely start the year in Rochester but this means he is one injury away from making his big league debut.

    3. Kohl Stewart- RHP
    2013 Team(s): GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins
    2013 Stats: 0-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 4 BB, 24 K
    Minnesota entered the 2013 draft looking for a starting pitcher who could change the course of the franchise. That is a lot of pressure to put onto an 18-year old kid from Texas. There were some impressive signs from Stewart in his professional debut and there is a long road ahead for this young man. He has the tools and ability to be the ace fans have craved since Johan Santana was traded away. The only question remaining could be, "How fast can he get up to Minnesota?"

    2. Miguel Sano- 3B
    2013 Team(s): Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
    2013 Stats: .280/.382/.610, 30-2B, 5-3B, 30 HR, 103 RBI, 11 SB
    For the first time since the inception of my blog, Miguel Sano's name isn't at the top of my offseason top 20 prospects list. He didn't do anything negative to move down a spot but Buxton was just that good. Sano's defense continues to improve at third base and he might be the best power-hitting prospect in the minor leagues. Fans will likely see Sano at Target Field in the next year and the hope is he can stay there for a long time.

    1. Byron Buxton- OF
    2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle
    2013 Stats: .334/.424/.520, 19-2B, 18-3B, 12 HR, 77 RBI, 55 SB
    There were questions and doubts about Buxton as the season started. Could he hit consistently? Would he be able to generate enough power? How good was his defense? All those doubts and more were taken care of in his first full professional season. He is widely regarded as the best prospect in the game and the sky seems the limit for this young man. There are other hurdles to overcome before he gets to Target Field but Twins fans have to be excited about his promise.
    This article was originally published in blog: Cody's 2014 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects: 1-10 started by Cody Christie
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Pretty solid, but it looks like you're avoiding the Thorpe train right now.

      "The only question remaining could be, "How fast can he get up to Minnesota?""

      I have a LOT more questions about Kohl Stewart. There is so little we get information on. It's frustrating when a top 50 prospect has no news about him. "Will he add even more velocity?" "Will his tertiary offering become a plus?" "Can he perform like this in a full season?" "Will he surpass Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel to benefit the Twins that they drafted 4th?" "Can we find similar talent to him in 2014?" "Does he still live like a 18/19 year old?" "What's his favorite movie?" "What's his offseason job?" Can he roll his tongue?"
      Stuff like that
    1. rukavina's Avatar
      rukavina -
      "Meyer missed a little time in 2013 with a shoulder issue but he built up some innings in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely start the year in Rochester but this means he is one injury away from making his big league debut."

      Let's hope the injury is not his.
    1. Yaw Sniwt's Avatar
      Yaw Sniwt -
      As we look at our team make up for the future - Who do we want to be?
      *Like the old Rangers and Yankees (Bombers and home run hitters) with little regard to strikeouts. They did produce runs however - just struggled in playoffs that way.
      *Like Cardinals (team full of quality hitters who put the ball in play with hit and runs; etc.)
      *Like the Giants with great pitching and great defense behind that pitching (OK hitters)

      Which organization do we have the best chance to emulate and based on your viewpoint who would you put on the field by 2016?
    1. ThejacKmp's Avatar
      ThejacKmp -
      Quote Originally Posted by rukavina View Post
      "Meyer missed a little time in 2013 with a shoulder issue but he built up some innings in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely start the year in Rochester but this means he is one injury away from making his big league debut."

      Let's hope the injury is not his.

      Booo! We don't need this kind of jinxing! Boooooooo! Hisssss!

    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yaw Sniwt View Post
      As we look at our team make up for the future - Who do we want to be?
      *Like the old Rangers and Yankees (Bombers and home run hitters) with little regard to strikeouts. They did produce runs however - just struggled in playoffs that way.
      *Like Cardinals (team full of quality hitters who put the ball in play with hit and runs; etc.)
      *Like the Giants with great pitching and great defense behind that pitching (OK hitters)

      Which organization do we have the best chance to emulate and based on your viewpoint who would you put on the field by 2016?
      Great first forum post. Thank you!
      I'd add that the Cardinals are based pretty strongly on starting pitching too. I think the ideal scenario is not to emulate anyone and develop your own path. Ideally that path involves guys at the top who get on base and guys in the middle who can knock the ball out of the park, even if they strike out some more. And then the back end of the batting order is solid overall. And, of course, having solid starting pitching is the key, and having a strong bullpen is the key once you get to the playoffs.

      That's a little pie-in-the-sky scenario because even World Series champion teams aren't perfect, but as much of that as you can have, the better. Looking at the Twins prospects and current cornerstones, they're covering a lot of the areas you'd want them to.
    1. Lefty's Avatar
      Lefty -
      I don't know a lot about Kohl Stewart and in no way am I criticizing your top 10. 20 innings in the minors last year? The kid likely never gave up more than a run or two in a game in high school and now he's in there with the big boys. There will probably be a few ups and downs for him in the next few years and hopefully he can handle the downs that he probably hasn't had much of yet. Lot of pressure on this kid, but I guess that is what the first round tag brings. Buxton has done it so far, hopefully Stewart can as well.
    1. BigTrane's Avatar
      BigTrane -
      Heartily agree with Seth. My Birdos buddy consistently made the point (that's the polite way to say it) this season that their success depended in large part upon rookie pitching. So true. Wacha alone is enough to make me drool. Callup to WS win? Ridonkulous.

      Chagrin aside, I have to give El Birdos props- they invented the farm system, and still do it best.

      While I'm proud of the Twins farm system and always relish reading top ratings, when I look to the Cards, I see a much more complete system in terms of player development. In recent years, we've done well with developing OFs and SPs- but not getting those arms quite polished enough for the Big Show.

      I would not be surprised to see a changing of the guard when Gardy finishes up. The extent of Rick Anderson's influence through the system is unknown to me, but I'd love to learn about that. We're at the point where we need to rethink- through the system- how SPs are coached and developed. Just the whole philosophy. It hasn't produced the results we want, and Cards prove that a mid-market team can do it. Why not us?
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      I think the Cards are the Top Example in maintaining a strong farm system too. That said however: I love what we have in our system and like Seth said - I believe we can create our own path.
      We have enough potential table setters to start a line up (Buxton; Mauer; Polanco; Pinto; Rosario; Dozier; and believe it or not A. Hicks) and Power potential in (Arcia; Sano; Vargas; Walker; D. Hicks; Kepler; Parmelee; Colabello; & Ploufe) to make it work. Whatever combination of players from this list who happen to fill their potential - will make for a dangerous offense. All have been proven run producers in the minors and if they reach their potential, means they have carried that ability over to the MLB level.

      The pitching will take care of its self by 2016 - Young budding stars on the mound.
    1. LewFordLives's Avatar
      LewFordLives -
      Nice post, but I would definitely have Meyer ahead of Stewart, if only because we know what we're getting with Meyer. Meyer can get big league hitters out and has the potential to be a true ace. Whether he can refine his control and stay healthy is another issue....but he has true big leauge stuff. Stewart is still an unknown. He's only had a limited number of innings at rookie ball. These high school arms are always such a crapshoot. Most of them never reach their expectations, which is why I prefer to wait at least another year before saying he's a better prospect than Meyer.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Outstanding post--I realize that these lists are very subjective. However, in the young low minor pitchers category you have 5 guys listed (Stewart, Barrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves and Eades) (hope I didn't miss one). Arguably Gonsalves had the best season of the five last year and you have him at 19 and Stewart at 3. Now none of us know which of these guys will make it and which will falter and which will have Tommy John (though with the Twins bet on most having Tommy John). Given all that, I think you put Stewart too high and Gonsalves too low.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Outstanding post--I realize that these lists are very subjective. However, in the young low minor pitchers category you have 5 guys listed (Stewart, Barrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves and Eades) (hope I didn't miss one). Arguably Gonsalves had the best season of the five last year and you have him at 19 and Stewart at 3. Now none of us know which of these guys will make it and which will falter and which will have Tommy John (though with the Twins bet on most having Tommy John). Given all that, I think you put Stewart too high and Gonsalves too low.
      I'm no scout but Gonsalves has a very big windup. Lots of arms and legs, and moving parts. I think he's a top prospect, but not a fast riser. I would be surprised if he's not a one level a year guy, which is just fine.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      I'm not liking what I'm hearing about Stewart's diva attitude. Confidence and some cockiness is fine, even needed. But alienating teammates and coaches- I'm seeing a Garza 2.0 stituraion coming up. Bummer.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lefty View Post
      I don't know a lot about Kohl Stewart and in no way am I criticizing your top 10. 20 innings in the minors last year? The kid likely never gave up more than a run or two in a game in high school and now he's in there with the big boys. There will probably be a few ups and downs for him in the next few years and hopefully he can handle the downs that he probably hasn't had much of yet. Lot of pressure on this kid, but I guess that is what the first round tag brings. Buxton has done it so far, hopefully Stewart can as well.
      Good first post. Welcome to TD.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      Cody,
      I don't know what it is, but I don't like Jose Berrios. I can't explain it. Can you help me understand why you're so high on the guy?

      Also, what's going on with Levi Michael? Dud extrodinaire?
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Nitpick: Sano hit 35 HRs last year.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      I'm also not as high on Berrios as a lot of people around here seem to be.

      Great control, great makeup, yada yada yada, but his stuff is very average if you ask me. He's advanced for his age which in my opinion is a large reason for the success he's had so far at the low-levels, but that will catch up to him eventually unless his secondary-stuff improves.

      I'd probably have him around at #9 or #10 on my lists. Which is right about where a borderline #3 or #4 starter should slot in a good and/or balanced farm system. (The Twins' system would be classified as 'better than good,' but not necessarily 'balanced')
    1. Madre Dos's Avatar
      Madre Dos -
      5 of mine - Muy bueno!
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by orangevening View Post
      I'm not liking what I'm hearing about Stewart's diva attitude. Confidence and some cockiness is fine, even needed. But alienating teammates and coaches- I'm seeing a Garza 2.0 stituraion coming up. Bummer.

      And where is this coming from? I frequent the minor league forums quite a bit. Haven't heard that Stewart has a "Diva attitude".
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Outstanding post--I realize that these lists are very subjective. However, in the young low minor pitchers category you have 5 guys listed (Stewart, Barrios, Thorpe, Gonsalves and Eades) (hope I didn't miss one). Arguably Gonsalves had the best season of the five last year and you have him at 19 and Stewart at 3. Now none of us know which of these guys will make it and which will falter and which will have Tommy John (though with the Twins bet on most having Tommy John). Given all that, I think you put Stewart too high and Gonsalves too low.
      I would flip Stewart and Meyer personally. Meyer has had success at much higher levels and both look to be an ace in every sense of the word. But other than that, Stewart isn't too high. The kid has potential to have 4 plus pitches... Think about that for a second. This kid could be a beast. His biggest knock is that he's 19 and will start full season ball next year.

      As for Gonsalves, he's a bit too low, but I do think that low teens is appropriate for him. He was considered first round talent and slipped due to a poor senior season. The Twins scouted him well b/c no one thought he would sign. Even so, he was never ranked higher than Stewart for good reason. I think both of these kids are going to get their first real experience in Cedar Rapids next season, and I hope they can move up the ranks together much like Mauer and Morneau did.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Max Kepler was at the cages today hitting while Tommy Watkins threw. He said he really enjoyed this fall, "it was fun". He's such a nice kid, hope he does well this year, it's a big one for him.
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