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  • Twins Top 10 Prospects: Post-Draft Edition

    Minnesota added some top-notch talent to the organization at the end of last week. For the third year in a row, the Twins had a top five pick in the MLB Draft. Minnesota's farm system was already considered one of the best in the game and adding top tier talent can only help the organization.

    My last prospect rankings were released in conjuncture with the "2014 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook." There have been some changes since that time as minor league teams are almost halfway through their season. Some players have shined and others have struggled.

    Injuries have been the story for the Twins top two prospects this year but some pitching prospects have really started to shine as they get closer to the big leagues.

    1. Byron Buxton- OF (Previously #1)
    2014 Team(s): Fort Myers Miracle
    2014 Stats: .150/.150/.350, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R (5 Games)
    Even though Buxton has missed most of this season with a wrist injury, he is still considered by many to be the best prospect in the game. The lost playing time is going to hurt some of his development but he was young for the levels he has played at so far. Hopefully, he can get into some games in the second-half of the year and show some positive signs.

    2. Miguel Sano- 3B (Previously #2)
    2014 Team(s): N/A Tommy John surgery
    Tommy John surgery took away most of this season from Sano. He likely won't be able to get on the field this season unless it is in a DH capacity at the very end of the year. It seems likely for the Twins to send Sano to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra at-bats before he plays in the Dominican Winter League.

    3. Alex Meyer- RHP (Previously #3)
    2014 Team(s): Rochester Red Wings
    2014 Stats: 3.30 ERA, 62.2 IP, 75 SO, 28 BB, 51 H (12 Games)
    Meyer will likely be making his big league debut this season and he has made some adjustments at the Triple-A level. He learned a new change-up grip and this has helped improve his strikeout totals. Opponents are hitting .223 against him for the season. Because of some injury issues last year, he's already closing in on the number of innings he pitched last year.

    4. Nick Gordon- SS (Previously N/A)
    2014 Team(s): N/A 2014 Draft
    The Twins haven't been able to develop a shortstop in the minor leagues for quite some time. Nick Gordon is hoping to be the man to end that streak. He add 15 pound of muscle in the last year and this should help improve his power numbers. He'll start in the rookie leagues once he signs a contract.

    5. Jose Berrios- RHP (Previously #6)
    2014 Team(s): Fort Myers Miracle
    2014 Stats: 2.24 ERA, 64.1 IP, 74 SO, 17 BB, 57 H (11 Games)
    Berrios might be having the best season of any of the top prospects on this list. There have been questions in the past about whether his long-term role was going to be as a starter or as a relief pitcher. He is putting some of those questions to rest with his performance in the Florida State League. I would have moved him higher but I need to see more from him throughout the season.

    6. Kohl Stewart- RHP (Previously #4)
    2014 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2014 Stats: 2.67 ERA, 49.0 IP, 36 SO, 15 BB, 37 H (10 Games)
    Stewart's ERA looks great but I was expecting him to strike out more batters. This is one of the reasons he dropped a little. It's still early in his first full season in professional baseball so he has a lot of time left to develop before reaching the big leagues.

    7. Eddie Rosario- 2B/OF (Previously #5)
    2014 Team(s): Fort Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
    2014 Stats: .350/.409/.450, 1 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 9 R (10 Games)
    Rosario missed 50 games to start the season because of a drug related suspension. He's done fairly well since his return and the team has already moved him up from High-A to Double-A. It sounds like Rosario will be playing some in the infield and some in the outfield after transitioning to second base last year. He's still a very gifted hitter and he could make it to Rochester by season's end.

    8. Jorge Polanco- 2B (Previously #7)
    2014 Team(s): Fort Myers Miracle
    2014 Stats: .289/.362/.395, 4 HR, 11 2B, 27 RBI, 40 R (57 Games)
    Polanco has consistently moved through the Twins system and he seems to improve at every level. He hit over .300 each of the last two seasons and continues to add power. The switch-hitter has close to the same batting average from both sides of the plate so he should continue to switch hit as he moves up the ladder.

    9. Trevor May- RHP (Previously #13)
    2014 Team(s): Rochester Red Wings
    2014 Stats: 2.80 ERA, 61.0 IP, 63 SO, 24 BB, 45 H (11 Games)
    One of the biggest concerns for May has always been his control. He's made some positive strides this season, as he has been able to limit the number of walks he's allowing. His numbers are the best of his career and he's another player who is knocking on the door to the big leagues. If he continues to show consistency, the Twins will reward him with a call-up.

    10. Lewis Thorpe- LHP (Previously #11)
    2014 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
    2014 Stats: 9.64 ERA, 4.2 IP, 1 SO, 3 BB, 6 H (1 Game)
    Thorpe exploded onto the scene last year and shot up prospect lists with his performance in the GCL. The Twins had him skip Elizabethton and he got roughed up in his first Low-A start. He's only 18-years old so he's much younger than the competition. The Twins had confidence in him skipping a level so they must believe he is ready for this level.
    Comments 49 Comments
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      No Vargas, Romero, Gonsalves, Burdi, Diaz, Walker, Kepler.....

      There's a lot of talent here. Let's hope a bunch of it translates to the majors.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cody Christie View Post
      I have a question about Kohl that would help me figure out where he should be ranked. How many sliders is he throwing? I have heard none, I have heard a few? If he is only throwing 5-10 sliders per outing or less, I think his numbers are phenomenal.

      He has never focused solely on baseball until this year and we have taken his best pitch away from him. And he has a 2.67 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 6.2 K per 9 and only one HR. If the slider is as good as advertised, he could probably mow batters down with it, but to put up these numbers primarily through two pitches is very encouraging to me.

      I would put him ahead of Gordon and Berrios if he is really throwing only a few sliders.

      I could be talked into Meyer over Sano too. I am high on Sano, but potential ace versus a great hitter that is not going to hit for average of provide much value defensively.....
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      That looks about right. You could argue that May could be a slot or two higher. I think I'd put Burdi 10th.
    1. jsimssd72's Avatar
      jsimssd72 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      That looks about right. You could argue that May could be a slot or two higher. I think I'd put Burdi 10th.
      I agree I would put Burdi over Thorpe just based on possible arrival time to help the MLB team. Burdi could be a quick riser with his two quality pitches and into the Twins Bullpen before we know it.
    1. tarheeltwinsfan's Avatar
      tarheeltwinsfan -
      Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight; I wish I May, I wish I Meyer, have the wish I wish tonight.
    1. Lonestar's Avatar
      Lonestar -
      As a Dominican, I don't Sano can go to the Arizona Fall League
    1. Lonestar's Avatar
      Lonestar -
      I think your top 10 is made up of the right people. We could quibble about rankings. For example, I would rank Gordon (who hasn't played an inning yet) behind Berrios. I could see May a couple of notches higher.

      The Twins' farm system is so well stocked that I couldn't put a college reliever in the Top 10
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      I still have Stewart at #4 with Gordon sliding in at #5. I don't see the point of getting worried after 55 innings about one stat, in low A, for a 19 year old who had never focused on baseball before vs older competition. Kid has premium stuff.
    1. ShouldaCouldaWoulda's Avatar
      ShouldaCouldaWoulda -
      Would it make more sense for the Twins to bring up both May and Meyer and put them in the bullpen for the rest of this season? That way they can pith the whole season and not worry about being shut down early. Seems like they would be more valuable that way. Then, the Twins could possibly even start them in AAA next year to stretch them out if they needed to buy more time on their clocks. They also would not have to cut bait on any of our starters right now that we overpaid for, but instead get rid of our worst two bullpen arms.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by ShouldaCouldaWoulda View Post
      Would it make more sense for the Twins to bring up both May and Meyer and put them in the bullpen for the rest of this season? That way they can pith the whole season and not worry about being shut down early. Seems like they would be more valuable that way. Then, the Twins could possibly even start them in AAA next year to stretch them out if they needed to buy more time on their clocks. They also would not have to cut bait on any of our starters right now that we overpaid for, but instead get rid of our worst two bullpen arms.
      Meyer will probably get some BP time this year - he's on a pitch and innings limit but May doesn't have that problem. He's a workhorse. He's pitched 150 innings each of the last 3 seasons + some AFL time last year. He could pitch 200 innings this year and not be a concern.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      I still have Stewart at #4 with Gordon sliding in at #5. I don't see the point of getting worried after 55 innings about one stat, in low A, for a 19 year old who had never focused on baseball before vs older competition. Kid has premium stuff.
      I have no concerns over Stewart - love him and think he's a top 35-40 prospect in all baseball. Just like Gordon more.
    1. Sam Morley's Avatar
      Sam Morley -
      Everything that I've read about Stewart this season indicates that he has been foregoing his slider, which is his strikeout pitch, to develop his change.

      Are there any good scouting videos on Gordon out there? The one on MLB.com just shows him hitting some grounders. It would be nice to see what he looks like in the field, and maybe taking some cuts in BP.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lonestar View Post
      As a Dominican, I don't Sano can go to the Arizona Fall League
      He can IF his team there allows him to... Not sure if they would or not, probably would.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Your list looks a lot different that mine, and not only on the top

      (Polanco is a ShortStop until further notice. Not a 2B, btw, has not played a single inning at second this season)

      I still do not get what Vargas needs to do to get consideration from certain people. He is hitting .319/.394/.505 in New Britain at an age 1.5 years younger than the average EL age (he is 23). For comparison's sake, Justin Morneau's career line in New Britain was: .293/.351/.475 (most at age 22.)

      Ranking a high school kid who has holes in his play (plate discipline and contact) number four in this loaded system, is pretty tough to accept...
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am soon posting mine, and it looks a little different than both of yours. But Thrylos is right about Vargas. Maybe not quite that high, given the difference between starting pitching and 1B/DH, but it is pretty obvious that Vargas is a top 10 prospect. I think that we might be able to look at Morales as the stop-gap for what Vargas might actually be. There are some similarities there.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I think that we might be able to look at Morales as the stop-gap for what Vargas might actually be. There are some similarities there.
      indeed I think that I've heard that somewhere too:

      Kennys will likely replace Kendrys as the full time DH in 2015
      looking forward to your list Shane
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      There isn't a huge difference in value between CF and 2B. Especially when most analysis said that Rosario played a tolerable 2B.

      VARGAS!
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      [QUOTE=Thrylos;241427Ranking a high school kid who has holes in his play (plate discipline and contact) number four in this loaded system, is pretty tough to accept...[/QUOTE]

      Completely agree. I am excited about Gordon, but new doesn't always mean better. He and Kohl were drafted basically in the same place and Kohl seemed farther along, i.e. Gordon needs his hit/power tool to develop. I think we are making way too big of a deal about Kohl's 6.5 K per 9, given his age, the fact that he has never been a full time pitcher, is not using his best pitch, and has pretty amazing numbers outside of the K's.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Not excited about Fuld at all. Would prefer to keep Hicks out there but what would Rosario have to do to get promoted to Twins center fielder in the next 6 weeks or so?
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post

      I still do not get what Vargas needs to do to get consideration from certain people. He is hitting .319/.394/.505 in New Britain at an age 1.5 years younger than the average EL age (he is 23). For comparison's sake, Justin Morneau's career line in New Britain was: .293/.351/.475 (most at age 22.)
      I would guess most folks who visit this site are excited about Vargas

      If the #5 pick in the most recent draft isn't in your top ten prospect list well...something was wrong with your pick. And 11 or even 12 on this list isn't a sign Vargas isn't getting consideration. Its just a sign of a system that is stacking up nicely from top to bottom
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