Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Top 15 Twins Prospects Update
The Twins organization as a whole has enjoyed a successful start to the year, and it's on the backs of many of these names that it can be pinned. Knowing that there's a few who should see a continued rise to the show, here's who's making the most progress:
15. Amaurys Minier LF/1B
A big frame with plenty of projectable pop, Minier started the 2015 season on the shelf. After healing from an injury, he was sent to the GCL Twins for two games before making his debut with Elizabethton. Through his first three games at the rookie level, he's got one home run and two RBI. It's early, but getting into games is a great start.
14. Stuart Turner C
Turner was a 3rd round pick by the Twins in 2013. He possesses major league level ability behind the plate, but his bat has always lagged behind. Even more than his first two seasons with the organization, Turner is scuffling at the dish. Slashing just .189/.285/.280 for Double-A Chattanooga, Minnesota has to be wanting more. With catching depth scarce throughout the minors, Minnesota may be forced to address the position from outside of the system.
13. Stephen Gonsalves LHP
Gonsalves made a mockery of Low-A Cedar Rapids to start out 2015. A 1.15 ERA across nine games with a 12.6 K/9 ratio, the 20 year old needed a new challenge. Minnesota promoted Gonsalves to High-A Fort Myers, and he has made three starts so far. His 5.14 ERA isn't where he'd like it to be, but he should be given more time to settle in. Gonsalves remains one of the best left-handed pitching prospects on the farm.
12. Max Kepler OF/1B
Few players have had better seasons than Kepler. He's batting .346/.417/.556 at Double-A Chattanooga, and is knocking down the door for a promotion. He's stayed healthy, and he's flashed plenty of speed along the way (8 triples). A 40 man roster inclusion already, expecting Kepler to debut with the Twins in September doesn't seem out of the question.
11. Adam Brett Walker II OF
As he has done at every level, Walker continues to punish baseballs. His 23 home runs are the best in all of the minor leagues. He is also slashing a career best .272/.328/.612 at Double-A Chattanooga. The unfortunate part of Walker's game is that he swings and misses incredibly too much. He has struck out 109 times and drawn just 21 walks. On pace for over 200 strikeouts at Double-A, projecting forward gets uncertain.
10. Nick Burdi RHP
If there was a reliever I thought would blitz the system, Burdi was it. After an impressive 2014, Burdi has fallen off this season. After posting a 5.93 ERA and 33/22 K/BB ratio at Double-A Chattanooga, the former Louisville Cardinal pitcher is now being sent back to Fort Myers. Burdi should still end up being a back end of the bullpen asset for the Twins, but he needs to regain form, and the debut isn't going to come in 2015.
9. Jorge Polanco SS
Moved almost exclusively to shortstop now, Polanco may be next in line to take over the position at the big league level. Hitting .295/.342/.402 for Double-A Chattanooga, his time should come any day. With Danny Santana flopping in 2015, and Eduardo Escobar being utility level at best, Minnesota is nearing a long term promotion of the 21 year old.
8. Lewis Thorpe LHP
After a solid 2014 for Cedar Rapids, Thorpe's 2015 ended before it began. Undergoing Tommy John surgery, Thorpe will not be back in action until early 2016. Just 19 years old, he's still go plenty of time. However, the Australian will be battling back after the invasive surgery.
7. Eddie Rosario OF
My pick to be the first prospect called up in 2015, and someone that could turn heads this season, Rosario has lived up to the billing. In 42 games for the Twins this season, Rosario is slashing .274/.305/.418. He's added solid defense to the outfield, and his four home runs have come at timely moments. Rosario's arrow should continue to trend straight up.
6. Jose Berrios RHP
Maybe somewhat of a cautious approach in ranking him, Jose Berrios has continued to excite in 2015. Across 15 Double-A starts, Berrios compiled a 3.08 ERA and a 9.18 K/9 ratio. He led all of Double-A in strikeouts, and earned a promotion to Triple-A Rochester. There's little reason to suggest that a September debut with the Twins is out of the question.
5. Kohl Stewart RHP
Stewart ended his season last year on a lackluster note. Battling arm issues, getting off to a good start in 2015 was going to be important. So far, the results have been mixed. Still just 20, Stewart owns a 3.56 ERA across 12 starts for Fort Myers. He has a lackluster 32/22 K/BB ratio and the 4.42 K/9 is extremely disappointing. Staying healthy is one problem for Stewart, but the production needs to ramp back up as well.
4. Nick Gordon SS
A long term answer at shortstop has eluded the Twins for years, and they are no doubt hoping Nick Gordon can eventually become one. At 19 years old, he's now getting his first taste of Low-A ball at Cedar Rapids. The bat remains behind the glove as Gordon owns a .250/.324/.297 slash line. He should continue to develop as a hitter, but is trending towards and elite fielder. Gordon is still a few years away, but patience could end up being a virtue here.
3. Alex Meyer RHP
Meyer has had an interesting 2015 to say the least. Rocked to a 7.09 ERA and 41/24 K/BB ratio as a starter, Meyer turned things around in relief. Owning a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings for Triple-A Rochester, the Twins inserted Meyer into the bullpen. He was shelled by the Brewers in Reds in his first two outings, and is seemingly going to need some time to settle in. Long term hopes as a starter may be dashed, but getting Meyer to the big leagues wasn't a bad thing for the Twins.
2. Miguel Sano 3B
Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Miguel Sano needed to knock some rust off. At this point, he looks all but ready for his big league debut. He's hit .464/.531/1.000 with 3 HR and 10 RBI over his last seven games, and his 15 HR on the season would be a nice boost in the middle of the Twins lineup. If I'm the Twins, here's up in the big leagues any day now.
1. Byron Buxton CF
Like Sano, Buxton was coming off of a mostly wasted 2014 season due to injury. A slow start at Double-A Chattanooga was turned around and eventually led to a .283/.351/.489 slash line in 59 games. After earning a promotion to the Twins, Buxton scuffled to a .189/.231/.270 slash line in his first 11 games. Now shelved with a jammed thumb, Buxton will once again be looking to battle back from an injury.
There's no doubt that the Twins remain in possession of one of the best minor league farm systems in all of baseball. Considering the talent from top to bottom, the surprise winning from the big league club ahead of the influx of prospects only projects positively going forward.