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Part 6: Seth's Updated Top 50 Twins Prospects (11-15)

This week, the Twins made some decisions on several minor leaguers. Some were added to the 40-man roster, and others were left unprotected from the 40-man roster. Others remained on the 40-man roster. Today, we continue this review of my Top 50 Minnesota Twins prospects by looking at prospects 11-15.

While we have seen the depth of the Twins farm system in prospects 16-50, it is in the Top 15 where we can start to see some players with more ceiling. There are a lot of guys in this system that could get to the big leagues and even play a role. But today’s prospects being outside the team’s Top 10 prospects shows just how talented the system is.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Lewin Diaz)
As you read about these first Twins prospects, be sure to start thinking about where they might rank for you. Who are the players that will be in my Top 10 and how would they rank on your own personal Top 15 prospect list? This group contains a three 40-man roster guys, and two more that have fairly high ceilings as well.

Be sure to ask questions and leave comments in the forum below.


#15 RHP Zack Littell

The Twins acquired Littell (and Dietrich Enns) from the Yankees in exchange for Jaime Garcia in late July. He went 9-1 in High A with the Yankees before going 5-0 at AA with Trenton. After the trade to the Twins, he went 5-0 in Chattanooga, and he won a playoff game too. While wins and losses aren’t the be-all, end-all, going 20-1 means that you’re doing something right. Littlell is 6-4 and 220 pounds. He was originally the 11th-round pick of the Mariners back in 2013 out of high school in North Carolina. He will be 23 years old throughout the 2018 season and was added to the 40-man roster on Monday.

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photo by Kelly McGlohon

#14 C Mitch Garver

Garver had another strong Garver-esque season in 2017 in Rochester. The 26-year-old hit .291/.387/.541 (.928) with 29 doubles and 17 home runs. He won his second Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year award (previously won in 2014 at Cedar Rapids). He even ended the season with six weeks in the big leagues and a spot on the Twins playoff roster. After four years at the University of New Mexico, Garver was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2013. His defense behind the plate was questioned earlier in his career, but he’s become at least a very solid defender with a rocket for an arm. With Jason Castro around the next two years, Garver should be the backup, though he should get a lot of playing time against left-handers or maybe at first base or DH too. I think he can be an above average starting MLB catcher. I just wonder (and hope) if he'll get that opportunity at some point.

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#13 LHP Lewis Thorpe

Thorpe first became a household name in 2013 when he debuted in the States and posted a 2.05 ERA in the GCL. In his 44 innings, he walked six and struck out 64. A year later, he was an 18-year-old pitching well in the Midwest League. Unfortunately, in his final start he hurt his elbow and missed the next two-plus seasons. He returned in 2017, with a promotion to Ft. Myers. He posted a 2.69 ERA and in 77 innings he walked 31 and struck out 84. He also made one start in Chattanooga. While he hasn’t pitched a lot as a professional and obviously very little over the last three years, the Twins added him to their 40-man roster this week. The left-hander has a fastball in the 91-93 range with a good curveball and a changeup.

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#12 OF LaMonte Wade

Wade was playing well in the Arizona Fall League when his season came to an abrupt ending due to a collision in the outfield that gave him a concussion. Wade was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2015 out of Maryland. Since signing, he has been consistently productive. He has an incredible eye and approach at the plate. He’s walked more than he’s struck out at every level including AA Chattanooga this year (77 BB, 71 K). He has posted an OPS over .800 at every level he’s played at. I also believe that he will hit for a lot more power than he’s shown to this point in his career. It’s there. Defensively, he is capable of playing center field, though the Twins have a pretty good center fielder right now so Wade will likely play one of the corner spots. Wade will turn 24 on New Year’s Day.

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#11 1B Lewin Diaz

Signed to a seven-figure bonus back in July of 2013, Diaz has worked his way up the organization one step at a time. At 6-4 and 250 pounds, he has great power and immense power potential. In 122 games with Cedar Rapids this year, he hit .292/.329/.444 (.773) with 33 doubles and 12 home runs. He uses the whole field. He could hit for average and power. He’s got room for growth as a player. Defensively, he’s more athletic than his size might indicate. He played some outfield before signing with the Twins, but clearly, first base is his position. He just turned 21 earlier this week. Diaz was left unprotected by the Twins this week. While I have said repeatedly the last couple of months that Diaz is a Top 10 Twins prospect, I wind up placing him 11th (though the difference in ceiling from 7-11 is pretty minor).


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So there you have it, my choices for Twins prospects 11-15. Next week, we’ll return with my choices for the Top 10 Twins prospects.

Part 1: Prospects 41-50
Part 2: Prospects 31-40
Part 3: Prospects 26-30
Part 4: Prospects 21-25
Part 5: Prospects 16-20

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36 Comments

I like Thorpe and Wade a lot. Nice to see them pretty high up, think Thorpe will climb lists this year. Cool to see Akil Baddoo cracked top 10. One of my favorite prospects in the system

    • gunnarthor, hugelycat and Vanimal46 like this
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clutterheart
Nov 22 2017 05:22 AM
I think if Zack Littell came up through the Twins system you would have him in the top 10. He seems like the type of prospect the more you see, the more you like. The Yankee fans I know were outraged he was traded.
    • Mike Frasier Law and Dman like this

If Diaz is still here in 3 weeks (expect he will be), but a bad team could take a flyer. 

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ashburyjohn
Nov 22 2017 08:20 AM

Wade is IMO "capable of playing center field" only in the sense that lots of talented all-around athletes can. Heck, he'd probably do very well at shortstop for your slow-pitch softball team, too. :) But, on a team that wants to win it all, I don't see him as a major-league center fielder, except on an emergency basis, and Byron Buxton is not relevant to his destiny. Watching him go after foul fly balls while patrolling RF convinced me, at least as far a watching a couple of games is able to give any insight, that his speed is just not sufficient for center. Some things can be taught, but what he lacks probably can't.

 

His power needs to become legit too, or else he's not even a starting major league corner outfielder. I like him (he hits for average, and his AFL concussion demonstrates he wants the ball on defense), but my optimism is guarded.

    • Steve Lein and Dman like this

 

Wade is IMO "capable of playing center field" only in the sense that lots of talented all-around athletes can. Heck, he'd probably do very well at shortstop for your slow-pitch softball team, too. :) But, on a team that wants to win it all, I don't see him as a major-league center fielder, except on an emergency basis, and Byron Buxton is not relevant to his destiny. Watching him go after foul fly balls while patrolling RF convinced me, at least as far a watching a couple of games is able to give any insight, that his speed is just not sufficient for center. Some things can be taught, but what he lacks probably can't.

 

His power needs to become legit too, or else he's not even a starting major league corner outfielder. I like him (he hits for average, and his AFL concussion demonstrates he wants the ball on defense), but my optimism is guarded.

 

Yup, Wade isn't as fast as Granite or Buxton, so he'll likely not have to play CF... but it's not like he's Chris Parmelee out there trying to play CF either. 

 

And yeah, he hasn't put up the power numbers I think he's capable of...

 

But he's ranked #12, which means he's probably a 4th outfielder and if a couple of things happen in his development, he can be a starter. But his approach at the plate is very advanced. 

    • Steve Lein likes this

 

I think if Zack Littell came up through the Twins system you would have him in the top 10. He seems like the type of prospect the more you see, the more you like. The Yankee fans I know were outraged he was traded.

 

That's a fair comment and certainly makes me think... but then again, he wasn't really ever a big-time prospect until halfway through 2017. He's already been traded twice, once for a relief pitcher and once for a middling starter. He had a remarkable season, but I don't know that he's become a big-time prospect. 

 

Then again, we can all hope that he's the Corey Kluber, the non-prospect acquired in AA who becomes an Ace... Never know. I just don't think I can put him ahead of anyone I've got ahead of him right now. 

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ashburyjohn
Nov 22 2017 09:35 AM

Yup, Wade isn't as fast as Granite or Buxton, so he'll likely not have to play CF... but it's not like he's Chris Parmelee out there trying to play CF either. 

 

And yeah, he hasn't put up the power numbers I think he's capable of...

 

But he's ranked #12, which means he's probably a 4th outfielder and if a couple of things happen in his development, he can be a starter. But his approach at the plate is very advanced. 

Heh, I thought about including Parms as an example that anyone is "capable" of playing CF, but I was already piling on. :)

 

I think we are approximately aligned as regards Wade's future. If the team carried five outfielders, and if his power comes in for real, then he and Granite might be complementary enough to serve as #4 and #5, with the ordering being more a matter of terminology than anything. Both can potentially do a lot, and one can make up for the holes in the other's game.

    • Seth Stohs and dbminn like this

 

 

 

Then again, we can all hope that he's the Corey Kluber, the non-prospect acquired in AA who becomes an Ace... Never know. I just don't think I can put him ahead of anyone I've got ahead of him right now. 

 

I was thinking/hoping the same thing as I read through this.  You don't know with some guys, and without the eye-popping velocity, or being left-handed, some guys have ceilings as prospects.  Both Littell and Wade strike me as guys who will have good MLB careers.  If I was buying stock in these guys, I'd feel good and safe about both of them.

 

Garver almost seems like he is underrated, by everybody, including me.  Those are some amazing numbers, especially for a catcher.

 

Love Thorpe.  When I was a kid, I loved following the Houston Rockets.  Anybody remember Otis Thorpe?  Absolutely no relation, but he was a good player.  Great names.  Lewis Thorpe sounds like the name of an Australian gunslinger.

 

Heh, I thought about including Parms as an example that anyone is "capable" of playing CF, but I was already piling on. :)

 

I think we are approximately aligned as regards Wade's future. If the team carried five outfielders, and if his power comes in for real, then he and Granite might be complementary enough to serve as #4 and #5, with the ordering being more a matter of terminology than anything. Both can potentially do a lot, and one can make up for the holes in the other's game.

I am very, very high on Wade, as a 4th possible outfielder, and as Seth points out, with continued development, a possible starter.

 

However, he is another left handed bat.  You cannot have 4 of your 5 outfielders lefty's, IMO.  If that is the case the Twins will need to pick up a veteran right handed stick who can play center if necessary (assuming LaMonte makes it to the bigs, which I think he will, sooner than later).

    • ashburyjohn, goulik and Vanimal46 like this

I really like this group. Thorpe and LIttell can both be ML starters and might have some ceiling too. Wade is a guy I really like as a possible trade chip since we have so many lefties. But his on-base skills are legit so he could be a second piece in a trade. I want to see Garver play but it seems Molly doesn't trust him. It'll be interesting to see how the team uses him next year.

 

Only Diaz is far away but he has some potential. We'll see with him.

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Nov 22 2017 11:03 AM

Seth: Regarding Lewin Diaz, you say "but clearly, first base is his position." Does this mean he's defensively limited? A poor fielder? Or does it mean – like Joe Mauer - he's an excellent fielding first baseman? Or does it men he just does not have a decent throwing arm?

 

I am one who looks at defense as well as offense. I would find it hard to rank anyone high on a prospect list (even in the age of the DH) if he cannot play adequate defense. Some teams put their worst defender at first base, but Mauer has shown the value of having a very good defender at the position – scooping up throws in the dirt, and diving after balls some first basemen – like Vargas - can't even try to reach. 

 

A first baseman touches the ball a lot; having a good fielder there is a tremendous asset, and Mauer (among others) is under-rated if his first base defense is not included in his value.

Are there rumblings in the organization about Diaz's weight/conditioning/diet? Or is that only reserved for Sano? 250 lbs already at 21.... He's going to be a big boy. 

 

Are there rumblings in the organization about Diaz's weight/conditioning/diet? Or is that only reserved for Sano? 250 lbs already at 21.... He's going to be a big boy. 

It seems to me that the ramblings about Diaz are as loud as those were for Hrbek.

 

I am very, very high on Wade, as a 4th possible outfielder, and as Seth points out, with continued development, a possible starter.

 

However, he is another left handed bat.  You cannot have 4 of your 5 outfielders lefty's, IMO.  If that is the case the Twins will need to pick up a veteran right handed stick who can play center if necessary (assuming LaMonte makes it to the bigs, which I think he will, sooner than later).

 

It is strange... but a lot can happen this offseason, trades of prospects or current starters. Granite is left-handed, but he's had reverse-splits for years. 

 

Seth: Regarding Lewin Diaz, you say "but clearly, first base is his position." Does this mean he's defensively limited? A poor fielder? Or does it mean – like Joe Mauer - he's an excellent fielding first baseman? Or does it men he just does not have a decent throwing arm?

 

He's fine at 1B for a 20 year old in Cedar Rapids. He's 6-4 and 250 pounds, and he's not fast, so I just meant that he couldn't play in the outfield. He'll have to work on things to play 1B... and of course, with Sano's future in question and maybe limiting him to 1B... and Brent Rooker, and with guys like Kepler and Wade (who have both played some 1B in the past)... he'll have to keep working and improving. 

 

Are there rumblings in the organization about Diaz's weight/conditioning/diet? Or is that only reserved for Sano? 250 lbs already at 21.... He's going to be a big boy. 

 

There's no question it's an issue with him, and it has been with several others in the past. It'll be something he'll have to stay on top of. 

Never liked the original Diaz signing, so I am biased about his ranking. Big fan of the rest of this list
Might sound a bit crazy, but I keep thinking about Wade as a leadoff hitter, and 4th OF, if he can get that power to blossom. A leadoff hitter doesnt have to be a SB speed demon. He needs to hit and get on base and then hopefully contribute some mix or speed, power, or both. With his hit and OB potential, power throughout the lineup, a couple other decent sticks a year or two away, I just wonder if this could end up being his role.
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twinstalker
Nov 22 2017 01:48 PM

The two with high ceilings here are Thorpe (obviously) and Littell (potential to be a long-term starter).Garver and Wade will be at best role players, and Diaz' future is murky.I would rank these five as

 

1. Thorpe

2. Littell

.

3. Garver

.

.

.

.

.

4.Wade

5. Diaz

    • SarasotaBill and Dantes929 like this

Garver must be tired of being on your list by now.Every year the potential puts him in the rankings, but every year there is a new obstacle.I hope this is the year where he does not see any more minor league time.He is not going to be a star but he is good enough to be in the majors.  

 

I hope Lewis can match his potential, at this time his injuries have been his big story and I have not seen enough to say that he should rank this high.  

​Wade and Diaz are a real pair - potential for power, a steady performance by Wade and anticipation in Diaz, but at this point I do not see their future with the Twins. 

 

If Littell is as good as his record (I do count wins) then we really pulled on over on the Yankees.I hope this is true. 

    • DocBauer and dbminn like this
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Nov 22 2017 03:16 PM

 

If Littell is as good as his record (I do count wins) then we really pulled on over on the Yankees.I hope this is true. 

I hope so too. Littel has been so dominant - at least from a win-loss perspective – that it makes me wonder.  He could be legiit or he could be one of those guys who dominate in the minors but can't find the same success in the majors.

 

Time will tell.

The two with high ceilings here are Thorpe (obviously) and Littell (potential to be a long-term starter).Garver and Wade will be at best role players, and Diaz' future is murky.I would rank these five as
 
1. Thorpe
2. Littell
.
3. Garver
.
.
.
.
.
4.Wade
5. Diaz


I'm going to have to disagree a bit here. There are very few catchers who can hit the way Garver does. What little I saw of him behind the plate after his call up looked fine to me. Can't recall the game, or pitcher, but in one game he looked impressive blocking the plate and handling some low throws. It still comes down to game calling and controlling the game overall, but I see a potentially solid receiver with an above average bat.

Wade...simply depends on a little more pop. He can muster that, his bat could and eye could not only make him useful, but even a top of the order hitter with power at various other spots in the lineup.

I agree with Diaz at the bottom of these 5 due to being in A ball, still developing his stroke, and proving he can be at least a decent defensive 1B. However, the strength seems to be there. 33 doubles and 12 HR at A ball is actually pretty decent.

Regarding Wade, I am not that optimistic after this season (and AFL) as I was after the previous season. 

 

What concerns me:

 

a. His durability.2017 was the first season he played in more than 88 games, and got his worst OBP (.805) in the regular season and went all the way down to .763 in the AFL.

b. His power should have been better.32 xBH (7 HR) out of 124, make him pretty much a singles hitter.That 25.8% xBH is Nick Punto territory (career 23.4% xBH).He will be 24 1/1/18.Those numbers should definitely be better by now.

c. Will he come back from his concussion?He also missed a couple months in 2016 with injuries.

 

I got to see bit more of Littell video (and in person next ST) before I form a solid opinion, but I think that he is underrated.Other than the W-L numbers, his 2016 in the Mariners organization was equally good as his 2017, so he has been building up as he moves levels.He was drafted as a High Schooler and these guys sometimes take time to click and Littell looks like he did.I'd have him higher for Thorpe (who still walks too many) for sure, just not sure how high yet.

 

Diaz hit .292/.329/.444 as a 20 year old in full season A ball and decreased his K% all the way down to 15.7%, which is pretty darn good for a power hitter.Definitely a top 10 talent, even though this organization got better than last year.

 

 

    • Tom Froemming likes this

 

I hope so too. Littel has been so dominant - at least from a win-loss perspective – that it makes me wonder.  He could be legiit or he could be one of those guys who dominate in the minors but can't find the same success in the majors.

 

Time will tell.

The issue is with the coaching staff.Lets hope they can bring him to the next level. 

I knew Gonsalves was going to be added to the 40-man, but was really excited to see that Thorpe was also.I expect he is a Top 5 prospect, but understand that he needs to pitch next year before you, or anyone else, can put him there.Personally, I believe he has the highest ceiling of anyone in the organization right now...well maybe second to that other Lewis.

 

My question, Seth, is why you have Garver this low.His floor is that of a major league backup catcher, which he likely will be in 2018.His ceiling is a starting catcher, likely beginning in 2020.He is expected to hit better than your average catcher and you say he has a cannon for an arm.All reports have him improving a lot defensively, so we could expect that he should continue to get better and eventually be average or even above average behind the plate.

 

Sounds a lot to me like someone who should be 5-10 spots higher than he is.

 

 


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