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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:31 AM
http://www.espn.com/...astros-audition   Best possible combination of help in 2017 and help in the next couple years, right where th...
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Article: Is Paul Molitor the Right Man to Lead the Twins?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:31 AM
Shortly after they hired Paul Molitor as manager in November of 2014, the Twins invited me to Target Field for a one-on-one interview wit...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (6/18): Arraez, Sano L...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:46 AM
While the Rochester Red Wings had the day off, and the Chattanooga Lookouts and Cedar Rapids Kernels started their All Star breaks, today...
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Interesting article about Buxton

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:29 PM
I enjoyed the article linked below about Buxton. As you can see, the Twins and lots of other folks seem to think that he could be a hall...
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Top Twins Prospects Are Performing

Five weeks into the season, and it seems as if so much has happened already in the Twins minor league system. One very encouraging thing at the start of the minor league season is the performance of the Twins top prospects. Today, we’ll take a look at the Twins Daily top prospects to update how they are doing early in the season.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Alex Kirilloff)
The Top 5 Twins prospects are all performing as well or better than expected.

ROYCE LEWIS - Twins Daily #1 Prospect

The top pick in the 2017 draft moved up to Cedar Rapids late in the 2017 season. In 18 games, he hit .296. The still-18-year-old Lewis began the 2018 campaign with the Kernels as well. He has had multi-hit games in nine of his 19 games played so far this year. He is 11-21 (.524) in the last five games (four multi-hit games). Overall, he is hitting .372/.417/.423 (.840) with a double and a home run. He also has 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts. He’s also got a solid .963 fielding percentage through his first 19 games at shortstop.

FERNANDO ROMERO - Twins Daily #2 Prospect

The hard-throwing right-hander was the Twins Daily #1 prospect coming into the 2017 season, but Lewis grabbed that spot this year. The 23-year-old had an impressive showing at big league spring training, throwing eight scoreless innings. He moved down to minor league camp fairly early to allow him to stretch out and be ready to start. He began the season in Rochester where he went 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP through his first four games. In 21 innings, he gave up 17 hits, walked ten and struck out 20. He was called up to the big leagues last week, and he’s been nothing short of stellar. After six more shutout innings last night, Romero is now 2-0 with zero runs allowed through his first 11 2/3 innings. More than the numbers, Romero’s stuff looks great and plays well. He’s shown poise and an ability to make big pitches when needed.

NICK GORDON - Twins Daily #3 Prospect

Gordon was the Twins top draft pick in 2014 out of high school in Florida. He moved up one level each year. After hitting .270/.341/.408 (.749) with 29 doubles, eight triples and nine home runs, had a strong showing in big league spring training this year. It was surprising that he was returned to Chattanooga to start the season. As he did a year ago, Gordon is off to another fast start. Through his first 29 games, he is hitting .324/.358/.491 (.849) with six doubles,, three triples and two home runs. In 24 games at shortstop, he has a .961 fielding percentage. He’s played just four games at second base to this point.

STEPHEN GONSALVES - Twins Daily #4 Prospect

Gonsalves has been the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year the last two seasons. He was added to the 40-man roster last November and did well at big league spring training. After ending 2017 with a handful of games in Rochester, it was very surprising that the 23-year-old began the 2018 season with a month in Chattanooga. In four starts for the Lookouts, he went 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. In 20.1 innings, he gave up 11 hits, walked ten and struck out 25. He has now made two starts in Rochester. He’s 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA and a 0.42 WHIP. He’s given up just one run on four hits and two walks in 14 1/3 innings. He has 14 strikeouts.

ALEX KIRILLOFF - Twins Daily #5 Prospect

2017 was a long year for the Twins top pick from the 2016 draft. He missed the season after having Tommy John surgery in March. However, he was cleared for full participation in November. After getting just one hit through his first four games, he has taken off as if he didn’t miss any time. On the year, he’s hitting .283/.314/.515 (.829) with 11 doubles and four home runs. He has an organization-leading 24 RBI. Still just 20-years-old, Kirilloff has tremendous power and has a great swing to the opposite field gap.

WANDER JAVIER - Twins Daily #6 Prospect

It can’t all be good news. Javier, who has as much talent as anyone in the organization, was unable to play in spring training because of an injury in his non-throwing shoulder. There were hopes that the 19-year-old would quickly move up to Cedar Rapids, but it is yet to happen. While I’m hearing conflicting reports on how he’s doing, I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Kernels uniform too soon.

BRENT ROOKER - Twins Daily #7 Prospect

Rooker was the Twins 38th-round pick in 2016. He went back to Mississippi State and after the 2017, the Twins took him with the 35th overall pick. After 22 games in Elizabethton, he finished the year with 40 games in Ft. Myers. Combined, he hit 18 home runs. As a 23-year-old, he is one of the youngest players on the Lookouts roster. The jump to AA is known to be the biggest jump in the minor leagues, and Rooker has had some struggles. In 27 games, he has hit .232/.267/.333 (.600) with five doubles, a triple and a home run. He has four walks to go with 33 strikeouts.

BLAYNE ENLOW - Twins Daily #8 Prospect

The 19-year-old from Louisiana was the Twins third-round draft pick in 2017 out of high school. He debuted with six games in the GCL last year where he went 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings. He made the jump to Cedar Rapids to start this season. He made two starts in the cold before spending a couple of weeks on the disabled list with a back strain. He returned to the mound over the weekend. In 11 innings this year, he’s given up 17 hits, walked five and struck out eight.

BRUSDAR GRATEROL - Twins Daily #9 Prospect

The 19-year-old from Venezuela debuted in the DSL in 2015, but after just four games (during which he had one walk and 17 strikeouts in 11 innings), he had Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2016, and was eased back into things in 2017. He made five appearances for the GCL Twins (1.40 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings) before moving up to Elizabethton where he made five starts. While he’ll be on an innings and pitch count throughout the year, Graterol has now made two starts for Cedar Rapids. He’s 0-0 with a 1.04 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP. In 8 2/3 innings, he has given up six hits, walked none and struck out 11. He’s already hit 100 mph with his fastball on numerous pitches and shown the makings of a strong slider too. Honestly, speaking for myself (Seth), I could see him ranking as high as number two on my personal prospect list.

AKIL BADDOO - Twins Daily #10 Prospect

Baddoo was one of two supplemental second-round picks in 2016. He split 2017 between the GCL and Elizabethton and was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year. He’s continued to get stronger and faster. While he hasn’t hit for average yet this year, he has been an on-base machine. Through 22 games, the 19-year-old has hit .203/.398/.311 (.709) with a triple and two home runs. He’s also stolen seven bases in nine attempts. Having watched many Kernels games, Baddoo is not a passive hitter, by any means. He seems to know the strike zone pretty well and takes some very aggressive swings. He’s got a lot of power potential, and he’s done a really nice job covering a lot of ground in centerfield.

THE NEXT TEN

Here’s a quick rundown on the Twins Daily choices for Prospects 11 - 20.

#11 - Zack Littell (22) - Added to the 40-man roster last offseason, Littell returned to AA where he started the year 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA. He made his AAA debut this weekend and threw six shutout innings for the Red Wings. He gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out six.

#12 - Lewis Thorpe (22) - Thorpe is the youngest player on the Lookouts roster this season. The lefty was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. He’s currently 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA. In six starts, and 28 innings,, he’s given up 39 hits, walked nine and struck out 35. He’s seemingly improved each time out.

#13 - Lewin Diaz (21) - In 23 games for the Miracle, he’s’ hitting .244/.270/.477 (.746) with two doubles, three triples and four home runs. He really got himself into much better shape this season and while the numbers may not show it yet, he’s heading in the right direction.

#14 - LaMonte Wade (24) - In 28 games with the Lookouts this year, he’s hitting .290/.385/.430 (.815) with a triple and four home runs. As is normal for Wade, he has 15 walks to go with just 10 strikeouts.

#15 - Mitch Garver (27) - Garver won the Twin backup catcher job in spring training, and through his first 14 games this year with the Twins, he’s hit .250/.302/.450 (.752) with two doubles and two home runs.

#16 - Ben Rortvedt (20) - Rortvedt returns to the Kernels and he has taken strides forward. He’s hitting .242/.309/.371 (.680) with five doubles and a home run in 17 games. He continues to be a terrific defensive backstop as well.

#17 - Travis Blankenhorn (21) - Blankenhorn made the jump to Ft. Myers this year. In 29 games, he’s hit .257/.302/.459 (.760) with five doubles, a triple, and five home runs (leads Twins minors). He’s got just one error on the season despite playing third base, second base and even left field.

#18 - Yunior Severino (18) - The Twins gave Severino $2.5 million to sign with them after he was declared a free agent after some Atlanta indiscretions. Severino is a really good athlete who has a good swing from both sides of the plate. He may develop some power too. He can play all around the infield. He will likely go to Elizabethton in mid-June.

#19 - Tyler Jay (24) - The Twins top pick in 2015, Jay missed a lot of time in 2017 as he was moved to the bullpen full time. He did spend a couple of weeks on the DL early this year with a leg injury, but he’s back with the Lookouts now. In nine innings over five games, he has a 1.00 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and eight strikeouts. Last night he recorded his first save of the year.

#20 - Felix Jorge (24) - Jorge pitched at AA, AAA and even two starts in the big leagues in 2017. Unfortunately in spring training, he took a line drive off of a knee and has yet to pitch. Hopefully he will return to action in the next couple of weeks.

It’s encouraging that most of the Twins top prospect have continued their development and growth at the start of the 2018 season. Give it another month or so, and we’ll likely see more player movement.

Feel free to ask questions and discuss these prospects, and think about which prospects you might add to your top 20 list, maybe some that aren’t even mentioned here. For me,, I would strongly consider the likes of Landon Leach, Andrew Bechtold, Aaron Whitefield and Tyler Wells. And don’t forget about Kohl Stewart yet either.

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36 Comments

I'm confused by this sentence under Nick Gordon: "In 24 games at shortstop, he has a .961 fielding percentage. He’s played just four games at shortstop to this point."

I really appreciated this update - I hope you do it monthly.Right now my only question is about Gonsalves - what else does he have to do to get called up.

 

I would have Gordon on the roster while Polanco is out and Wade as our fourth outfielder so we have a real outfielder when Buxton is out.  

 

It is an exciting group to watch develop.

    • Luke Albrecht likes this

On Gonsalves, he's just waiting for a shot atthe rotation which is not going to happen anytime soon with Santana on the mend.Unfortunately, I just don't see where he fits in until some guys are moved out.Seems odd to say this but the Twins could deal a starter or two.

 

On Gonsalves, he's just waiting for a shot atthe rotation which is not going to happen anytime soon with Santana on the mend.Unfortunately, I just don't see where he fits in until some guys are moved out.Seems odd to say this but the Twins could deal a starter or two.

NO! You can never have too much pitching!!! When the Twins have gotten good starting pitching, it lines up the bullpen, and they have a good chance of winning. Plus injuries inevitably come up.

    • Tomj14 and Original Whizzinator like this
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clutterheart
May 08 2018 01:46 PM

In 22 games, Baddoo has a 24 walks and 33 SO

 

I take your word for it that he is not passive at the plate, but he needs to find a way to turn a few of those K's into base hits. 

    • gunnarthor and launchingthrees like this

It's good to see prospects doing well at a lot of different levels. Always good to have the pipeline cooking at multiple stages and hopefully have someone pressing to make the big club every year.

 

I know I'll be watching Lewis, Kirilloff, Rooker, Graterol, Thorpe, and Rortvedt especially all year. (lewis in part to see how the #1 overall guy does and the other 5 are my personal "i think this guy is interesting, let's see where they go" list, not necessarily because I think they're the best or most likely prospects to succeed)

 

Prospect central is looking good right now.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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clutterheart
May 08 2018 01:50 PM

 

I'm confused by this sentence under Nick Gordon: "In 24 games at shortstop, he has a .961 fielding percentage. He’s played just four games at shortstop to this point."

 

I think he means he has only played 4 games at 2B, 24 games at SS  

Would love for this to be a monthly thing.

 

What a time to be a Twins fan. 

    • howieramone2 likes this

This second wave of Twins prospects is going to be so pivotal for the Twins. If they can add a new wave as Buxton, Rosario etc. enter the final stage of their career, that could put the Twins over the top. Really excited.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

I'm confused by this sentence under Nick Gordon: "In 24 games at shortstop, he has a .961 fielding percentage. He’s played just four games at shortstop to this point."

 

Updated... the second shortstop should be replaced with 'second base.' 

Dairy farmers had a saying back when, Seth.And that was that "the cream always rises to the top."Sure is true with this group with those Top 5 doing better than any of us could have expected.  

 

A bit concerning that you have already restricted Graterol's ceiling...to #2. [If I knew how, would insert one of those smiley faces here]

 

To be honest, have forgotten about Jorge.With all the starters lined up ahead of him, doubt we will ever see Jorge in a Twins uniform again.  When healthy, he joins several others to form a group who are going to provide trading capital for Falvine.Hopefully, they will take advantage of the opportunity to move several for prospects a year or two behind them.

    • Steve Lein, Major Leauge Ready and howieramone2 like this

Baddoo hasn't been swinging and missing as much as you might think.He is an extreme example of the approach that prefers going as deep as possible in the count...looking for specific pitches/mistakes.Results in a high rate of walks, and also strike-outs that may only involve one swinging strike, if that.His OBP is basically 400.So, lets not mess with him radically right now.I think as he continues to progress...basically learns where/when more aggressiveness pays off...we could have a good one with him.

 

And then there's Rooker.While I don't think 23 is young for a AA player that's supposed to be considered a real prospect, I do think it's a huge adjustment to be hitting with the real bat against AA prospects only 11 months removed from SEC play.But forget the strike-outs and (lack of) walks...he's only hit 1 home run in his first 100 plate appearances.That seems really weird.

    • clutterheart, Ben Noble, Original Whizzinator and 1 other like this

Great update, Seth!

 

Nice to see the top five. Hopefully guys like Rooker and Baddoo make the (small) adjustments needed to take off.

 

Graterol is really exciting. I think Mayo said he had a Luis Sevirino comp on him.

Nice update!Nice to see those guys at the top doing well so far.Was hoping there would be a bat in the system that had a break-out this year.Would be nice to have a middle-of-the-order type guy emerge.Might be waiting awhile.

 

Good to see Thorpe holding his own, crazy he's the youngest guy on the team after missing 2 years.Nice the org is pretty much advancing him and letting him sink or swim rather than slow-playing him after all the time off.

    • howieramone2 likes this

Does anyone know what Gonsalves' fastball velo is at right now? Just wondering if he's still around 91-92 or if he's getting up to 94-95? 

WANDER JAVIER - Twins Daily #6 Prospect

It can’t all be good news. Javier, who has as much talent as anyone in the organization, was unable to play in spring training because of an injury in his non-throwing shoulder. There were hopes that the 19-year-old would quickly move up to Cedar Rapids, but it is yet to happen. While I’m hearing conflicting reports on how he’s doing, I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Kernels uniform too soon.

 

Here is what I am hearing:

 

- He has been playing in EST games for a while now (fact)

- He looks good (fact.)

- The Twins do not want him and Lewis in the same team (hypothesis)

- So they are waiting to promote Lewis to Fort Myers before Javier moves to Cedar Rapids (hypothesis)

    • jokin, rdehring and sloopjont like this
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Thebigalguy
May 09 2018 08:43 AM
Thanks for this. Monthly updates would be great. Good for morale to get this good news.

 

Does anyone know what Gonsalves' fastball velo is at right now? Just wondering if he's still around 91-92 or if he's getting up to 94-95? 

 

Usually 91-92 or so. He mixes his speeds well. 

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drivlikejehu
May 09 2018 01:57 PM

I'm pretty concerned about Rooker. Some initial struggles wouldn't be an issue but he's being completely dominated by AA pitching in every possible respect. He really looks like a guy that's been exposed, and while I expect him to make some adjustments, I think it bodes ill for his potential at the highest level.

I concur with everyone else: great summary, Seth. I was surprised a bit by this part you wrote about Rooker:

 

As a 23-year-old, he is one of the youngest players on the Lookouts roster.

 

Is that really so young for a AA player? Seems like most top prospects at that age would already be in AAA. Or am I totally off base? What would you say is the average age on the Lookouts roster this year?

 

 

 

I concur with everyone else: great summary, Seth. I was surprised a bit by this part you wrote about Rooker:

 

As a 23-year-old, he is one of the youngest players on the Lookouts roster.

 

Is that really so young for a AA player? Seems like most top prospects at that age would already be in AAA. Or am I totally off base? What would you say is the average age on the Lookouts roster this year?

 

Maybe most top prospects that aren't four-year college guys in their first full season of pro ball. 

 

And yes, he was the fourth youngest player on the Lookouts roster at the start of the season. Looking at the current Lookouts Roster, the only players younger than him are Lewis Thorpe, Nick Gordon and Alex Robles. 

Young or old, I've had my concerns about Rooker since day one, even when everyone else was praising his power last year.
His start this year has obviously done nothing to ease those concerns.

I'm obviously not ready to write him off this soon, but I wouldn't have him anywhere near as high as many do.

 

I'm pretty concerned about Rooker. Some initial struggles wouldn't be an issue but he's being completely dominated by AA pitching in every possible respect. He really looks like a guy that's been exposed, and while I expect him to make some adjustments, I think it bodes ill for his potential at the highest level.

I think it's too early to get concerned. He was a late 1st/early 2nd draft guy for a reason. He's in AA. It might take him the entire season to get there. The SEC is not as good as AA.

    • jokin likes this
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drivlikejehu
May 10 2018 01:22 PM

 

I think it's too early to get concerned. He was a late 1st/early 2nd draft guy for a reason. He's in AA. It might take him the entire season to get there. The SEC is not as good as AA.

 

It's not that early with respect to plate discipline numbers and batted ball profile. 5% walk rate, 30% K-rate, 1.5 GB/FB . . . those are indescribably bad for an offense-first player. I don't overreact to small sample sizes, but there's just no way around the fact that Rooker's projection has to be revised downward based on what's happened to date.

 

It's not that early with respect to plate discipline numbers and batted ball profile. 5% walk rate, 30% K-rate, 1.5 GB/FB . . . those are indescribably bad for an offense-first player. I don't overreact to small sample sizes, but there's just no way around the fact that Rooker's projection has to be revised downward based on what's happened to date.

In his first 19 games (72 PA), he didn't walk once and struck out 33% of the time.

 

In his last ten games, his walk rate has been 13% and his k-rate is 25% in 44 PA. It's just too early to worry. He's making adjustments but we won't see those in his overall line for a bit. It'll take time but he's on progress. It wasn't realistic to expect him to light up AA pitching as soon as he saw it. What's important is if he can make the adjustments. 

 

    • jokin, Major Leauge Ready and DocBauer like this

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