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Article: All Eyes on Fort Myers

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Twins Daily 2018 Top 20 Prospect Countdown: 16-20

In recent days, we have begun to see many Twins players and Twins minor leaguers getting to Ft. Myers. MLB camp is less than two weeks away, and minor league camp gets going in about a month. But the academy is starting to fill up.Today, we begin our list of the Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects with a look at prospects 16-20. Tomorrow, we’ll post prospects 11-15. At that point, we will post one prospect each day.
Let’s get to the list, and please feel free to discuss our choices and how they may rank on your personal top 10 or top 20 lists.

20. Felix Jorge - RHP
Age: 24
2017 MiLB Stats (AA/AAA): 10-4, 3.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 149.0 IP, 161 H, 40 BB, 108 K
2017 MLB Stats (MLB): 1-0, 10.57 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 4 K
ETA: 2017
2017 Ranking: 12

Signed in February of 2011 Jorge has gradually worked his way up the Twins system. The last few years, he has turned himself from a suspect to a prospect. On the 40-man roster, Jorge was given an opportunity to make his MLB debut for the Twins when they had a need for a starter in July. Jorge was promoted directly from Chattanooga. In his debut, he gave up three runs in five innings and picked up his first MLB win. Five days later, he made another start. It didn’t go as well. He ended the regular season with starts in Rochester before pitching for Chattanooga in the Southern League playoffs. Jorge’s got a nice fastball in the 92-94 range. He’s got great poise and calm on the mound. He’s got a nice changeup and an improving curveball. In 2018, he should spend the year in Rochester and potentially get more opportunities to make starts for the Twins.

19. Tyler Jay - LH RP
Age: 23
2017 Stats (AA/AAA): 3-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 19 K
ETA: 2018
2017 Ranking: 5
Jay was the Twins first-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Illinois. While he was a reliever in college, many teams believed that he had the pitches and the makeup to be a starter. That’s what he did in 2016, and he did well. However, he managed just 83.2 innings. This past spring, the Twins announced that Jay was being moved to the bullpen. It is a role that he should thrive in. Unfortunately, he missed nearly the entire 2017 season with biceps tendinitis. As you can see, he got good strikeout numbers. He went to the Arizona Fall League to make up for some of the lost time. However, when healthy, Jay has the ability and the potential to be a dominant relief options, and soon.

18. Yunior Severino
Age: 18
2017 Stats (Rookie): .286/.345/.444 (.789), 17-2B, 2-3B, 3-HR
ETA: 2022
2017 Ranking: NR

The Braves had a dozen minor leaguers declared free agents due to violations by their front office. Those players were then allowed to sign with other teams using international pool money from 2017 or 2018. Top prospect Kevin Maitan signed for $2.2 million with the Angels, though there were reports that the Twins offered him more than the Angels but he saw a quicker route to the majors with the Angels. The Twins didn’t worry about it. Instead, they signed Severino for $2.5 million of 2018 pool money. Severino had signed with the Braves in 2016 for $1.9 million.
After spending ten games with the Braves DSL team last summer, he moved up to the GCL. Severino was signed as a shortstop, but he was already moved to second base due to his range. He is a switch-hitter. He has more power from the right-side now, but he has a lot of potential to add power.

17. Travis Blankenhorn - 2B/3B
Age: 21
2017 Stats (Low-A): .251/.343/.441 (.784), 12-2B, 11-3B, 13-HR, 13-SB
ETA: 2021
2017 Ranking: 9

Signed as the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania, Blankenhorn spent the entire 2017 season in Cedar Rapids. He had ended the 2016 season with 25 games for the Kernels. Blankenhorn had some ups and downs throughout the 2017 season. By month, his OPS were .776, .604, 1.048, .449, and 1.023. You can see the upside in those numbers. You can also see the inconsistency that you might expect from a 21-year-old. But Blankenhorn can fill a stat sheet. He’s got a good approach at the plate. He can use the whole field. He has extra base pop with the speed to turn doubles into triples. He’s got power now, and he’s got the size to develop even more home run power. He also is a good base runner who can steal bases. Twice in 2017 he stole home.
Defensively, Blankenhorn spent the first half of the season at third base (.916 fielding percentage). After the All Star break, he moved over to second base for the second half (.989 fielding percentage). He’s still working at both positions and now feels comfortable at both, but he’s happy to play anywhere as long as he’s in the lineup.

16. Ben Rortvedt - C
Age: 20
2017 Stats (Low A): .224/.284/.315 (.599), 16-2B, 4-HR
ETA: 2022
2017 Ranking: 19

Rortvedt was the Twins second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. After splitting 2016 between the GCL and Elizabethton, Rortvedt was one of the younger players in the Midwest League in 2017. He struggled early in the season. Through May, he was hitting just .187/.234/.174 (.388), but the Twins believed in him and Rortvedt responded very well. Over his final 54 games, he hit a very respectable .273/.324/.397 (.721). While the bat remains a work-in-progress for the 20-year-old, his defense is already very good. He works well with pitchers. He’s a very good athlete which helps him with blocking pitches and with his footwork so he’s able to show off his very strong, accurate arm.

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35 Comments

Rortvedt seems too high, but will need to see the rest of the list to be sure.Depends on where a lot of the relievers fall,seems like many of them have fallen off the map in the last year (Burdi, Bard gone), (Reed ,Chaigos, Melentakos, and several others who were projected here two years ago are no longer on the list). 

It may just be that relievers are hard to read, and until they make it not all that valuable.

    • mikelink45 likes this

I too am disappointed with Rortvedt's progress.It is nice to see that we got a good player from Atlanta's screw up.First I have really read about him so it will be good to follow.I really expected Jorge to be higher on the list and I hope Jay really steps forward now that he is healthy (I hope) and makes the moves that have been expected.

 

For a team already built around youth, this is a good start for our prospects.

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clutterheart
Feb 06 2018 07:30 AM

Think they will move Severino to the outfield?That infield at CR is already stacked. 

Toby is going to have to get creative. 

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Tom Froemming
Feb 06 2018 08:08 AM

For those questioning Rortvedt, check out my Prospect Spotlight Series article on him. Here's a big takeaway:

 

From the start of June to the end of the season (54 games), Rortvedt hit .273/.324/.397 (.721 OPS). To put that into perspective, Lewin Diaz hit .291/.328/.393 (.721) over that same stretch.

 

Rortvedt got off to a terrible start at the plate, but you have to remember in 2016 he was hitting against Wisconsin high school pitchers. He was also coming off his first spring training and catchers get a lot of work down in Fort Myers. I think he may have come out of the gates already dragging a bit. Personally, I'm willing to give him a free pass on the ugly first two months he had with the Kernels.

    • Seth Stohs, birdwatcher, gunnarthor and 11 others like this

 

Think they will move Severino to the outfield?That infield at CR is already stacked. 

Toby is going to have to get creative. 

I would think Severino is an EST/Elizabethton assignment at 18/19 yo and just GCL exp so far.

    • dbminn likes this

I actually thought Rortvedt would be slightly higher.He almost tripled his games and PAs, then adjusted and improved at the plate while doing so. Being a secound round pick, the scouting department must have seen a lot they liked.At 19, he had at least one good showing that he has the make-up to handle adversity (slow start at the plate) and handle a pitching staff over a full season.

 

It will be interesting to see if he's assigned to CR to build more confidence, or if that isn't a worry, and his make-up is further tested in the FSL.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, nater79a and 2 others like this

I would bet money on Rortverdt starting in CR.....but not a lot of money.

    • Tomj14 likes this

Nice start to the list. I think Jay is probably closer to 10 than 20 but there's probably not a lot of difference between 12 and 19 on this years list. It's a deep system. Rortvedt is a sleeper. I like him a lot. He's not the next Joe Mauer but I think he can be a solid ML starting catcher, which is hard to find.

 

I forgot about Sevirino but he could be fun to watch develop. The scouting reports on him were mixed but if the Twins can fix the concern some have in his swing maybe he can become a poor man's Willie Calhoun? I'm blah on Jorge. He'll probably get some time in the majors this year but I think he's a AAAA type. Hope I'm wrong. This is a big year for Blankenhorn. He'll be 22. Time to see him put up better numbers. 

    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, sftwinsfan and 1 other like this

Seems like every time a prospect list comes out on here, Rortvedt always get push back from people.I being one of them.Now, I'm confident enough to say I know baseball pretty well, but what I see doesn't even come close to what scouts and pros can see.They must see something.Watching him play and reading about him have helped understand a bit more on the kid.He does call a good game, looks like he's turning a corner at the plate, and can throw people out.He's got age on his side.So that being said, he has the potential to be good, which is what Tom's ranking here.

 

All that being said, I think there are better players in our system that won't crack this list.

 

I'm excited to see what Rortvedt can do this summer though.

 

 

 

I would think Severino is an EST/Elizabethton assignment at 18/19 yo and just GCL exp so far.

 

Correct... it would definitely surprise me a lot if he got to Cedar Rapids this year. 

Hate to see Tyler Jay dropping like that, injury and all.Drafted to be a starter, they really need him to at least be a good reliever.Really never understood the gamble with I believe was the 6th overall pick, hoping he could develop into a starter when he'd never done it.  

    • sftwinsfan likes this

For people's information... this list is comprised of some mathematical formula using the rankings of Nick, Tom, Cody and myself. It's a consolidated list, but it isn't just a normal rankings. We actually have some good discussions on the rankings and come together with the final rankings...

 

In case people are into this or even care, here are how we ranked them (Note that Cody, Tom and I rank our Top 50 for the Twins Prospect Handbook. Nick provides his Top 20 for the list, so NR just means the players is out of the Top 20.)

 

Ben Rortvedt: Seth 27, Nick 12, Cody 19, Tom 11

Travis Blankenhorn: Seth 21, Nick 16, Cody 24, Tom 9

Yunior Severino: Seth 17, Nick NR, Cody 19, Tom 19

Tyler Jay: Seth 23, Nick 17, Cody, 21, Tom 18

Felix Jorge: Seth 20, Nick NR, Cody, 14, Tom 25

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ashburyjohn
Feb 06 2018 09:38 AM

I would bet money on Rortverdt starting in CR.....but not a lot of money.

I'd try him at high-A. He'll go only as far as his bat will take him, because his glove seems to be legit, and his season numbers in CR weren't good, but I'm willing to give him a mulligan for the horrific first two months and accept his .721 OPS from June onward as a cherry-picked indication of learning. He'll only be in his age-20 season this year, so "merely" keeping at that OPS level through constant learning the rest of the way up the system would mean he'll get to the majors as a useful player and probably a starter eventually. No doubt his bat is a risk - I sense that his manager may have done additional cherry-picking of games for him to start - but to me it's questionable that another year begun at Cedar Rapids will actually do anything for him, confidence-wise or other-wise.

 

Hate to see Tyler Jay dropping like that, injury and all.Drafted to be a starter, they really need him to at least be a good reliever.Really never understood the gamble with I believe was the 6th overall pick, hoping he could develop into a starter when he'd never done it.  

 

It was a risk... Hasn't paid off, in large part due to injury, but there are a lot of smart people, including the likes of Keith Law (from this interview, http://twinsdaily.co...r-leagues-r5600 ).

 

 

    • birdwatcher likes this

With the exception of Jorge, who has a pretty good floor, IMO, any of those other 4 guys could have the sort of season, that when combined with their pedigrees, could shoot them up the rankings--or in Jay's case, into the Major Leagues.

 

Every time I see a "Rortveldt is too high" comment, it makes me think about the various backup catchers the Twins have traded and traded for, and how hard it is to judge catchers, especially relative to other players.  I have no idea if this is a fair ranking for Ben.  

 

 

    • birdwatcher, markos and jrod23 like this
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birdwatcher
Feb 06 2018 11:16 AM

 

It was a risk... Hasn't paid off, in large part due to injury, but there are a lot of smart people, including the likes of Keith Law (from this interview, http://twinsdaily.co...r-leagues-r5600 ). 

 

Thanks for digging this up, Seth. This might be the reason I'm more excited about Jay than the others on the list, although Rortvedt is also intriguing to me.

 

I have a distant recollection of opinions on this board that Butera was ranked too high when he made it all the way to, like, #23 in a much thinner system. Butera's the poster boy for why we should remember that a catcher's value doesn't get reflected very conclusively by his slash line. A lot of commenters ripped the FO and Gardy about Butera for years because of his atrocious bat (it WAS painful, wasn't it?), and he somehow managed to eek out a nice, long career on the strength of whatever value he delivered that I for one was unable to detect.

 

I think if they start Rortvedt in A+, that'll be another indication of his promise.

    • Han Joelo, RaymondLuxuryYacht, howieramone2 and 2 others like this

 

I have a distant recollection of opinions on this board that Butera was ranked too high when he made it all the way to, like, #23 in a much thinner system. Butera's the poster boy for why we should remember that a catcher's value doesn't get reflected very conclusively by his slash line. A lot of commenters ripped the FO and Gardy about Butera for years because of his atrocious bat (it WAS painful, wasn't it?), and he somehow managed to eek out a nice, long career on the strength of whatever value he delivered that I for one was unable to detect.

And Butera is still providing value for this team, in a way:
Butera -> Sulbaran -> Nunez -> Mejia

    • Han Joelo, birdwatcher, PseudoSABR and 1 other like this

I think this is about right for Rortvedt; let's see how he progresses with the bat this season. If he can hit like the second half over the course of a full season, I'll be very encouraged. I think the team can afford to show some patience with him, and he looks like a C+ range prospect (to use a sickels grade) that could easily get himself into B range territory with only modest improvement at the plate.

 

I might have ranked Jay a little higher, because he should progress quickly now that he's back in a bullpen role but this seems fine. I was hoping he could transition to a starting role because I also thought he had the pitches to do it, but it's time to move on. I wonder: will his brief time working as a starter help him function in a multi-inning capacity in the bullpen? Wouldn't it be wonderful if he became the sort of pitcher who could come in as a fireman in the 5th-6th inning and finish off 1-2 batters and then still stay hot to go in the 6th-7th? Clearly his drop has more to do with the change in role and the injury history than his ability, so seeing him fall so far on the prospect chart doesn't bother me as much.

Tyler Jay dropped a long way in a year. I understand there is a injury but, is it that devastating or are there other fellas balling out?

Umm, Felix Jorge K's are wrong for 2017. He had 108, not 158. Very very big difference. If he had a 158 he'd probably be a top 5 Twins prospect.

IMO it's easy to see what some see in Rortverdt...he's an extremely athletic catcher, with very high defensive upside, and a chance to hit half-way decently.The key words in all that being the word 'catcher' and 'defensive'.And, while I'm not much of a "he was young for his level" guy when it comes to prospects we are speculating might have actual value in the majors some day....he was REALLY young/inexperienced for his level last year.

 

I also think he will at least start in CR, with the hope that he will settle in early and earn a promotion relatively early during the season.

    • nater79a likes this
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birdwatcher
Feb 06 2018 01:24 PM

 

And Butera is still providing value for this team, in a way:
Butera -> Sulbaran -> Nunez -> Mejia

 

 

Good point. Also a great example of how a strategy of trading from MLB surplus for high-value prospects can pay off.

 

Tyler Jay dropped a long way in a year. I understand there is a injury but, is it that devastating or are there other fellas balling out?

 

Answering for myself... I think he can be a terrific late-inning reliever... Which means he'll work 50-60 innings a year. A starter will hopefully go 150-200 innings. So, that's why I tend to rank relievers significantly lower. A year ago at this time, he was still a starter...

 

Nice start to the list. I think Jay is probably closer to 10 than 20 but there's probably not a lot of difference between 12 and 19 on this years list. It's a deep system. Rortvedt is a sleeper. I like him a lot. He's not the next Joe Mauer but I think he can be a solid ML starting catcher, which is hard to find.

 

I forgot about Sevirino but he could be fun to watch develop. The scouting reports on him were mixed but if the Twins can fix the concern some have in his swing maybe he can become a poor man's Willie Calhoun? I'm blah on Jorge. He'll probably get some time in the majors this year but I think he's a AAAA type. Hope I'm wrong. This is a big year for Blankenhorn. He'll be 22. Time to see him put up better numbers. 

 

Agree with your takes on Rortvedt and Jorge.

 

Rortvedt will be just fine.Already a stud receiver and a leader.The offense will take awhile transitioning from Wisconsin HS ball to the pros.Like him much better than Banuelos or Navarreto.

 

With Jorge, yeah...hard to see him cracking a playoff caliber rotation on a regular basis.Probably a guy that gets called up occasionally for a spot start or a 26th man for a double-header.

 

 

 

 

    • birdwatcher and gunnarthor like this

If Jorge has the stuff to pitch in late innings, I'd move him to RP......interestingly, on FG today, the prospect guys said that MLB teams are valuing late inning RPs more than number 4/5AAAA types.....

    • Seth Stohs likes this

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