Twins Daily 2018 Top 20 Prospect Countdown: 16-20
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
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
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
2017 Stats (AA/AAA): 3-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 19 K
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
2017 Stats (Rookie): .286/.345/.444 (.789), 17-2B, 2-3B, 3-HR
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
2017 Stats (Low-A): .251/.343/.441 (.784), 12-2B, 11-3B, 13-HR, 13-SB
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
2017 Stats (Low A): .224/.284/.315 (.599), 16-2B, 4-HR
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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