Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: 16-20
20. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B
Age: 20 (DOB 6/29/1998)
2018 Stats (A/+A): 552 PA, .264/.319/.417, 16 HR, 82 RBI
2018 Ranking: NR
Since joining the Twins as the 73rd overall pick in 2016 draft, Miranda has been getting his feet wet all around the infield. This past season, the product of Puerto Rico basically split time between second base and third base with a couple appearances at shortstop mixed in.
At the plate, Miranda provides an intriguing mix of power and contact skills. He actually had the lowest strikeout rate of any Midwest League hitter with at least 400 plate appearances last season. The really crazy thing is he struck out even less after he was promoted to Fort Myers, dropping from 11.62 K% to a 9.73 K%.
“No, I don’t like striking out,” Miranda emphatically told SD Buhr in June. “I hate it. Since I was little, I’ve tried to battle.”
And it’s not like he sacrifices power to do it, as Miranda finished fourth in the system in both doubles (27) and home runs (16). He was second to Alex Kirilloff in RBIs with 82 and even ranked second in the system by getting hit with 12 pitches. Miranda capped the season by making a huge impact in Fort Myers’ championship run, going 10-for-25 with three doubles and two home runs in the postseason.
19. Jorge Alcala, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 7/28/1995)
2018 Stats (AA/+A): 99.1 IP, 3.81 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.34 WHIP
2018 Ranking: NR
Alcala came to the Twins this July in the trade that sent Ryan Pressly to Houston. Prior to the deal, Alcala had a 3.29 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 79 1/3 innings in the Astros’ system, but finished things out in Chattanooga pitching to a 5.85 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in 20 innings. So, not the best first impression.
Armed with a fastball that’s been clocked as high as 102 mph, his slider doesn’t give batters much time to react either. That’s a late-breaking pitch ranging in the upper 80s. He seemed to learn how to put batters away last season, boosting his strikeout rate from 7.8 K/9 in 2017 to 9.4 K/9 last year.
Alcala’s secondary offerings have some work to do in terms of consistency, which has put some uncertainty around his future role. Of his 24 outings on the season, 13 were for four innings or fewer. Even if the consistency with the full repertoire doesn’t develop, Alcala could make for a very exciting relief prospect.
18. LaMonte Wade, OF
Age: 25 (DOB 1/1/1994)
2018 Stats (AAA/AA): 495 PA, .257/.360/.380, 11 HR, 48 RBI
2018 Ranking: 14
Wade doesn’t have any especially loud tools but he also lacks any clear weaknesses. His true calling card is the ability to grind out at bats. He actually had more strikeouts (74) than walks (64) for the first time in his career last season, but he certainly makes pitchers earn it. His two-strike approach is outstanding and he’s not above choking up on the bat. Here’s a look back at one of his impressive plate appearances from spring training last year:
Wade was hitting .278/.388/.419 (.807 OPS) through July, then had a really tough final 25 games of the season that put a damper on his final year-end numbers. He gave right-handed pitchers all kinds of trouble, hitting .281/.391/.409 (.800 OPS), but had just a .563 OPS against same-sided pitching.
Wade has seen a fair amount of time in center field over his pro career, but he seemed to settle into left field with some right field mixed in last season. He also played some first base back in college. Wade was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, and while he’s a bit buried on the current depth chart, there’s a chance we’ll see him at Target Field in 2019.
17. Zack Littell, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 10/5/1995)
2018 Stats (MLB/AAA/AA): 149.1 IP, 8.7 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.31 WHIP
ETA: Debuted in 2018
2018 Ranking: 11
Littell got knocked around in his first taste of the big leagues, posting a 6.20 ERA in 20 1/3 innings for the Twins, but he put together a strong season down on the farm. Only Lewis Thorpe racked up more strikeouts among Twins minor league pitchers. Littell boosted his K/9 rate a full strikeout from 8.1 in 2017 to 9.1 during his time in the minor leagues in 2018.
Littell was the youngest player to surface with the Twins last season and faced batters who were older than him 96 percent of the time through the course of the year (629 of 655 plate appearances). He's never picked up much steam in prospect circles due to a relative lack of velocity, but Littell actually topped out at 96 mph during his time with the Twins, per Baseball Savant. It's rare for him to reach back with that kind of heat, he typically sits more like 92, but it appears he could be on the verge of unlocking something extra.
Littell lacks a true plus secondary offering, but the curveball can really shine some days and he has enough of a changeup to keep hitters off balance. Wrap in solid command and you’ve got an excellent baseline package to continue to build upon.
16. Gilberto Celestino, CF
Age: 19 (DOB 2/13/1999)
2018 Stats (AA/-A/Rk): 268 PA, .287/.341/.406, 5 HR, 34 RBI
2018 Ranking: NR
Speaking of the Ryan Pressly trade, Celestino was the other piece to the deal that was simply just too good for the Twins to turn down. A premiere athlete, this Dominican import is considered among the top defensive outfielders in the minor leagues. He’s regarded as having excellent instincts, good range and a strong arm.
Celestino also uses his speed effectively on the basepaths. He’s 47-for-54 in stolen base attempts in his career, an 87 percent success rate. In addition to his athleticism, he also already has an idea of what he’s doing at the plate. He has a career .345 on-base percentage, a strikeout rate under 19 percent and a walk rate of over nine percent. Pretty solid stuff coming from a guy who’s faced older pitchers in nearly 95 percent of his plate appearances.
Similar to Alcala, Celestino didn’t make the greatest first impression with the Twins. Luckily he had the opportunity to more than make up for it in the postseason. After posting a .656 OPS in 27 regular games with Elizabethton, Celestino reached base safely 12 times in five postseason games, going 7-for-19 with four walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects
Prospects 11-15 Coming Soon
Get to know more about these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback or as an eBook.
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