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Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: 16-20

As we embark on our Minnesota Twins 2020 prospect list, it’s important to keep in mind this is a deep system. There’s not a huge gap between the 16th prospect and the 36th. Sorting everyone out is difficult, but that’s why we combined the opinions of four Twins Daily writers. Let’s get into it ...
Image courtesy of Tom Froemming
Find more on these five Minnesota Twins prospects and much more in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback and as an ebook.

20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B
Age: 21 (DOB 6/29/1998)
2019 Stats (A+/AA): 483 PA, .252/.302/.369 (.671 OPS), 8 HR, 11.2 K%, 5.0 BB%
2019 Ranking: 20

We start this year’s list the exact same way we did in 2019. Miranda’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but keep in mind he still slugged better than the Florida State League average (.353) and was young for the level. He faced pitchers who were older than him in over 96 percent of his plate appearances last season.

Miranda reached Pensacola to end the year. He played one regular season game, then hit .368/.429/.526 (.955) over five postseason games for the Blue Wahoos. That continued a trend, as Miranda has hit .350/.429/.583 (1.012 OPS) in 16 career playoff games.

Once again, Miranda posted an insanely low strikeout rate. His 11.2 K% ranked 23rd among the 686 minor leaguers to log 400 plate appearances last season (inside the top four percent). He also mashed lefties, hitting .303/.330/.506 (.835 OPS), and continued to work on his defensive versatility.

Sometimes the biggest thing that needs to happen for a player’s power to emerge is simply to get the heck out of Fort Myers. The guy at No. 18 on this list is a great example of just that ...

19. Cole Sands, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 7/17/1997)
2019 Stats (A/A+/AA): 97 1/3 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 28.2 K%, 5.0 BB%
2019 Ranking: NR

The Twins drafted Sands in 2018, but he didn’t make his professional debut until this past season. He opened the year with Cedar Rapids and immediately outmatched Midwest League hitters.



Sands made eight starts for the Kernels, nine for Fort Myers, then closed out the season by making his Double-A debut in the second leg of a doubleheader for Pensacola. I’d say that’s quite a busy first year on the job.

Among the 667 minor league pitchers to log at least 80 innings in 2019, Sands’ 2.45 FIP ranked eighth. He did an incredible job of racking up strikeouts while limiting his walks, posting a K:BB ratio of 5.68.

Another positive development was that Sands increased his workload from 75 1/3 innings at Florida State in 2018 to 97 1/3 innings this past season.

18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF
Age: 23 (DOB 8/3/1996)
2019 Stats (A+/AA): 471 PA, .277/.321/.466 (.787 OPS), 19 HR, 22.3 K%, 5.7BB%
2019 Ranking: NR

Blankenhorn slipped off our list and onto the honorable mentions last year, but was No. 17 on the Twins Daily 2018 list and No. 9 on the 2017 list. He opened 2019 back in Fort Myers, but was headed up the coast after just 15 games with the Miracle.

Despite facing tougher pitchers, the move to Pensacola did wonders for Blankenhorn’s power production. After hitting 12 home runs in 139 total games for the Miracle, Blankenhorn needed just 49 games to reach a dozen bombas for the Blue Wahoos. He hit .298/.337/.521 (.857 OPS) in his first 70 Double-A games, but suffered an injury in mid-July and slumped upon his return.



Blankenhorn also continued to display his athleticism in 2019. He spent most of his time at second base (70 starts), but played more outfield than he had in previous seasons, and had three outfield assists in just 24 starts in left field. He was also a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts.

The Twins added Blankenhorn to the 40-man roster this offseason, so expect him to get plenty of looks during spring training.

17. Misael Urbina, OF
Age: 17 (DOB 4/26/2002)
2019 Stats (FRk): 217 PA, .279/.382/.443 (.825 OPS), 2 HR, 6.5 K%, 10.6 BB%
2019 Ranking: NR

This guy has a chance to be the Twins’ No. 1 prospect a few years from now.

Urbina’s speed and overall athleticism were hyped when the Twins signed him to a $2.75 million bonus, but the Venezuelan dynamo also proved he can control his plate appearances in. Urbina’s 6.5 K% was the fourth lowest among the 343 hitters who logged at least 170 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. He paired that with a strong 10.6 BB%.

He also slugged nearly 100 points better than the DSL average and stole 19 bases in 50 games, oh, by the way.

DSL stats aren’t particularly sticky. Taking a look back at prior years you’ll find quite a few guys who shine and then fizzle once they reach full-season ball. Still, Urbina’s tools, pedigree and now performance makes for a tantalizing player to pin dreams on.

16. Edwar Colina, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 5/3/1997)
2019 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 97 1/3 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 25.4 K%, 8.0 BB%
2019 Ranking: NR

Colina’s talent was on full display throughout July, where gave up just two earned runs in 31 2/3 innings (0.57 ERA) and struck out 36 batters. He was named Twins Daily’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month for that performance.

Colina made 10 starts for Fort Myers and four more for Pensacola. In those outings, he pitched to a 2.29 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and struck out 89 batters in 82 2/3 innings. His overall numbers were dragged down a bit by five relief outings that didn’t go nearly as well.

The product of Venezuela has always had a knack for keeping the ball in the yard, and tied Cole Sands for the lowest HR/9 in the system (minimum 90 innings). Both of them surrendered just four homers in 97 1/3 innings pitched. Over his entire minor league career, Colina has given up a grand total of just 16 home runs in 324 2/3 innings pitched.

Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects
Honorable Mentions
Stop by tomorrow for prospects 11-15

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21 Comments

Have always liked José Miranda reminds me a lot of Arraez.  Guy who appears to control the strike zone and doesn’t strike out.  Miranda appears to be a better and versatile fielder.

Colina is a guy you should say could be #1 on this list. Throw hard reaching 100 if his secondary stuff comes along at AA he has top of the rotation potential.  Looks like we might see him in spring training.

    • biswrest, JoshDungan1 and Melissa like this
Interesting, very, very interesting!

Nice list.All of us knew the Twins farm system was deep.We are just finding out how deep. These will be good for the next several years, assuming maybe 30% of them (or a little more make it).

    • SF Twins Fan likes this

That's a nice group of prospects for 16-20. 

    • DocBauer and SF Twins Fan like this

You guys at TD do such a great job with the minor leagues, especially these rankings.Some of us older guys really appreciate it...thanks!

 

After reading this today, went back and looked at the Honorable Mention.Can't believe that Dobnak and Rortvedt aren't among your Twins Top 20.Personally believe that Mr. Dobnak is gonna make believers of a lot of people when he spends 2020 as a starter for the Twins. 

 

And this group is #16-20?Guessing that at least two have the potential to someday be Top 5.Can see most of these five as bottom of the Top 10 for most organizations or the Twins several years ago.So thankful that this FO is sticking to their business plan to develop a minor league pipeline that should keep the Twins competitive for a long time.Now lets hope like he..ck that their pipeline continues sending exciting young pitchers to the Twins this year.  

    • SQUIRREL, Steve Lein, DocBauer and 7 others like this
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BrianBuchanan
Feb 04 2020 07:59 AM

Having guys like Sands and Colina at 16-20 shows you how deep this system is.Lots to look forward to out of his group. 

    • Steve Lein and MN_ExPat like this

I am ready for Colina and others that are soon to be on your list to push past Dobnak, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Chacin, and others that will be in camp.I want a young phenom to take a roster spot.I was hoping it would be Graterol but the Twins have already eliminated him.  

    • SQUIRREL and rdehring like this

It will be interesting to see how all of the prospects move up and into the majors over the next few years, with the way all of the starters are signed to contracts for a couple more years.

 

Either the guys on the team now will be moved for more pieces and these guys end up on the Twins, or the guys in the prospect pool could be traded for stronger pieces.

 

Good problem to have, I suppose.

    • birdwatcher and rdehring like this

Really solid analyses, Tom. I took a look at Miranda's stats before reading the rest of your snapshot, and was ready to post that I want to see what he can do, away from the FSL, but then read on and found you had that covered! This grouping is a mix of guys with emerging track records or simply toolsy prospects, a cohort that's going to be fun to watch.

    • SQUIRREL, birdwatcher, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

Speaking of Miranda, what was the highest you had him a few years back?Was he ever Top 10?

Just in case people were wondering, here's how these guys ranked for us individually:

 

Miranda:

Seth 16

Nick 29

Tom 18

Cody 17

 

Sands: 

Seth 19

Nick 22

Tom 19

Cody 18

 

Blankenhorn:

Seth 18

Nick 18

Tom 17

Cody 25

 

Urbina: 

Seth 27

Nick 19

Tom 14

Cody 16

 

Colina:

Seth 12

Nick 14

Tom 29

Cody 14

 

    • MN_ExPat and rdehring like this
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SF Twins Fan
Feb 04 2020 09:24 AM

Very exciting to see players in the 16-20 range with upside and that have played in AA already. These guys should be pushing into AAA and potential call up range by seasons end.

    • rdehring likes this

On this list I am most excited about Sands.I didn't expect much from a 5th round pick with not particularly great College stats so he has exceeded expectations for me.His numbers from A ball to AA never really wavered which tells me his stuff plays well and he has the control needed to make it in MLB.He goes right after hitters and dares them to hit his stuff.I know most scouts have him as anumber 5 but I really think he ends up a three.I know it was just one year but I was really, really impressed with what he was able to do.

 

I had high hopes for Miranda this past year and he really let me down.I know he was very young for the level and high A is tough on hitters but I thought he would at least manage a 700 something OPS the meager 650 he hit left me thinking what happened to that power stroke?He has time to right the ship but he is rule V eligible at the end of this year so he needs to perform like the great player I know he can become.

 

Given the reports I have read I question if Colina is a starter or not.Still love his stuff but it feels like he is missing that quality third pitch he needs to be a starter. Maybe he finds it this year hard to say but without it I think he gets exposed as he moves up.If he does fail as a starter he should be a really good pen arm.He always seem to have good stats it was really just control holding him back but he looked better last year so here's hoping he finds a way to stick in the rotation.

 

It is a very nice 16-20.Hoping to see improvement from these guys this year. We definitely need the pitchers to step up.Right now I am an optimistic believer in these guys.

 

Have always liked José Miranda reminds me a lot of Arraez.  Guy who appears to control the strike zone and doesn’t strike out.  Miranda appears to be a better and versatile fielder.

But Miranda has been the opposite of Arraez to date, in terms of actually getting hits when he puts the ball in play (BABIP). .255 at A+, vs .358 at the same level and age for Arraez. Career minor league BABIP marks are .271 for Miranda, and .358 for Arraez.

 

Thus, despite having similar K% and BB% and better power (ISO), Miranda trails Arraez considerably in total offensive production: 104 wRC+ for his minor league career, vs 134 for Arraez.

 

Miranda is still young, but it looks like he's going to have to make considerable changes to his offensive game beyond just adjusting to new levels.

    • ashbury, SF Twins Fan and MN_ExPat like this

 

Speaking of Miranda, what was the highest you had him a few years back?Was he ever Top 10?

 

No, he's been borderline Top 20 the last couple of years, probably just missed out. 

 

I had him at 16 last year and 22 the year before in my rankings. 

 

Just in case people were wondering, here's how these guys ranked for us individually:

 

Miranda:

Seth 16

Nick 29

Tom 18

Cody 17

 

Sands: 

Seth 19

Nick 22

Tom 19

Cody 18

 

Blankenhorn:

Seth 18

Nick 18

Tom 17

Cody 25

 

Urbina: 

Seth 27

Nick 19

Tom 14

Cody 16

 

Colina:

Seth 12

Nick 14

Tom 29

Cody 14

 

Think Seth is way too low on Urbina and Tom is way too low on Colina.

Let's get the season started and we'll all find out!

 

 

Think Seth is way too low on Urbina and Tom is way too low on Colina.

Let's get the season started and we'll all find out!

 

Yeah, I struggle with placing international guys who haven't played in the States yet. Obviously he's a potential 5-tool talent, but he's 17 and 6-7 promotions from the big leagues. Ceiling-wise, he's a top ten prospect... 

    • Danchat likes this

Sorry to appear like a Miranda-hater, but I’ve seen his name here for years and am just not getting it.  All the guy seems to do is hit .250 every year, without power, and yet someone above mentioned Arraez as a comp....excuse me?

 

Someone please tell me, because I don’t know; what is the HONEST ceiling for José Miranda, if he reaches the majors??  I can’t see him as any more than banjo-hitting UTIL and yet he’s constantly in the TD Top 20 lists with guys like Sands, Colina and Blankenhorn who “look” superior to me.

1] No knock on Miranda, and I know he's still really young, but I just sort of keep waiting for that breakthrough season.

2] Really unsure what the ceiling is for Sands, but how could anyone at this point. But could you ever have expected a better debut season? With a couple guys graduating from rookie status and another year this good, top 10 next year???

3] Like most young pitchers, I have also read the 3rd pitch isn't there yet for Colina. Biggest knock I think I've heard is lack of height in regard to downward plane, etc. Guy can bring it. Really hoping the secondary stuff really settles in soon.

4] Blankenhorn has always reminded me of a great multi sport athlete who goes to college to play football and finally gets to concentrate fully on a single sport. Were that to be true, he would now be physically and mentally ready to make a big push in what would probably be his junior year.

In other words, he started to make a move and is now ready to really show off.
    • rdehring likes this

 

Have always liked José Miranda reminds me a lot of Arraez.  Guy who appears to control the strike zone and doesn’t strike out. 

 

Except unlike Arraez Jose doesn't get on base.When you see Miranda come to the plate and at 3B the one thing you cannot get over is that he ishuge.One of the biggest infielders I have seen play for the Miracle Mussels. 

 

But there is something missing in his swing.I am not sure what it is, but the results are just not good enough.

Thanks for doing these! Just fun and interesting.

 

I'm with Tom on Colina. A hard-throwing 5-11 (if that) guy that can rack up innings to be a year-after-year reliable starter? Doubtful. Not never...but doubtful. FWIW...we question a 21-year-old Graterol because he's never been able to exceed 102 innings pitched in a season. Colina's max is 109 innings...last year was less than 100. I would evaluate him lower as a potential guy on the back end of a bullpen.


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