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Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: Honorable Mentions

Over the next couple of weeks, Twins Daily will be counting down our Top 20 Minnesota Twins Prospects. We start today by discussing several Honorable Mentions, guys who received votes but finished outside the Top 20. Today’s players illustrates the depth that is developing in the organization.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Akil Baddoo, graphics by Brock Beauchamp)
Before we look at the 2020 Honorable Mentions, a quick look at last year’s Honorable Mentions shows that 2019 Twins Top Rookie Luis Arraez was mentioned, referred to as a “Hit Machine.” Also, Jordan Balazovic went from Honorable Mention to, well, you’ll see him profiled soon. So which players who received votes this year will climb the prospect ladder in 2020?


ALREADY DEBUTED

Four players who made their MLB debuts in 2019. These players may not have super-stardom in their futures, but as we saw last year, they absolutely can be contributors to winning teams.

Randy Dobnak went from non-drafted free agent who spent all of 2018 in Cedar Rapids to a guy who pitched well at four levels in the Twins system in 2019, including at the big league level, on his way to the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Likewise, Devin Smeltzer pitched in some big games and performed wellat various times throughout the year. LaMonte Wade debutedmid-summer, and after an injury, he played most every day in September. Hard-throwing Jorge Alcala moved from a starting role to the bullpen late in the season and received a mid-September promotion to the big leagues.


OTHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER

Along with those four players, a few other Honorable Mention players are on the Twins 40-man roster. Nick Gordon was added after the 2018 season. This past November, the Twins added Luke Raley and Dakota Chalmers to their 40-man roster, putting them one call away from the big leagues.

In addition, Luis Rijo and Griffin Jax were two guys that Twins fans (and probably the Twins too) were worried about potentially losing in the Rule 5 draft. They were not selected, but as we know, both have the potential to move up this list.


RETURNING FROM INJURIES

Injuries are a part of the game, any game, and several Twins prospects fought injuries in 2019. Injuries can mean missed time and fewer development opportunities. They can sometimes be played through and affect performance.

Ben Rortvedt suffered a knee injury late in the season, but he had surgery and should return at 100% in 2020. Akil Baddoo’s season ended in mid-May. He had Tommy John surgery and is excited to return to the field. Nick Gordon’s season started late due to a stomach ailment. His season ended early because of a knee injury. In between, he played well in Rochester. Luke Raley got off to a fast start for the Red Wings in April but at the end of the month he hurt his ankle and had surgery. He returned for the Arizona Fall League. Bailey Ober fought elbow injuries at times during the season, but when he took the mound, he was great. Yunior Severino fractured his thumb early in the season for Cedar Rapids. He was able to return in August. And Dakota Chalmers returned in the second half from his Tommy John surgery.

You see the names, and you know several of them were previously Top 20 prospects, some even Top 10 guys. If healthy, their talent could push them quickly back up the rankings.


WE HARDLY KNOW YE

Spencer Steer had a strong first impression in pro ball. The Twins third-round pick from Oregon played for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in his debut. Chris Vallimont came to the Twins organization along with Sergio Romo (and cash) from the Miami Marlins for Lewin Diaz at the trade deadline. He’s got a big fastball and a solid pitch mix. Willie Joe Garry was a Twins draft pick in 2018 out of high school from Mississippi. He is a tremendous athlete with great speed and improving power. He’s got all the tools and is one to watch in 2020.


DEADLINE TRADES 2018

The Twins were not good in 2018, and at the deadline, the front office traded several expiring contracts (and 1 1/4 seasons of Ryan Pressly) for a plethora of prospects. A couple of those prospects will be profiled later in this series, but a lot of them received votes and would appear in the 21 through 35 range of Twins prospect. Clearly that flurry of trade activity has much helped the Twins' prospect depth.

From the Dodgers for Brian Dozier, the Twins received both Devin Smeltzer and Luke Raley.
From the Diamondbacks for Eduardo Escobar, the Twins received Gabriel Maciel.
From the Yankees for Lance Lynn, the Twins received Luis Rijo.
From the Astros for Ryan Pressly, the Twins acquired Jorge Alcala.
From the A’s for Fernando Rodney, the Twins acquired Dakota Chalmers.

Tomorrow, we will begin our look into the Top 20 Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Be sure to check every day to see where your favorite Twins prospects rank. And feel free to ask questions and leave your comments below.


2020 MINNESOTA TWINS PROSPECT HANDBOOK
For more information on these Honorable Mentions, pick up a copy of the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF(for immediate download). Order your copies today!


MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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17 Comments

Thanks Seth.

 

A lot of intriguing talent mentioned here. Very excited to see these guys progress as the season starts here soon (maybe not as excited as I am about my son's sophomore season that starts next week and his quest to break 90 on the FB before he graduates) but still very excited. :)  

Should also mention Lewis coming back from surgery as well.

 

Should also mention Lewis coming back from surgery as well.

 

Lewis? There aren't any Lewis's in the Honorable Mentions. 

 

Royce Lewis didn't have surgery.

Lewis Thorpe has been back from surgery 2-3 years.

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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terrydactyls1947
Feb 03 2020 08:39 AM
Maybe Jerry Lewis?
    • wabene likes this
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BrianBuchanan
Feb 03 2020 08:39 AM

man, tons of interesting guys didn't make the cut for Top 20.Should be a fun year following both the big league club and the system as a whole.

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MMMordabito
Feb 03 2020 09:45 AM

Just to clarify:

 

Were the "Already Debuted" guys able to receive votes?

 

If so, I'd pretty easily pick Randy Dobnak as the most likely to "pull an Arraez".

Lewis? There aren't any Lewis's in the Honorable Mentions. 
 
Royce Lewis didn't have surgery.
Lewis Thorpe has been back from surgery 2-3 years.


My apologies. Typed too fast and didnt notice auto correct changed Wells to Lewis for some reason.
    • DannySD likes this

I still like Nick Gordon. If he hadn't gotten hurt, he would have already made his debut for the Twins and I think his hit tool plays at the MLB level. He may not be able to stick at SS and have to move to 2B, which will limit him with this organization unless Arraez gets hurt or has a massive sophomore slump (I expect some regression, especially on the slugging, but Arraez can flat out hit the baseball) but that doesn't mean he's not still a valuable player. I think he's going to hit like crazy at Rochester to start the season and teams are going to try and pry him loose from the Twins.

 

I've always liked Rortvedt, even though I know Jeffers has passed him on the prospect rankings. But he's a nice catcher and makes me feel a lot better about our position depth. I still think there's a real chance we see him in MLB before Jeffers, though I acknowledge Jeffers has a superior hit tool that makes him a better overall prospect. Keep in mind, Rortvedt is a year younger, though, and reportedly a better receiver back there.

    • Dman and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

 

Just to clarify:

 

Were the "Already Debuted" guys able to receive votes?

 

If so, I'd pretty easily pick Randy Dobnak as the most likely to "pull an Arraez".

 

Players are eligible if they maintain rookie status. So yeah, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Wade, all those guys were eligible to be voted for in these rankings. 

 

My apologies. Typed too fast and didnt notice auto correct changed Wells to Lewis for some reason.

 

You are correct. Tyler Wells would have fit under that category as well. He could return in the 2nd half of 2020, maybe. 

 

I still like Nick Gordon. If he hadn't gotten hurt, he would have already made his debut for the Twins and I think his hit tool plays at the MLB level. He may not be able to stick at SS and have to move to 2B, which will limit him with this organization unless Arraez gets hurt or has a massive sophomore slump (I expect some regression, especially on the slugging, but Arraez can flat out hit the baseball) but that doesn't mean he's not still a valuable player. I think he's going to hit like crazy at Rochester to start the season and teams are going to try and pry him loose from the Twins.

 

I've always liked Rortvedt, even though I know Jeffers has passed him on the prospect rankings. But he's a nice catcher and makes me feel a lot better about our position depth. I still think there's a real chance we see him in MLB before Jeffers, though I acknowledge Jeffers has a superior hit tool that makes him a better overall prospect. Keep in mind, Rortvedt is a year younger, though, and reportedly a better receiver back there.

 

 I think if Gordon hadn't started the season on the IL, he likely would have been the one called up instead of Arraez. 

    • Steve Lein, Dman, DocBauer and 3 others like this

 

 I think if Gordon hadn't started the season on the IL, he likely would have been the one called up instead of Arraez. 

Ensuring that Gordon started the season on the IL...

 

just another example of the brilliance of the current FO.

    • DannySD likes this

 

You are correct. Tyler Wells would have fit under that category as well. He could return in the 2nd half of 2020, maybe. 

Yes, was thinking of Tyler Wells for this list also.  Was pitching very well before the arm injury.Here's hoping he comes back fully healthy.

Looking at last years honorable mentions, One is on the 26 man roster, 2 are out of the organization, 3 are honorable mentionsagain, and of the 10 remaining, I only see 1 top 20 candidate. I am a little surprised more of them did not move into the top 20 unless another one surprises me and makes the top 20...

 

 I think if Gordon hadn't started the season on the IL, he likely would have been the one called up instead of Arraez. 

 

I agree with this. And it's a reminder that Nick Gordon still might be a fine MLB player.

    • SQUIRREL, jkcarew and DannySD like this

Does anybody know what happened to Landon Leach? Did he have Tommy John?

 

Does anybody know what happened to Landon Leach? Did he have Tommy John?

I think his injury has been his shoulder, can’t say for sure though


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