Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect Countdown: 11-15
Let’s get to the list.
15. JT Chargois - RHP
2015 Stats (Hi-A/AA): 48.0 IP, 2-1, 15 Saves, 2.62 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 53/25 K/BB
Chargois (pronounced Shag-waa) was the Twins second-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Rice University. In college, he played first base, DH and was the Owl’s co-closer with current Twins starter Tyler Duffey. He worked 16 innings for Elizabethton that summer and then missed two full seasons with injury including Tommy John surgery.
He returned to the mound in games in 2015, throwing as hard as ever. “Hard as ever,” for Chargois means frequently hitting 100 on the radar gun. He began the season with the Miracle but spent the second half of the season in Chattanooga where he was the closer for the Southern League champion Lookouts. In November, he was added to the Twins 40-man roster. Blessed with a big fastball, Chargois also throws a slurve and has a change-up. He will occasionally have trouble finding the strike zone, but often is able to work out of trouble with a strikeout. He will compete for a Twins bullpen spot in spring training. Although he is maybe a long shot to be on the Opening Day roster, we can expect to see Chargois pitching for the Twins in the 2016 season.
Photo: William Parmeter
14. Jermaine Palacios - SS
2015 Stats (rookie): .370/.398/.540, 3 HR, 37 RBI, 36 R, 9/13 SB
Signed in July of 2013 out of Venezuela for just $70,000, Palacios was not a highly touted amateur. When he signed Palacios was long, but very thin, weighing in at just 145 pounds. He spent the 2014 season in the DSL where he hit .270/.404/.399 (.802) with 11 doubles and six triples. He had 35 walks to go with 37 strikeouts. The performance allowed him to come to the States in 2015.
He is stronger now, though still real thin. He was supposed to spend the full short season in the GCL, but through 26 games he was hitting .421 (1.061 OPS) so he was promoted to Elizabethton. In 31 games there, he hit .336. Though he didn’t walk much, he had 18 extra base hits. He committed quite a few errors, but many believe that he can become a solid shortstop, though a move is possible. He should start the 2016 season as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids.
13. Wander Javier - SS
2015 Stats: Did Not Play
In 2009, the Twins signed Miguel Sano, then 16 years old, to a $3.15 million bonus, their largest given to an international player. In July of 2015, the Twins broke that record by handing shortstop Wander Javier a $4 million signing bonus. While Sano was signed as a shortstop too, the general belief is that Javier will be able to stay at shortstop.
Javier is already 6-0 and 170 pounds. He is described as a plus fielder with a plus arm from shortstop. Though he’s not big now, people talk about his great bat speed which could potentially generate very good power. But he’s very raw and hasn’t played a ton of baseball. Most likely, Javier will spend the entire 2016 season in the Dominican Summer League, but it’s possible he could surface in the GCL late in the year.
12. Lewis Thorpe - LHP
2015 Stats: Did Not Pitch
Two weeks ago, Lewis Thorpe threw pitches off of a mound. For most pitchers at this time of the year not a big deal, but for Thorpe it was a big deal after having Tommy John surgery last April. His rehab program will continue into the 2016 season. However, he could return to game action by June.
Thorpe burst onto the prospect scene in 2013 when, as a 17-year-old, he went 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA in the GCL. In 44 innings he walked six and struck out 64. The following season, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in May and experienced some ups and downs in the Midwest League. However, he struck out 81 batters in 71.2 innings while being almost four years younger than the average player in the league.
While it’s difficult to know with complete certainty how a player will come back after Tommy John, Thorpe says he is feeling strong and hopefully will be back to what he was. That was really good. He had a fastball that touched 94-95. He has a good curve ball, and his best pitch could be his change-up. In spite of his youth, the southpaw has a very high baseball IQ and knowledge of pitching.
Photo: William Parmeter
11. Adam Brett Walker - OF
2015 Stats (AA): .239/.309/.498, 31 HR, 106 RBI, 75 R, 13/17 SB
The Twins invited Milwaukee native Adam Brett Walker to Target Field days before the 2012 MLB Draft. The Jacksonville University player had posted an OPS of over 1.000 in all three of his college seasons. The Twins selected him in the third round, with the 97th overall pick that year. Since then, the 6-5, 230 pound outfielder has done everything big.
He has hit with big power. Walker has played at one level in each of the four seasons since signing. He has led that league in home runs and RBI each year. In 2013 in Cedar Rapids, his 109 RBI were one less than Dalton Hicks for most in minor league baseball. Despite his size, Walker is a good base stealer. In college, he was successful in 40 of 41 attempts. In minor league ball, he’s 36 for 45. Walker has also has increased his walk rate each season, from 5.6% to 7.9% to 9.1% in 2015.
But obviously we have to get to the other thing that Walker does big, strikeouts. While his walk rate has gone up each season, so has his strikeout rate. He struck out 20.8% of the time in Low A. With the Miracle, he struck out 28.2% of the time. In 2014 with Chattanooga, he struck out 34.8% of the time.
Defense and specifically throwing are also a concern for Walker. Will Walker be able to make an adjustment to cut down on the strikeouts? If so, he can be a solid power producer in the middle of a big league lineup. If not, he will struggle mightily with big league pitching. Most likely, he’ll be somewhere in between.
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