Top Ten Twins Players Under 25 (1-5)
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsHere at Twins Daily, Nick recently finished off his top-20 Minnesota Twins assets. His approach was a little different as he was looking at every player in the organization. Baseball Prospectus just released their list of Top 25-and-under players but their cutoff was 4/1/1992. This allowed Miguel Sano and Max Kepler to be included on their list.
The list below is limited to players whose seasonal ages for 2018 are 24 or younger—that is, any player who will not yet have turned 25 on July 1, 2018. Players like Miguel Sano and Max Kepler don’t qualify because they will turn 25 before July 1st.
5. Nick Gordon, SS
Date of birth: October 24, 1995 (age-22 season)
Entering last off-season, Nick Gordon was near the top of every Twins prospect list. Royce Lewis’ addition to the system has pushed Gordon down a peg. Tom wondered if Gordon has gone from prospect to suspect because of his poor second half. As a 21-year old, he spent all of 2017 at Double-A where he was over three years younger than the competition. His batting average dipped by over 20 points but he bumped up his slugging percentage by 22 points. There are still questions about whether he will stay at shortstop or even if he will still be in the Twins organization at this point next year. If the Twins need to add big league pitching, Gordon might have to be one of the trade pieces.
4. Jorge Polanco, SS
Date of birth: July 5, 1993 (age-24 season)
It’s hard for me to imagine ranking Jorge Polanco this high but that’s how good he looked in 2017. He got on base over 31% of the time and collected 46 extra-base hits in 133 games. From the beginning of August until season’s end, he hit .316/.377/553 with 10 home runs. Throughout his professional career, there have been questions about his defensive abilities. He committed 18 errors in 507 chances for a .964 fielding percentage. SABR’s Defensive Index had him ranked in the bottom five among American League shortstops. Polanco could help end Minnesota’s revolving door at shortstop if he can make some defensive improvements and continue to hit like he did in August and September.
3. Jose Berrios, RHP
Date of birth: May 27, 1994 (age-24 season)
This is the year, right? Berrios has shown flashes of being a dominant big league pitcher. In fact, there are times his breaking pitches are completely unhittable.
Berrios has shown the ability to be dominant at an individual level during his time in the minor leagues. In 30 starts at Triple-A, he has a 2.79 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9. Last year at the big league level, he was over 5.5 years younger than the competition. He’s going to put it all together and that’s certainly good news for Twins fans.
2. Royce Lewis, SS
Date of birth: June 5, 1999 (age-19 season)
In many other organizations, he might be the best player under the age of 25. It’s hard to know what the future will hold. Lewis could end up becoming better than the top player on this list. Right now, there is a lot of projection involved and he projects to be a very good player for a very long time. At his current age, Baseball Prospectus is comparing him to Carlos Correa. If Lewis can lead Minnesota where Correa brought Houston this year, he will become a Twins legend.
1. Byron Buxton, CF
Date of birth: December 18, 1993 (age-24 season)
Buxton follows quite the impressive line of defensive center fielders in Minnesota that stretches back to the Puckett era. Twins fans have been spoiled with diving catches from the likes of Hunter, Gomez, Span, and Revere. Buxton was honored as the best defensive player in the American League and the scary things is… his bat turned out to be pretty good too. When I predicted the 2021 line-up last week, I wrote about the possibility of Buxton winning an MVP. This isn’t a stretch especially in an era that values all-around players. Minnesota’s base running saw a resurgence in 2017 and Buxton was leading the way as the best runner in the big leagues. He’s going to need to hit and he showed the type of player he could be in the second half of last season.
So how would your rankings look? What will the rankings look like next season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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