From The Handbook: Organizational Depth Chart
Jason Castro is signed through the 2019 season, so he’ll be around. He had his best offensive season since 2013 and his pitch framing statistics matched his reputation. Chris Gimenez didn’t have great numbers, but everyone loves having him on the roster. He’s a free agent and with Mitch Garver ready, it’s hard to think Gimenez would be back.
Closest to the Big Leagues: Mitch Garver
Twins Daily’s Hitter of the Year in 2014 and 2017, Garver had a very nice year at the plate. He took a bunch of walks and showed really good power in terms of both doubles and home runs in Rochester. He made his big-league debut in August and is certainly ready for a bigger role in the majors.
Top Prospect: Ben Rortvedt
Rortvedt was one of the youngest regulars in the Midwest League in 2017. While he struggled immensely at the plate in the first couple of months, he showed improvement as the season went along. Defensively, Rortvedt is already very good and can get better. He’s got the athleticism and a strong, accurate arm.
Sleeper: Mitchell Kranson
While Brian Navarreto got to AA late in the season due to his advanced defense and cannon of an arm, Kranson has become one to watch as well. He actually did more catching when he moved up to Ft. Myers at the season’s midway point. He’s got some work to do behind the plate, but he’s got a strong, left-handed swing that could generate power in time.
Joe Mauer is in the final year of his eight-year contract in 2018. He’s coming off of his best season since 2013. Could he come back for 2019 and beyond? Certainly. There isn’t an heir apparent near the big leagues, but there is talent in the pipeline.
Closest to the Big Leagues: Brent Rooker
The Twins drafted Rooker in the 38th round of the 2016 draft following his junior year at Mississippi State. He returned for his senior season and won the Triple Crown in the SEC. Good decision. The Twins used their supplemental first-round pick this year to draft the 22-year-old again. He reached Ft. Myers this season, hitting a combined 18 home runs over 62 games in his pro debut, and could move up quickly in 2018. Rooker has been working some in the outfield, but if circumstances dictate, he could be playing first base for the Twins as soon as 2019.
Top Prospect: Lewin Diaz
Diaz received a big signing bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He’s a big man (6-3, 250) with a ton of power potential. But he can also hit for average and use the whole field. As a 20-year-old in Cedar Rapids in 2017, he hit .292 with 33 doubles and 12 home runs.
Sleeper: Zander Wiel
The 24-year-old was Minnesota’s 12th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. This year with the Miracle, he hit .250 but got on base over 34% of the time and added 30 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs (which is good for the Florida State League). If he were to get to the big leagues, it would be on the strength of his bat.
This is part two of a five-part series of excerpts from the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook we published earlier this year. You can also check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 or just download the Handbook at whatever price you deem fair.
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