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2019 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 36-40

Yes, it is that time again!! It’s time to revisit our top Minnesota Twins prospect rankings. (Be sure to look back at the preseason 2019 Top 20 Prospects.) Sure, it’s a lot more fun to follow the Minnesota Twins big league club this year than it has been much of the decade, but it’s still important to know the minor leaguers as well. Already this season we have seen several prospects make their major-league debuts. Some are top prospects, but the Twins farm system is deep and several players that many hadn’t even heard of are getting an opportunity.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (graphics by Finn Pearson - photos of L to R: Gabriel Maciel, Kohl Stewart, Bailey Ober, Zander Wiel, Sean Poppen)
Over the next two weeks, Twins Daily will be revealing the Twins Daily Midseason Top 40 Prospects rankings. Our preseason Top Prospect rankings go 20 deep. Our midseason rankings double that output and give some recognition to twice as many players. Several of our minor league writers provided player rankings. They were consolidated

Continue reading, and then discussing, the Twins Daily choices for 36th through 40th prospects of the Minnesota Twins below.


40. Sean Poppen – RHP
Age: 25
ETA: 2019
2019 Stats
MLB: 4.0 IP, 6.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 4.5 K/9, 9.0 BB/9, 0.50 K/BB
MILB (AA/AAA): 57.2 IP, 2.97 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 11.4 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 2.52 K/BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: NR
Seth: 23 | Tom: NR | Cody: NR | Ted: NR | Steve: NR

From a timing standpoint, we couldn’t ask for anything more. If you watched Poppen in his Major League debut on Wednesday night, you saw why he has impressed coaches and decision-makers in the organization over the last couple of months. The fastball is consistently 95 to 97 mph with movement. His mid-80s slider is sharp. He showed a few changeups as well, which is his clear third pitch. He struggled with control, something that he has done the last year or two, but if he can relax and throw more strikes with his stuff, he can be successful. Look at his strikeout numbers. They have increased dramatically the last year or so. The changeup may determine whether his future is in the bullpen or as a starter. Poppen was the Twins 19th-round pick in 2016 out of Harvard.


39. Zander Wiel - LF
Age: 26
ETA: 2019
2019 Stats (AAA): .252/335/.472 (.807 OPS), 13 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 76 K, 23 BB
2019 Ranking: NR
Seth: 42 | Tom: 35 | Cody: 47 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR

Wiel was the Twins 12th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt University. He has gradually worked his way up the ladder, approximately one year at a time and continuing to be productive. He leads the 2019 Red Wings in home runs this season with ten. Wiel isn’t afraid to work a count, though he does strike out quite a bit. He has mostly played first base in 2019 after splitting his time in left field the past couple of seasons. Wiel is big and strong, but he has made himself a little more athletic in the last year or two and he runs well. He finds himself in a tough spot with CJ Cron as the primary first baseman but with the likes of Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza and Willians Astudillo also getting time at first base. The Twins also have strong depth in the corner outfield positions.


38. Bailey Ober - RHP
Age: 23
ETA: 2022
2019 Stats (High-A): 24.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 8.67 K/BB
2019 Ranking: NR
Seth: 30 | Tom: 39 | Cody: 44 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR

Ober was the Twins 12th-round draft pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. He was the national freshman of the year his first year of college. Unfortunately injuries cost him much of the next two seasons, but the Twins saw enough to draft him. When the 6-9 right-hander has been healthy, he’s been really good. In 2018 in Cedar Rapids, he went 7-1 with a 3.84 ERA in 75 innings. His season began late and then ended early. His numbers (above) are from April when he was the runner-up in Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. But when the month ended, Ober went back on the IL with an elbow injury.


37. Kohl Stewart - RHP
Age: 24
ETA: 2021
2019 Stats:
MLB: 12.0 IP, 6.00 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 2.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.60 K/BB
MILB (AAA): 51.1 IP, 4.56 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.88 K/BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: HM
Seth: 44 | Tom: 37 | Cody: 30 | Ted: NR | Steve: NR

The fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft out of high school, Stewart worked his way up the ladder. It was a surprise when he was called up last August, he showed some glimpses, and the same can be said with his two MLB starts so far in 2019. In late April, he gave up five runs over six innings at Houston. In mid-May, he earned a win with a quality start (6 IP, 3 ER) against Detroit. Stewart is approaching a career crossroads of sorts now. He could be a back-of-the-rotation MLB starter for some teams, or he could move to the bullpen and see what he can do in shorter stints.


36. Gabriel Maciel - OF
ETA: 2018
Age: 20
2019 Stats (Low-A): ..309/.395/.377 (.771 OPS), 3 2B, 4 3B, 0 HR, 31 K, 23 BB.
2019 Ranking: HM
Seth: 46 | Tom: 40 | Cody: 24 | Ted: 30 | Steve: 27

The Twins acquired Gabriel Maciel from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade last July. He joined the Cedar Rapids Kernels and hit .263 (.683) with four doubles, two triples and two homers in 30 games. He began this season on the injured list. He returned to the Kernels and he has taken a step forward. He is not a big guy, but the Brazilian has a real solid approach at the plate and terrific speed. He has primarily played in center field this year but has seen quite a bit of time in right field too.


That's it for now. Feel free to ask questions and leave comments below. Learn about another five pack of Twins prospects tomorrow.

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18 Comments

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clutterheart
Jun 20 2019 04:21 AM
Maciel seems low.

I look at him and I see a 20 year old with athleticism and good on base skills who hasn't played a lot of baseball in his life. As he gets older he should get some more power. I would've had him at least 10 spots highers
    • Dman likes this

Sean Poppen's build reminds me of Taylor Rogers. Tall, lanky, with arms that look a couple inches longer than normal. Long arms is always a good sign for a pitcher. Now, if he can get his heart rate below 220 bpm, we'll see if he can pitch. Clearly he's got the stuff to get guys out. Command is all that's missing. The age-old story.

    • Han Joelo, 70charger, bluechipper and 2 others like this

Poppen's stuff looked formidable. I only saw the first inning he pitched and he was clearly amped.To quote John Sickels writing about Sam Deduno years ago, hitters don't know where pitches are going, but neither does he. If his velo is up this year he's probably still learning how to pitch with the extra zip. 

    • birdwatcher, DocBauer and gagu like this

Maciel's 2019 stats aren't AAA, are they Seth?

 

Good seeing Poppen in the rankings.Based on what we saw last night and what he has done this year would think he should probably be higher than #40.With all the disappointments to starters penciled in for Rochester this year, hoping he is a pleasant surprise that will help the Twins as the season goes forward.

 

Was encouraged by Stewart's stay with the Twins last fall.Not so much this spring.   

    • gagu likes this
When you finish this series. Please consider a ranking of major league ready. As I read these I'm always trying to think of what their real chances are. When I see number 40 pitching with the twins last night it emphasizes that there is a difference between prospect rating and prospect readiness

 

Maciel seems low.

I look at him and I see a 20 year old with athleticism and good on base skills who hasn't played a lot of baseball in his life. As he gets older he should get some more power. I would've had him at least 10 spots highers

 

Hard to disagree... would like to see more power, of course. but the average is really good. I just couldn't put him ahead of others, and I think it speaks to the depth of prospects in the organization. 

    • Steve Lein, gagu and caninatl04 like this

 

When you finish this series. Please consider a ranking of major league ready. As I read these I'm always trying to think of what their real chances are. When I see number 40 pitching with the twins last night it emphasizes that there is a difference between prospect rating and prospect readiness

 

Could do that, but looking at where these players are playing pretty much tells that... the AAA guys are probably most ready, possibly some of the AA guys fit into that equation. 

    • Steve Lein likes this

I had hopes for Kohl Stewart this season, because he showed some potential in his MLB stints that he could be a guy who could grind up some innings and stay out of too much trouble with lots of ground balls and guys having trouble squaring up on him. But he hasn't taken that next step forward, and seems to be regressing. It's hard to feel like he's ever going to live up to his potential as the #4 overall pick.

 

Maciel seems low.

I look at him and I see a 20 year old with athleticism and good on base skills who hasn't played a lot of baseball in his life. As he gets older he should get some more power. I would've had him at least 10 spots highers

 

As Seth mentions, the Twins system is very deep. My specific ranking (I did top 30) of him doesn't mean a whole lot. I'd say there is very little separation from late teens to the end of my list, and there were plenty of other guys I wanted to get in there as well.

    • caninatl04 likes this
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Tom Froemming
Jun 20 2019 07:45 AM

 

Maciel seems low.

I look at him and I see a 20 year old with athleticism and good on base skills who hasn't played a lot of baseball in his life. As he gets older he should get some more power. I would've had him at least 10 spots highers

He's done a really nice job controlling his plate appearances this season. If he shows any power, especially if he ends up doing it in Fort Myers, he'll definitely jump up.

 

Sean Poppen's build reminds me of Taylor Rogers. Tall, lanky, with arms that look a couple inches longer than normal. Long arms is always a good sign for a pitcher.

That's an excellent physical comp. Not the same hand, obviously, but those two certainly have similar body types. 

 

Good seeing Poppen in the rankings.Based on what we saw last night and what he has done this year would think he should probably be higher than #40. 

Putting together these lists is a really fun form of torture :) Just speaking for myself, but these things get very difficult once you expand beyond the top 30.

 

The first thing I did for this was come up with a preliminary list of guys under consideration for a top 50. That was 75 guys, so I had to trim that back. Next up was trying to figure out around where I felt the recent draftees should go. Very difficult. After that, I really wanted to challenge myself on how I felt the pitchers ranked after Graterol. This was primarily and exercise to figure out exactly how far I felt Balazovic popped up.

 

Then, rolling through everything else, I just didn't have a lot of time to invest to really rack my brain about splitting differences in that 31-60 range. I fell like there's not a ton that separates that group. My 40-50 range leaned more toward upside. I was hoping to find time to revisit the backend of my rankings, but I didn't get to it. 

 

When you finish this series. Please consider a ranking of major league ready. As I read these I'm always trying to think of what their real chances are. When I see number 40 pitching with the twins last night it emphasizes that there is a difference between prospect rating and prospect readiness

The level they're playing at will tell you a lot about where the Twins think they are in that regard.

    • Steve Lein, Dman, gagu and 1 other like this

Fangraphs mid season for comparison

 

Poppen - Not Ranked in top 46

Wiel - NR

Ober - NR

Stewart - NR

Maciel - 31 (25 in MLB.com preseason, 27 in fangraph preseason)

    • caninatl04 likes this

Fangraphs mid season for comparison

Poppen - Not Ranked in top 46
Wiel - NR
Ober - NR
Stewart - NR
Maciel - 31 (25 in MLB.com preseason, 27 in fangraph preseason)


I'd bet Stewart isn't eligible for their rankings..... But I could be wrong.

Surprised that Stewart is only 24. You'd think he was 32 given the commentary sometimes.

    • Seth Stohs likes this

 

I had hopes for Kohl Stewart this season, because he showed some potential in his MLB stints that he could be a guy who could grind up some innings and stay out of too much trouble with lots of ground balls and guys having trouble squaring up on him. But he hasn't taken that next step forward, and seems to be regressing. It's hard to feel like he's ever going to live up to his potential as the #4 overall pick.

 

Or maybe this was his potential. 

 

And also, he's still got good stuff, but maybe a quality reliever or a back-end rotation. And maybe that's with another team. 

    • DocBauer likes this
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FlauerPauer
Jun 20 2019 02:08 PM

Really hate striking out on Stewart and Jay. Guess that really shows how unpredictable the MLB draft can be. I remember people kind of questioning the Tyler Jay pick, but if I remember correctly analysts and fans were pretty happy with the Stewart pick.

    • birdwatcher and Danchat like this

Could Poppen pan out as a bullpen arm? Future closer material?

 

Could Poppen pan out as a bullpen arm? Future closer material?

 

Sure....maybe..... But based on his first appearance, I get eerie flashbacks to the Ron Davis era:

 

http://twinsdaily.co...ron-davis-r1179

 

By the 8th inning the poor guy was talking to more imaginary friends than Ed Norton did in "Fight Club".

    • gagu likes this

 

Could Poppen pan out as a bullpen arm? Future closer material?

 

Sure looks like it...Big Velocity. Lots of movement. Good slider. And a decent changeup. 

 

He has struggled with command, but that can be worked on, and of course, never want to make too much out of a guy's MLB debut. Way too much excitement. He was impressive!


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