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Time to shuffle the deck

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:31 AM
This could be a very bad week. I'd like to see them shuffle the roster/batting order and bullpen.   Release Grossman. DFA Kinley and...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ Yankees, 4/23@6:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:39 PM
It’s big, four-game series that kicks off tonight in the Bronx as the Twins and Yankees go to battle in a series that could really help t...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/23): Hunters Star I...

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:55 PM
Uffdah! After missing a lot of baseball due to postponements, Monday night was the first really busy night in the Twins farm system. Roch...
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T-Wolves 2018 Postseason Thread

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Yesterday, 10:15 PM
It has been my great privilege to initiate a thread with this title. Fleeting as it may be.
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Nick Gordon - 2018

Adopt A Prospect 2018 Yesterday, 10:06 PM
  Nick Gordon is a 22-year old lefty-hitting shortstop drafted fifth overall in the first round of the 2014 June amateur draft out...
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Part 8: Seth's Updated Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects (1-5)

It’s been almost a month since I started posting my 2017 postseason Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospect Rankings. There have been mini profiles on 45 players so far, and today you will find who my top five Twins prospects are. I certainly welcome your feedback and discussion. Prospects 6-10 were very young and very exciting. The same can be said of this group, though there are also a couple of guys that we should see in a Twins uniform during the 2018 season.

If you’ve enjoyed these mini-profiles of 50 Twins prospects, you’ll definitely want to get a copy of the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, which will be available in about a month. There will be bigger profiles on about 170 Twins prospects, along with stories, rankings and much more.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Let’s get to my choices for the Top 5 Twins prospects. This is a very talented group, all of who have the ability to not only play in the big leagues but be strong, long-term contributors. Please feel free to discuss. (Note - there are links to the first seven parts of this series at the bottom)

#5 OF Alex Kirilloff

Yes, he missed the entire 2017 season because he had to have Tommy John surgery in early March. He had injured his arm late in the 2016 Elizabethton season but chose to rehab and hope. The Pittsburgh native was one of the best hitters in the 2016 draft when the Twins made him the 15th overall pick in the draft. He came in and hit very well in Elizabethton .He is a big, strong kid. He’s 6-1 and about 215 pounds. He is very sound mechanically at the plate. He’s a line drive hitter who uses the whole field, and he has tremendous power potential. He should be ready for Opening Day 2018, though the Twins will certainly not rush him back. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder. He has the arm to play right field. He’s a good athlete with a lot of potential. He just turned 20 earlier this month. (Get to know Alex Kirilloff)

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photo by Jon Tarr

#4 RHP Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero missed two full seasons because of Tommy John surgery, but he came back throwing nearly 100 mph. He’s also got a sharp slider and an improved changeup that he worked on a lot in 2017. Romero will turn 23 on Christmas Eve. He was added to the Twins 40-man roster a year ago and spent the entire season at AA Chattanooga. He went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. In 125.1 innings, he walked 45 and struck out 120 batters. While he’s just over 6-0 tall, he’s build very strong. He’s thick in the legs and the backside and that’s where he gets his big velocity from. The hope for Romero should be to get him to 155 to 160 innings. And he should see time in the big leagues too.


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photo by Seth Stohs

#3 SS Nick Gordon

I mean... Nick G Cinco is The Man... maybe that's where we should start:



Nick Gordon was the Twins first pick in the 2014 draft, the fifth overall pick out of high school in Orlando. He began his career in Elizabethton and has moved up one level each year. Following the 2016 season, he played well in the Arizona Fall League. 2017 was another exciting season for the shortstop. He played very well in the season’s first half. He was named to the Southern League All-Star team (though the game was rained out). He started for Team USA in the Futures Game before the All-Star game. He struggled a bit in the second half. More important than all the accolades, he took strides in his game. He set season highs in nearly every statistical category including Isolated Discipline and Isolated Power. After hitting a combined five home runs in his first three seasons, he hit nine home runs for the Lookouts. Defensively, the questions remain for many of whether he will be able to stay at shortstop. He is also considered a leader by those who know him best.

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photo by Seth Stohs

#2 LHP Stephen Gonsalves

Gonsalves was the runner up to Jose Berrios for the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2015. In 2016, he was the choice for Starting Pitcher of the Year. Like Berrios, Gonsalves became a two-time winner when he was the choice again in 2017. His season began with an invitation to big league spring training where he had a solid showing until an injury arrived and cost him the first two months of the season. He returned to the Lookouts where he went 8-3 with a 2.68 ERA in 15 starts. He made three starts for Rochester at the end of the season. Gonsalves has a terrific mix of pitches. He has a good fastball in the 91-94 range. He throws a good changeup. He has really worked on his slider and it’s become a really good pitch. He also mixes in a cutter in some situations. He is poised and he is smart on the mound. He knows how to pitch. He was added to the 40-man roster this month. He should be given an opportunity to make starts for the Twins by mid-summer.

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photo by Seth Stohs

#1 SS Royce Lewis

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine came into an enviable situation. While the 2016 team lost 103 games, the organization was blessed with some young players with high ceilings. And, along with the worst record, they had the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. They had choices, and some really good choices. They could have taken a college pitcher like Kyle Wright. They could have taken a high school pitcher like Hunter Greene or MacKenzie Gore. They could have taken Brendan McKay who will pitch and may hit too. Instead, the Twins went with a high school shortstop from California named Royce Lewis with the Number One pick. And if early returns mean anything, they made a really, really good choice.

After the Boras client signed, he was sent to Ft. Myers and spent about a month in the GCL. In 36 games there, he hit .271/.390/.414 (.804) with six doubles, two triples and three home runs. In a somewhat surprising move, Lewis finished the season with 18 games in Cedar Rapids. He hit .296/.363/.394 (.757) with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Combined, he stole 18 bases in 21 attempts. Lewis has all the tools, though since he will remain just 18 until June, he will need to work and continue to develop all of them. He has a good approach at the plate and knows the strike zone. He’s got a smooth, line-drive swing. He’s got good size and will continue to grow and gain strength and could develop good power. He’s got well above average speed. He can play defense. And the more people watched him, the more many believe that he could stay at shortstop, but he could play any position on the field. He’s got what’s called an average arm, but he can make all the throws he needs to. From everything we’ve heard about him or from him, he has tremendous makeup. It will be fun to watch how aggressive the Twins choose to be with him in 2018. He will likely start in Cedar Rapids, but could he work his way up to Ft. Myers by season’s end? It’s possible.

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photo by Jean Pfiefer
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So there you have it, my choices for Minnesota Twins Top 5 prospects and my Top 50 prospects. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with my choices… And, by the time the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook comes out, it’s likely it will change a little bit more. But it’s fun for discussion, and it’s fun to recognize fifty players who deserve to be talked about. So, please feel free to ask questions, leave comments and discuss these rankings.


Part 1: Prospects 41-50
Part 2: Prospects 31-40
Part 3: Prospects 26-30
Part 4: Prospects 21-25
Part 5: Prospects 16-20
Part 6: Prospects 11-15
Part 7: Prospects: 6-10

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68 Comments

 

Nope... he went on the Disabled List with what was called a shoulder impingement. 

Thanks for the followup.

 

Lewis is 4 years younger, is more athletic, and didn't play SS until he was a senior in high school, so we don't know whether he can grow into the position or not. All we know is he hasn't played himself out of the hole yet. He also has the potential to fall back to another position and still be viable offensively & defensively, so SS isn't make or break for his value. Gordon's question marks are more concerning as a 22-year old that played the position his whole life, especially when his value drops off considerably at any other position.

 

Yup, I get all that. He's likely still my #1 prospect because of all that, but it's going to take a lot of stuff I haven't heard about him at SS to make me believe he'll ever play there. I especially don't like hearing that he uses a "crow-hop" to make throws there, as an example (though I'm sure that will get taught out of him).

 

Gordon, at a minimum, will be as good as Polanco defensively at SS. I think he will be better. I also think he's going to be a .300 hitter in the majors.If he moves to 2B, I don't think his value goes down much. I think he's got a good middle-infielder profile with his bat.

Some years ago, when I was teaching and coaching at a prep school in Western PA,I would take some of my ballplayers to a baseball training facility a couple of times a month during the off-season.More often than not, when we got there we would see this little kid seated at a small desk doing his school work.I don't recall what he said his name was, but he said that he was being home-schooled and that his father owned the place.Little did I know at the time that he would turn out to be the Twin's number one choice in the 2016 draft.......

    • ashburyjohn, Seth Stohs, Steve Lein and 9 others like this
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ashburyjohn
Dec 01 2017 01:59 PM

Some years ago, when I was teaching and coaching at a prep school in Western PA,I would take some of my ballplayers to a baseball training facility a couple of times a month during the off-season.More often than not, when we got there we would see this little kid seated at a small desk doing his school work.I don't recall what he said his name was, but he said that he was being home-schooled and that his father owned the place.Little did I know at the time that he would turn out to be the Twin's number one choice in the 2016 draft.......

I see that this is your first post. Welcome!

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IndianaTwin
Dec 01 2017 04:26 PM

And you may be right. And a dominant RP is not a bad thing, certainly.

But for those who question, or want to rush him to the majors as a reliever, I'd really suggest caution. His stuff seems to be real. His build seems to suggest power, and a build that can sustain it. After missing a couple full season's, the Twins have been building up his arm and endurance. Personally, while I am eager to see him take the next step, I have no problem letting him take most of 2018 to continue to learn to pitch, refine his stuff, build up endurance, and maybe make a late season appearance with an eye towards 2019. I just don't think you mess with an arm with his potential as a starter.


To me, this sounds like a good time to follow what I think of as the Cardinals approach. Others do it too, but they seem to do it really well. What’s Romero’s innings limit in 2018? Perhaps 150? Give him 130 as a starter in Rochester. If he’s doing well, bring him up and use him judiciously in relief for the final 20, with the assumption that he’s still a starter in 2019.

 

I guess if Hall of Fame is the criteria for quality draft picks... 

 

For 23 years, sure it can be.In those 23 years about 50-60 players went to the Hall of Fame.Zero were drafted by Ryan & Co, where the norm would be 2-3 should have been, if his drafts were "average" and about double that, if they were "good".

 

Just math.

For 23 years, sure it can be. In those 23 years about 50-60 players went to the Hall of Fame. Zero were drafted by Ryan & Co, where the norm would be 2-3 should have been, if his drafts were "average" and about double that, if they were "good".

Just math.

I'd venture to guess that the vast majority of those 50 to 60 players were drafted by GM's that were out of the game by the time said player was inducted.

You draft a guy, 3 or 4 years in the minors, a 15 year career, 5 year waiting period, you're talking 23 years minimum from draft to first ballot.

This is a meaningless way to evaluate a GM.

 

You draft a guy, 3 or 4 years in the minors, a 15 year career, 5 year waiting period, you're talking 23 years minimum from draft to first ballot.

 

They don't have to be inducted to the Hall of Fame to be included.For example, it is pretty safe to say that none of Ryan & Co's picks from 1994 to 2011 will make it to the Hall of Fame, with the potential exception of maybe Mauer and that is very unlikely.For picks drafter from 2012-2016 we will know in 2-3 years or so.

How about rings?World Series appearances?Better way to judge a GM and FO? 

Because the result is the same as far as Ryan goes.

 

For 23 years, sure it can be.In those 23 years about 50-60 players went to the Hall of Fame.Zero were drafted by Ryan & Co, where the norm would be 2-3 should have been, if his drafts were "average" and about double that, if they were "good".

 

Just math.

 

So... Umm... 

 

In the last ten years, 19 players "went into the Hall of Fame." The latest that a player was drafted who got into the Hall of Fame were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell, who were drafted in 1989... So, of those 23 years, zero of them are Hall of Famers... 

 

Just math... and a 10-minute research session on Baseball-Reference. 

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They don't have to be inducted to the Hall of Fame to be included. For example, it is pretty safe to say that none of Ryan & Co's picks from 1994 to 2011 will make it to the Hall of Fame, with the potential exception of maybe Mauer and that is very unlikely. For picks drafter from 2012-2016 we will know in 2-3 years or so.
How about rings? World Series appearances? Better way to judge a GM and FO?
Because the result is the same as far as Ryan goes.

Yes, plenty of legit ways to show Terry Ryan was a mediocre at best GM, and I agree he was.
I just think hof players drafted isn't a very good one.

 

They don't have to be inducted to the Hall of Fame to be included.For example, it is pretty safe to say that none of Ryan & Co's picks from 1994 to 2011 will make it to the Hall of Fame, with the potential exception of maybe Mauer and that is very unlikely.For picks drafter from 2012-2016 we will know in 2-3 years or so.

How about rings?World Series appearances?Better way to judge a GM and FO? 

Because the result is the same as far as Ryan goes.

 

My bigger point is that he's drafted a lot of very good hitters since 1994... Of course, he was much more involved in the draft from 1987 through 1993 (Knoblauch, Hunter), when he was the scouting director.

 

Maybe they're not Hall of Famers, but I would feel happy if I knew a GM whose teams drafted the likes of Todd Walker, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, and Byron Buxton. One of them is a borderline Hall of Famer. There are a couple of 20+ WAR guys, and Buxton's well on his way. Yes, there are misses too, like all GMs. Matt Moses didn't pan out. Neither did BJ Garbe. But again, show me another GM that hasn't had some bad misses?

 

They don't have to be inducted to the Hall of Fame to be included.For example, it is pretty safe to say that none of Ryan & Co's picks from 1994 to 2011 will make it to the Hall of Fame, with the potential exception of maybe Mauer and that is very unlikely.For picks drafter from 2012-2016 we will know in 2-3 years or so.

How about rings?World Series appearances?Better way to judge a GM and FO? 

Because the result is the same as far as Ryan goes.

 

And my original comment was saying that he has a pretty good track record with drafting hitters... nothing to do with world series rings or anything like that.

 

So... Umm... 

 

In the last ten years, 19 players "went into the Hall of Fame." The latest that a player was drafted who got into the Hall of Fame were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell, who were drafted in 1989... So, of those 23 years, zero of them are Hall of Famers... 

 

Just math... and a 10-minute research session on Baseball-Reference. 

 

See above.I am talking about Hall of Famers.Do you want to wait until their eligibility is over to say that nobody who Ryan (& Co) drafted from 1994 to 2011 (with the potential but unlikely exception) of Mauer is a Hall of Famer?About 2-3 people who are drafted per year make it to the Hall of Fame.That's the ratio.

 

And my original comment was saying that he has a pretty good track record with drafting hitters... nothing to do with world series rings or anything like that.

 

Again:Who are the Hall of Fame caliber hitters that he drafted? Stahoviak?

 

Not that MacPhail did much better, but we know who his scouting director was...

I honestly hit the back button to make sure I was still on the right thread...I love talking/reading about prospects, hope for the future, etc. How did this thread turn into a reductive (and ridiculous) look into the rear view mirror? Oh wait...
    • Seth Stohs, gunnarthor, nater79a and 1 other like this

Another way of looking at it.All Stars.Only 7 position players who Ryan (&Co) drafted made it to the All Star game (and only 2 of them Mauer and Morneau more than 1 times.) .That is about 20 position players who are All Stars per year, and a lot of years...

 

How about MVPs?2

 

Silver Sluggers?

 

No matter where you draw the line, it is below what the average should have been.

 

I honestly hit the back button to make sure I was still on the right thread...I love talking/reading about prospects, hope for the future, etc. How did this thread turn into a reductive (and ridiculous) look into the rear view mirror? Oh wait...

 

I know... 

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ashburyjohn
Dec 01 2017 08:03 PM

Mod note: please, let's not let a passing reference to Terry Ryan turn this thread about present prospects into yet another referendum on old topics...

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