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NBA 2018-19 Thread

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Seth's Preliminary Top 30 Twins Prospect Rankings

The offseason is officially upon us. Baseball America is starting to publish its American League Central Prospect rankings. Soon we will see how the popular site ranks the Top Ten Twins Prospects. Today, I will share some quick thoughts in my preliminary Top 30 Twins Prospects rankings.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Brusdar Graterol)
Work has begun in earnest on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It will be the 11th annual Twins Prospect Handbook for me, and Cody Christie and Tom Froemming will be involved in the writing, editing, formatting and overall development of the book. As we do every year, we will publish our official prospect rankings in the book along with our history of prospect rankings.

But today, I am posting my preliminary Top 30 Twins Prospect ranking. It is subject to change up until the handbook comes out (likely in mid-December or very early January, so get it on your Christmas wish list!) as I do much more research and chat with more people about the 162 Twins Prospects that are currently planned to be profiled in the book.

This will be a quick rundown of my Top 30 Twins prospects with minimal description of the Top 10 Twins prospects. I welcome your feedback in the comments below. What would your rankings look like? And, I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you post about any Twins minor leaguers in the comments.

With that let’s get started:

1. Royce Lewis - SS - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle

The 2017 #1 overall pick put together a really strong first full season of minor league ball. The shortstop showed range and a good arm. Offensively, he showed a good approach and added more power than most were expecting. His status nationally has risen and he should be a Top 10 overall prospect in the game this winter.

2. Alex Kirilloff - RF - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle

In about 2/3 of the organizations in baseball, Alex Kirilloff would be the easy choice for the team’s #1 prospect. After missing the entire 2017 season, the Twins 2016 top pick put up some monster numbers in 2018 in both Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He will likely be a Top 10 prospect in baseball this winter too as he is one of the best hitting prospects in the game.

3. Brusdar Graterol - RH SP - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle

Graterol returned from his Tommy John surgery in 2017 with big velocity. In 2018, he debuted in May with the Kernels and after a couple of months, he moved up to Ft. Myers. A triple digit fastball and a changeup and breaking ball that also could be plus pitches, and it’s understandable why Graterol is finally getting national recognition.

4. Wander Javier - SS - Did not play

Javier had left shoulder surgery early in the season and missed the full year. However, he is still very young and immensely talented. He’s got good speed, size and he barrels up the ball well. He should have his breakout season in 2019.

5. Trevor Larnach - OF - Oregon State/Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels

The Twins top pick in 2018, he helped lead Oregon State to a College World Series championship. He’s got big power potential and he could be a strong all-around hitter.

6. Nick Gordon - SS/2B - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings

Gordon was the Twins first-round pick in 2014 out of high school. He has quickly moved up the ladder. He certainly struggled after he was promoted to Triple A where he was very young for the level. He continues to be a strong prospect with the potential to be a long-time big leaguer.

7. Stephen Gonsalves - LH SP - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins

Gonsalves struggled in his big league debut, but he continues to be a top prospect with a big league future. He again put up strong Triple-A numbers in 2018 despite struggling with his control through most of the season.

8. Lewis Thorpe - LH SP - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings

In his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Thorpe pitched well for Chattanooga. He regained his velocity and was able to miss a lot of bats. He pitched in the Futures Game. Late in the year, he moved up to Rochester where he continued to pitch well.

9. Brent Rooker - OF/1B - Chattanooga Lookouts

Rooker continued to be pushed aggressively and spent the full season in Chattanooga. He struggled early in the year, particularly with contact, but in June and July, he crushed Southern League pitchers. He hit 32 doubles and 22 home runs.

10. Jhoan Duran - RH SP - Kane County Cougars/Cedar Rapids Kernels

Duran came to the Twins from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar trade. In his Kernels/Twins debut, he threw seven no-hit innings. He continued to pitch well. He has good size (6-5) and throws hard. He had 115 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings of Low A ball in 2018.


11. Gilberto Celestino - OF - Tri City Valleycats/Corpus Christi Hooks/Elizabethton Twins
12. Akil Baddoo - OF - Cedar Rapids Kernels
13. Blayne Enlow - RH SP - Cedar Rapids Kernels
14. Jorge Alcala - RH SP - Buies Creek Astros/Corpus Christi Hooks/Chattanooga Lookouts
15. Zack Littell - RH SP - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins

16. LaMonte Wade - OF - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings
17. Ryan Jeffers - C - UNC-Wilmington/Elizabethton Twins/Cedar Rapids Kernels
18. Tyler Wells - RH SP - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts
19. Jose Miranda - 2B/3B - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle
20. Kohl Stewart - RH SP - Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins


21. Travis Blankenhorn - 2B/3B - Ft. Myers Miracle
22. Yunior Severino - 2B - Elizabeththon Twins
23. Luis Arraez - 2B - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts
24. Gabriel Maciel - OF - Kane County Cougars/Cedar Rapids Kernels
25. Luke Raley - OF/1B - Tulsa Drillers/Chattanooga Lookouts

26. Griffin Jax - RH SP - Ft. Myers Miracle
27. Edwar Colina - RH SP - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle
28. Jordan Balazovic - RH SP - Cedar Rapids Kernels
29. Ben Rortvedt - C - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle
30. Jacob Pearson - OF - Cedar Rapids Kernels

The Next Ten: Lewin Diaz, Charles Mack, Chase De Jong, DaShawn Keirsey, Prelander Berroa, Andrew Bechtold, Landon Leach, Luis Rijo, Zander Wiel.


There you have it... My current Top 30. Who do I have too high? Who is ranked too low? Who is missing from this list? Let's spend some time talking Twins prospects. Discuss the above, but also feel free to ask me any questions you would like.

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65 Comments

Expect this was a lot more work than normal, Seth, considering all the new players picked up last July.Three of your top 15 and five of 25 was a great infusion of talent.And that doesn't include Severino and Pearson who were also new to the system last year.

 

After missing most of his 17 year old year in the DSL and all of last year, I would have moved Javier down a bit, probably flipping him with Thorpe who I view as the fourth best player in the system.I am of the opinion, and I may be wrong, that Gordon isn't going to be anything more than a utility infielder or maybe even a AAAA guy.So I would have dropped him out of the top 10 after his bad second half in 2017 and big disappointment this year.Like wise would have dropped Gonsalves a few slots and probably wouldn't have included Wade in the Top 30 as I doubt he will get added to the 40-man this year.

 

Three players in your last group of five that I would have higher are Jax, Balazovic and Rortvedt.Defensive catchers that can hold their own at the plate are hard to find and all indidations are Rortvedt is one of them.  

 

But I know that you have a lot more information about these guys than any of us making your Top 30 one everyone needs to use as a blueprint.

    • birdwatcher, 70charger, PseudoSABR and 8 others like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 06 2018 07:15 AM

Reading this article is a great way to start my day, Seth. Thank you. 

    • nicksaviking, puckstopper1 and howieramone2 like this

I think Wander Javier is too high. I know he's young and has impressive tools, but he's also coming off a big injury and hasn't played any full-season baseball yet. Too much projection and uncertainty for me to have him all the way up at #4.

 

I'd probably argue the most for Ben Rortvedt, who showed real improvement at the plate this year, with solid hitting not just at Cedar Rapids but also after his promotion to Ft. Myers. It looks like someone who will stick at catcher and if he's really improved his hit tool, then he's a much better prospect than #29. Frankly, I'm more excited about Rortvedt than I am Blankenhorn at this point.

 

I suspect it's going to be a hard list this year with a lot of guys bunched around each other. No questions on who the top 3 are in my mind, and Seth has it nailed here. There's a really strong group coming through out of Ft. Myers right now! I wish I was feeling as positive about the guys who are closer to coming out of Rochester; several of those fellows sitting 6-10 have shown some definite question marks now that's they're in the top levels that they need to iron out if they're going to be star potential players and consistent starters, rather than reserves.

    • birdwatcher, 70charger, mikelink45 and 5 others like this

 

I think Wander Javier is too high. I know he's young and has impressive tools, but he's also coming off a big injury and hasn't played any full-season baseball yet. Too much projection and uncertainty for me to have him all the way up at #4.

 

Alex Kirilloff missed an entire season as well, ,came back just fine... He hadn't played any full-season baseball yet either. When they're that young, it's obviously all about the talent tools and upside, but Javier's tools are incredible. 

 

I would also say that I think that the difference between 4 and maybe 14 is all a matter of opinion. 

    • Halsey Hall, dgwills, howieramone2 and 4 others like this

I get that Gordon is unlikely to be a big star, but I'm hoping he can be Greg Gagne for a while.That would be ok with me.I would like that regular top 10 in Def-WAR that Gagne had, but I'd rather have the two WS titles.

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

I assume that Romero is no longer considered a prospect?I know he got some starts last year but so did Gonsalves?Just curious, I am also assuming that Romero will most likely be a top candidate to grab one of the last spots in the rotation?

Why still the large gap between Gonsalves and Stewart?We know Gonsalves has had the better minor-league career to date.But so MUCH better that we would ignore Stewart's initial promise, his youth (actually a few months younger than Gonsalves), not to mention our own eyes when watching how the two responded to major league hitters this fall?I'd probably have Gonsalves lower and Stewart a bit higher...but might have Gonsalves rated slightly ahead based on his potential for more swings and misses if he ever develops the ability to get ahead major-league batters....which is a pretty big if at this point.

 

Unless the reports of Rortvedt looking solid defensively have been premature/false...he's too low.

    • gagu and Franz like this

What about Michael Helman?

 

    • tarheeltwinsfan and rdehring like this

 

I get that Gordon is unlikely to be a big star, but I'm hoping he can be Greg Gagne for a while.That would be ok with me.I would like that regular top 10 in Def-WAR that Gagne had, but I'd rather have the two WS titles.

 

Greg Gagne was a plus-plus defender with range and a big arm. He just couldn't hit much. Gordon's question marks are on defense where he didn't have many errors, ,but the question marks are range and arm strength. 

 

Most believe that Gordon will be a pretty solid hitter. 

    • ChrisKnutson and gagu like this

 

I assume that Romero is no longer considered a prospect?I know he got some starts last year but so did Gonsalves?Just curious, I am also assuming that Romero will most likely be a top candidate to grab one of the last spots in the rotation?

 

55 2/3 innings is over 50, so he's no longer deemed a 'prospect.' 

Gonsalves threw 24 2/3. Stewart threw 36 2/3 innings. 

 

If I could place Romero on this ranking,, it would probably be #4. 

    • Danchat, tarheeltwinsfan, howieramone2 and 3 others like this
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108Stitches
Nov 06 2018 11:24 AM
Wow you need to swap Wells and Alcala. Alcala had a near 6 ERA and a 1.85 whip and he’s 4 spots higher?? Wells was better last year than literally everyone in the organization. Dude really is underrated. And then they robbed him of Pitcher of the Year for Thorpe who was good but not great.
    • Original Whizzinator and DannySD like this

 

Why still the large gap between Gonsalves and Stewart?We know Gonsalves has had the better minor-league career to date.But so MUCH better that we would ignore Stewart's initial promise, his youth (actually a few months younger than Gonsalves), not to mention our own eyes when watching how the two responded to major league hitters this fall?I'd probably have Gonsalves lower and Stewart a bit higher...but might have Gonsalves rated slightly ahead based on his potential for more swings and misses if he ever develops the ability to get ahead major-league batters....which is a pretty big if at this point.

 

Unless the reports of Rortvedt looking solid defensively have been premature/false...he's too low.

 

Stewart's showing in the final 6+ weeks moved him from somewhere in the 30s to 19 or whatever now. Gonsalves's showing moves him from #4 to #7. Making much out of player's MLB debuts is dangerous. Nothing that happened for either was particularly surprising, so I don't feel that the rankings should be altered all that much. We know what the strengths are of each that give them a chance, and we know the areas that they need to improve. 

 

Rortvedt is probably a bit too low... I thought that too when I was making the list and the multiple times I went back and looked at it again and again. I just, for now, couldn't put him above the others ahead of him. 

    • howieramone2, Tom Froemming and MN_ExPat like this

 

What about Michael Helman?

 

I think he was in the 40s somewhere. He is another example of the strong depth in the organization. But, he was an 11th round pick this year. Would that mean that I should almost have the 8-10 players drafted ahead of him ahead of him? He got off to a great pro debut,, but I always try to temper that just a little. 

    • DannySD likes this

 

Wow you need to swap Wells and Alcala. Alcala had a near 6 ERA and a 1.85 whip and he’s 4 spots higher?? Wells was better last year than literally everyone in the organization. Dude really is underrated. And then they robbed him of Pitcher of the Year for Thorpe who was good but not great.

 

I'm guessing that I will rank Tyler Wells significantly higher than any of the national prospect rankers... And, I would guess that I rank Alcala lower than all of the national prospect rankers will. 

 

I wouldn't make too much of Alcala's ERA during his time with the Twins at the end of the season. Dude throws 95-100 mph with the makings of secondary pitches. I personally think he'll be a reliever, and a dominant one, which is why I rank him a little lower for now. 

 

Wells had a phenomenal season, ,no doubt. But the tools aren't as highly considered as Alcala's. Fastball is more in the low 90s. That said, I like him because he does have better secondary pitches at this point. I also think that Wells can be a starting pitcher, or is more likely to be a starting pitcher, ,than Alcala. 

 

So yeah, I'll stand by the first paragraph I wrote here. To be honest, I was sure there would be far more comments about how low I rank Alcala. Many will have him in the Top 10. 

    • nicksaviking, gagu, SF Twins Fan and 4 others like this

 

Alex Kirilloff missed an entire season as well, ,came back just fine... He hadn't played any full-season baseball yet either. When they're that young, it's obviously all about the talent tools and upside, but Javier's tools are incredible. 

 

I would also say that I think that the difference between 4 and maybe 14 is all a matter of opinion. 

 

To your credit, you did rank Kirilloff #5 going into last year coming off a significant injury.

 

Part of my concern is I'm worried that coming back from the shoulder injury is actually harder for a baseball player than Tommy John on a hitter.

 

It's interesting to hear that you think the talent level is tightly bunched with the next ten guys after the top 3 (who I think everyone serious about it would say are the twins top 3, really). That's a pretty good sign for the system.

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108Stitches
Nov 06 2018 11:51 AM

 

I'm guessing that I will rank Tyler Wells significantly higher than any of the national prospect rankers... And, I would guess that I rank Alcala lower than all of the national prospect rankers will. 

 

I wouldn't make too much of Alcala's ERA during his time with the Twins at the end of the season. Dude throws 95-100 mph with the makings of secondary pitches. I personally think he'll be a reliever, and a dominant one, which is why I rank him a little lower for now. 

 

Wells had a phenomenal season, ,no doubt. But the tools aren't as highly considered as Alcala's. Fastball is more in the low 90s. That said, I like him because he does have better secondary pitches at this point. I also think that Wells can be a starting pitcher, or is more likely to be a starting pitcher, ,than Alcala. 

 

So yeah, I'll stand by the first paragraph I wrote here. To be honest, I was sure there would be far more comments about how low I rank Alcala. Many will have him in the Top 10. 

Those who have Alcala in the top 10 are just in love with the radar gun. I watched him a few times. Poor control, ball is visible at all points of the windup, secondary were blah. Wasn’t impressed. But hey, he throws hard. 

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birdwatcher
Nov 06 2018 11:55 AM

What struck me as I studied this list:

 

A common narrative all this past season has been that "the next wave" of real talent is buried in the low minors. But when I look at the list, I see that a third of the players on it have either had their first taste of MLB or are champing at the bit, this despite the fact that Romero and a couple others who might otherwise make the Top 30 have graduated, and maybe more importantly, the list excludes several who are good enough to make the team or at least get auditions, guys like DeJong, Moya, Curtiss, Vasquez, Busenitz, Slegers, etc. Not good enough to make a Top 40 but good enough to earn a spot, at least temporarliy, on a 25-man roster is a fairly solid indicator of depth, I think.

 

The third (10) who are on the cusp (yes, many won't cut the mustard): Gonsalves, Gordon, Thorpe, Rooker, Littell, Wade, Wells, Arraez, Raley, and Stewart. At it's most wildly optimistic, this group represents a third of a major league roster. Granted, not a one of these prospects is even making BA's Top 50 let alone its Top 100. In my view however, it represents a small opportunity to build surpluses that can be traded off. For example, maybe we get lucky and Odor Easy fetches something at the deadline and Thorpe is an upgrade, or Rooker kills it and makes Austin an expendable piece. If five of these guys can replace a roster placeholder and provide incremental value and thereby allow the organization to further stock the system, that could be impactful down the road.

 

Half (15) of the prospects should be peeking up from AA at the big club roster by season's end to see where they fit. A couple could even merit a call-up in 2019. And this is a truly exciting list: Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Larnach, Badoo, Enlow, Alcola, Jeffers, Miranda, Maciel, Blankenhorn, Jax, Colina, Rortvedt, and Pearson in descending order of course. If just five of these guys are legit, this roster improves a ton by 2020.

 

So only 5 of the 30 are really "years away": Javier, Duran, Celestino, Severino, and Balezovic. And we should remember that there are probably ten prospects already under signature in the deepest minors ready to be included. Hope the wonder boys keep the enertia going.

 

Fun list, Seth, thank you.

    • Seth Stohs, diehardtwinsfan, 70charger and 5 others like this
I’m looking at this list and think 25 will make the majors in some capacity either with the Twins or someone else which gives the Twins hope as well as trade depth and half if the next 10 should too. Whew! And

 

To your credit, you did rank Kirilloff #5 going into last year coming off a significant injury.

 

Part of my concern is I'm worried that coming back from the shoulder injury is actually harder for a baseball player than Tommy John on a hitter.

 

It's interesting to hear that you think the talent level is tightly bunched with the next ten guys after the top 3 (who I think everyone serious about it would say are the twins top 3, really). That's a pretty good sign for the system.

 

It's Javier's non-throwing shoulder which still is a big deal, but not quite as big of a deal as if it was his throwing shoulder.

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

Alex Kirilloff missed an entire season as well, ,came back just fine... He hadn't played any full-season baseball yet either. When they're that young, it's obviously all about the talent tools and upside, but Javier's tools are incredible. 

 

I would also say that I think that the difference between 4 and maybe 14 is all a matter of opinion. 

Seth, didn't Javier injure and have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder if I remember correctly?

 

Also, have you heard any news about how his rehab is progressing or if he has even started it yet?

Is it possible Bailey Ober could have snuck into the back end of the top 30 if he hadn't got injured?Was pitching at a really high level when he went down.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

 

Seth, didn't Javier injure and have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder if I remember correctly?

 

Also, have you heard any news about how his rehab is progressing or if he has even started it yet?

 

Last I heard, he was about to start hitting, and that was in early September. He should be ready for 2019 spring training. And yes, non-throwing shoulder. 

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

Is it possible Bailey Ober could have snuck into the back end of the top 30 if he hadn't got injured?Was pitching at a really high level when he went down.

 

Possible near the end of it... Similar to Tyler Wells, really. Just a lot of injuries. His season ended with another elbow injury, but it wasn't structral, so he should be ready in 2019. 

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nicksaviking
Nov 06 2018 01:36 PM

 

To your credit, you did rank Kirilloff #5 going into last year coming off a significant injury.

 

 

If Kirilloff goes from #5 to #2 this year then the only logical correlation is that next year Javier will go from #4 to #1. :)

    • Seth Stohs, birdwatcher, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this
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SgtSchmidt11
Nov 06 2018 01:59 PM

 

If Kirilloff goes from #5 to #2 this year then the only logical correlation is that next year Javier will go from #4 to #1. :)

I don't think that would be a good thing...


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