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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

Kind of a tangential question, but thinking of the promotions throughout the year, what is the role of AAA?Is it a development rung above AA or a set of injury replacement players for the Twins (or both?)?

 

Also, any minor league system that has a player like Rooker at #9 must be the envy of at least 25 clubs.

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Tom Froemming
Nov 07 2018 10:34 AM

 

Just curious-- what would Berrios's numbers look like both in the minors and then after, say, 20-30 MLB innings.

Sure. For MLB I cut it off at his first 32 innings.

 

MLB: 9.28 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 1.78 K:BB in his first 32 IP
AAA: 2.51 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 4.10 K:BB in 229.2 IP
AA: 3.22 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.33 K:BB in 131.1 IP
Minors (all levels): 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.83 K:BB in 591.2 IP

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

Sure. For MLB I cut it off at his first 32 innings.
 
MLB: 9.28 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 1.78 K:BB in his first 32 IP
AAA: 2.51 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 4.10 K:BB in 229.2 IP
AA: 3.22 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.33 K:BB in 131.1 IP
Minors (all levels): 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.83 K:BB in 591.2 IP


Thank you for doing this. I guess I have two takeaways. First, obviously Berrios had a better minor league career if one concentrates on WHIP. Roughly 1.0 versus 1.2-1.4 for the others.

But, and I thank you again for this, we see the inherent difficulty in projecting anything from a pitcher's first 30 innings in the bigs.

There is still hope for Gonsalves et al.
    • howieramone2 likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 07 2018 11:38 AM

 

I'd argue that MLB numbers are a much better indicator for potential future MLB performance (which is what prospects should be ranked accordingly) than any minor league numbers.

 

On the other hand, once in the show, one is not a prospect in my book, since he made it ;)

 

There are plenty of guys that did well in their debuts that went on to not have a MLB career.And there are plenty of guys who did poorly in the MLB debut that went on to have a good career. 

 

Not trashing Stewart per se, but I think we need more than a 30 IP sample size to come to any reasonable conclusion on any of them. 

    • howieramone2 likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Nov 07 2018 02:46 PM

Unless it's'a Nick Senzel type, I'd much rather that they take shortstops and move them to third base if or when needed.


100% agree, but in the meantime, ‘if’ he can prove that he can handle ML pitching, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gordon at 3rd. May not be ideal, but I’d find it hard to complain about Matt Duffy-like production.

 

Came across this MLB stat line of some "Soft Tossing" Lefty and it reminded me that we we should all temper our expectations some from the SSS (both good and bad/poor).  

 

- 5.54 ERA / 50.1 IP / 55 H / 34 R / 5 HR / 33 BB / 20 SO / 5.51 FIP / 1.748 WHIP

 

Not the best debut by any stretch. The player's name... a certain HOF'r by the name of... Tom Glavine. Who we all know went on to have an "meh" career ;).

 

Note: I'm not saying the Gonsalves will be a HOF type player, or even have a lengthy career for that matter (Yes, his debut was not pretty). However, when you break down his appearances, he did do some things well and had some good moments (baby steps, not everybody can be Blake Snell or Walker Buehler). This gives him something to work on going into ST.  

 

So for now, I'd keep him at least in the Top 15 personally. That may change, but I'm willing to give him a bit of a longer leash based on his potential.

 

Glavine did that in his 3rd pro season, age 21, two years younger and 3 pro season's ahead of Gonsalves.At Gonsalves's age he went 14-8 with 3.68 ERA, pitched 186 innings, with 1.14 WHIP.Slightly different outcome there.

 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 07 2018 04:27 PM

 

I'd argue that MLB numbers are a much better indicator for potential future MLB performance (which is what prospects should be ranked accordingly) than any minor league numbers.

Berrios?

Sure. For MLB I cut it off at his first 32 innings.

 

MLB: 9.28 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 1.78 K:BB in his first 32 IP
AAA: 2.51 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 4.10 K:BB in 229.2 IP
AA: 3.22 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.33 K:BB in 131.1 IP
Minors (all levels): 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.83 K:BB in 591.2 IP

Point made.

 

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ashburyjohn
Nov 07 2018 07:48 PM

Gonsalves is a trade candidate before he is exposed more, it may already be to late.

Other teams don't wait until a player reaches the majors to start scouting him. I think they know too. :)

    • Mike Sixel likes this
Big fan of Arraez. Is he ranked low because of his glove?
    • DannySD likes this

 

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. 

I think the main reason he isn't higher at this point is that at 22 years of age, Helman was older than the competition at both E-town and Cedar Rapids. I had him at #35 in mid-August. He hit for average and power, and of his 3 errors he committed in 178 chances, two of them occurred in the lone games he played at SS and in left field. Just one error in 178 chances at 2B.A lot to like, but now he needs to produce against more experienced competition in 2019.

    • birdwatcher likes this

Glavine did that in his 3rd pro season, age 21, two years younger and 3 pro season's ahead of Gonsalves. At Gonsalves's age he went 14-8 with 3.68 ERA, pitched 186 innings, with 1.14 WHIP. Slightly different outcome there.

Not entirely my point, but not arguing it really either.

Although Baseball Reference has that line listed as Glavine’s MLB debut year (unless I misread it, which has been known to happen before).

 

Just for fun, here are some career numbers. Leader among the group in bold ...

 

MLB

Gonsalves 6.57 ERA, 2.03 WHIP, 0.73 K:BB in 24.2 IP

Littell 6.20 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 1.27 K:BB in 20.1 IP

Stewart 3.68 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 1.33 K:BB in 36.2 IP

 

AAA

Gonsalves 3.44 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 1.86 K:BB in 123 IP

Thorpe 3.32 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 4.33 K:BB in 21.2 IP

Littell 3.57 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.45 K:BB in 106 IP

Stewart 4.34 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.69 K:BB in 45.2 IP

 

AA

Gonsalves 2.23 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 3.00 K:BB in 182 IP

Thorpe 3.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 4.31 K:BB in 114 IP

Littell 3.15 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.55 K:BB in 108.2 IP

Stewart 3.87 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 1.55 K:BB in 237 IP

 

Minors (all levels)

Gonsalves 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.66 K:BB in 599 IP

Thorpe 3.18 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.53 K:BB in 328.1 IP

Littell 3.36 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.41 K:BB in 667.1 IP

Stewart 3.36 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 1.89 K:BB in 570.2 IP

Interesting.Thanks.

 

And my argument would not be that Gonsalves has no chance based on the debut, or even that I would have Stewart ranked higher than Gonsalves.Just that based on the small sample my eyeballs experienced this fall, I wouldn't put a distance of 13 prospects between the two, as Seth has here with Gonsalves at 7 and Stewart at 20.But that's what makes these things fun!

    • birdwatcher likes this
I rather liked Stewart better than Gonsalves during their debuts this fall based on stuff. Neither probably missed enough bats, but Stewart really limited hard contact. Even when struggling with control and/or his secondary pitches, he wasn't hit hard very often. Gonsalves appears to need very sharp command if he is going to effective in the majors. The reports that he was further along in understanding how to pitch compared to Stewart appear accurate.

I don't know if either is ready for the majors but I think both are pretty close. I think both should be able to start in the majors with Stewart having the higher ceiling.
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Halsey Hall
Yesterday, 12:23 PM
Seth, I was thinking about staying home this winter, and now you've ruined that thought. Looking out the window at all the new fresh fallen snow, and reading this, mymind is swaying.

Back to the OP ... it's nice to finally see some turnover on the prospect lists. Lots of newer names.


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