Seth's Preseason Top 20 Minnesota Twins Position Player Prospects
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Trevor Larnach, Mark Contreras, Michael Helman, Alex Kirilloff)The purpose of prospect rankings is really just to create discussion. Below you will find my personal rankings of Twins hitters, and I certainly welcome your thoughts and opinions on the players and their rankings.
As we prepare for the season, be sure to check out the Opening Day roster previews of the four Twins full-season affiliates:
Triple-A: Rochester Red Wings
Double-A: Pensacola Blue Wahoos
High-A: Ft. Myers Miracle
Low-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
Seth's Top 20 Twins Position Player Prospects
#20 - Gabriel Maciel OF (Cedar Rapids Kernels)
Maciel came to the Twins from the Diamondbacks before the trade deadline in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Maciel is not a big guy, but he shows a really good approach at the plate and generally doesn’t try to do too much. He uses the whole field with a line-drive swing. Also bunts really well.
#19 - Luke Raley OF (Rochester Red Wings)
Raley was acquired from the Dodgers at the trade deadline, with LHP Devin Smeltzer, for Brian Dozier. Raley is impressive in person. He is big and strong and has a ton of power. However, he is also faster than you would think and while capable of playing center field, he is certainly best in the corners.
#18 - Willie Joe Garry, Jr. OF (Extended Spring Training)
Garry was the Twins 10th-round pick last June out of high school in Mississippi. Garry resembles Nick Gordon, though he might be a little taller and probably weighs less than the former first-round pick. Garry is very fast, from my perspective one of the fastest players in the organization. He’s very raw, but he has a really nice left-handed swing and does show good pop in his bat. I would guess he will return to the GCL this summer.
#17 - DaShawn Keirsey OF (Cedar Rapids Kernels)
The Twins fourth-round pick a year ago out of college at Utah, Keirsey is a really good athlete. Obviously he displayed incredible toughness in his return to the diamond a year ago after a gruesome collision with the centerfield wall his sophomore season left him with a dislocated and fractured left hip. He had a terrific junior season, putting up big numbers and has regained his speed and athleticism.
#16 - Jacob Pearson OF (Cedar Rapids Kernels)
The Twins acquired Pearson last offseason for international funds that helped the Angels acquire Shohei Ohtani. He began last season in extended spring training but joined the Kernels on Memorial Day weekend. Pearson is a good athlete who can play all three outfield spots but profiles best in left field. He’s got a good approach at the plate and a line-drive swing that is currently best when hitting the ball the other way.
#15 - Travis Blankenhorn 2B/3B (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Blankenhorn is one of the best athletes in the organization. It looks as though he gained even more strength. He’s got good speed. He can play second and third base at least adequately and has spent some time in left field. He is strong and has a big swing at the plate. He has a lot of power, but he has been really streaky throughout his young career.
#14 - Michael Helman 2B (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Helman was the Twins 11th-round pick out of Texas A&M last summer. He is a good athlete who can play both middle infield positions. He’s got good speed. He has a good arm. He likely profiles as a second baseman, but he can be a line-drive hitting, top-of-the-lineup hitter. Like Larnach, Helman signed on the draft signing deadline day. He played 12 games in E-Town and just 27 games in Cedar Rapids, so this is a very aggressive placement this early in the season.
#13 - Yunior Severino 2B (Cedar Rapids Kernels)
Severino is a very talented player. Talented enough that he received two seven-digit signing bonuses before he turned 18. He has good size, and while he should see a little time at shortstop, it’s likely he is a second baseman. He’s got average speed. He’s got good power potential. As he matures, he has a chance to be really good.
#12 - Luis Arraez 2B (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
Arraez returned last year after missing most of 2017 due to knee surgery. After a slow start, he started hitting again and then hit some more. Then about July 4th, he was promoted to Chattanooga where he hit some more. The Twins added him to the 40-man roster. Arraez is impressive to watch in person. He battles out at-bats and puts the ball in play. He’s also gained size and strength and I do think that he has become more athletic. In big league camp, he got time around the infield. In minor league camp, he primarily played second base.
#11 - LaMonte Wade OF (Rochester Red Wings)
Wade had a real strong showing at big-league camp, doing the things that we have seen him do since he was drafted. He takes a lot of pitches, but he attacks fastballs. He lines the ball all over the field, but he also has the ability to turn on a ball and hit it a long ways. Ha played a lot of center field, but definitely profiles more as a left-fielder.
#10 - Jose Miranda 3B/2B (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Miranda came on strong after a slow start last year. He has played second base and shortstop, but I’ve been told that his future is likely at third base. He may even play a little shortstop. But he is a big, strong kid with a good plate approach and a ton of power potential, and he still has room to grow.
#9 - Gilberto Celestino OF (Cedar Rapids Kernels)
Celestino came to the organization from Houston in the Ryan Pressly trade last summer. He was a big-dollar international signing. He is a really good athlete and very strong. He has a big leg kick, stays balanced and swings hard. He’s got good speed and range in center field.
#8 - Ryan Jeffers C (Ft. Myers Miracle)
The Twins second-round pick a year ago had a very impressive professional debut at E-Town and Cedar Rapids. He has an advanced hitting approach and generally puts the ball in play. He takes his walks and has a lot of power potential. In addition, he has been a very pleasant surprise with his performance behind the plate.
#7 - Nick Gordon SS/2B (Rochester Red Wings)
Yes, he struggled in his Triple-A debut, but until that point, Gordon had worked his way up the Twins ladder consistently and successfully. He began last year back in Double-A and added some more power to his game. While he will start the season on the IL, Gordon typically gets off to fast starts, showing a line-drive swing that is best when driving the ball the other way. Defensively, he can play shortstop and second base adequately.
#6 - Akil Baddoo OF (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Baddoo did a very nice job in Cedar Rapids, filling out the stat line with double-figures in doubles, triples, homes and stolen bases. He has really good speed and has become a much-improved center fielder. He takes a lot of pitchers, walks a lot and strikes out a lot. He will most likely hit at the top of the Miracle lineup most nights.
#5 - Brent Rooker OF/1B (Rochester Red Wings)
In his first full season, Rooker hit 32 doubles and 20 homers in Double-A. And he put up those numbers despite struggling the first six weeks of the season and the final month of the season. There is a lot of swing and miss, but he produces big power and production. He can play first base and the corner outfield spots and should continue to get time at each.
#4 - Trevor Larnach OF (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Larnach was impressive at Oregon State, but when you watch him in person, he’s even more impressive. Larnach is tall and lean but really strong. He has a really smooth left-handed swing that has tremendous power potential as he continues to gain strength. He’s got good speed and he looks more natural in right field, including a strong arm.
#3 - Wander Javier SS (Extended Spring Training)
Javier won’t be in extended spring for too long. While he missed all of last season, Javier clearly worked hard and got bigger and stronger. He always had an innate ability to find barrels but that added size should potentially increase his power capability as well as his endurance. And people firmly believe that he can stick at shortstop as he has a very strong arm. Simply, he just needs to stay healthy and play.
#2 - Alex Kirilloff OF (Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
What more can be said about Kirilloff? What a year 2018 was for the slugger? He was one of the best hitters in minor league baseball and rose dramatically up the national prospect rankings. He showed extra-base power to all fields, especially to the opposite field. He returned nicely defensively in right field, but with the Twins' outfield depth, Kirilloff is going to spend significant time at first base this year, a position he is familiar with. Kirilloff looked a little stronger, but there is no question that he regained some speed in the offseason as well.
#1 - Royce Lewis SS (Ft. Myers Miracle)
Lewis was a Midwest League All-Star in 2018. He remained with the Kernels for a few more weeks before finishing the season with six weeks in Ft. Myers where he helped the Miracle to the FSL title. Lewis worked and added strength the past couple of offseasons. It started to show about two months into last season and he continued that power run in Ft. Myers. Lewis is a good all-around hitter, aggressive in the strike zone. One thing I noted in spring training is that you don’t hear people questioning his ability to play shortstop as much as we used to hear a year ago. Lewis had a good year, and he showed that he can make all of the plays and has plenty of arm.
Again, these are my personal choices as Top 20 Minnesota Twins position player prospects. Certainly this list can and will likely cause some discussion and questions, which I welcome below.
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