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Article: TD 2019 Top Minnesota Twins Prospects Recap

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Article: Mailbag: Extension-Palooza, Infield Log Jam, New...

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Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: Honorable Mentions

Starting tomorrow, Twins Daily will begin unveiling our choices for the Minnesota Twins Top 20 prospects. Today, we wanted to discuss several other players that fell just outside the Top 20. Call them Honorable Mentions, if you will, but I think this group will help illustrate the depth of the Twins organization right now. In fact, you can all likely name another dozen Twins prospects beyond this list who have big-league potential.

Be sure to stop by every day as we count down (or up) the Twins Daily Top 20 Minnesota Twins Prospect Rankings. Prospect rankings are far from an exact science. We encourage questions. We encourage respectful debate.
In the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, Tom Froemming penned an article about all of the different methods in which the Twins have added prospects over the past two years. There is the draft. There are international signings. There have been several players added via trade especially over the final days of July. In addition, there are waiver claims and minor league signings. Today’s list of “Others Receiving Votes” illustrate several of those methods.

For your information, as several of the Twins Daily writers submitted their personal prospect rankings and the ensuing conversation about the rankings, there was a clear cutoff between our #20 prospect at the #21 prospect. Today, we won’t put rankings on these players, only discuss those who also received votes. There are 12 players we will mention, which does show some depth. What is important to also note is there are several more prospects in the system who did not receive votes that have a legitimate chance to play in the big leagues in the future.

Let’s discuss the other players who received votes yet finished just outside of the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects.


OH CANADA!

Two hard-throwing right-handed pitchers were mentioned. Jordan Balazovic was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2016. Landon Leach was the team’s second-round pick in 2017. Both were selected out of secondary schools in the Toronto area. Leach remained in the GCL in 2018. He is a hard thrower who is still quite raw as a pitcher after growing up primarily catching. He’s a big kid. Balazovic split time between the GCL and extended spring training. He has added velocity since being drafted and really stepped forward in 2018, matching his pitchability with his improved stuff. If you missed it, Keith Law ranked Balazovic as his 102nd prospect in baseball, with Brusdar Graterol at number 108.


ALREADY DEBUTED

It was a bit surprising when the Twins called up Kohl Stewart in August last year, but the former first-round pick made a good impression during the final six weeks. He has good velocity and gets a lot of movement. Not a lot of swing-and-miss, but the talent is clear. It was that talent that had him as a top ten Twins prospect for several years, and it is what we saw in his debut in 2018.

Chase De Jong had pitched in the big leagues for Seattle in 2017. He was acquired in the Zack Duke trade. He made four starts for the Twins in September and showed that he can be a back-end of the rotation starter. He’s got good command and a good curveball. His smooth delivery helps allow pitches to jump on hitters at times.


HIT MACHINE

Luis Arraez gets his own category. While he isn’t a great athlete, doesn’t have great speed or power and profiles as maybe a second baseman, Arraez can flat-out hit. He has hit at every level. Even after missing most of the 2017 season with a knee injury, he raked in Ft. Myers before moving up to the Chattanooga Lookouts. The organization clearly likes him as he was added to the 40-man roster following the season.


ATHLETES

There are several great athletes in the Twins organization. Obviously you have heard a lot about Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis.When you talk to people in the organization, or you watch him play, you will be told that Travis Blankenhorn is right up there with the best athletes in the organization. He’s got good speed and power, and a lot more power potential. He has ranked as high as #9 in previous Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings and he continues to rise up the ranks including a nice showing in the Arizona Fall League last year.

Gabriel Maciel came to the Twins in July from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. The outfielder has tremendous speed and a really good swing. He ended the season with the Kernels, usually leading off.
Jacob Pearson was acquired last offseason from the Angels in exchange for international money which was used to sign Shohei Ohtani. While he was expected to spend the season in Elizabethton, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids in late May and spent the rest of the year there and more than held his own.


PITCHER OF THE YEAR

What does a guy have to do to get into the Top 20 prospect rankings at Twins Daily? Tyler Wells was the Twins 15th round draft pick in 2016. He’s been really good since signing. He began 2018 in Ft. Myers before ending the season in Chattanooga. He was very good and was named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He was also the Harmon Killebrew Award winner for the Miracle. He’s big, tall, and has exhibited a great work ethic. More than a strikeout an inning is always good too.


STORY OF THE YEAR

When the Twins drafted Griffin Jax in the third round of the 2016 draft out of the Air Force Academy, the thought was that he would be able to pitch soon. That didn’t happen, but when baseball was named an Olympic sport again, Jax applied for the military’s World Class Athlete Program. That allows him to play baseball full time in preparation for Olympic tryouts. Details were figured out and by April he was in Ft. Myers preparing for a season. He pitched well for the Miracle and worked some more innings in the Arizona Fall League. He impressed people with his stuff as well.


TOUGH TO RANK

On July 2nd, the Twins officially signed outfielder Misael Urbina. It’s always difficult to know where to rank a player who won’t even make his professional debut until this summer in the Dominican Summer League. The Twins signed Urbina for $2.75 million which alone makes him intriguing to Twins fans. But he has all of the tools that you look for in a prospect, speed, baseball instincts, arm, defense and room to grow. He will be one to watch. A year from now, he could be a Top 10 Twins prospect.




POWER POTENTIAL
Luke Raley came to the Twins in the Brian Dozier trade with the Dodgers. He finished the season in Chattanooga and ended the year with 20 home runs in AA. He was recently announced as a non-roster invite to spring training. Raley, like Brent Rooker, has a ton of power potential.

AND MORE…

The Twins system is very deep right now. There are several outside our top 20 who could reach the big leagues, many more than even just these honorable mentions.

As I mentioned above, I really like Edwar Colina who spent most of the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. DaShawn Keirsey was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2018. He and other draft picks from just last June could move up this list in 2019. Relievers such as Tyler Jay and Jake Reed still have upside. And I bet you could list a few of your own choices as guys that we missed in our Top 20 (or in his list of honorable mentions).


Feel free to discuss below and ask questions.

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47 Comments

Wow.  I feel like this list is better than the Top Ten was in the Blackburn years.  Nice tidbit on Balazovic--I would say he's the guy to break out into national attention, but I guess Law is way ahead of me.

    • Twins33, mikelink45, bighat and 1 other like this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 29 2019 10:39 PM
I know he’s just a reliever, but man did Jovani Moran have a hell of a season. Definitely worthy of an honorable mention, maybe even a September call up if he’s continues from where he left off.
    • nicksaviking, Dman, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this
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108Stitches
Jan 30 2019 12:42 AM
Tyler Wells’ stats with at least 100 innings pitched in all of the TWINS MINOR LEAGUE system

ERA- 1st (including majors over 100 ip)
WHIP-1st (including majors over 100 ip)
Batting Average Against- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves by .011)
WINS- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves)
Hits/9- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves)
K/9- 3RD
BB/9- 4th
BB/K- 3rd

Result= NOT top 20. Lol.
    • jokin, nytwinsfan and jrod23 like this
Tyler Wells must have been left out of the top 20 to generate discussion.

Arraez should be in there too.

On another note ... If only Bailey Ober could stay healthy, he'd be at least in the HM section. Injuries suck.
    • 108Stitches, caninatl04 and DannySD like this

 

Arraez should be in there too.

 

 

Arraez is sort of a Left Hand Hitting, MI Willians Astudillo. Nothing impresses physically to you by just looking at him. He won't steal a base for you. Or hit for power. But he is very similar to Astudillo regarding contact, BBs and Ks.

 

He had the lowest K% rate, by far, in the Southern League @ 8.2%(w/ 195 or more PAs).

His LD% was 2nd highest overall in the Southern @ 27.5%.

His swinging strike % was 5th best overall, just a little behind contact-king LaMonte Wade.

 

Does he enough range and glove to make it as a UI?

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, beckmt and 3 others like this

Stewart:"He has ranked as high as #9 in previous Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings and he continues to rise up the ranks...…"  Well...now he has "fallen" into the honorable mention category. His minor league numbers just don't translate to the majors. I could see him not being in the Twins system by the end of the year.   Not going to hold my breath waiting for the new coaching staff to finally turn him around. Maybe a season of Castro "framing" his pitches will make him an all star! (Hey...got two shots in …..on the same post!) 

    • Mike Sixel and mikelink45 like this

 

Tyler Wells’ stats with at least 100 innings pitched in all of the TWINS MINOR LEAGUE system

ERA- 1st (including majors over 100 ip)
WHIP-1st (including majors over 100 ip)
Batting Average Against- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves by .011)
WINS- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves)
Hits/9- 2nd (only behind Gonsalves)
K/9- 3RD
BB/9- 4th
BB/K- 3rd

Result= NOT top 20. Lol.

 

Stats are just a piece of the Prospect Rankings equation... 

    • birdwatcher, DocBauer, Ben Noble and 2 others like this

What a pleasant surprise that Law has Balazovic so high.Found it unfortunate that Graterol contracted Berrios disease.

 

Am I correct that by not mentioning Rortvedt, he is in your Top 20?As for catchers, I would have Jeffers in this group as I don't see him as a Top 20 guy.

 

I have been down on Stewart for a couple years, thinking he was over rated in previous year's Top 20's.But I was impressed with the progress he showed us last September and believe he should now be at least a Top 20 pitcher.Expect he will start the season in Rochester, but can see him getting regular innings with the Twins by year end and beyond.

 

Also don't know where to put Arraez.Got a feeling if Schoop lands on the DL, we are going to see Arraez in a Twins uniform at second base.Wouldn't be surprised one bit if it leads to him being their lead off hitter come 2020.

 

Looking at this group, man the system is deep, deep, deep!

    • DocBauer, caninatl04, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

 

Stewart:"He has ranked as high as #9 in previous Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings and he continues to rise up the ranks...…"  Well...now he has "fallen" into the honorable mention category. His minor league numbers just don't translate to the majors. I could see him not being in the Twins system by the end of the year.   Not going to hold my breath waiting for the new coaching staff to finally turn him around. Maybe a season of Castro "framing" his pitches will make him an all star! (Hey...got two shots in …..on the same post!) 

 

That first quote was from the Travis Blankenhorn bit. He was 9th at one point. He continues to move up the organizational ladder. He's had some struggles and his prospect ranking has fallen, but he's making progress and the organization clearly likes him a lot. 

 

Stewart has been as high as our #4 prospect, but that was several years ago. 

    • mikelink45, SF Twins Fan and MN_ExPat like this

 

Arraez is sort of a Left Hand Hitting, MI Willians Astudillo. Nothing impresses physically you by just looking at him. He won't steal a base for you. Or hit for power. But he is very similar to Astudillo regarding contact, BBs and Ks.

 

He had the lowest K% rate, by far, in the Southern League @ 8.2%(w/ 195 or more PAs).

His LD% was 2nd highest overall in the Southern @ 27.5%.

His swinging strike % was 5th best overall, just a little behind contact-king LaMonte Wade.

 

Does he enough range and glove to make it as a UI?

 

For the first time in his career, he did play around the infield a little bit. I think range and arm are both question marks, but it's certainly worth trying it. 

    • jokin and MN_ExPat like this

Not sure if Vasquez is going to be in the top 20 as he never has gotten any prospect love but he was the relief pitcher of the year and his K9 is insane so I would think worthy of honorable mention.

 

How about the newly acquired Brian Schales?He is young for the level and had a nice OPS last year in AA.

 

Poppen pitched pretty well last year as well.He doesn't appear to have tons of velocity but his K 9 has been solid and his WHIP is good.He could be a four or a five if things go his way.

 

I know it was short season but I think Helman deserves some love as well.I know he is older for his level but the guy looks like he can hit.

 

I could find more and I like our super underdogs De La Trinidad and Costello as well.Should be a fun year watching the MiLB guys this year.

    • 108Stitches, caninatl04, rdehring and 1 other like this
Sean Poppin has quitely climed his way up the ladder to AA and no one says anything about him as a prospect.
    • 108Stitches and BJames like this
Photo
birdwatcher
Jan 30 2019 09:39 AM

It appears that the TD list is going to deviate from that of some of the other publishers more than at any other time I can remember, which is cool.

 

For example, Sickles appears to be overlooking some of the 20 names you're about to unveil, because he has:

 

Stewart #10 (B-)

De Jong #11 (B-)

Balazovic #14 (B-)

 

These three are just behind Thorpe at #9 and his B grade, and just ahead of Alcala, Littell, and Enlow, who also make his Top 20 and received B- grades. 

 

He also has Arraez and Maciel on his Top 20.

 

Something tells me that your list may be the better one.

    • Mike Sixel, nicksaviking, mikelink45 and 4 others like this

 

Not sure if Vasquez is going to be in the top 20 as he never has gotten any prospect love but he was the relief pitcher of the year and his K9 is insane so I would think worthy of honorable mention.

 

How about the newly acquired Brian Schales?He is young for the level and had a nice OPS last year in AA.

 

Poppen pitched pretty well last year as well.He doesn't appear to have tons of velocity but his K 9 has been solid and his WHIP is good.He could be a four or a five if things go his way.

 

I know it was short season but I think Helman deserves some love as well.I know he is older for his level but the guy looks like he can hit.

 

I could find more and I like our super underdogs De La Trinidad and Costello as well.Should be a fun year watching the MiLB guys this year.

Thanks for reminding us about Helman, who I have forgotten about.What a season, career so far including college.Would agree he belongs in this group.

    • Dman likes this

It is a very deep system.....let's hope they have improved the development side.

    • birdwatcher, nicksaviking, beckmt and 5 others like this

 

Sean Poppin has quitely climed his way up the ladder to AA and no one says anything about him as a prospect.

 

I like him. He's smart, but he's got pretty good stuff and makes adjustments pretty quickly. Walks pretty muchno one. Decent K numbers. He may not be a Top 40 prospect type, but he could be a big leaguer too if opportunity arises. 

 

It is a very deep system.....let's hope they have improved the development side.

 

Let''s hope... if nothing else, ,we know they've spent a ton of money on systems, tools and coaches/coordinators. 

    • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, big dog and 4 others like this

 

Not sure if Vasquez is going to be in the top 20 as he never has gotten any prospect love but he was the relief pitcher of the year and his K9 is insane so I would think worthy of honorable mention.

 

How about the newly acquired Brian Schales?He is young for the level and had a nice OPS last year in AA.

 

Poppen pitched pretty well last year as well.He doesn't appear to have tons of velocity but his K 9 has been solid and his WHIP is good.He could be a four or a five if things go his way.

 

I know it was short season but I think Helman deserves some love as well.I know he is older for his level but the guy looks like he can hit.

 

I could find more and I like our super underdogs De La Trinidad and Costello as well.Should be a fun year watching the MiLB guys this year.

 

The Honorable Mentions were essentially an "Others Receiving Votes" thing... Vasquez wasn't in any of the Top 20 rankings, and as a lefty reliever,, he wouldn't' be. He was in the 40s somewhere for me. I had Schales at about 32-33 range. Poppen is in the 40s/50s for me. Helman can hit,, but sample size is still small and hes' not the high draft pedigree like Larnach/Jeffers. I had Keirsey at 32. De La Trinidad and Costello arent' Top 50 guys either, but if they keep putting up numbers,, they could move up. It's not a knock on them as much as they are more examples of the organizational depth. 

    • Dman, caninatl04 and MN_ExPat like this

 

It appears that the TD list is going to deviate from that of some of the other publishers more than at any other time I can remember, which is cool.

 

For example, Sickles appears to be overlooking some of the 20 names you're about to unveil, because he has:

 

Stewart #10 (B-)

De Jong #11 (B-)

Balazovic #14 (B-)

 

These three are just behind Thorpe at #9 and his B grade, and just ahead of Alcala, Littell, and Enlow, who also make his Top 20 and received B- grades. 

 

He also has Arraez and Maciel on his Top 20.

 

Something tells me that your list may be the better one.

 

I think that Sickels does his rankings a little bit different. He does them based on a grade and then puts the players into ranges on those grades. But that could certainly explain the variance for some players. 

    • MN_ExPat likes this
Photo
108Stitches
Jan 30 2019 12:27 PM

Sean Poppin has quitely climed his way up the ladder to AA and no one says anything about him as a prospect.

this is true. Poppen gets almost zero attention despite having better results than much higher ranked guys. I know more goes into these than results but really? Results like Tyler Wells are real, not conjecture. And I don’t think nearly enough emphasis goes towards real world results vs “oh he throws hard so he’s top 20”.
    • jokin, Dman and Hosken Bombo Disco like this

 

It is a very deep system.....let's hope they have improved the development side.

 

With the very apparent move away from signing higher-dollar/long term FAs, we need more than hope. It seems critical to the long-term success of the club to dramatically increasing the Hit/Miss rate on prospects.

 

(BTW- Is there a service that grades clubs on their Hit/Miss rate on say, the first 5 or 10 rounds in the draft, plus the International signing period?)

Photo
SF Twins Fan
Jan 30 2019 01:09 PM

 

It is a very deep system.....let's hope they have improved the development side.

 

 

Let's hope the Twins team does well enough this season that allows the front office to use some of this depth to improve the major league team.

    • Mike Sixel, nicksaviking, beckmt and 3 others like this

 

Let's hope the Twins team does well enough this season that allows the front office to use some of this depth to improve the major league team.

 

Tru dat

Hiw fast does Poppen throw? I thiught he was a 91 -94 mph fastball. Am i wrong? He also has good control and k rates. Seems he could be a 3 - 5 starter based on what little i know. Does he have good movement on his pitches? I do see he is league average age or slightly higher each step so far. He is pitching well at AA which should have us asking if he could be a big league starter...

 

Let's hope the Twins team does well enough this season that allows the front office to use some of this depth to improve the major league team.

And hopefully, when the rookies get promoted from the minors, they won't play as terribly as they usually do. That's what I hope changes soon.

    • Mike Sixel, nicksaviking, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this

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