3 Current Twins That Were Late-Blooming Prospects
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsMitch Garver
Twins fans are well aware of what Mitch Garver was able to accomplish last season on the way to his first Silver Slugger Award. Among American League catchers, Garver ranks first in WAR, first in slugging percentage, first in on-base percentage, and second in home runs. He did all of this in his age-28 season after posting a .739 OPS with seven home runs over his first two big-league seasons.
Garver was never considered a top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. Seth and I both had him in the teens entering the 2017 and 2018 seasons respectively. Throughout his minor league career, he hit .270/.363/.428 (.791), which are very respectable numbers for a catcher. His power numbers last season were completely off the charts and it will be interesting to see if Garver can continue to be one of the best hitting catchers in the American League.
Highest Twins Prospect Ranking (Year)
Cody: 13 (2017)
Seth: 16 (2018)
When the Twins traded for Trevor May, he was supposed to become a starting pitcher. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2017 season and he has been pitching out of the bullpen over the last two seasons. During that time, he has posted a 3.01 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 11.5 SO/9. Last season was his first time making over 60 appearances and he posted a career best 2.94 ERA.
Prior to the 2012 season, May was considered a top-100 prospect by all three national prospect ranking entities (Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus). He was coming off a season where he was almost two years younger than the competition in the FSL while posting a 12.4 SO/9 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. As part of the Twins Prospect Handbook, Seth and I both had him in our top-10 Twins prospects prior the 2013 campaign.
Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
Cody: 6 (2013)
Seth: 9 (2013)
Minnesota’s bullpen had some rocky moments last season, but the one consistent was Taylor Rogers and his dominance in late inning situations. He ranked second among AL relievers in WAR and Win Probability Added. Rogers wasn’t being relied on as a traditional closer either. In 17 different appearances, Rocco Baldelli asked Rogers to collect more than three outs. Minnesota’s bullpen looks stronger for 2020, so it will be interesting to see if he is used in a more traditional closer role.
Throughout his minor league career, Rogers was always considered a starting pitcher. In fact, 87 of his 99 minor league appearances came as a starting pitcher. Because he was usually projected as a starter, Seth and I never had Rogers ranked inside out top-10 Twins prospects. Now this past season, he might have been the most valuable reliever in the American League.
Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
Cody: 17 (2016)
Seth: 11 (2015)
If you want to learn more about potential late blooming prospects, make sure to pick up a copy of the 2020 Twins Prospect Handbook. There are profiles and scouting reports on nearly 170 players in the Twins farm system along with articles and prospect rankings.
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