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GAME THREAD 8/9/2020: Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:34 PM
Is it time to panic yet?   Of course not! Honestly, after the last three games, I am just as confident in this team being a contende...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
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Option C(astellanos)

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 02:33 PM
We missed out on our big money aces. A big impact 3B will either cost age/money (Donaldson) or top prospects and money (Arenado/Bryant)....
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Future Roster Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:41 AM
Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
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Ranking Every Player on the 2020 Minnesota Twins from 59 to 1

As the calendar shifts closer to July 24 there are a multitude of angles to explore regarding the 2020 season for the Minnesota Twins. One of the most interesting of these is looking at the players on the 60-man roster and how they stack up against each other for this upcoming season.
Image courtesy of © Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports
In ranking the players on the 60-man roster for the Minnesota Twins, we will only be looking at their value to the Twins for the 2020 season. This is different from the Twins asset rankings that Nick Nelson did this winter where he ranked the Twins players in terms of the long-term value they bring to the club. In these rankings top, young prospects might be ranked lower than aging veterans and past production will typically trump future projection. In the simplest of terms, these rankings will answer the question, “Who would you rather have for the 2020 season?”

Tier 8: AAAA Guys
The lowest tier of players for the 2020 Minnesota Twins are the players that I’m referring to as the AAAA guys. AAAA guys are players who are mostly in their 30s and have made their careers bouncing between AAA and spot stints in the Majors. These guys are on the roster for their experience, but most won’t sniff the majors in 2020.

59. Juan Graterol
58. Jack Reinheimer
57. Tomas Telis
Telis is a part of the 60-man roster because of his ability to play the catcher position. In his 12-year career, Telis has played nearly 1,000 games in the minor leagues, posting a career .744 OPS across all minor league levels.

56. Wilfredo Tovar
55. Ryan Garton
54. Danny Coulombe
53. Drew Maggi
52. Lane Adams
51. Dakota Chalmers
Chalmers sticks out from the rest of the group as he is not a minor league journeyman like the rest of his tier-mates. Chalmers is just 23-years-old and while he pitched well in high-A in 2020, his lack of experience will keep him from playing for the big league club in 2020.

50. Caleb Thielbar

Tier 7: Fringe Pitchers
The next 14 players in our rankings are grouped together in a tier designated as “fringe pitchers”. These are pitchers who all have the ability to make appearances for the Twins big league club in 2020, but none of whom are slam dunks to be consistent contributors. Seeing any of these pitchers move up or down a tier by the end of the season wouldn’t be a surprise.

49. Jorge Alcalá
48. Sam Clay
47. Cory Gearring
46. Jhoulys Chacín
45. Sean Poppen
44. Homer Bailey
While Homer Bailey very well may be in the starting rotation to open the season, he will have to perform to stay there. An early DFA for Bailey wouldn’t be a shocker if he doesn’t start the season well.

43. Matt Wisler
42. Fernando Romero
41. Edwar Colina
40. Jhoan Duran
39. Devin Smeltzer
38. Lewis Thorpe
Lewis Thorpe has some of the best pure stuff in the Minnesota Twins organization. In 2019, he had the highest K/9 and swinging strike rate among all AAA pitchers. Can he finally put it together in 2020? Or will Randy Dobnak pull away from the Smeltzer/Thorpe/Dobnak pack?

37. Randy Dobnak

Tier 6: Fringe Batters
Similar to the tier above, the next 10 players on our rankings are “Fringe batters”. Some of these players will be on the opening day 30-man roster, some will appear mid-season, and some might not appear at all. They all have the ability to perform, but have yet to show they can be legitimate threats at the plate at the Major League level.

36. Gilberto Celestino
35. Royce Lewis
Lewis remains the Minnesota Twins’ top prospect, but at the age of 21, Lewis still has yet to show that he can hit consistently against top talent. In 127 games of High-A and AA last season, Lewis only posted a .661 OPS.

34. Zander Wiel
33. Willians Astudillo
32. Travis Blankenhorn
31. Ryan Jeffers
In looking at who could potentially be “The Next Luis Arraez”, Ryan Jeffers looks to be a prime candidate. In his second year with the Twins, Jeffers moved up to AA where he posted a .856 OPS. Should anything happen to Garver or Avila, Jeffers could definitely get a look and make a major impact in 2020.

30. Nick Gordon
29. Lamonte Wade Jr.
28. Ehire Adrianza
27. Alex Avila

Tier 4: Corner/Power Guys
The next four players are in a tier called “Corner Power Guys”. These four players are all in their 20s, have power upside, with limited defensive ability at the infield or outfield corners. Jake Cave is a sure thing to make the Twins’ opening day roster while the other three have a great shot to get called up during the season. Which of these four will make the greatest impact to the 2020 club?

26. Brent Rooker
After being drafted by the Twins in 2016, Rooker has shown a power stroke at each stop through the Minnesota Twins farm system. He now looks ready to make an appearance with the Twins in 2020. In 65 games with AAA Rochester last season, Rooker posted an impressive .933 OPS. His upside in the field is limited, but his bat should earn him playing time in 2020.

25. Jake Cave
24. Alex Kirilloff
23. Trevor Larnach
Although not initially thought of as a prospect on the same level of Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach has changed that narrative after being named the Twins’ “Minor League Player of the Year” in 2019. Larnach quickly moved through high-A up to AA last season where he posted a .842 OPS. Alex Kirilloff didn’t adjust to AA pitching quite as well in 2019, which is what gave Larnach the slight edge over him in these rankings.

Tier 3: Best Bullpen in Baseball?
Famously this offseason, Rocco Baldelli was quoted as saying that he believes the Minnesota Twins have, “the best bullpen in baseball”. While that may have been hyperbole, the Minnesota Twins certainly proved last season they have assembled a really good bullpen with excellent depth.

22. Cody Stashak
21. Zack Littell
After finally getting moved to a full time bullpen role in 2019, Littell proved what he is able to do in limited innings for the Minnesota Twins. In 37 innings of work, Littell posted a 2.68 ERA, highlighted by a stretch of 22 appearances where he allowed just two earned runs.

20. Sergio Romo
19. Tyler Clippard
18. Tyler Duffey
Duffey was one of the best stories from the Minnesota Twins in 2019. The Doof began the season in AAA and was not in the Twins’ plans at all after posting a horrendous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Duffey made the most of his chance last season, though, as he quickly became one of the Twins’ most important arms. In 57 2/3 innings of work in 2019, Duffey posted a WHIP just over one with a strikeout rate of 34.4%. Though his 2019 numbers merit being higher in the rankings, he will need to show year-to-year consistency before he can get moved up higher.

17. Trevor May

Tier 2: Pretty Darn Good
The second-to-last tier of players in our 2020 Minnesota Twins rankings are what you would guess, pretty darn good. Each of these guys will play a key role for the Minnesota Twins in 2020 and will have a large impact on how far the club can go. Whether its because of limited upside or lack of track record, they don’t quite have what it takes to make it into the top tier of players, but each of these guys will be vital to the 2020 Twins season.

16. Michael Pineda
15. Rich Hill
Ranking a 40-year-old pitcher coming off of elbow surgery this high might not seem like the wisest thing to do on the surface, but in a shortened 60-game season, Rich Hill could be the Twins’ best pitcher in 2020. Hill’s ability has never been what has hampered him, it has always been his health. In such a short season, Hill has a much better chance to stay healthy, and when he’s healthy he is dominant. Per Twins Daily’s Nash Walker, only Clayton Kershaw, Max Sherzer, Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber have a lower ERA than Rich Hill (3.00) since 2016 (min. 400 IP).

14. Marwin González
13. Eddie Rosario
12. Byron Buxton
Similar to Hill, a 60-game season really benefits Byron Buxton, who can never seem to stay healthy throughout a 162-game season. Through 60 games in 2019, Buxton had a .837 OPS, led the team in doubles, and was playing the best defensive center field in baseball.

11. Jake Odorizzi
10. Kenta Maeda
9. Luis Arráez
With such a small sample size of 60 games in 2020, we could see some crazy statlines posted by season's end. One of those could be a .400 BA posted by the Minnesota Twins’ second baseman. In his 92 games with the Twins in 2019, Arráez showed the patience and intelligence of a dominant hitter and could move his way up to the top tier by season’s end.

8. Taylor Rogers

Tier 1: 2020 Team MVP Candidates
7. Mitch Garver
6. Miguel Sanó
First in Hard Hit %, first in Barrels/BBE %, second in average exit velocity. The numbers that Miguel Sanó posted at the plate in 2019 were absurd. With a healthy body and a healthy wallet (Hello, $30M extension!), Sanó could absolutely build off of those numbers in 2020 and be the Twins’ best hitter this season. How he adjusts to playing a new defensive position will be something to watch, but with those bat skills Sanó will bring immense value to the 2020 Minnesota Twins.

5. José Berríos
4. Jorge Polanco
3. Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz is coming off of one of the best hitting seasons ever from a 39-year-old, will he be able to follow it up in his age-40 season? Cruz led all of baseball in 2019 in Barrels/PA with 12.5%. He led the Minnesota Twins with 41 home runs and a ridiculous 1.031 OPS. Nelson is not only the team leader, but arguably their best hitter. His upside will always be limited due to him being a designated hitter, but the Bomba Squad wouldn’t be the Bomba Squad without Nellie.

2. Max Kepler
In his first season following his five-year extension with the Twins, Kepler proved himself to be a great investment as he put together an extraordinary 2019 campaign. Kepler led the 2019 Minnesota Twins with 4.4 fWAR thanks to his outstanding bat and glove. Heading into his prime years as a 27-year-old, there is reason to think that Kepler will improve in 2020 and could easily be the Twins’ best player this season.

1. Josh Donaldson
The number one player on our Twins rankings for the 2020 season is no other than the Twins' newest addition to the club, Josh Donaldson. His accolades are off the charts, and though he is 34-years old, he has shown no signs of slowing down. In 2019, Donaldson finished 11th in MVP voting, thanks to his .900 OPS at the plate as well as his elite play at the hot corner where his 8 Outs Above Average was 3rd in baseball. If you think those numbers are impressive, in 2020 Donaldson will be playing at Target Field where he owns a career 1.283 OPS. Buckle up, Twins fans!

What qualms do you have with the rankings above? Who was ranked too low? Too high? Who would earn your #1 spot in your ranking of the 2020 Minnesota Twins? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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17 Comments

Lewis waaaaaay to high...#37-42 have a much better chance of helping the team this year

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

Bailey is too low.He will be more valuable than 44th. I would rank him around 20th. He will outperform Zander Wiehl, Nick Gordon, Lewis, Celestino, Romero, Blakenhorn, Wade just by opportunity. I think he will be a decent 5th starter and post an era in the 4.50-4.70 range

This is about the 2020 season? Then the top prospect types should all be much lower. Guys like Smeltzer, Bailey,Thorpe and especially Dobnak need to be significantly higher. I'd personally have Thielbar way higher because he should pitch in the big leagues. While it probably doesn't matter, I'd have Telis well above Graterol and Jeffers (Again, as it relates to likely contribution in 2020). Romero can't even get into the country, so he could be #59. 

 

I'd have Rich Hill higher since - if he stays healthy, he's probably their top pitcher, right there with Berrios. 

 

    • DocBauer, rdehring, Matthew Taylor and 1 other like this

I guess I don't understand your definition of Fringe. Ranking all three of last year's young starters, Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer as low is a mistake, in my opinion. 

 

Also raised an eyebrow when reading your comment about Kirilloff's defensive limitations. Yes, he will become a long-time MLB star because of his bat. Yes, he is not known for being a top defensive player. But he is adequate, average if you choose, defensively both at first base and in right field...at least he was a few years ago when I saw him in Cedar Rapids. Seems like someone decided he is a defensive liability and others are piling on.

    • DocBauer likes this

Until they prove something, the relievers as a group are ranked too high. There isn't evidence yet that the group is upper echelon. In 2019 their collective OPS-against was .740. Oakland, Houston, and Tampa Bay all had relief corps with an OPS-against below .699. Maybe Taylor Rogers strikes a little fear in the other teams - maybe. No one else.

    • Matthew Taylor likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jul 13 2020 08:29 AM
I don't know if I would change anything. Or, even care too much since I believe most guys will see some time if the virus keeps players off the field for weeks at a time. I would like to see #60 - Brian Dozier.
    • Matthew Taylor likes this

"The best bullpen in baseball?"- uh, no.

 

"A serviceable bullpen that might be decent if nobody regresses?" - more like it.

 

How about Nick Gordon on that list? The guy was supposed to be the Next Big Thing and just can't seem to make it past that last step. Is development stalled? Will he ever be an MLB regular?

    • DocBauer and Matthew Taylor like this

How crazy is that that Eddie Rosario hit 30+ HR and drove in 100 RBI and he's 13th on this list....and that's exactly where he should be.

 

How depressing is it that this is the best Twins team, possibly ever, and they are going to miss getting a shot at a memorable season due to a once-in-a-lifetime world pandemic?

    • rdehring and Matthew Taylor like this
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Matthew Taylor
Jul 13 2020 08:42 AM

Rankings are supposed to be controversial so I appreciate everyone who is commenting with their thoughts and disagreements. That's what makes these so much fun.
 

Lewis waaaaaay to high...#37-42 have a much better chance of helping the team this year

^ I definitely agree with you that #37-42 have a much better chance of helping the team this year by being on the active roster, but I'm not sure they are better than Lewis. I do think Dobnak probably could have been ranked higher, but Smeltzer's peripherals don't paint a pretty picture and Thorpe struggled last year.

 

 

Bailey is too low.He will be more valuable than 44th. I would rank him around 20th. He will outperform Zander Wiehl, Nick Gordon, Lewis, Celestino, Romero, Blakenhorn, Wade just by opportunity. I think he will be a decent 5th starter and post an era in the 4.50-4.70 range

 

I agree that Bailey may have more opportunity in 2020, but don't think he's a better player when ranking the players on the 2020 roster. He has never been an above-average pitcher for a prolonged period of time and don't think he deserves to be higher than he is.

 

 

This is about the 2020 season? Then the top prospect types should all be much lower. Guys like Smeltzer, Bailey,Thorpe and especially Dobnak need to be significantly higher. I'd personally have Thielbar way higher because he should pitch in the big leagues. While it probably doesn't matter, I'd have Telis well above Graterol and Jeffers (Again, as it relates to likely contribution in 2020). Romero can't even get into the country, so he could be #59. 

 

I'd have Rich Hill higher since - if he stays healthy, he's probably their top pitcher, right there with Berrios. 

 

I definitely respect where you're coming from, Seth. I agree that Dobnak could probably be ranked higher, and potentially Thorpe (though he struggled in MLB and should still be considered a 'top prospect type' along with the others). I don't particularly think that Bailey or Smeltzer are all that good and warrant being ranked any higher than they are.

 

I could see having Thielbar higher, but couldn't justify ranking higher a 33 year old who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2015. Just not sure the ceiling is there for him.

 

Maybe the disconnect is that I wasn't ranking the players based on who will contribute in 2020, but based on who I believe is a better player in 2020. Sure, Telis will probably get the call up in 2020 before Jeffers, but I believe Jeffers is a better player than Telis in 2020.

 

I wrestled with ranking Hill higher, but coming off of elbow surgery I'm not positive he'll be better than Maeda or Odo.

 

 

I guess I don't understand your definition of Fringe. Ranking all three of last year's young starters, Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer as low is a mistake, in my opinion. 

 

Also raised an eyebrow when reading your comment about Kirilloff's defensive limitations. Yes, he will become a long-time MLB star because of his bat. Yes, he is not known for being a top defensive player. But he is adequate, average if you choose, defensively both at first base and in right field...at least he was a few years ago when I saw him in Cedar Rapids. Seems like someone decided he is a defensive liability and others are piling on.

 

My idea of "fringe" is that they don't have a guaranteed spot on the roster. If any of Dobnak, Thorpe or Smeltzer struggle, they could easily be sent down to the "taxi squad" or the non-roster squad. Dobnak may have performed well enought in 2019 to avoid the "fringe" label but still don't think he has a guaranteed spot with the team.

 

I didn't mention anything about Kirilloff's defensive limitations in this article. I said Rooker has limited defensive upside? I agree that Kirilloff is fine in the field at a non-premium position.

 

 

Buxton is too low. He could very easily lead the team in WAR. 

    • dbminn likes this

 

I definitely respect where you're coming from, Seth. I agree that Dobnak could probably be ranked higher, and potentially Thorpe (though he struggled in MLB and should still be considered a 'top prospect type' along with the others). I don't particularly think that Bailey or Smeltzer are all that good and warrant being ranked any higher than they are.

 

I could see having Thielbar higher, but couldn't justify ranking higher a 33 year old who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2015. Just not sure the ceiling is there for him.

 

Maybe the disconnect is that I wasn't ranking the players based on who will contribute in 2020, but based on who I believe is a better player in 2020. Sure, Telis will probably get the call up in 2020 before Jeffers, but I believe Jeffers is a better player than Telis in 2020.

 

I wrestled with ranking Hill higher, but coming off of elbow surgery I'm not positive he'll be better than Maeda or Odo.

 

First, it's your list, so my point isn't to say it's right or wrong, but that's the beauty of lists is that there can be disagreements and discussions. 

 

While I'm incredibly high on Jeffers and was before anyone else, Telis hit .330 in AAA last year. So, maybe Jeffers is better now, but Telis is really good and has MLB time. 

 

Regarding Hill... with the "If Healthy" part, yes, his stats in the last 5 years put him above those guys, probably by quite a bit. Now, at 40 and with the return from surgery, we'll see. That could drop him a bit. He's been over Maeda with the Dodgers. 

 

Dobnak is so good, by the way... I underestimated him in rankings and in Cedar Rapids. I underestimated him last year. I probably underestimate him in the prospect rankings even this year. May not be as exciting, but dude just keeps gettin gthe job done. 

    • Steve Lein, rdehring and Matthew Taylor like this
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Matthew Taylor
Jul 13 2020 11:02 AM

 

First, it's your list, so my point isn't to say it's right or wrong, but that's the beauty of lists is that there can be disagreements and discussions. 

 

While I'm incredibly high on Jeffers and was before anyone else, Telis hit .330 in AAA last year. So, maybe Jeffers is better now, but Telis is really good and has MLB time. 

 

Regarding Hill... with the "If Healthy" part, yes, his stats in the last 5 years put him above those guys, probably by quite a bit. Now, at 40 and with the return from surgery, we'll see. That could drop him a bit. He's been over Maeda with the Dodgers. 

 

Dobnak is so good, by the way... I underestimated him in rankings and in Cedar Rapids. I underestimated him last year. I probably underestimate him in the prospect rankings even this year. May not be as exciting, but dude just keeps gettin gthe job done. 

 

Love the discussion! And agreed on Dobnak!

Fernando Romero should be pushed down. Between ineffectiveness and his visa problems, he's a non-factor. It's a shame, but it's hard not to think of him as a bust.

Sorry about those Kirilloff comments, Matt. But I swear I saw something this morning. There is so much information in your piece, guess my old eyes saw something that wasn't there.

 

Will toss my hat into the ring that Dobnak was amazing last year and is going to continue to be very good in 2020...assuming they actually play in two weeks. Reminds me of a pitcher who was very good back in the 50's or 60's, just can't remember who. With all these pitchers, don't have a clue who the five starters are going to be. Just know that Dobnak is going to be in the mix, pitching alot.

My initial response was this should be easy as we're only talking 2020. And then I read. Ugh. Appreciate your thoughts but can't agree.

I LOVE the potential of Chalmers and am happy the Twins included him. His position and value are TBD. But if they have to turn to him in 2020, then something has gone very right or very wrong. Alcala and Poppen and others are ranked deservedly higher. But these guy should CLEARLY be numbered in the 30's. Unless something dramatic happens, Lewis shouldn't see MLB this year.

Thorpe and Dobnak could easily make the 30 man roster initially and have solid careers. Thorpe's stuff screams ML starter, or at worst, quality BP arm. His milb career and peripherals in 2019 say the same. Dobnak's problem, IMPO, is he is simply undervalued due to his story and lack of previous prospect standing. While I put Smeltzer behind these two for what should be obvious reasons, so far, he has done nothing but impress and look "solid". I'm thinking a nice career as a long/middle man and spot starter.

I appreciate Wiel for all he has done. And he could surprise. But I see him as a "break glass" for 2020 and would have him lower.

It's a tough exercise. But I think there are pitchers too low and some position players too high.
I have no major qualms. You’ll never make everyone happy with a list like this.

Gordon is a tad high for my liking. I’d probably have Jeffers higher than him. I’d make also have Hill a tad higher, but understand any concerns there.

I have no problem with Lewis being where he is in the list. Just because he won’t get a chance, doesn’t mean he’s not a better player than some guy at the end of the bullpen. He’s an elite prospect that just won the AFL MVP in CF (but is a full time SS). Seems like some might be losing the first for the trees.

 

Buxton is too low. He could very easily lead the team in WAR. 

That post didn't age well. Still, he is the x factor and probably the team's MVP if he plays 50 games and bats like he did last year.