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Top Five Twins Prospects Who Should be Promoted

Posted by Jonathon Zenk , 27 May 2019 · 2,675 views

hector lujan gabriel maciel lewin diaz bryan sammons jaylin davis
Top Five Twins Prospects Who Should be Promoted With two months gone in the season, the Minnesota Twins big league club has the best record in baseball. In the minors, unfortunately, many big prospects are injured, some for a long period including Brusdar Graterol, Akil Baddoo, Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Wells and Yunior Severino. However, there have been a number of bright spots in the minor league system. Many players have deservedly been already promoted this season. This list is for the players who should be moved up, and likely will be sometime relatively soon.

In this list, I avoided putting players in their first year with the level. Because of that, I did not put either Austin Schulfer or Gabe Snyder on this list, even though they have dominated at Low-A Cedar Rapids. Maybe they’ll make my August edition, if they are still with the Kernels at that time.

Honorable Mentions:
Michael Davis, SS, Cedar Rapids
Jared Akins, RF, Cedar Rapids

5. Gabriel Maciel, CF, Cedar Rapids

Maciel arrived in a July trade last season that sent Eduardo Escobar to Arizona. The 20-year-old is in the midst of his best year of full-season baseball. In his 30 games with the Kernels after the trade last season, he hit .263 and had an OPS of .683. He isn’t a power hitter, so his OPS will never be super high, but his OBP is .389, which is the best of his pro career, and his .728 OPS is the second-highest of his career. As a matter of fact, his OBP is the among the best in the Twins system, just behind Luis Arraez and Kernels teammate Gabe Snyder. Part of that strong OBP is his ability to draw walks, having coaxed 17 already this season. If Maciel keeps it up, I see him in Fort Myers sooner rather than later.

4. Jaylin Davis, RF, Pensacola

Davis is having one of his best seasons of pro ball. Not only is he hitting for power, his OBP is by far the best of his pro career at .386. That is helped by him cutting down on his strikeouts a bit and walking a lot more this season. In Fort Myers and Chattanooga last season, he combined to walk 44 times in 439 at-bats. However, in 142 at-bats this season, he already has 22 walks. Not only that, but his .430 slugging percentage is the best since he put up a .486 slugging percentage in 66 games with Cedar Rapids in the first half of 2017. He has a good batting average of .282 as well. Last year, in those 439 ABs, he had 11 homers, and he already has five this season. His numbers are up across the board, and should make an appearance in Rochester this season. However, Rochester is loaded at OF, so he might be blocked for the time being with Brent Rooker, LaMonte Wade, Luke Raley, Zander Wiel and Jake Cave all in New York.

3. Bryan Sammons, LHP, Fort Myers

Sammons has pitched extremely well in his first full season with the Miracle. Last year, he started the year in Cedar Rapids and dominated, going 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA, before being promoted to Fort Myers. In his first stint with the Miracle, he struggled, going 1-2 with an 8.49 ERA. He got a start with the Chattanooga Lookouts, but was knocked around there as well. He returned to Fort Myers to start 2019, and has been virtually unhittable. In his eight starts, he has given up four runs.....total. Sammons is 4-0 with a sparkling 0.94 ERA. He keeps the ball in the yard, having allowed just nine in his minor league career in 201.1 innings, and has given up just one in 38.1 innings this season. His strikeouts per nine innings is really good, as well, with 46 strikeouts in those 38.1 frames (10.8 K/9). Sammons’ .227 opposing batting average is impressive, and it is only a matter of time before he takes his talents to Pensacola to join the Blue Wahoos.

2. Hector Lujan, RHP, Fort Myers

Lujan got off to a slow start in 2019, as he allowed three runs in three innings in his first appearance of the season, and he allowed five in his first eight innings. Since then, he has been lights out. In his last 11 outings (21.1 innings), he has allowed just one earned run (0.43 ERA). Last season, he had a solid showing for the Miracle, going 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA. Although his numbers were solid across the board last year, he has improved significantly upon those numbers. He has a 1.84 ERA in 14 appearances. His strikeouts per nine innings rate has improved from 8.5 to nearly nine strikeouts per nine and from a 3.09/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio to 4.14/1. His batting average against has gone down significantly, from .248 in 2018 to .198 in 2019, and his WHIP has improved from 1.26 in 2018 to 0.95 in 2019. It is time for a challenge for Lujan, and I expect him to get that sometime in June.

1. Lewin Diaz, 1B, Fort Myers

Diaz was a big International Free Agent signing, and has had an up-and-down career so far with the Twins. He is just 22 years old, and doesn’t turn 23 until November. After a down season with the Miracle in 2018, he has turned the Florida State League into his personal launching pad. Diaz hasn’t put up numbers like this since his time in Rookie ball with Elizabethton. He already has more homers this year (9) than he had all 2018 (6) in half the at-bats. Diaz is still strikeout prone, but he has drawn more walks this season (8) and he drew 10 in all of 2018. I don’t know what has clicked, but numbers are so much better than 2018, even in a pitcher-friendly league. His OPS was just .598 last season, but that has sky-rocketed to an outstanding .911 this season. Diaz has shown he can be dominant, and he should move up to Pensacola relatively soon, especially with Taylor Grzelakowski struggling at first.

  • dbminn and Dave The Dastardly like this

Have to ask why on Michael Davis - who just came off the IL... and Jared Akins... who has been up with the Kernels for about 10 days. 

May 27 2019 08:37 PM
Where’s Smeltzer, Stashak, and Alcala (our future closer)??

My two cents worth of comments/predictions:

  • Sammons was a prescient pick - no argument there.
  • Lewin Diaz should be the next one to move up. He can rotate between DH and 1B, while Kirilloff moves between 1B and RF.
  • I thought the Twins might promote Jaylin Davis with both Rooker and Raley on the IL. He's high on my list too.
  • Cole Sands is ready for a promotion to Fort Myers. He's almost 22 and has a very good 28 K%/6 BB% and 2.24 FIP at Cedar Rapids.
  • Trevor Larnach could probably survive AA pitching right now. I predict he moves to Pensacola at the end of June. 
  • Ryan Jeffers might see Pensacola at the break. Once there, he'll again share C duties with Rortvedt. Nice to have two solid catching prospects entering the advanced minor league levels.

The Twins farm system has a log jam at C, 1B and corner OF. Some roster moves need to happen at AA and AAA by mid-Summer. Either some org guys will be cut or a trade will be made. Otherwise, there's no room for JDavis, Larnach, Diaz and Jeffers to advance.