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Jonathon’s Top 10 Twins Prospects (10-6)

Posted by jzenk42 , 16 February 2017 · 1,296 views

wander javier adalberto mejia lewin diaz travis blankenhorn kohl stewart
Jonathon’s Top 10 Twins Prospects (10-6) Pitchers and catchers have recently reported and thus, baseball season is underway. This is subject to change, obviously, especially with the top pick in June’s draft coming into the system. Many people have their top prospect list of the Twins, so here is mine, starting with Nos. 10-6.

10. Lewin Diaz, 1B

The 20-year-old slugger finally came into his own last year. The 6-4 Diaz hit .310/.353/.575 and had 26 extra base hits, including nine homers. But Diaz struggles with strikeouts, much like other Twins minor leaguers, as he struck out nearly 19 percent of his at-bats a season ago. However, in his first three seasons in the minor league system, he hit .244 with 18 homers. The question with him is if last season was a mirage or if he will improve upon those numbers. He will have to cut down the strikeouts. Diaz will start the season in Cedar Rapids. He has the potential to be a great power hitter and was named the Twins Daily short season Minor League Hitter of the Year.

9. Adalberto Mejia, SP

Mejia will enter his first full season with Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings after coming over from San Francisco’s organization in a trade for Eduardo Nunez last July. In four games with the Red Wings, Mejia went 2-2 with an ERA of 3.76. He also made his big league debut last season, starting one game. He did not have a decision in the game, allowing two runs in 2.1 innings. Mejia was in Baseball America’s top 100 last season, but failed to make it this season. In 146 at-bats, lefties slashed at a .205/.247/.303 clip. He will likely start the season as a starter in Rochester, but will be in Minneapolis at some point this season. He has four solid pitches, but I would not consider any truly dominant. I don’t see him as a top end starter, but he has the potential to eventually make it in the Twins rotation.

8. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/3B

After struggling in his rookie season, not hitting higher than .250 in either of his two stops in 2015, he had a very solid 2016, hitting a combined .293 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He hit just three homers in the 53 games as a rookie, but blasted 10 last year. The 20-year-old returned to Elizabethton to start the season, hitting .297/.342/.558 for the Twins Rookie ball club. Blankenhorn had nine homers in 34 games before being promoted to the Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 25 games for the Kernels, he had just one homer, but still did slash .286/.356/.418. That is despite Blankenhorn being 2.5 years younger than the competition. There is no reason to think he can’t improve upon those numbers this season. He’ll make a return trip to Iowa and start the season for Cedar Rapids. If he puts up nice numbers once again, he’ll be in Fort Myers by the end of 2017. I am a huge fan of his and I think he has a chance to be a very good infielder for the big league club. I think he will be a perennial 20+ homer hitter in the bigs, barring injury of course. My prediction is that he will crack the top five prospect list for the Twins in 2018.

7. Wander Javier, SS

I mentioned I think Blankenhorn will be in the top five of the Twins prospects starting next season. Well, Javier could also be in that same boat. He has the potential to crack the top five, but he has to stay healthy for the full year. Last year for the DSL Twins, Javier only played in nine games and had eight hits in 26 official at-bats for a .308 average. The high-priced 2015 International free agent will make his debut in the United States this season for the GCL Twins. He will need to add strength to his frame, but should be able to do that. If he has a nice start at the GCL, I could see the 18-year-old end the season in Elizabethton.

6. Kohl Stewart, SP

Stewart is an interesting prospect. He was drafted in the top five in the 2013 draft and has really pitched well in the minors. In his four years in the minors to this point, his worst season was 2015 when he went 7-8 with an ERA of 3.20. That is solid production, but there is something missing. Last season, he was terrific in High-A Fort Myers, going 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA before being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. With the Lookouts, he went 9-6 with an ERA of 3.03, but also a 1.47 WHIP, which was his highest in the minor leagues. He will go back to Chattanooga to try to improve those numbers and maybe be promoted to Rochester at some point in 2017. However, like I said, something is missing. I see him as a back-end start for the Twins, perhaps in 2018. Stewart can get people out in the minors, but he cannot miss bats, as they say. He really hit his stride at the end of the season, allowing just 11 earned runs over his final six games (38.2 IP), but he struck out just 16 batters and had 21 walks. That is not a good recipe for success. He could get away with that in the minors, but would pay dearly in the bigs. In April last season, Stewart was able to strike out 26 batters in his four starts (23.1 IP), but only struck out more than five in a game once in his last 21 starts. He will need to be able to prove he can strike out more batters in order for me to move him higher. If he doesn’t, he will be surpassed fairly quickly this season by Javier and Blankenhorn.

The top five will be posted tomorrow. It is good to be back talking Twins baseball after me focusing on football the past several months.