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Jonathon’s Top 10 Twins Prospects (5-1)

Posted by Jonathon Zenk , 17 February 2017 · 2,790 views

stephen gonsalves tyler jay alex kirilloff fernando romero nick gordon
Jonathon’s Top 10 Twins Prospects (5-1) I gave you the first half of my top 10 Twins prospects yesterday, headlined by Kohl Stewart and Wander Javier. Now, it is time to reveal my top five prospects in the organization. Nobody should be surprised by who makes up the final five prospects on this list, but the question is which order will they be in. So, with that being said, here are my top five prospects for the Minnesota Twins.

5. Tyler Jay, SP/RP

Much like Stewart, Jay is an interesting pitcher as well, albeit for different reasons. First off, Minnesota needs to determine whether it wants the former first round pick as a starter or reliever. Jay was a reliever at Illinois, but the previous regime wanted to convert him into a starter. After not starting one game with the Fort Myers Miracle in 2015, Jay started 13 games for the Twins High-A affiliate last season and went 5-5 with an ERA of 2.84. That earned him a promotion to Chattanooga, where he pitched in five games (two starts) before being shut down the final month of the season. I believe he could be a solid starter, maybe a No. 3 starter or so, but he could be a dominant reliever. People will criticize the pick of a first rounder on a reliever, but I would much rather get a potentially dominant relief pitcher with a top 10 pick than a player who won’t even make it up to MLB. I don’t know what the Twins will do, but Jay in the bullpen could be a real asset to the team and he would then make an appearance at some point this upcoming season. In his three relief appearances with the Lookouts, he allowed one run on three hits in four innings. It will be interesting to see where they want Jay pitching. If it is as a reliever, expect to see him with the Twins this summer.

4. Nick Gordon, SS

To some people, this might be a little low for Flash Gordon’s son. Maybe it is just me having too high of expectations for him, but it is a bit disappointing that he has not hit .300 in any level of the minors. Granted, he has never had a “bad” year and has hit at least .290 in two of the three years, but it is just a bit concerning to me that he has yet to really dominate a level. One thing he does have going for him is that he is almost always younger than the competition, and that will only help his development. In the Arizona Fall League, Gordon was one of the younger players and slashed .346/.418/.444. It is a small sample size, but hopefully his great play carries over to the season with Chattanooga in his first season at Double-A. He may not be able to stay at short, but only time will tell. I think he will have a season around .300. Hopefully he is able to flash more power as well, as he only has hit five homers in his minor league career thus far.

3. Fernando Romero, SP

Out of all the starting pitchers in the Twins minor league system, I think Romero is the one pitcher who has a chance to be a real ace. After missing two years due to multiple surgeries, he came back better than ever in 2016. After returning in May, he went 9-3 with an ERA of 1.89 with a WHIP of 0.90 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 90/15. He was promoted to Low-A Fort Myers in June and dominated. The 22-year-old will likely return to Fort Myers to begin 2017, but if he pitches well again, he will move up to Double-A Chattanooga. I think he will be up with the Twins sometime in 2018.

2. Stephen Gonsalves, SP

After being considered a solid prospect through 2015, he took off in 2016. After going 7-2 in 2015 for Fort Myers, he picked up right where he left off. In 11 starts last season with the Miracle, he went 5-4 with a 2.33 ERA. But he pitched even better after being promoted to Chattanooga. In 13 starts at Double-A, Gonsalves went 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA. However, his walks were a bit concerning with the Lookouts. In 74.1 innings, he had 37 walks. He had five games in which he had at least three walks, including a game in which he allowed seven free passes. He will return to Chattanooga, for at least the first part of this season. If he continues his strong play in April and May, he will be promoted to Rochester. I could see him making his Twins debut in September with strong play with the Red Wings. I don’t think he has the potential of Romero, but I think Gonsalves will be a solid No. 3-4 starter.

1. Alex Kirilloff, OF

In this year’s Twins prospect handbook, all three of the main contributors picked different players for their No. 1 prospect. That is how close it is at the top. I am going to agree with Jeremy here and have Kirilloff at the top in my Twins prospect list. Last year’s first round pick started out in Elizabethton and knocked the cover off the ball. He struggled in the month of August and he ended up hitting .306 for the season. In the 55 games he played, he hit seven homers, as an 18-year-old. I think he will hit 25+ homers in the major leagues. He will start the season in Iowa with the Kernels, and if he performs there, he may be in Fort Myers by the end of the season. He could end up being a middle of the order slugger for the big league club.

To round up the top 10, here it is:
10. Lewin Diaz
9. Adalberto Mejia
8. Travis Blankenhorn
7. Wander Javier
6. Kohl Stewart
5. Tyler Jay
4. Nick Gordon
3. Fernando Romero
2. Stephen Gonsalves
1. Alex Kirilloff

  • Oldgoat_MN and BoofBonser like this

If Jay was converted back to a reliever just think how deadly the future bullpen could be: Chargois, Jay, Rogers, Reed, Hildenberger, Burdi, etc..

    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and Jonathon Zenk like this
Jonathon Zenk
Feb 17 2017 01:06 PM

I was thinking the same thing yesterday. Minnesota could take a page from the Royals a few years back and have decent starting pitching and a deadly BP...

Feb 17 2017 02:43 PM

This is a really good list. hard to argue with it. 


TD had Javier as its top prospect – I thought that was way too high. 


I think Kirilloff could be a legit #1 prospect – probably to be replaced when we draft #1 this June.


I consider Gonsalves and Romero to be neck-and-neck at this point – #2 and #3 is about perfect for me. They're both very, very good prospects IMO. I'd just quibble a little about the back end – I'd put Mejia at #7, Diaz at #8, Blankenhorn at #9, and probably Garver at #10.


But it's a really good list, and close IMO. Good job.

Feb 17 2017 02:46 PM




TD had Javier as its top prospect – I thought that was way too high. 



SORRY – It wasn't TD, he's #6 on TD's list. 

Feb 17 2017 02:56 PM

It was Thrylos' list that had Javier #1. He might be that good, but I'd like to see a full year in the minors before I even consider that high of a ranking.

Feb 17 2017 03:00 PM

Or at least more than 9 games. I realize Kirilloff only had 55 games last year, but that's at least a good portion of the season.

Feb 17 2017 03:55 PM
My top Twins' prospect is Hunter Greene, because the Twins must draft him #1 and he will leap-frog over all other Twins prospects, which the Twins already have. Period.

With his frame, even a small tick up in velocity, a bit more refinement of his  breaking ball, I'm not so sure Gonsalves couldn't be a #2 one of these days.

    • BoofBonser likes this
Feb 18 2017 11:48 AM

Gonsalves - How can a pitcher who is projected as a #3-4 starter be viewed as the Twins #2 Prospect? Either his ceiling is higher or he should be ranked lower.My opinion is that his ceiling is higher.I'd like to believe that Gonsalves' potential has been mis-underestimated

    • DocBauer likes this