• Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects: 11-15

    Over the last two weeks, we've been counting down my choices for the Top 50 Minnesota Twins prospects. The series will culminate this week as we dive into the Top 15 prospects.

    I've talked some about what goes into my rankings, but it's certainly not a science. It is subjective. I do try to take many factors into account, but one thing I do try to consider is guys with certain tools that stand out as elite. As we get into the Top 15 prospects, you'll start to see some of those elite tools and that's why they are up this high.

    Part 8: Prospects 11-15

    In today's installment, there is a mix of youth and some guys who have been around awhile and should be close to the big leagues. In fact, one of them had a pretty impressive big league debut in September. Two other players on the 40 man roster should debut in 2014. One lefty made an impressive pro debut in July. The other has immense power and offensive potential.


    #15 – Danny Santana – SS (22)

    Santana is a difficult prospect to get a good read on. He was added to the 40 man roster a year ago, and certainly did enough at AA New Britain to keep that spot. He hit .297/.333/.386 (.719) with 22 doubles, ten triples and two home runs. He is incredibly fast which helps his batting average. He could afford to walk more, though at this point we may not be likely to see more than a little improvement. He stole 30 bases, though he was also caught 13 times. Defensively, Santana is tough to read. His speed gives him remarkable range and he can make a lot of highlight reel plays. He also committed 32 errors, many on more routine plays. He will turn 23 years old later this week and should spend the 2014 season in Triple-A with a shot at a late-season big league debut.

    #14 – Stephen Gonsalves – LH SP (19)


    After a very good but somewhat controversial season at Cathedral Catholic high school in San Diego, the Twins used their 4th round pick last June on the left-hander. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, he has some room to gain strength. It would be great if he could add a couple miles per hour to his fastball which currently sits between 89 and 92 and has touched 94 at times. He also has an inconsistent curveball and a pretty good changeup. Both pitches have the chance to be very good pitches. He’s still young, and he has room to improve and grow, but the Twins got a steal when he fell to them in the 4th round.

    #13 – Trevor May – RH SP (24)


    Trevor May came to the Twins about a year ago from the Phillies in the Ben Revere trade. The right-hander returned to the Eastern League for a second consecutive season. He did show minimal improvement in just about every category. His ERA and WHIP fell just a little bit. His walk rate dropped from 4.7 per nine to 4.0 per nine, while his strikeouts increased from 9.1 per nine to 9.4. He threw over 150 innings. In two more innings than a year earlier, he gave up eight fewer home runs. It wasn’t a big step forward, but he stayed healthy and did show some improvement. May throws hard and has the pitches to be a starter. In the AFL he’s been pitching out of the bullpen. He will need to begin the 2014 season in the Rochester starting rotation. He was one of three Twins's minor league full-season starters to strike out more than a batter an inning.

    #12 – Travis Harrison – 3B (21)


    Harrison was the Twins first supplemental first round pick in 2011 out of high school in California. The man has very strong hands, wrists and forearms which certainly bodes well for him becoming a very good power hitter for the Twins. He has power to all fields. On the season in Cedar Rapids he hit .253/.366/.416 (.782) with 28 doubles and 15 home runs. It did appear the length of the full season wore him down as he struggled the final six weeks of the season. Defensively, he remains a work-in-progress at third base. At all six of the games I saw Cedar Rapids, he was on the field as much as five hours before the game taking ground ball after ground ball from manager Jake Mauer. He could also eventually move to a corner outfield spot or first base. I do think that in time he will have enough bat to play those positions.

    #11 – Josmil Pinto – C (24)


    Pinto was up with the Twins for only a month, but he showed what Josmil Pinto is and can be. Starting with the positive, the guy can hit. He began the year in AA and hit .308/.411/.482 (.892). He moved up to Rochester, and in 19 games hit .314 (with an .819 OPS). Right before September, he was promoted to the Twins where he hit .342/.398/.566 (.963) in 21 games. He had five doubles and four home runs. To summarize, he can hit for average, has a very good approach at the plate and knowledge of the strike zone and very good pop in his bat for a catcher. Defensively, there is no question that he remains a work in progress. He struggled at times, but some of that is part of learning a new league. He’s a little stiff, but people talk about how hard he works, so I think he will make himself an adequate glove man. Offensively, he is ready now.

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    Thank you for reading part Part 8 of what will be a ten part series with my Top 50 Twins Prospects. Next up, the Top 10 Twins prospects (in my opinion). In case you missed any of the previous installments, here are those links:

    Part 1: 46-50
    Part 2: 41-45
    Part 3: 36-40
    Part 4: 31-35
    Part 5: 26-30
    Part 6: 21-25
    Part 7: 16-20
    Comments 38 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      If I'm reading b-r.com right, May's opponent OPS changed hardly at all in his second year in the Eastern League, .759 -> .757. Maybe the coaches planted some seeds of change that will pay off at AAA this year. I hope so.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      If I'm reading b-r.com right, May's opponent OPS changed hardly at all in his second year in the Eastern League, .759 -> .757. Maybe the coaches planted some seeds of change that will pay off at AAA this year. I hope so.
      Yes, but: his FIP went from 4.24 to 3.79 and his BABIP increased from .292 to .329. Also his K/9 increased and B/9 dropped, which are all signs of progress. He still walks way too many for my taste at this point, but I think a change of scenery at AAA might help.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If Santana can play SS in the majors, that would be huge for this team. May was what we were warned by the internet experts this year, I thought. Pinto should, IMO, be the starting catcher next year. It amazes me people think they cannot compete next year, and would risk Mauers health next year. This is a list with upside, but low floors too. Which is what you would expect at this level in the rankings.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      If Santana can play SS in the majors, that would be huge for this team. May was what we were warned by the internet experts this year, I thought. Pinto should, IMO, be the starting catcher next year. It amazes me people think they cannot compete next year, and would risk Mauers health next year. This is a list with upside, but low floors too. Which is what you would expect at this level in the rankings.
      I wonder if Santana is Florimon, without the great defense (though great range and arm) or the HR power, but with better batting average.

      I hope that the Twins call up May to start. I just like the K-Rate. Worst case, he has to move to the bullpen, but I'd give him every shot. There were some improvements and still reason for hope of a #3 type of pitcher..

      I agree on Pinto being the primary starting catcher. That's what I would want to do.

      11-15 is an area where there is upside already, but generally speaking, it's not an elite ceiling. In any organization, there are really only about 2-3 guys that meet the high ceiling, relatively high floor category. I think the Twins have 3-4 this year.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      Seth, I really appreciate your top fifty lists. More the comments than the actual ratings, you put a lot of work into them. I am rather excited about this year's list. When guys like Wimmers and Salcedo are near the bottom, it speaks to a certain amount of depth.

      I am not a huge fan of Santana, I am not sure why. He has produced the last few years, and errors are often cleaned up as players mature. Right now, I am a bigger fan of Goodrum and Polanco as future big league middle infielders, though unlike you, I have never seen any of them play.

      I like Pinto too, and think he will get better defensively. He didn't look that bad defensively this fall, the strong arm and hard work will likely compensate for some of his weaknesses.

      I am pretty hopeful about May. I think he should be a pretty good starter someday, and I hope the Twins don't move him to reliever unless he acually fails as a major league starter. While I like guys who don't walk many, big guys like May often take a long time to harness their stuff.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I agree with the comments on May. He's going to get every opportunity to start, and while the ERA didn't necessarily show it, the peripheral stats all showed him taking a step forward. Hopefully we see that walk rate in particular drop a bit more in Rochester next year. If he can keep it around 3/9, he's going to be a very good starter.

      Pinto is way too low. He has an outside shot to be a top 100 guy on a lot of lists this offseason. He's far better than where you have him ranked. He's a catcher that can hit. Defense is a work in progress I agree, but he's good enough to stick there.

      I'm with Jim on Santana. Not sure what to think there. The bat doesn't excite me unless he gets some gap power or something.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Jim H - The comments and discussion are my favorite parts about these lists as well. As I've said, there are times that the discussion sways my rankings up to a couple of spots. The other thing is that it shows a lot of guys beyond just the top prospects. There have been players who didn't appear on the Top 50 lists, so you never know.

      diehard - I like May. I'm with you. Drop the walk rate just a little bit, and keep that K rate close to 9 (or at least above 8), and he's exciting. As for Pinto, he might be close to those Top 100s. I don't think he should be quite in that category, but he can still be a very solid MLB player. To be somewhat honest, in my mind, my prospects 6-12 could all be somewhat interchangeable. The thing that is encouraging to me with Santana is that he is not just a slap hitter. I'd like to see more walks, but he takes a healthy swing, and although he won't have HR power, he can get doubles and triples, I think.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I am definitely looking forward to the prospect list (6-10) assuming the top 6 are Buxton, Sano, Meyer, Rosario and Stewart. I was a little surprised Pinto didn't make top 10--I am hoping that he starts a lot with Twins and Mauer goes to first. (In all honesty, I expect Joe will catch until the next injury--if that happens the Pinto should go to Rochester and get playing time.)

      I may be biased since Gonsalves was one of my adapt-a-prospects, but I think he is top 10. I know he is young, and he looks like he could be a bit of a head case, but I think his ceiling is unlimited (Sabathia type ace). That is a higher ceiling than May who spent 2 years in the Eastern League IMHO. Also, I don't remember Berrios being listed (I may have missed him) but I would rank Gonsalves ahead of Berrios too. Not that I have anywhere near Seth's experience in this...

      BTW: Is Aaron Hicks still considered a prospect?? Or did he spend too much time with the Twins.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      OOPs--that should have been top 5 not top 5
    1. SurroundedByTigers's Avatar
      SurroundedByTigers -
      Reading these rankings, and the talent that seems to be coming through the pipeline, I'm wondering how the Twins decision-makers go about building the 2014 ML roster. Do they projection, by midseason, that guys like May, Meyer and Gibson will anchor the rotation, and guys like Sano, Rosario, Pinto, and more, will be regulars? If so, I'd like to see the Twins aggressively go into the pitching market for at least two arms who will help the team be somewhat competitive until young bats arrive to help turn this franchise around.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      I am sure that Travis Harrison deserves to be on this list. I'm just not sure he deserves to be no. 12. Someone who hits just .253/.366/.416 (.782) with 28 doubles and 15 home runs – and who remains a work-in-progress defensively, I question that he should be ahead of, say no. 20 - Niko Goodrum - SS, .260/.364/.369 (.732), who appears to be better defensively.
      Just wondering why he rates so much higher? I guess I rate defense a little higher.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      I may be biased since Gonsalves was one of my adapt-a-prospects, but I think he is top 10. I know he is young, and he looks like he could be a bit of a head case, but I think his ceiling is unlimited (Sabathia type ace). That is a higher ceiling than May who spent 2 years in the Eastern League IMHO. Also, I don't remember Berrios being listed (I may have missed him) but I would rank Gonsalves ahead of Berrios too. Not that I have anywhere near Seth's experience in this...

      BTW: Is Aaron Hicks still considered a prospect?? Or did he spend too much time with the Twins.
      Hicks had about 280 at bats. The limit for "prospect" is 130 at bats.

      I like Gonsalves as well. But, to have a 4th round pick from high school this year at #14 is pretty aggressive already. He has a chance to move up quickly. Comparing Berrios' numbers in 2012 to Gonsalves is 2013 is pretty interesting. Both had terrific debuts in the GCL and E-Town.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by lee_the_twins_fan View Post
      I am sure that Travis Harrison deserves to be on this list. I'm just not sure he deserves to be no. 12. Someone who hits just .253/.366/.416 (.782) with 28 doubles and 15 home runs – and who remains a work-in-progress defensively, I question that he should be ahead of, say no. 20 - Niko Goodrum - SS, .260/.364/.369 (.732), who appears to be better defensively.
      Just wondering why he rates so much higher? I guess I rate defense a little higher.
      Fair question... in a way, some of it is based on numbers, but at those lower levels, for me at least, it's more about projection. I think that Harrison will hit for a little more average, and I think that his power potential is pretty impressive. He's not there, and he really struggled the last 4-6 weeks. I really like Goodrum. I think he can be a solid all-around player, not flashy, just solid. I'm not sure he'll stay at SS. I'm not sure he'll hit for average. I think both do a great job of walking. I think Harrison could drop a couple of spots, and maybe Goodrum could come up a spot or two. But again, for me, it's more about projecting tools and I think Harrison has a chance to add a lot of power. We shall see.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Seth... I also want to say I appreciate these reports a bunch. I tend to not personally opine on the young prospects because I haven't seen them personally. I'm much more opinionated on MLB players that I've seen.

      When it comes to the farm... You are my eyes... I've learned to trust you even when a prospect doesn't pan out like you thought. I know you make every effort to see them... Learn about them... Vet them... And I want to say thanks.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      OOPs--that should have been top 5 not top 5
      Top 5 not Top 6

      I like your order thus far Seth. I think Pinto might be a Top 10 prospect as well though. Hard to find Catchers who can hit that well.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      Seth:

      Thanks for the info. I, too, appreciate and value all of the work you do to put these lists together, and I'm looking forward to the last two lists. I know the lists are subjective. But they are also very informative.

      Great job.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Hicks had about 280 at bats. The limit for "prospect" is 130 at bats.

      I like Gonsalves as well. But, to have a 4th round pick from high school this year at #14 is pretty aggressive already. He has a chance to move up quickly. Comparing Berrios' numbers in 2012 to Gonsalves is 2013 is pretty interesting. Both had terrific debuts in the GCL and E-Town.
      Thanks Seth for the prospect definition--also for all the work you do. I have learned a lot from reading you--I agree the comparison between Barrios and Gonsalves (a year apart) is interesting.

      As to Pinto--count me among the commenters here that he should have been top 10 but we can agree to disagree.
    1. wagwan's Avatar
      wagwan -
      so who's left? Top 5 Buxton, Sano, Meyer, Stewart, and Rosario Next 5 Kepler, Walker, Thorpe, Berrios ,Polanco Good group , but not a lot of help for 2014 Only 3 who have played as high as AA. And although they are top 5, I'm not sure that anybody thinks Sano Meyer and Rosario should all start with the Twins in April.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by wagwan View Post
      so who's left? Top 5 Buxton, Sano, Meyer, Stewart, and Rosario Next 5 Kepler, Walker, Thorpe, Berrios ,Polanco Good group , but not a lot of help for 2014 Only 3 who have played as high as AA. And although they are top 5, I'm not sure that anybody thinks Sano Meyer and Rosario should all start with the Twins in April.
      I would expect to see Sano and Meyer up by about the end of June. I'd expect to see Rosario and Sano up by early August. Couple them with top prospects who surpassed the prospect innings/at bats like Arcia, Hicks and Gibson, and you've got a good start. Theilbar and Pressly came up last year and contributed already. May will be up by July or so as well.

      So yeah, some won't be up for awhile, but hopefully this wave (including all mentioned in the above paragraph) takes off and can start learning to win late 2014 and into 2015. Hopefully they establish themselves the next two seasons and then that next wave of talent will be able to come up and contribute (as opposed to being completely relied upon).
    1. wagwan's Avatar
      wagwan -
      You are right. That makes 10 roster spots to prospects in less than 2 years. I guess you could not go faster than that. By the way, did you mean Rosario and Buxton in early August? Sano might be a big enough guy to need two debuts tho...
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