Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • My Top 50 (plus 1) Twins Prospects - August 1 Edition

    One of my favorite days of the year is the day I open my mailbox and see a cardboard box just big enough to hold the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. The first thing I do is read each of the 30 capsules about the Twins prospects. Then I proceed to read each of the other 870 reports in the book, usually a few times.

    This year they added a new feature: the BA Grade along with the Risk Factor. Essentially, it makes it possible to compare all 900 prospects. If you want a general idea of where Miguel Sano would rank in the Rangers system, you take his grade (70/high) and find where that would fit (below all the other 70s – only Profar at #1 – and higher than all the other “high risks” – Leonys Martin at #4). He would slot in somewhere between Profar and Martin, most likely in between Martin Perez (65/medium) and Mike Olt (60/medium).
    They have an in-depth explanation of the BA Grades as well as the Risk Factors, but I’m going to tell you how I interpret it and how I use it to rank the Twins prospects. (Note these are my grades and risks, not BA’s.)
    All players are ranked on the 20-80 scale. This number would indicate a player’s ceiling.

    80 – Once-in-a-Lifetime prospects. These are your Bryce Harpers, Josh Hamiltons, Ken Griffey Jrs… and not much in between.

    75 – These are your franchise players and Ace starters. They’re out there… and the Twins have one (Joe Mauer) and traded one (Johan Santana), though Santana wouldn’t rank here anymore.

    70 – The guys you expect to hear named to the All-Star game every year. When Justin Morneau was in his prime, he fits here. Staff aces, but not necessarily true “aces”.

    65 – These would be your top-of-the-rotation starters and borderline all-stars. When Michael Cuddyer was keeping the Twins together last year, I would place him here; most of the time though, he’s a…

    60 – “First-division regulars” (Denard Span), “middle-of-the-rotation starters” (lacks a second plus-pitch), or stud closers.

    55 – Guys that look like they could be first-division regulars but lack a tool or two (Ben Revere) or a pitcher that doesn’t have it together all the time.

    50 – This is where most players fit – second-division regulars, 8th inning set-up guys or your best #4 pitchers.

    45 – These would be platoon or utility guys (Jamey Carroll) or #4/5 starters (who can eat innings), middle relievers.

    40 – This is where your #5 starters go, back-up position players or relief specialists.

    35 – Long-relief/low-leverage relief pitchers or situation position players (defensive replacement, pinch runner, pinch hitter).

    30 – AAA players and I hope not to rank any guys here.

    As far as the Risk Factor goes, it’s pretty simple.

    “Safe” means the player is at their ceiling and ready to contribute.

    “Low” means that the big leagues is in their future and they’re very close to their ceiling.

    “Medium” means that the tools are there, but this is an achievable gap between tools and MLB skills.

    “High” means there is still lots of projection.

    “Extreme” means professional baseball is new or there is a significant injury to overcome.

    Similar to how things are in the Prospect Handbook, not all players with the same number are ranked together. Likewise, players with the same risk aren’t necessarily ranked together. BA’s preseason #2 Twins prospect, Joe Benson, is a 55/medium. Max Kepler, also a 55, is ranked #20 due his risk being “extreme”. Their ceiling is similar, but their “floors” are much different. Kepler is also ranked below a number of players with a lower ceiling. Why? Because their risk factor is much less.

    The numbers mentioned above are purely for the purpose of examples. My rankings/grades may be much different, but at least you get the idea.

    I am not including players that won’t be considered a prospect at year’s end (or that I don’t think will), such as Chris Parmelee, Liam Hendriks, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar.

    I’ve also included, in parenthesis, my pre-season ranking, if they were in the Top 10. Only Liam Hendriks, who ranked #6 on my preseason list, has graduated off.

    This is a Top 50 and I waited until after the deadline to include players that were acquired… but I wanted Albers at 50, so it’s going to be a Top 50 plus 1 to include Pedro Hernandez

    #41-50
    50. Andrew Albers, LP, 35/Medium, 10/6/85
    49. Josh Burris, P, 45/Extreme, 11/28/91
    48. Caleb Thielbar, LRP, 40/Medium, 1/31/87
    47. Evan Bigley, OF, 40/Medium, 3/9/87
    46. Deolis Guerra, RP, 40/High, 4/17/89
    45. Austin Malinowski, LSP, 45/Extreme, 11/30/92
    44. Romy Jimenez, OF, 45/Extreme, 5/14/91
    43. Jorge Polanco, SS, 45/Extreme, 7/5/93
    42. Angel Mata, SP, 45/Extreme, 12/3/92
    41. Nate Roberts, OF, 45/High, 2/25/89

    Of note: If Polanco shows he can hit, he will move back up prospect lists thanks to his defensive prowess. Jimenez has had a great month or so, but hasn't played much otherwise. Roberts has a knack for getting on base, but will have to stay healthy to show other tools are playable.

    #31-40
    40. Tyler Duffey, P, 45/High, 12/27/90
    39. Javier Pimentel, SS, 50/Extreme, 3/13/94
    38. Miguel Gonzalez, P, 50/Extreme, 10/12/94
    37. Angel Morales, OF, 45/High, 11/24/89
    36. Michael Tonkin, RP, 45/High, 11/19/89
    35. Daniel Ortiz, OF, 45/High, 1/5/90
    34. D.J. Baxendale, SP, 45/High, 12/8/90
    33. Daniel Santana, SS, 45/High, 11/7/90
    32. Carlos Gutierrez, RP, 45/High, 9/22/86
    31. J.D. Williams, OF, 50/Extreme, 11/20/91

    Of note: Morales and Gutierrez, both top-10 prospects once, need to get healthy and prove they belong. J.D. Williams, who is one of the fastest players in the system, needs to show he’s a baseball player, not just fast. Baxendale is a starting pitcher to keep your eye on.

    #21-30
    30. Zach Jones, P, 45/High, 12/4/90
    29. J.T. Chargois, RP, 45/High, 12/3/90
    28. Pedro Florimon, SS, 45/Medium, 12/10/86
    x. Pedro Hernandez, LP, 45/Medium, 4/12/89
    27. Dereck Rodriguez, OF, 50/Extreme, 6/5/92
    26. Amaurys Minier, SS, 50/Extreme, 1/30/96
    25. Kennys Vargas, 1B, 50/Extreme, 8/1/90
    24. Alex Wimmers, P, 50/High, 11/1/88
    23. Adam Walker, OF, 50/High, 10/18/91
    22 (7). Adrian Salcedo, P, 50/High, 4/24/91
    21. Mason Melotakis, LP, 50/High, 6/28/91

    Of note: All of these names are intriguing. The pitchers – especially Jones, Chargois and Melotakis who could be huge movers with more experience – all have potential. Minier will debut next year. Vargas has lots of raw power.

    #11-20
    20. Madison Boer, P, 50/High, 11/9/89
    Struggling in the hi-A rotation, may have to go to bullpen to succeed.

    19. Corey Williams, LRP, 50/High, 7/4/90
    Lefty has struggled with consistency, can still fill a back-of-bullpen role.

    18. Luke Bard, P, 50/High, 11/13/90
    Recently promoted to E-Town, should get a chance to start.

    17. Levi Michael, SS, 50/High, 2/9/91
    Young for his level, Michael hasn’t hit.

    16. Chris Herrmann, C/OF, 45/Medium, 11/24/87
    Versatile defender has shown he can hit a little bit.

    15. Jason Wheeler, P, 50/High, 10/27/90
    Big-body who has thrown a ton of innings.

    14. Matt Summers, P, 50/High, 8/17/89
    Now only focused on pitching, watching his profile rise.

    13. Hudson Boyd, P, 55/Extreme, 10/18/92
    Has pitched well over his short professional career.

    12. B.J. Hermsen, P, 45/Medium, 12/1/89
    Not what you’d expect from his frame, but throws strikes and gets outs.

    11 (9). Niko Goodrum, SS, 55/Extreme, 2/28/92
    Great athlete getting another shot in Appy League.

    #1-10
    10 (8). Joe Benson, OF, 50/Medium, 3/5/88
    Down year, but glove still profiles as plus.

    9. Max Kepler, OF, 55/High, 2/10/93
    Filling out, could make lots of noise in next couple of years.

    8 (4). Kyle Gibson, P, 55/Medium, 10/23/87
    Coming back from TJ surgery; hopes to fill a rotation spot when healthy.

    7 (10). Travis Harrison, 3B, 60/Extreme, 10/17/92
    Big power from right side of plate; struggles defensively and may move to 1B.

    6 (3). Aaron Hicks, OF, 55/Medium, 10/2/89
    Switch-hitting starting to take (finally); super arm/defender in CF.

    5. J.O. Berrios, P, 60/Extreme, 5/27/94
    Excelling in GCL; dominant stuff.

    4 (5). Eddie Rosario, 2B, 65/High, 9/28/91
    Learning 2B, but real offensive threat with “quick-through-the-zone” bat.

    3 (2). Oswaldo Arcia, OF, 60/Medium, 5/9/91
    Pure hitter that is better in the OF than he looks.

    2. Byron Buxton, OF, 70/Extreme, 12/18/93
    Fast, super athlete, cannon arm, who needs to hit. If he hits with power, look out.

    1 (1). Miguel Sano, 3B, 70/High, 5/11/93
    Strikeout/defensive questions remain. No question about raw power – best in minor leagues.

    What do you think? Who is too high? Who is too low? Who did I forget entirely?

    My next addition will come out sometime after the calendar turns.

    This article was originally published in blog: My Top 50 (plus 1) Twins Prospects - August 1 Edition started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Herrmann is on track to post <.700 OPS at the MLB level. That has no value unless he's playing C.

      The Twins will be top 10 in the rankings. Sano, Buxton, Arcia and Rosario are all going to be top 50 (or really close). Gibson, Hicks, Berrios, Kepler and possibly 1-2 others will be in the top 150. BA doesn't rank that high but pretty much the entire top ten are legit prospects and not many teams have that kind of depth. Very few have more upside. The only problem with this org is that it's almost all hitters.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      greengoblinrulz: Yes, unfortunately, you're wrong. The Twins won't be Top 10. I'm expecting ESPN and BA to put them somewhere between 16-22. They're top 6-7 is really good... the problem is between 8-20 where there is a lack of high-ceiling players (60/Extremes).
      Was thinking about the top 6/8 takin em up the list....agree the 2nd 10 is a lot more unsettling. Im happy with our top 11 actually (include Walker/Hermsen as 10/11).
      At least on the Twins end, you know more about your top prospects than you did entering the season.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      Buxton is the top prospect the Twins have. He actually has two talents that would rate as an 80 on the 20-80 scale no other Twins prospect has an 80 rating. Sano might have a 70 in Power. Buxton has an 80 in speed and an 80 arm. He has the most potential. I assume you don't rate Chris Parmelee and Liam Hendriks as propsects anymore even though if they were traded they would be prospects. Both in the Top 12 in the Twins system. Guys like Wheeler and BJ Hermesen have fun numbers in the minors but are 5 starters at best. Look at the K rates look at the competition. Not top 15 at all. Berrios is maybe top 15 but certainly not top 10 yet or even close to 5. That must have been a - Look what I did throw in. Alex Wimmers is to low. He has 3rd starter stuff and that still counts for something compared to guys like Wheeler and BJ.
      Liam & Chris have passed over rookie status (already this yr) by next winter......we're kind of assuming the season ends today, but another month can raise/lower some of these guys alot. If Parm wouldnt have, his age may hurt him (as it does Benson/Gibson), but his AAA hitting is very intriguing.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      The Twins ranked 18th entering the year (according to BA). Their #2 (and #100 overall) Benson has been disappointing. Michael (#6) has not performed. Hendriks (7), Parmelee (9) and Dozier (10) all graduated. Salcedo (16), Soliman (23) and Wimmers (25) have all had injuries.

      The addition to Buxton and Berrios will help. And improvements by guys will help too. I just don't think, when viewing the big picture of the MLB, the Twins farm is Top 10... or in the discussion.

      When February rolls around, I'll either be proven right or wrong, but until then... let's keep debating.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      Buxton is the top prospect the Twins have. He actually has two talents that would rate as an 80 on the 20-80 scale no other Twins prospect has an 80 rating. Sano might have a 70 in Power. Buxton has an 80 in speed and an 80 arm. He has the most potential. I assume you don't rate Chris Parmelee and Liam Hendriks as propsects anymore even though if they were traded they would be prospects. Both in the Top 12 in the Twins system. Guys like Wheeler and BJ Hermesen have fun numbers in the minors but are 5 starters at best. Look at the K rates look at the competition. Not top 15 at all. Berrios is maybe top 15 but certainly not top 10 yet or even close to 5. That must have been a - Look what I did throw in. Alex Wimmers is to low. He has 3rd starter stuff and that still counts for something compared to guys like Wheeler and BJ.
      I'm kind of curious where you are getting these numbers from... I never once saw any legit prospect person giving Buxton a single 80 much less two. I have seen several grade Sano at 80 power...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I guess I still look at Parmelee as a prospect, and I'd add that he should be pretty high on this list if he is. He's 24 and putting up this line in AAA: .349/.468/.628/1.096

      The one big reason why I was hoping that Span or Revere were traded was that it would open up RF for Parm to play every day. While I don't expect him to hit that well up here, this kid looks more and more like he could be a very solid, middle of the order bat.
    1. alarp33's Avatar
      alarp33 -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I'm kind of curious where you are getting these numbers from... I never once saw any legit prospect person giving Buxton a single 80 much less two. I have seen several grade Sano at 80 power...
      Kieth Law gave Buxton an 80 as a runner and 70 for arm (currently). He projects him as a future 70 fielder, 70 hitter, and 60 power
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I guess I still look at Parmelee as a prospect, and I'd add that he should be pretty high on this list if he is. He's 24 and putting up this line in AAA: .349/.468/.628/1.096

      The one big reason why I was hoping that Span or Revere were traded was that it would open up RF for Parm to play every day. While I don't expect him to hit that well up here, this kid looks more and more like he could be a very solid, middle of the order bat.
      I like that Parmelee has cut down his K-rate. I didn't include him just because I don't think he'll be on the list in the winter and wanted to minimize graduations so that the names wouldn't change as much as the ranking... just my personal preference. I think his value is higher as a 1B, though, than a RF.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I like that Parmelee has cut down his K-rate. I didn't include him just because I don't think he'll be on the list in the winter and wanted to minimize graduations so that the names wouldn't change as much as the ranking... just my personal preference. I think his value is higher as a 1B, though, than a RF.

      I agree there, though to be quite honest, Parm isn't going anywhere until Morneau is gone. I see no problems with the Twins letting him keep RF warm next year until Morneau is traded and then call up one of the 3 nice OF prospects that they have.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Lots of good feedback...

      VodkaDave: Hicks needs to show power. That's the missing tool. #3-6, really, though, aren't separated by much.
      I would argue that Hicks has shown power. He already has 10 HR this year, and his isop (.168) is the highest it has been since the GCL.

      I doubt he will ever be a threat to hit 30, but at this point with his age and steady improvement there is no reason why he can't be a 20 HR threat. That IMO is good enough for the "power" tool.

      Sorry not trying to nitpick to closely as a 55/60 are almost the same thing. I just think Hicks at this point settles in as an average CF at worst with the ceiling to be a better version of Span OBP, SLG, HR, FLD and SB wise.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Your rankings are incredibly optimistic. Of the players on the bottom half of your ratings, the odds of any of them reaching the majors in any capacity is limited at best. TO even have a 40 ranking is "Extreme".
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I had hoped Morneau would be traded, so we could get a larger sample size on Parmalee this year. There are reasons to make trades beyond just what happens in that trade. Like last year (different sport alert), when the vikings continued to start a veteran RG, they knew they would cut (and who wasn't that good), instead of their rookie RG. sometimes, you need to see what you have, even if it costs you some games in an otherwise bad year. Plus I want the maximum amount of money available for FAs next year.

      The top of this list is nice. I still think that they should consider dealing some OF (either MLB or MiLB) for some pitching. But, for some reason, prospect for prospect trades don't happen often. I am pretty optimistic about the future OF, with Sano at 1B or DH, and Kepler at 1B. I think they have a lot of arms that could be very good relief pitchers also. If they would let them slide into that role earlier, and promote them to the majors, they would have more money to buy FA types....
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I love the Minier inclusion since I forgot him on my list. Very good work Jeremy.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Never mind. I see reasons to why you did what you did. I do think Hauser may deserve an inclusion. Guiterrez, Thielbar, Tonkin, Hermsen, and Albers are too high. Minier and Mata are too low. I think Arcia should be "Low". You didn't give any prospects safe or low and I think Herrmann, Arcia, and Gibson would all be close to that.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Plus, their top starter candidates above A ball have issues.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Mata

      Why is he so low? You think he will be in the bullpen? Id put him at a 55/high
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      VodkaDave- I'm not gonna argue with you about Hicks, all of your points are extremely valid. He could be an average-above average major league center fielder if he stays on the Hunter/Span course. One thing that stuck out to me was that he was projected to be a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, but couldn't stick. His stuff can play as a leadoff guy, without a doubt, but if his hit/power tools both played up, he's a #3 hitter and that's even better.

      mlhouse- The bottom have of the rankings are primarily guys ranked as having a CEILING as platoon or utility guys, not regulars. The risk is how likely they are to reach that ceiling, not how likely they are to make the majors. Reaching their ceiling of 45 means they might not even get a shot.

      YHIMH- I would rank Revere as "safe". I would rank Parmelee, Dozier, Escobar as "low". What you see is essentially what you get. I think Arcia can get better yet. You don't see a lot of "safes" or "lows" league-wide because those prospect-types are getting a shot in the big leagues. We could argue the inclusion of relief pitchers completely. All of the Twins current bullpen came through (most of) the system as starters. I have Hermsen at his grade because I'm convinced he'll have a shot to show he's a 4/5 at the major league level. That's his ceiling, can he make it there?

      clutter- Mata has one pitch right now so I think he'll be a bullpen guy. With one pitch, he can't be much more than a back-end guy. If one of his other pitches comes around, he moves up.
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      Justin Morneau per injury was a much better player than Mauer IMHO! So he would be a 75 in my mind and Mauer is much more of a 65-70 player because he lacks power
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      So added flexibility adds to Herrmann's rating? I find that hard to swallow for a number of reasons. Why would he even play OF when the Twins should have much better options? His bat would profile as well below average. I just don't see the love is all.

      My view of Hick's ceiling is Grady Sizemore, with a little less HR's. Thats why I'd rank him higher I guess.

      Not too bad I guess. I'm excited to do a top 40 list on this site, since I think there would be much more participation. We start from the top, vote on it, then add one player to the pool of players and vote on the next spot down. Its an awesome winter killer. I wonder if RP will upload our previous lists to share with everyone here.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.