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Article: Seth's Midseason Twins Top 40 Prospect Rankings: Part 1 (21-40)

mitch garver trevor hildenberger engelb vielma jermaine palacios jake reed
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 08:07 AM

Each year I like to update my Top Prospect rankings right before the draft. My most recent rankings were done for the 2016 Prospect Handbook, so last December. (I posted them here in March.) It’s time for a new ranking as several things have happened, including players “graduating’ from prospect status as well as a couple months of games and new information.

Today, I’ll do kind of a lightning round for prospects 21-40 and then over the next two days, I’ll do ten prospects at a time. These prospect rankings are fun. They’re not scientific. They involve many factors including, but not limited to, age, performance, level of competition, reports from players, coaches, front office types, as well as my eye test from spring training, a trip to Cedar Rapids and watching several games on MiLB.TV

There are several purposes for writing these. First, it gives you some names to consider as you are reading our minor league reports. Second, these players (and really all of the minor leaguers, but I’m not going to rank 150 players!) deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to their profession. Third, it’s always fun to discuss these lists and the players involved. I’m pretty certain that not 100% of you will agree with 100% of my rankings. In fact, I’m certain no one would share the exact same Top 40, so feel free to discuss in the forum. I enjoy answering any questions you may have. With that, let’s get started.It's always tough to come up with those final prospects not matter if you go with a list of 30, or 40, or 50, or whatever. So, I'm going to go with a tie for #40... I also want to mention a couple of Cedar Rapids Kernels that were very strongly considered for a spot as well.

1B Zander Wiel is a 23-year-old first baseman out of Vanderbilt. He has heated up since the weather in Iowa warmed up and does a nice job defensively too. Also, catcher AJ Murray has been a very good hitter much of the season. He's still a work-in-progress behind the plate since he caught very little at Georgia Tech. But he's a really hard worker, and Jake Mauer said that he is similar to where Mitch Garver was two years ago. Definitely a couple of Kernels to watch.

There are many others at each level who fit into the "prospect" category as well, but a Top 40 has to end somewhere. So, here is my Top 40 (or 41, if you will).

#40 (Tie) - RH RP Williams Ramirez (23 - Cedar Rapids Kernels) and Johan Quezada (21 - Extended Spring Training)

I didn’t know how to separate them. These are two very hard-throwing right handers who had a lot of success last year in the GCL. Ramirez recently was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he has been terrific, throwing a fastball 94-97 with a really good breaking ball. Quezada is dominating in extended spring training with a fastball 95-99. Quezada has really grown since signing. Literally, he’s added about 8 inches of height and almost 10 mph to his fastball. Ramirez has only been a pitcher for three or four years. In other words, both have plenty of room for improvement.

#39 - RHP Yorman Landa - 21 - Ft. Myers Miracle

Landa missed time with shoulder problems in 2014 and 2015, but he showed enough late last year with the Kernels - including a 99 mph fastball - to be added to the 40-man roster for the Twins. He’s had some ups and downs with the Miracle so far this year, but overall, he has pitched well, whether asked to throw one inning or three.

#38 - 1B Amaurys Minier - 20 - Extended Spring Training

Minier signed from the Dominican in 2013 and has been moved quite slowly, primarily due to several injuries that cost him time early in seasons. Unfortunately, his bat also has moved along slowly and he will return to the rookie leagues (unless promoted soon) for another year. He’s still very young, and when he works hard, he does have a good swing that could produce a lot of power.

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#37 - OF Jaylin Davis - 21 - Extended Spring Training

Davis is a bit of a sleeper, maybe a surprise to even see on this list. He was drafted a year ago out of Appalachian State. He fell in the draft due to injury and did not play a year ago. However, Davis has tremendous power and much more potential. Reports from Ft. Myers indicate that he is crushing home runs all over the field with a powerful swing. He is a solid outfielder, and he is also a guy who could skip Elizabethton and go to Cedar Rapids if there was a need.

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#36 - OF Tanner English - 23 - Ft. Myers Miracle

English was the Twins top minor league defensive outfielder in 2015. He began this season in Ft. Myers, but a series of events have slowed things down for him. He was hit in the head with a pitch and missed a couple of days. He had Lasik eye surgery and on the last day of his rehab assignment with the EST squad, someone landed on his foot and hurt his ankle. So he’s been rehabbing that. English is a good top-of-the-order type of hitter who led the minor league system in stolen bases last year. He should be back to the Miracle shortly.

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#35 - OF Zach Granite - 23 - Chattanooga Lookouts

Granite had a tough, injury-filled 2014. So he began 2015 with the Kernels. After a strong April in which he was named Minor League Hitter of the Month by the Twins, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he was solid. This year, he jumped right to Chattanooga and has been their leadoff hitter almost every day since. He takes very professional at-bats and knows his job is to find ways to get on base. He’s doing that, and when he gets on base, he is looking to keep running. He already has 25 stolen bases this season.

#34 - LH RP Mason Melotakis - 24 - Chattanooga Lookouts

“Melo” missed all of the 2015 season after having Tommy John surgery the fall before. With reports of him hitting 97 mph in Instructional League last fall, the Twins needed to add him to the 40-man roster or risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft. He went to big league spring training and then reported to the Lookouts. He struggled early, as you would expect, but he has been much better of late.


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#33 - OF Edgar Corcino - 24 - Ft. Myers Miracle

One of the best pure athletes in the organization, Corcino signed with the Twins before the 2015 season out of independent baseball. He had been drafted and spent a couple of seasons in the Tigers system. After a strong showing in Cedar Rapids in the second half last year, he moved up to Ft. Myers this year. He started slow, not playing every day in April. In May, the Twins selected him as their Minor League Hitter of the Month. He plays great outfield defense at all three positions. He has good speed. And, he has extra base pop in his bat. Definitely one to watch as he just turned 24 today.

#32 - LHP Jason Wheeler - 25 - Rochester Red Wings

In 2014, Wheeler had a solid half-season, repeating in Ft. Myers and carried it into a strong showing in AA. Following that season, he was added to the 40-man roster. He started in Rochester in 2015 for some reason and really struggled. Late last year, he was removed from the 40-man and cleared. He went on to be the MVP of the Southern League championship series. He began this season with the Lookouts and was quickly called up to AAA where he has been lights-out most every outing. At 6-6, he does not throw real hard, but like the other lefties in the Red Wings rotation, he has good control and mixes his pitches well.

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#31 - OF Travis Harrison - 23 - Chattanooga Lookouts

Harrison is repeating at AA Chattanooga this year and has been solid in the middle of the Lookouts lineup. His outfield defense has improved and his approach at the plate has improved. He has been productive offensively despite similar numbers to last year. I believe that he is in line for a strong second half. Still just 23, Harrison has time to grow into his potential.

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#30 - RHP Huascar Ynoa - 18 - Extended Spring Training

While his brother Michael was signed to a huge free agent bonus (about $4 million) as a 16-year-old, the Twins were able to sign Huscar for around $850K. He pitched in the DSL last year and will be making his stateside debut this year. He has been pitching quite well in EST, flashing a fastball in the 90-95 range with the ability to dominate. He just turned 18 and will likely pitch in the GCL this year.

#29 - C Stuart Turner - 24 - Chattanooga Lookouts

Turner was the Twins 3rd-round pick in 2013 out of Mississippi where he was named the top catcher in college baseball. In 2014, he skipped Cedar Rapids and jumped to Ft. Myers. He struggled with the bat. In 2015, he went to Chattanooga where he was good defensively but struggled with the bat. Finally in 2016, he is sticking at the same level, hopefully allowing his bat to catch up. He started out strong with lots of walks and doubles. He’s slowed, but he does have a good approach at the plate. Many still believe he is a top defensive catcher.

#28 - LHP Lachlan Wells - 19 - Extended Spring Training

The Australian had a strong debut in 2015 in the GCL, putting up numbers very similar to what Lewis Thorpe put up a couple of years earlier at that level. He even left right before the end of the season to pitch for Team Australia in an international competition, just as Thorpe had. While Wells doesn’t throw as hard as Thorpe can, he does know and understand how to pitch and shows a lot of poise on the mound. He should pitch for Elizabethton.

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#27 - RH RP Jake Reed - 23 - Chattanooga Lookouts

The last two offseasons, Reed has dominated in the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League. However, for the second straight year he has really struggled in the AA Southern League. That said, he has been much better of late. His mid-90s fastball gets a lot of movement, so command has been an issue for him at times. Other times, he can flat-out dominate.


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#26 - 2B Luis Arraez - 19 - Cedar Rapids Kernels

One of the biggest surprises, for me, early in the season has been Arraez. I was surprised that he started in Cedar Rapids, and I thought maybe he would just get a little experience before going down to Elizabethton when the short-season started. Though he didn’t play a lot the first week or two, he was given an opportunity and he has fully taken advantage of it. He has been a catalyst at the top of the Kernels’ lineup, hitting over .320 and taking really good, professional at bats.


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#25 - IF Travis Blankenhorn - 19 - Extended Spring Training

Blankenhorn was the Twins 3rd-round pick a year ago out of high school. A tremendous athlete, he played for the GCL and Elizabethton teams in 2015. This spring in EST, he has shown some glimpses of his big potential. He has a nice swing and should develop some power over time. Interestingly, drafted as a third baseman, he has spent almost all of his time in EST playing second base.


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#24 - RH RP Trevor Hildenberger - 25 - Chattanooga Lookouts

He was our choice for Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year last year with his work in Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers in his first full professional season. He even pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. The side-winding right-hander started with the Miracle this year, but after just a few weeks, he quickly advanced to AA where he has continued to pitch great. Where many have struggled, Hildenberger has put up great numbers and become the team’s reliable closer. A 22nd-round pick just two years ago, he could get to Minnesota yet this year, or certainly put himself into consideration for a spot early in 2017.

#23 - SS Jermaine Palacios - 19 - Cedar Rapids Kernels

Palacios burst on the scene last year when he dominated (offensively) in the GCL and Elizabethton in his first year in the United States. The 19-year-old began this season in Cedar Rapids but it has been slow-going for the talented Venezuelan. After hitting a combined .370 last year, he has been hovering around (and mostly below) the Mendoza Line most of this season. Defensively, he’s got a ways to go, but the skills are there. Could he go to Elizabethton when the short-season starts?

#22 - SS Engelb Vielma - 21 - Ft. Myers Miracle
Vielma had a solid season in 2015 in Ft. Myers which led to a spring training invite to big league camp. He began the season with the Lookouts, but he has twice been on the disabled list already. In the last week, he was activated and sent back to Ft. Myers just to get more at-bats. He should move up to Chattanooga again soon. The slick-fielding shortstop could hit for average and should play very good defense, though he did struggle early in the season.

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#21 - C Mitch Garver - 25 - Chattanooga Lookouts

It has been his bat that has carried Garver through much of his minor league career, but it is his defense behind the plate that is moving him up this list this time around. He has thrown out 64% of would-be base stealers so far this season and is listed among the top catchers in baseball in pitch framing. Pitchers have also enjoyed working with him in the past. His bat has been solid in the Southern League. He’s hitting .265 with 11 doubles and two homers in 40 games. When not catching, he has played some at first base and frequently at DH. He did miss about a week with a concussion.


So there you have it, a quick glance at my updated prospects 21-40. What are your thoughts? Noticing any trends yet? Tomorrow we’ll dive into prospects 11-20. But for today, consider my list above. Ask questions, and start thinking about how your top 20, 30 or 40 Twins prospect list might look.

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#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:03 AM

Blankenhorn at second?  That's strange.  It would be interesting if he could play it since his bat is supposed to profile a lot better than a second baseman's bat.


#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:11 AM

It looks like Garver has a major league future. Are the 20 above him that sure?
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:13 AM

 

It looks like Garver has a major league future. Are the 20 above him that sure?

 

To be determined... Ha! Some have higher ceilings, and some have lower floors. 


#5 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:21 AM

 

Blankenhorn at second?  That's strange.  It would be interesting if he could play it since his bat is supposed to profile a lot better than a second baseman's bat.

As Seth has said he's played there the entire EXST, partly that has to do with Cabbage looks so much better and fluid at 3B with sometime at SS too.  Blankenhorn has looked decent at 2B, he's still working on his footwork as one can tell but he looks passable and plausible to start his season as everyday 2B.

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#6 tobi0040

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:46 AM

To be determined... Ha! Some have higher ceilings, and some have lower floors.


I was thinking the same thing as Mike. If he can control the run game, frame pitches, and hit .250 even he would be a few hundred times better than what we have right now

#7 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:48 AM

My favorite is still Quezada, sleeper written all over him.  His velocity is just nasty and he's started to throw the ball for strikes which is his key.  Still he's effectively wild as many hitters have fancy feet when getting in the box against him.  For some reason, he's been throwing a curveball instead of a slider and I think it has to do that he has much more control of the curve-he can at least throw it for strikes.  His slider was high 80-low 90s but he could never get it over the plate and he seemingly had no idea where it was going.  

 

When talking to the players for both local squads (BoSox and Twins) he's one of the guys that everyone says why is he here?  

 

Video on him from this EXST alone:

 


#8 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:07 AM

My big concern on Garver is that his BB/K rates have gotten progressively worse as he's moved up the chain.His OPS has dropped as well.To an extent I expect some of that, but he seemed to take a very professional approach to hitting in Cedar Rapids, and he's much more of a hacker now.

 

K/BB 1.07 - 2014, 1.19 in FTM in 2015, and 2.35 so far this year in AA.He struggled quite a bit out of the gate in 2015 in FTM, and followed up with a pretty strong second half.Hopefully we see something similar, as I'd like to see him with an OPS much higher than it's current .711.


#9 d-mac

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:12 AM

 

To be determined... Ha! Some have higher ceilings, and some have lower floors. 

 

Definitely liked the report about Garver's pitch framing. 

4-27-2016: El dia de La Maquina


#10 tobi0040

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:13 AM

My big concern on Garver is that his BB/K rates have gotten progressively worse as he's moved up the chain.His OPS has dropped as well.To an extent I expect some of that, but he seemed to take a very professional approach to hitting in Cedar Rapids, and he's much more of a hacker now.
 
K/BB 1.07 - 2014, 1.19 in FTM in 2015, and 2.35 so far this year in AA.He struggled quite a bit out of the gate in 2015 in FTM, and followed up with a pretty strong second half.Hopefully we see something similar, as I'd like to see him with an OPS much higher than it's current .711.


Definitely a concern. But he doesn't need to outrun the bear here.

#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:17 AM

 

Definitely a concern. But he doesn't need to outrun the bear here.

 

That is true.I just hope he's more than a Suzuki at the ML level.Turner is looking more and more like a Butera/Herrman type guy.Clearly those guys have value to other teams, but I don't think people are going to be excited about another all glove no hit guy at the ML level. 


#12 ashbury

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:38 AM

I love love love these updates.

 

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I'm not slurring my words, I'm talking in cursive.


#13 shs_59

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 11:44 AM

Blankenhorn reminds me of a 3 years ago prior Travis Harrison

as i'm sure he does us all, but he definately has more athleticsm

I"m kind of suprised Vielma ranks that low....he's around 14-18 overall for me.

 

Still Great List on Yohan Quezada and Williams Ramirez will be fun to follow

and especially Huscar Ynoa

Twins Prospects? 1 S. Gonsalves  2. N. Gordon  3. Tyler Jay

4. A. Kirilloff  5. Romero, Fernando  6. Mejia, Alberto  7. K. Stewart

8.J.T. Chargois  9. Wells, Lac. 10. D. Palka  11. Wade, LaM. 12. Nic Burdi


#14 bluechipper

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:09 PM

 

That is true.I just hope he's more than a Suzuki at the ML level.Turner is looking more and more like a Butera/Herrman type guy.Clearly those guys have value to other teams, but I don't think people are going to be excited about another all glove no hit guy at the ML level. 

Well Suzuki is a no hit/no glove guy, so Garver and maybe Turner would seem to be a nice upgrade.


#15 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:10 PM

 

 

Still Great List on Yohan Quezada and Williams Ramirez will be fun to follow

and especially Huscar Ynoa

The Twins are treating Ynoa with kid gloves right now as they should, his pitch count/innings has been limited to less than 40 pitches/2 innings thus far in EXST.  His first inning of work, his fastball holds up in the mid 90s for the first inning but his tank starts to deplete quickly and he's down to high 80 low 90s.


#16 bluechipper

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:13 PM

I did not know Williams Ramirez was already 23 years old. Did he sign as an older player, or did the Twins just wait a long time to bring him onto a full season team?


#17 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:16 PM

Jaylin Davis could surprise a few people, kid was a top 5 round talent last year before injuring his nonthrowing shoulder.  His power is legit I've seen him clock some light tower shots in EXST.  He plays a competent CF, has average arm and speed.  The biggest question has to be whether or not he can make enough contact.

 

Videos from EXST on him:

 


#18 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:19 PM

 

I did not know Williams Ramirez was already 23 years old. Did he sign as an older player, or did the Twins just wait a long time to bring him onto a full season team?

He signed late as a 20yo Dominican and played 2013 and 2014 in the Dominican and all of 2015 in the GCL where he was one of the league's better pitchers but he was also one of the oldest.

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#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:54 PM

 

My big concern on Garver is that his BB/K rates have gotten progressively worse as he's moved up the chain.His OPS has dropped as well.To an extent I expect some of that, but he seemed to take a very professional approach to hitting in Cedar Rapids, and he's much more of a hacker now.

 

K/BB 1.07 - 2014, 1.19 in FTM in 2015, and 2.35 so far this year in AA.He struggled quite a bit out of the gate in 2015 in FTM, and followed up with a pretty strong second half.Hopefully we see something similar, as I'd like to see him with an OPS much higher than it's current .711.

 

If he can post a .700 OPS with league average catcher defense, that would be pretty strong!


#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 01:00 PM

 

I did not know Williams Ramirez was already 23 years old. Did he sign as an older player, or did the Twins just wait a long time to bring him onto a full season team?

 

He was an infielder growing up and with trainers and stuff, and he wasn't getting signed. Someone realized he had a big arm, and he was turned into a pitcher and the Twins signed him. Seems like a good decision at this point. 

 

He's a case where age-to-level just doesn't matter right now. 

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