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Article: Part 1: Seth's Midseason Top 40 Twins Prospects (31-40)

randy rosario jaylin davis jordan balazovic aaron slegers tyler wells
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 06:09 AM

Prospect rankings are always fun. I choose to update my personal Top 40 Twins prospect rankings before the draft, before an influx of 25 or so new prospects. Obviously the draft, particularly the #1 overall pick but also several others in the top rounds, will affect any organization’s rankings. When the season is complete I do a quick preliminary Top 50 rankings before diving deep into the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is in that publication where you can find my “official” preseason rankings.Let’s take a quick look at my choices for Twins Prospect 31-40, and I certainly encourage your questions and any discussion on the players. (I have included my preseason rankings. Note that I do a Top 30 list in the Prospect Handbook, but I keep and update occasionally a ranking of all of the Twins prospects. However, for this, I will put NR if they were outside my Top 50.)


40. Alex Robinson, LH RP, 22
Robinson was the Twins fifth-round draft pick in 2015 out of Maryland.He spent the last two years at Elizabethton where he struck out 67 batters combined in 45 innings. So why was he there for two years? It might have something to do with the 50 walks. He’s worked hard to harness some incredible stuff, including a fastball that sits 96-97 and touches 98-99. He also has a slider that is nearly unhittable. He’s currently in the Cedar Rapids bullpen where he has seven walks and 28 strikeouts in 20 innings. Continued improvement of those two pitches as well as some semblance of command, and Robinson could be another dominant relief option.
Preseason Ranking: NR

39. Mitchell Kranson, C/3B/1B/DH, 23
Kranson was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2016 out of Cal-Berkeley. Kranson is a hitter. That is what his position is. However, he has made himself valuable by being able to play all over the field. While he has DHd a lot, he’s also spent multiple games behind the plate, at first base and at third base this season. In college, he also played some in the outfield. In 38 games for the Kernels, he is hitting .262/.314/.421 (.735) with 12 doubles, a triple and three home runs. Kranson has a high baseball IQ as well, and his offseason demonstrates his drive to be better. He lost 25 pounds without losing any muscle.
Preseason Ranking: NR


38. Mason Melotakis, LHP, 25
“Melo” was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2012 out of Northwestern State in Louisiana. He had a year as a starter before moving to the bullpen. And, soon after, his elbow required Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound for the 2016 season. He spent the year in Chattanooga. This season, he returned to Chattanooga where he didn’t give up a run for the first five weeks of the season. He has struggled more in the past two weeks, but his stuff is still good. He’s another lefty reliever who throws in the mid-90s with a strong slider. If needed, he can still work more pitches into the mix as well. (Here is a One To Watch story on Melotakis from Twins Fest 2015, shortly before his return from surgery)
Preseason Ranking: 31


37. Jaylin Davis, OF, 22
Davis was the Twins 24th-round pick in 2015 out of Appalachian State. He likely would have been drafted about 15 rounds sooner if not for an injury that cost him the rest of that year. He returned to action last year and hit seven home runs in 12 games for Elizabethton. He then hit nine more homers in 52 games in Cedar Rapids. That’s where he started the 2017 season. In 46 games, he’s hitting .256/.309/.506 (.815) with six doubles and ten home runs (most in the Twins minor leagues so far this year). While he strikes out a lot, Davis has tremendous power. He’s actually become a real solid right fielder as well. He should get a midseason promotion to the Miracle. (Here is his Get to know ‘em Q&A)
Preseason Ranking: 39


36. Eduardo Del Rosario, RHP, 22
Eduardo Del Rosario signed with the Twins way back in December of 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. He spent 2013 in the DSL, 2014 in the GCL. He split 2015 between the GCL and Elizabethton. Last year, before the short-season started, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids. He returned to the Kernels to start this season. He is currently 3-2 with a 4.69 ERA in eight starts and 40.1 innings. He’s got 43 strikeouts but also 18 walks. He’s listed at 6-0 and 145 pounds. He is more than 145 pounds, but he is very thin. He’s got a good, whip-like action in his delivery. He throws in the low 90s with a good slider/breaking ball and a decent changeup. He’ll have to keep improving those pitches, but the potential is there.
Preseason Ranking: 44


35. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP, 25
Hildenberger was the Twins 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 after five years at Cal-Berkeley. He has been the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year the last two seasons, 2015and 2016. He is now with the Rochester Red Wings. In 16.2 innings, he has walked six and struck out 16 batters. The side-winding right-hander We’ve written a lot of words on this site about Hildenberger over the years, but now he is at the point where he’s nearly ready, and he’s just waiting for an opportunity. He could be a good seventh inning guy who could also pitch in the eighth frame.
Preseason Ranking: 42


34. Tyler Wells, RHP, 22
Wells was the Twins 15th-round pick in 2016 out of Cal State San Bernadino. He made ten starts last year in Elizabethton and went 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA. In 47.1 innings, he struck out 59 and walked 17. He began this season in Cedar Rapids where he went 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA in six starts. In 34 innings, he has walked ten and struck out 45 batters. At 6-8 and 265 pounds, Wells is a big man, and can be somewhat intimidating on the mound. He’s got a fastball that sits 91-93 and touches 94 and even 95 at times. He’s also got a couple of breaking pitches that can be very good. A sharp slider and more of a 12-6 curveball. (Here is his Get To Know ‘Em Q&A from this past offseason.)
Preseason Ranking: NR


33. Aaron Slegers, RHP, 24
Twice already this season, Aaron Slegers has taken a no-hitter through six innings. In his first AAA start, he threw six no-hit innings before being removed from the game due to pitch count. And he went into the eighth inning once before losing the no-hitter. Last night, he had yet another quality start. Slegers was the Twins’ fifth- round pick back in 2013 out of Indiana where he was the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. He has moved up one level per year. In eight starts so far this year with Rochester, he is 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA. In 48.1 innings, he has nine walks and 34 strikeouts. Slegers sits 90-93 but he has hit 94 and 95 on occasions. At 6-10, Slegers has smooth mechanics and good control. (Here is the story on Slegers discussing his big league spring training.)
Preseason Ranking: 36
Pre-2016 Ranking: 28


32. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, 18
The Twins used their fifth-round pick in 2016 on the St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga high school in Ontario, Canada. After signing, he went to the GCL and made eight appearances including six starts. He went 2-1 with a 1.97 ERA. In 32 innings, he walked just five (though he also hit seven) and struck out just 16. But reports on him were glowing. Observers saw a fastball that could reach up to 94-95 mph with good secondary pitches. He also was described as having a bulldog like attitude on the mound. Still so young, at 6-4 and 175 pounds, Balazovic has plenty of projection remaining. (Here is his Get to Know ‘Em Q&A)
Preseason Ranking: 30

31. Randy Rosario, LH RP, 23
Rosario signed with the Twins in August of 2010. He had Tommy John surgery after just three starts in Cedar Rapids in 2014. He missed the remainder of that season. He did return to the Kernels midway through the 2015 season and flashed a fastball that touched 96-97 mph. It was enough to get added to the 40-man roster. He pitched to mixed results last year in Ft. Myers. He throws hard and has a good slider, but he didn’t rack up many strikeouts. He came to spring training this year and was moved to the bullpen full time, something he was happy about. With the big fastball and sharp slider, it’s a great role for him. He’s pitched well this season in AA Chattanooga. (Here is his Get To Know ‘Em Q&A from late 2015.)
Preseason Ranking: 33
Pre-2016 Ranking: 19


So there you have it, the start to my personal midseason Top 40 Twins prospect rankings. Today’s installment covered my choices for Twins prospects 31-40. Over the next week or two, there’ll be several more installments until we reach #1.



Hopefully you will enjoy the series and will leave comments and discuss the prospects mentioned and the order they are in.

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#2 brvama

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 06:36 AM

Thanks Seth. It's interesting that there's 3 or so that could see the majors this year or next and yet are rated this low. (I don't disagree with the ranking, however.). Don't believe I've seen that in the past. They may not be top prospects but I think they could be good role players and who knows maybe one will step out to shine. Anyway I enjoy your lists and look forward to the rest.
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#3 clutterheart

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 06:38 AM

Thanks Seth!  Fun to read.  Is it easy to put a previous ranking?  Its always interesting to see who you think is rising/falling.  

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#4 birdwatcher

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:05 AM

It's encouraging that you can find 30+ prospects more promising than this group, especially considering that:

 

1) Four of them have entered the conversation about possibly being roster additions some time in 2017 (Hildenberger, Melotakis, Slegers, and Rosario);

 

2) Three of them are LHRP who can bring it in the mid to upper 90's (Melo, Robinson, and Rosario);

 

3) #35 is a two-time RP of the year (Hildenberger)

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#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:27 AM

 

Thanks Seth!  Fun to read.  Is it easy to put a previous ranking?  Its always interesting to see who you think is rising/falling.  

 

I added the Preseason Ranking... As I noted in a paragraph... I actually maintain (occasionally, not real often) a ranking of all Twins minor league prospects. I'll put NR if they were outside my Top 50...)

 

I'll also add if they were in previous preseason rankings, but only if they actually were in the Top 30.

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#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:33 AM

I thought the Twins released Melo?

 

I like Belozovic a lot. That was a nice draft pick with a lot of potential upside. He'll just need time.


#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:35 AM

 

Thanks Seth. It's interesting that there's 3 or so that could see the majors this year or next and yet are rated this low. (I don't disagree with the ranking, however.). Don't believe I've seen that in the past. They may not be top prospects but I think they could be good role players and who knows maybe one will step out to shine. Anyway I enjoy your lists and look forward to the rest.

 

Thank you, and that's why I enjoy doing rankings that extend past a Top 10 or even 20. There, honestly, are guys outside my current Top 40 that will play in the big leagues. At this point, there is just some development to do before I'm ready to bump them up. But rankings are based on ceilings and a measure of proximity and age and so many factors. But there are definitely some guys in this range who will play in the big leagues, and the relievers could be reliable guys too. 

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#8 Respy

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:44 AM

Just curious why Hildenberger, two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and "nearly ready," is only ranked at #35?  Not at all trying to bash the rankings, but wondering if there's maybe something in his scouting report which shows that his stuff might not play so well at the big leagues?

 

Also aside from the obvious differences in the delivery, anyone have thoughts on his comparison to the stuff of Pat Neshek (most recent Twins side-armer)?

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#9 brvama

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:55 AM

The additional ranking info helps bring perspective to the current rank. Other than Rosario the rest fall somewhat within previous ranks. Thanks.

#10 Tom Froemming

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:08 AM

Yes! Excited to read the rest of these. Great to see Tyler Wells crack the Top 40, he's been fun to watch this season.

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#11 Loosey

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:16 AM

Am I the only one who would like to see Slegers get a shot at being that #5 in the rotation over Tepesch/Gibson/Wilk?  No one is expecting him to set the world on fire, but if needed I think he could be a decent #5.

Edited by Loosey, 25 May 2017 - 08:16 AM.

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#12 clutterheart

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:29 AM

 

I thought the Twins released Melo?

 

I like Belozovic a lot. That was a nice draft pick with a lot of potential upside. He'll just need time.

 

Are you thinking Michael Cederoth?

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#13 Steve Lein

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

 

Just curious why Hildenberger, two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and "nearly ready," is only ranked at #35?  Not at all trying to bash the rankings, but wondering if there's maybe something in his scouting report which shows that his stuff might not play so well at the big leagues?

 

Also aside from the obvious differences in the delivery, anyone have thoughts on his comparison to the stuff of Pat Neshek (most recent Twins side-armer)?

 

Neshek was a guy who really developed, I think. His numbers got better as he moved up the ladder and improved his repertoire. He got big movement in every direction out of his arm-slot that was already hard to deal with by the time he reached the majors.

 

Hildenberger isn't quite as big of a sidewinder, and he also throws something from a more normal overhand slot (which might give that pitch away). I'm not sure Hildenberger has any pitches on Neshek's (prime) level at this point (besides a straight fastball I'd guess, neither are/were flamethrowers), but it's very hard to argue with the results.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#14 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:46 AM

 

Just curious why Hildenberger, two-time Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and "nearly ready," is only ranked at #35?  Not at all trying to bash the rankings, but wondering if there's maybe something in his scouting report which shows that his stuff might not play so well at the big leagues?

 

Also aside from the obvious differences in the delivery, anyone have thoughts on his comparison to the stuff of Pat Neshek (most recent Twins side-armer)?

 

I think that's a very fair question. There are certainly comparisons to Pat Neshek, and I think that Hildenberger could potentially have that same type of career. 

 

Hildenberger is absolutely legit. He throws hard enough, has a good slider and a really good changeup. Obviously there is some deception. 

 

I just typically rank relief pitchers lower than starters, unless they could be really dominant. I see Hildenberger as being a guy who pitches a lot of 7th and even 8th innings in the big leagues, and hopefully for a long time. 

 

I think there are several starters who can be #3/4 types of starters (ceiling) in the big leagues that are ahead of him. 

 

I definitely don't claim that this is right. Even as I rank these, I feel guilty about putting him that low, but I'm willing to take the heat. 

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#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:49 AM

 

The additional ranking info helps bring perspective to the current rank. Other than Rosario the rest fall somewhat within previous ranks. Thanks.

 

I would say that Robinson and Kranson both flew up this ranking pretty significantly. 

 

I don't think prospect rankings should change a ton, unless there is really good performance, or something that I've seen or heard that effects the thinking of what a player can be.

 

Since my last rankings (right around June 1), I have spent 9 days at spring training, a lot of that on the minor league side. I've also spent four days in Cedar Rapids watching that team. We also have about 7 weeks of the season complete, so there is some performance equation to it too. 

 

And then, it's far from scientific.


#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:51 AM

 

Am I the only one who would like to see Slegers get a shot at being that #5 in the rotation over Tepesch/Gibson/Wilk?  No one is expecting him to set the world on fire, but if needed I think he could be a decent #5.

 

I would stick more with Gibson right now and let Slegers keep working in Rochester. He's been really good at times, and he's been lit up at times. I'd like to see him spend a little more time down there because I do think he could have a future in the rotation at some point, and I'd rather let him develop at his own pace rather than push him too quickly. That's not to say he couldn't come up and be OK right now... but he's got a few things to iron out and clean up. 

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#17 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:08 AM

 

Are you thinking Michael Cederoth?

Yep, I think I got the two confused. Thanks.


#18 Tibs

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:29 AM

Is Tyler Benninghoff expected to pitch this year or will he still be rehabbing?

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#19 ashbury

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:44 AM

I would stick more with Gibson right now and let Slegers keep working in Rochester. He's been really good at times, and he's been lit up at times. I'd like to see him spend a little more time down there because I do think he could have a future in the rotation at some point, and I'd rather let him develop at his own pace rather than push him too quickly. That's not to say he couldn't come up and be OK right now... but he's got a few things to iron out and clean up. 

Yep. He's had 3 good games in a row, but that's not yet enough of a demonstration of consistency to indicate he's ready to be an asset at the major league level, and he's not yet 25 so I would not advocate rushing him based on a good two-week stretch. July's soon enough if he continues at a really good pace, August if he mixes only a few clunkers in with the good starts, and September to give him a taste if he's doing just-OK.

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#20 drivlikejehu

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:54 AM

I have Slegers higher. He's an unusual prospect to some extent because of his height . . . I think he's a step above the so-so reliever prospects since he has a chance to start and also potential out of the bullpen if starting doesn't pan out. 

 

Wells is intriguing but he's just pitched too few innings and at low levels to really move up too much yet.

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