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Article: Three Prospects To Watch In 2018

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 08:30 PM

If you haven’t heard yet, the 2018 version of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed when we are compiling over 160 profiles on almost every player in the Twins farms system. That being said, it fun to pick out players to focus on for the up-coming season.

Some players might be coming back from injury. Some players might be new to the organization. Here are three players I will be watching in 2018 with a little background on what I think they can accomplish in the coming year.Brusdar Graterol, RHP
Graterol has seen a bumpy start to his professional career. As a 16-year old in 2015, he made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. He was limited to four starts and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. It cost him the rest of 2015 and all of 2016. Last season, he returned to action in the GCL and the Appy League, where he was still over 2.5 years younger than the competition. In the GCL, he posted a 1.40 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP while averaging 9.8 K/9. With the E-Twins, he saw increases to both his ERA (3.92) and WHIP (1.21). However, he was Elizabethton’s youngest pitcher this season and his K/9 increased to 10.5.

Looking ahead to 2018, it’s not hard to imagine that Graterol could make appearances with Cedar Rapids before he turns 20 in late August. His fastball can consistently hit in the high 90’s and he has shown the ability to rear back and hit triple digits. If he can continue to develop his secondary pitches, his stock could continue to rise in 2018.

Jacob Pearson, OF
Minnesota acquired Pearson this off-season in a deal that sent international bonus money to the Los Angeles Angels. Pearson was taken by the Angels in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He signed for $1 million, an over-slot deal, to keep him from committing to LSU. Pearson made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League and saw some ups and downs. Over 155 at-bats, he hit .226/.302/.284 with eight extra-base hits and five steals in 40 games. He ended the year with hits in eight of his final ten games including a .317 OBP. All but 30 of his plate appearances came against older pitchers so there are still some adjustments to be made as a pro.

As a sophomore in high school, Pearson had labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder. This currently means his arm is below average but he could strengthen it as he works through the Twins system. Baseball America touted Pearson’s quiet confidence and work ethic in an article this past November. He could eventually be a 20-20 type of player. He will start 2018 in extended spring training but he could make his way to Cedar Rapids before season’s end.

Lewis Thorpe, LHP
Thorpe burst on the scene as a 17-year old in the GCL back in 2013. He dominated hitters with a 2.05 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and 64 strikeouts in 44.0 innings. Baseball Prospectus even included him in their top-101 prospects leading into 2014 and 2015. Thorpe did not pitch in 2015 and 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery and then from mononucleosis. He’d return in 2017 with the Miracle where he posted a 2.69 ERA while striking out nearly 10 batters per nine. In late August, he made a spot start with the Lookouts and picked up the victory. He allowed four runs, struck out seven and pitched through the sixth frame. It was a big year back for Mr. Thorpe.

Since he is multiple years removed from TJ surgery, 2018 could end up being an important year in Thorpe’s development. He will likely pitch the entire year in Chattanooga but he will still be roughly two years younger than the competition. With an arsenal that includes three pitches, he has the opportunity to prove he should be reconsidered as one of the best pitching prospects in the Twins system.

What minor league players will you be focused on during the coming season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

Make sure to pick up a copy of the 2018 Twins Prospect Handbook if you'd like to identify your own prospects to follow in the Twins farm system.

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Cody Christie
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#2 Vanimal46

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 08:40 PM

I'll be following LaMonte Wade per usual... I'm a big fan of his plate discipline and hope he makes it to AAA.

Akil Baddoo as well. I think he'll be a top 100 prospect by midseason, and everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon soon.
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#3 Dman

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 08:49 PM

I'll be following just about everyone in Cedar Rapids.There is an abundance of talent at that level.I am most interested in Javier, Kirillof and Lewis.All have very high upside and full season ball should tell us a lot how quickly they can move through the system.

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#4 caninatl04

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:23 PM

I'll be following, from afar, the DSL Twins Nunez, Encarnacion and Santana.There are also two catchers:De la Cruz and Pimentel.

 

Yes, all the caveats-- they're 18 y.o., etc.

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#5 caninatl04

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:24 PM

Question: what are Graterol's prospective secondary offerings?

#6 BJames

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:40 PM

I'll be watching Brent Rooker!

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#7 Darius

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:05 PM

Just about every pitcher drafted this year (Enlow, Leach, Barns, Sammons). We really need to get a good class of SPs moving through the system.
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#8 dbminn

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:10 PM

I'll be following Luis Arraez. Hope he finds the stroke he had before going down with a knee injury.

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#9 twinsin17

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:29 PM

Luis Arraez killed A level pitching in the Midwest League in 2016 and continued the slaughter during winter ball in Venezuala before tearing his ACL at the start of last year. Hope he bounces back and murders Florida State League pitching in 2018!

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#10 Brandon

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:39 PM

Poppin and beeker
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#11 Han Joelo

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:05 PM

Love that trio, although still learning about Pearson. How about Miranda and I'm forgetting--Ricky something? MI?

#12 TRex

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 06:40 AM

 

I'll be following LaMonte Wade per usual... I'm a big fan of his plate discipline and hope he makes it to AAA.

Akil Baddoo as well. I think he'll be a top 100 prospect by midseason, and everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon soon.

I think of a list like this as 'players that might make the biggest leap in prospect ranking', which obviously weights towards players transitioning into full season ball and from A to AA. Therefore, I thought Cody's list was perfect... and then the first post after mentions Baddoo! He will be my #1, even though the likelihood of him reaching his ceiling is certainly lower than Thorpe.

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#13 laloesch

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 07:51 AM

I'm watching Thorpe,Littell, Gonsalves (assuming he doesn't make the MLB team this year) and Rooker. 

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#14 rdehring

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 08:10 AM

I began following Thorpe when he was pitching winter ball back home in Australia.I think it was the winter of 2013, but could have been the following year.He was one of the top two pitchers in the league, facing teams with a mix of single A players to a few who had a cup of coffee.His numbers were obscene.Will continue following him this year with the expectation that he moves up to Rochester late in the year.Expect the reason he won't get a September call up is that he will be out of innings after not pitching in 2015-2016.

 

The other player I want to see fly like an eagle thru the system is Enlow.Can't win without top level pitching.The only way we are going to get a deep rotation is thru the draft and development.

 

Would you like to be a Twins scout in Louisiana?Enlow, Bechtold and Pearson all turned pro rather than honor their commitment to LSU last year.Expect there is a bounty on Twins scouts in Baton Rouge.

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#15 jrod23

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 08:18 AM

 

I'll be following just about everyone in Cedar Rapids.There is an abundance of talent at that level.I am most interested in Javier, Kirillof and Lewis.All have very high upside and full season ball should tell us a lot how quickly they can move through the system.

 

I'm rubing out here, but the team that won the Appy League last year, will now have the help of Lewis for the start of the season (probably).How they juggle Javier and him is on young Gardy, but the Kernels team this year could rival the 2013 year when they had Kepler, Polanco, Walker, Buxton, Berrios, Melotakis, etc.Tons of talent here for little Gardy.

 

My three would be Thorpe, Kirillof, and Baddoo

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#16 amjgt

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 08:32 AM

That picture (especially the thumbnail size) looks a lot like Glen Perkins.


#17 theBOMisthebomb

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:00 AM

What is the future for J.T. Chargois? The high hopes entering 2017 have dimmed to now there is no buzz. I hope he can get back on track in 2018 and contribute in the Twins bullpen.
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#18 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:04 AM

There's a lot to be excited about in our system next year. To name three that haven't come up as much-

 

Tyler Jay - can he make the pen out of ST? Will this finally be the year our system gives us a true bullpen weapon?

Jose Miranda - one of the other second round picks in 2016. Had a really nice season in Elizabethon and looks like he's growing into the power predictions

Andrew Bechtold - I think he's a big time sleeper for us and I'm really excited to see how the Twins push him, since he'll be 22 next year.

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#19 birdwatcher

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:48 AM

I think it's interesting that this is the 18th post and 28 names have been mentioned, but my mention of Fernando Romero makes it his first.

 

I have no idea whether we should be more or less optimistic about him. Romero will be one of the more interesting prospects for me, along with Tyler Jay and Brent Rooker. That's because each of them could succeed spectacularly, and each of them might ultimately be disappointing, but if they reach their ceilings, this will be a different and decidedly better team, as early as this season.

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#20 birdwatcher

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:56 AM

I think it's interesting as well that no one seems to be championing Nick Gordon, and he might be talented enough to crack the lineup some time in 2018.