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Article: 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 16-20

luis arraez jacob pearson ryan jeffers lewin diaz yunior severino
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 07:30 PM

Change happens slowly when it comes to a team’s minor league system. Of the previous 20 players unveiled in our midseason prospect list up to this point, 13 were brought into the organization prior to Derek Falvey taking over as Chief Baseball Officer of the Twins.

This next sample of five prospects includes a couple of holdovers from the previous regime, but also features a trio of players that have been added to the organization within the last seven months. Even more interesting, each of those three newcomers was acquired via a different avenue: One via trade, one through the draft and the other as (technically) an international free agent.20. Luis Arraez – 2B
Age: 21
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (AA/A+): .321/.371/.416 (.786), 14 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 28 K, 19 BB
2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
Seth: 19 | Tom: 19 | Cody: 23

Arraez tore his ACL in just his fourth game of 2017 and was forced to miss the entire rest of the season. He came out of the gates this season struggling badly, hitting .205/.266/.248 (.514) over his first 32 games. With the turn of the calendar from May to June, Luis appeared to have worked off the rust and so began an incredible run. From the start of June to when he was promoted to Chattanooga on the Fourth of July, Arraez hit .441/.484/.604 (1.087) over a span of 28 games. That streak helped earn him the title of Twins Daily’s Minor League Hitter Of The Month for June. Arraez is the youngest player to appear for the Lookouts so far this season.

19. Jacob Pearson – LF
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats (A): .298/.373/.444 (.816), 7 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 28 K, 18 BB
2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
Seth: 22 | Tom: 27 | Cody: 11

The Twins traded for Pearson over the winter, sending international bonus pool slot money over to the Angels. His batting line for the Kernels has been impressive (see above), but what’s particularly attractive about his offensive skill set is the fact that he’s posted a walk rate in the double digits (10.7 percent) while maintaining a strikeout rate under 17 percent (16.6, to be exact). To put that into perspective, only seven other Midwest League hitters can boast that same accomplishment of the 162 who have at least 150 plate appearances this season. Defensively, Pearson has played 78.6 percent of his games as a professional in left field with the rest of the time coming in center.

18. Ryan Jeffers – C
Age: 21
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats (Rk): .361/.480/.426 (.906), 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 11 K, 9 BB
2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR
Seth: 15 | Tom: 20 | Cody: 19

The Twins selected Jeffers with the No. 59 overall pick in this year’s draft after he hit .323/.445/.620 (1.065) with more walks (85) than strikeouts (78) in his three years at UNC Wilmington. Listed at 6-for-4 and 228 pounds, Jeffers is a big, powerful guy. Only time will tell if he sticks behind the plate, but the Twins are clearly believers. Even if he eventually moves to another position, it’s possible he has enough bat to play just about anywhere. In his first 75 plate appearances as a pro, Jeffers has reached safely 36 times (22 hits, nine walks and five HBPs). He’s made six starts at catcher and another 11 at DH, as the E-Twins are also trying to get catching reps in for Andy Cosgrove and Trevor Casanova.

17. Lewin Diaz – 1B
Age: 21
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (A+): .240/.271/.376 (.647), 11 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 43 K, 8 BB
2018 Ranking: 13 | 2017 Ranking: 10
Seth: 23 | Tom: 16 | Cody: 12

There’s no way around it, Diaz is having a rough go of things in 2018. It appears the Florida State League All-Star break came at the perfect time, however, as Diaz has hit .333/.380/.470 (.850) in 17 games since. The FSL can be a brutal place for a power hitter, and adjusting to a league that suppresses offense can be a mental hurdle, as well. Diaz has continued to put the ball in play a lot, but he’s having a much harder time finding hits. After posting a .322 BABIP last season in Cedar Rapids, that number has dropped all the way down to .268 this season. Diaz’s prospect stock is on the decline, but there are still some national media outlets that list him inside the system’s top 10.

16. Yunior Severino – 2B
Age: 18
ETA: 2022
2018 Stats (Rk): .333/.340/.444 (.785), 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 10 K, 1 BB
2018 Ranking: 18 | 2017 Ranking: NR
Seth: 16 | Tom: 17 | Cody: 17

Yet another relative newcomer to the organization, Severino was signed as a free agent for $2.5 million this December after the Braves were forced to forfeit him as a penalty for violating international signing rules. To put that into some perspective, the Twins recently signed this year’s first-round pick Trevor Larnach for $2.55 million. Yunior is the youngest player to appear for Elizabethton this season, so as you could expect, he’s still very raw. In 69 games as a professional, Severino has hit .280/.344/.424 (.769) with a 25.8 K% and 8.4 BB%. He’s been a second baseman so far, but how he fills out physically could ultimately determine his future position. If he continues to get bigger and stronger, he’ll likely have enough arm for third base.

What are your thoughts on the latest set of rankings? Who’s ranked too high? Who’s ranked too low? Leave a comment and start the discussion. Make sure to check back tomorrow for Nos. 11-15. Haven’t been flowing along? Well here’s how we’ve ranked the prospects so far:

40. Aaron Whitefield, 39. Jaylin Davis, 38. Ricky De La Torre, 37. Lachlan Wells, 36. Aaron Slegers
35. Tyler Watson, 34. DaShawn Keirsey Jr., 33. Gabriel Moya, 32. Andrew Bechtold, 31. Jordan Balazovic
30. John Curtiss, 29. Zack Granite, 28. Jake Cave, 27. Tyler Wells, 26. Griffin Jax
25. Tyler Jay, 24. Felix Jorge, 23. Kohl Stewart, 22. Landon Leach, 21. Jose Miranda

For anyone wondering, these rankings were compiled prior to the official announcement that the Twins had singed 16-year-old Venezuelan Misael Urbina to a $2.75 million bonus, so he is not included in the rankings.

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#2 Einstein1

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 08:28 PM

I'd put Jeffers & Arraez ahead of Diaz at this point, maybe even Pearson.

 

Speaking of Jeffers, what's his ETA to Cedar Rapids? 

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#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 09:41 PM

 

I'd put Jeffers & Arraez ahead of Diaz at this point, maybe even Pearson.

 

Speaking of Jeffers, what's his ETA to Cedar Rapids? 

 

That's why it was important for us to want to put our personal rankings in there. We all have different thoughts and rankings, as all of those reading will as well. 

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#4 Tom Froemming

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 09:43 PM

 

That's why it was important for us to want to put our personal rankings in there. We all have different thoughts and rankings, as all of those reading will as well. 

This is Seth's really, really nice way of saying "I totally agree with you, but these other two bozos don't have a clue what they're doing." :) 

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#5 jkcarew

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 10:05 PM

Struggling horrifically with A+ pitching in his age 21 year...almost never walks, power tool showing little sign of development, and zero defensive flexibility. Yeah, Diaz might be a little too high.
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#6 jkcarew

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 10:21 PM

With regard to Jeffers, I don’t know that I’d say the Twins are “believers” in him behind the plate. I’d say it’s more like the Twins felt that it would be “worth a shot” to see if he sticks...given availability at 59th pick...and that if he doesn’t, he still would have a decent chance at providing value at DH/1B. It seems that if the scouting consensus had him sticking as a probability, he would have been long gone by the 59th pick.
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#7 DocBauer

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 11:04 PM

Arraez is simply an amazing hitter with contact and OB ability. Even with solid play at 2B, eventually, he will have to fill out a bit and drive the ball more or his his hit ability will be nullified. But as I've said before, he has me re-thinking my ideal infield in the future.

I get Person being, IIRC, an athletic 3rd round pick, and I get youth and adjusting to pro ball and wooden bat, but to me he was a "let's see" after a not so great debut. (Though with a decent finish). So far, so very good.

Can Jeffers really call a game and catch and throw? Or is he another LeCroy? Time will tell. But hitting potential, decent eye and power potential at least have me intrigued.

What is it with Davis? I'm no scout or expert by any means. But there must be some potential I'm not understanding that ranks him so high on so many lists. The production just doesn't seem to match rankings thus far.
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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 11:29 PM

 

Arraez is simply an amazing hitter with contact and OB ability. Even with solid play at 2B, eventually, he will have to fill out a bit and drive the ball more or his his hit ability will be nullified. But as I've said before, he has me re-thinking my ideal infield in the future.

I get Person being, IIRC, an athletic 3rd round pick, and I get youth and adjusting to pro ball and wooden bat, but to me he was a "let's see" after a not so great debut. (Though with a decent finish). So far, so very good.

Can Jeffers really call a game and catch and throw? Or is he another LeCroy? Time will tell. But hitting potential, decent eye and power potential at least have me intrigued.

What is it with Davis? I'm no scout or expert by any means. But there must be some potential I'm not understanding that ranks him so high on so many lists. The production just doesn't seem to match rankings thus far.

 

We're still in the 16-20 range of prospects. I'd say this group is about potential, but there are enough flaws and question marks. If there weren't, they'd probably be ranked higher. 

 

#20 - Arraez has questions in terms of his ability to play defense anywhere, and lack of athleticism and probably power. But, he has an elite hit tool and takes really good at bats. So, if he can continue to develop hit .320 all the way up and in the big leagues, he can be a leadoff man where SLG and OPS matter less than OBP

 

#19 - Jacob Pearson - All about potential. I was sure that he would play this season in E-Town, but not only has he moved up to Cedar Rapids, but he's played well. He's got a really good approach at the plate. He's got slightly above average speed. He's a good defender. The arm isn't strong .He knows the strike zone. But he's still young and raw. 

 

#18 - Ryan Jeffers - College hitter, advanced hitter with some power. Could be Mitch Garver-like. Defense a question, which is why he's down this far. If he can stick at catcher and be solid defensively, he could move up this list a bunch. 

 

#17 - Lewin Diaz - Tons of power potential. Worrying about lack of power in the Florida State League, especially for a guy as young as Diaz, makes little sense. With his size and strength, as long as he's developing his approach and swing, he could add the HR power in AA. But, he's still got a lot of potential. Will he get there? Who knows? That's why he ranks here. His big weight loss in the offseason is encouraging to his work ethic. 

 

#16 - Yunior Severino - He's a great athlete, strong from both sides of the plate, and though he's not real big, he's got some pop in his bat. Defense, probably "just" a second baseman. He's far away, and so young, but he's got all the tools.  

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#9 beckmt

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 04:38 AM

Interesting set of players.One item I am noting is that the Twins seem to be moving more toward contact and drive hitters and not the swing and miss or hit it a long way types.I like the new approach and am very interested to see how it plays out in the next couple of years. 

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#10 Thrylos

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:10 AM

If your recent second round draft pick is 18th in your system, your system is either crazy loaded, or he is underrated, or he is a bad pick.

 

I think that Jeffers is underrated.He smashed the ball in College and did not miss a beatt moving to the wood in E-town this season.

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#11 rdehring

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:51 AM

I really like this group.And will repeat Thrylos' comment that this system just might be loaded.

 

If Arraez begins to hit at AA like he did in June at Fort Myers, look out.Am more in line with Seth as far as where Diaz should be ranked.But Pearson, Jeffers and Severino really strengthen this organization.And all were brought on board in the last six months, or so.

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#12 Dman

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:53 AM

I really like Arraez's bat.I haven't seen a player swing it that well in the minors since maybe Ben Revere.I hope he finds a defensive home because his bat is crazy good.

 

I too thought Pearson would start in the short season league especially since he struggled last year.Glad I was wrong as it looks like he will be ready for A+ ball next year for sure.

 

Jeffers OBP is almost 500.That is crazy good.He really needs to be better challenged with the bat hope they move him up soon.

 

Not a fan of Diaz and never was a fan of that pick.He played well last year though and I think he has enough bat to stay on the list.Sometime guys need to repeat a level.I believe Polanco did and he made it.Diaz is young so I am not giving up on him yet.Glad to hear he is staying in shape.There is still time for the bat to turn around the rest of this year.

 

Severino is a pleasant surprise.He is quite young so I wondered if the bat would play.He appears to have a good approach for being so young.Looks like a good pickup for the FO.

 

I am pretty excited about all of these guys.They all have a pretty strong chance to make it.Hopefully they can meet the many challenges ahead and continue to be successful.

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#13 markos

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:57 AM

 

Struggling horrifically with A+ pitching in his age 21 year...almost never walks, power tool showing little sign of development, and zero defensive flexibility. Yeah, Diaz might be a little too high.

I am no fan of Diaz for many of the reasons that you pointed out. However, I would caution against reading too much into low-minor walk rates. There is evidence that walk rates (high or low) at those levels are not meaningful predictors of future performance. At any rate, I try to overlook low walk rates if they are coupled with low strikeout rates.

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#14 Tom Froemming

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 08:01 AM

 

If your recent second round draft pick is 18th in your system, your system is either crazy loaded, or he is underrated, or he is a bad pick.

 

I think that Jeffers is underrated.He smashed the ball in College and did not miss a beatt moving to the wood in E-town this season.

This is an honest question: Do you really view Jeffers as a typical second-round pick?

 

Jeffers got the third-lowest bonus among all second rounders this year. He only got $200K more than Keirsey and Sands ($800K vs. $600K).

 

Yes, Jeffers hit a ton in college, but that was in the CAA. Yes, he's off to a good start as a pro, but the power hasn't really shown up yet. He's only got four doubles among his 23 hits.

 

But to answer your question, I guess I'd have to say he was a bad pick in terms of talent vs. round, but strategy wise he was a good pick because he allowed the Twins the flexibility to be able to sign some of the guys who were taken after him.

 

I like Jeffers, he's intriguing. But I think my sort of default value I'd put on him would be more like a third-round pick than a second rounder.

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#15 Mike Sixel

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 09:39 AM

Jeffers too low, Diaz way too high.
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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:10 AM

I don't put a ton of stock into pre-draft defensive evaluations. You'd think the players' defensive skills would be fairly easy to peg, but for some reason they're often off by a wide margin. I'm reserving judgment on Jeffers defensive capabilities until after a full season in Cedar Rapids.

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#17 Thrylos

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:28 AM

 

 

 

I like Jeffers, he's intriguing. But I think my sort of default value I'd put on him would be more like a third-round pick than a second rounder.

 

Quick: In what round did the Marlins draft J.T. Realmuto?

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#18 Tom Froemming

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:36 AM

 

Quick: In what round did the Marlins draft J.T. Realmuto?

In the third round ... out of high school. And Mookie Betts was drafted in the fifth round, does that mean DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is going to be better then him?

 

C'mon man, I answered your question. Do you really view Jeffers as a typical second-round pick?

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#19 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:44 AM

Third round. 104th pick.

#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 12:00 PM

 

In the third round ... out of high school. And Mookie Betts was drafted in the fifth round, does that mean DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is going to be better then him?

 

C'mon man, I answered your question. Do you really view Jeffers as a typical second-round pick?

 

Most said it was a reach and maybe he was picked to help sign the HS'ers picked later in the top 10.

 

But there might be something to this. Bat first catchers with sketchy defensive skills might be one of the more under appreciated players in the draft. Catchers who appear that they will later have to move positions seem to get more demerits than a shortstop who'll have to move over to 3B or a CF who has to get kicked to LF one day.

 

Mike Napoli, Joey Votto, Neil Walker, Yonder Alozno, Josh Donaldson, Wil Myers, Matt Adams, Kyle Schwarber and Paul Dejong were all drafted as catchers.

 

Based on the team's other picks, it looks to me that they were picking the best bats, not the best bats for a particular position; catcher probably wasn't an exception. The team's strategy might be to just find the best hitters and if things don't fit defensively they'll take care of that with trades or free agents, which is basically what happens anyway since pegging a player's defensive capabilities pre-draft doesn't tend to be all that accurate anyway.

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