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Article: Seth's Preseason Top 20 Minnesota Twins Position Player Prospects

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#21 JLease

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:36 AM

I seriously disagree with leaving Rortvedt out of the top 20. In my mind he's at least top 15 and after last season's success at the plate in high-A deserves consideration as a top 10 prospect. He's a better receiver than Jeffers and is actually younger. I'm a little baffled by Jeffers at #6 and Rortvedt not cracking the top 20.

 

Rortvedt deserved to be ranked, especially if someone like Blankenhorn cracks the list. (I'm not wild about Blankenhorn, who struggled to hit in Ft. Myers and didn't do well in the AFL either. Maybe repeating a level will get him back on track, but he's clearly being passed by other prospects at 2B and is starting to look like he won't hit enough to play 3B)

 

 

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#22 MMMordabito

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:45 AM

Assuming Javier gets a quick call to CR, looks like there are 6 reasons here to go watch Kernels baseball!

 

Topping, Lewis, Kirilloff and Graterol all in the same game last year will be tough, but maybe Enlow, Javier and Celestino will give them a run.

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#23 MMMordabito

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:56 AM

 

Man, the Twins must really, really like Helman. I mean, I fully understand Larnach and Jeffers jumping straight to Ft. Myers, but Helman isn't necessarily the type of player that you bump up that fast. But he's talented. Again, not sure he has any plus tools but he is average or better at a lot of things. Fields well. Plays middle infield. Line drives. Good approach. Averagish speed. He's impressive to watch 

 

These types of situations always remind me of Moneyball.Beane was the toolsy 1st rounder and Dykstra was the wad-o-chew 13th rounder.They were both contemplating Steve Carlton and Lenny says, "I'll stick him."

 

Not sure Helman is looking for any Kodiak endorsements, but maybe he can just "stick him".


#24 Drew

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:11 AM

It's nice to have both a good, fun big league club and a good, fun minor league system. It seems likely that these guys are going to supplement an already good team rather than be forced to be the saviors. In 2007 Nick Blackburn was our #1 prospect, I wonder if he'd even make this top 20 now?

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#25 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:18 AM

 

These types of situations always remind me of Moneyball.Beane was the toolsy 1st rounder and Dykstra was the wad-o-chew 13th rounder.They were both contemplating Steve Carlton and Lenny says, "I'll stick him."

 

Not sure Helman is looking for any Kodiak endorsements, but maybe he can just "stick him".

 

Helman is a ballplayer... No question... Having talked to him a few times... he's no Dykstra personality-wise, but he is just a really good baseball player. And you're'right, ,these things happen a lot. Like, Helman isn't' the kind of player that when you watch him in one game you're going to be wowed... but (and I havent seen him enough to say this with 100% confidence), he seems like one of those players that you appreciate over the course of a few weeks and months. I don't think of that as a knock at all. In fact, it's meant as a compliment. The same thing was said of Brian Dozier during his minor league days. 

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#26 mikelink45

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:28 AM

Thanks for the ratings.It is always interesting and you fill in a big gap in my knowledge of the system.But as always, I am MLB oriented so my question would be - who do you rank as 2019, 2020, 2021 arrivals?Who can make that jump? 

 

And if not with the Twins, would be trade bait because they are ready to step in.I know I think Wade has done all he can and would be trade stock for me.Kiriloff and Lewis seem like they are ready for the end of the year and that means 40 man roster trades to get them in.  

 

This is like the MLB stock market - buy, sell and trade - becomes promote, remove, and trade. 


#27 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:31 AM

 

I seriously disagree with leaving Rortvedt out of the top 20. In my mind he's at least top 15 and after last season's success at the plate in high-A deserves consideration as a top 10 prospect. He's a better receiver than Jeffers and is actually younger. I'm a little baffled by Jeffers at #6 and Rortvedt not cracking the top 20.

 

Rortvedt deserved to be ranked, especially if someone like Blankenhorn cracks the list. (I'm not wild about Blankenhorn, who struggled to hit in Ft. Myers and didn't do well in the AFL either. Maybe repeating a level will get him back on track, but he's clearly being passed by other prospects at 2B and is starting to look like he won't hit enough to play 3B)

 

I'm comfortable with my rankings, but I did know that Rortvedt would come up. 

 

Through some off-the-record conversations, I'm told that Rortvedt has really struggled with the pitch-framing portion of catching. For me, he's fantastic throwing and blocking and he's a really good athlete behind the plate. I also think that he works as well with pitchers as anyone. I also know that he has worked really hard on the framing, so I think that it's likely he will put up better framing numbers this year. 

 

Jeffers, on the other hand, scores very well in the pitch framing numbers. Add that to his plus-bat potential, including power, and that makes for a really exciting prospect. 

 

And as for Blankenhorn, I do believe in his athleticism and talent, and I think that he will hit. I may be totally wrong, but he's immensely talented and does have huge power potential and really good speed. I may be wrong. I mean, obviously a lot of these 20 aren't going to become MLB stars, but I'll still "buy" on Blankenhorn... while at the same time noting that I've previously had him as a Top 8-10 Twins prospect and now I have him as the #15 position player prospect (which theoretically probably puts him around #30 overall prospect). So it's certainly a big year for him.

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#28 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:33 AM

 

It's nice to have both a good, fun big league club and a good, fun minor league system. It seems likely that these guys are going to supplement an already good team rather than be forced to be the saviors. In 2007 Nick Blackburn was our #1 prospect, I wonder if he'd even make this top 20 now?

 

He didn't make my Top 20 then... Oops.. I just lied... I had him at #19 going into the 2008 season. 

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#29 SD Buhr

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:35 AM

 

Helman is a ballplayer... No question... Having talked to him a few times... he's no Dykstra personality-wise, but he is just a really good baseball player. And you're'right, ,these things happen a lot. Like, Helman isn't' the kind of player that when you watch him in one game you're going to be wowed... but (and I havent seen him enough to say this with 100% confidence), he seems like one of those players that you appreciate over the course of a few weeks and months. I don't think of that as a knock at all. In fact, it's meant as a compliment. The same thing was said of Brian Dozier during his minor league days. 

As someone who did see Helman a lot last year, I'd agree with Seth 100%. Not flashy, but game in and game out, you really do appreciate what he does.

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#30 rdehring

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 09:49 AM

 

I updated the post to say "position players" and now I apologize for shocking you. 

Now I am shocked that you didn't include Rortvedt in your Top 20 position players.

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#31 2wins87

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:19 AM

 

I'm comfortable with my rankings, but I did know that Rortvedt would come up. 

 

Through some off-the-record conversations, I'm told that Rortvedt has really struggled with the pitch-framing portion of catching. For me, he's fantastic throwing and blocking and he's a really good athlete behind the plate. I also think that he works as well with pitchers as anyone. I also know that he has worked really hard on the framing, so I think that it's likely he will put up better framing numbers this year. 

 

Jeffers, on the other hand, scores very well in the pitch framing numbers. Add that to his plus-bat potential, including power, and that makes for a really exciting prospect. 

 

And as for Blankenhorn, I do believe in his athleticism and talent, and I think that he will hit. I may be totally wrong, but he's immensely talented and does have huge power potential and really good speed. I may be wrong. I mean, obviously a lot of these 20 aren't going to become MLB stars, but I'll still "buy" on Blankenhorn... while at the same time noting that I've previously had him as a Top 8-10 Twins prospect and now I have him as the #15 position player prospect (which theoretically probably puts him around #30 overall prospect). So it's certainly a big year for him.

 

 

I'm not someone who feels strongly on Rortvedt one way or another, but this does bring up an interesting question.

How much of a consideration should minor league framing be?

And when should it start to be important?

 

I'm pretty curious to see how Garver's numbers look this year after a month or two.

He was worth -10 runs last year according to Fangraphs' new numbers, but we've heard several times that framing was a specific offseason focus for him.

If he's average or better this year then I think we'd have to give pretty heavy consideration to the hypothesis that all it really takes to be a good framer is the willingness to work on it and amount of effort put into it (there already is evidence that as teams have become more aware of framing everyone has clustered closer to the average).

Basically it seems like the approach is mostly just to lower the stance and get a bunch of better calls on low strikes.

Maybe it won't be that simple, but we'll have to see.

It seems possible that it might be the kind of thing that players don't really need to focus on until AA or AAA once they have all the fundamentals down, then they put in a some time with their catching coaches and voila, average mlb framer.

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#32 JLease

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:23 AM

 

I'm comfortable with my rankings, but I did know that Rortvedt would come up. 

 

Through some off-the-record conversations, I'm told that Rortvedt has really struggled with the pitch-framing portion of catching. For me, he's fantastic throwing and blocking and he's a really good athlete behind the plate. I also think that he works as well with pitchers as anyone. I also know that he has worked really hard on the framing, so I think that it's likely he will put up better framing numbers this year. 

 

Jeffers, on the other hand, scores very well in the pitch framing numbers. Add that to his plus-bat potential, including power, and that makes for a really exciting prospect. 

 

And as for Blankenhorn, I do believe in his athleticism and talent, and I think that he will hit. I may be totally wrong, but he's immensely talented and does have huge power potential and really good speed. I may be wrong. I mean, obviously a lot of these 20 aren't going to become MLB stars, but I'll still "buy" on Blankenhorn... while at the same time noting that I've previously had him as a Top 8-10 Twins prospect and now I have him as the #15 position player prospect (which theoretically probably puts him around #30 overall prospect). So it's certainly a big year for him.

 

I'm not going to claim that Rortvedt should rank above Jeffers, but it feels like based on age and level performance they're not all that far apart as prospects, albeit for some differing reasons. Beyond that, developing quality catchers that can actually use the bat effectively sure seems to be a challenge for MLB, so if Rortvedt really has taken a leap forward with his hitting there's a ton of value there. but I freely admit I'm on Team Rortvedt.

 

I'm concerned about Blankenhorn. It's hard not to think of his season last year as a disappointment; Arraez has clearly passed him at this point and we simply didn't see much of that power potential in Ft. Myers. Maybe he and Lewin Diaz just hit that FSL wall we've come to expect and Alex Kirilloff is an even bigger outlier?

 

Strong "next wave" of talent clustered at Ft. Myers right now, which is a place where I feel like we really start to winnow out who are actually going to be real prospects vs JAGs. Should be an interesting season.

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#33 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:45 AM

 

Now I am shocked that you didn't include Rortvedt in your Top 20 position players.

 

Goal #1 accomplished for today... Now I'm going to have some lunch. Ha!!

 

OK, shocking you wasn't really the goal. 

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#34 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:50 AM

 

I'm not someone who feels strongly on Rortvedt one way or another, but this does bring up an interesting question.

How much of a consideration should minor league framing be?

And when should it start to be important?

 

I'm pretty curious to see how Garver's numbers look this year after a month or two.

He was worth -10 runs last year according to Fangraphs' new numbers, but we've heard several times that framing was a specific offseason focus for him.

If he's average or better this year then I think we'd have to give pretty heavy consideration to the hypothesis that all it really takes to be a good framer is the willingness to work on it and amount of effort put into it (there already is evidence that as teams have become more aware of framing everyone has clustered closer to the average).

Basically it seems like the approach is mostly just to lower the stance and get a bunch of better calls on low strikes.

Maybe it won't be that simple, but we'll have to see.

It seems possible that it might be the kind of thing that players don't really need to focus on until AA or AAA once they have all the fundamentals down, then they put in a some time with their catching coaches and voila, average mlb framer.

 

I don't know how muchh attention and focus it should get as far as prospect rankings. I know it gets a ton of attention in the organization and the work Tanner Swanson is doing with Twins catchers is really incredible.

 

We also know that catchers get paid and stick around in the big leagues because of those numbers. And Garver told us this spring that he knew his career wouldn't' be long if he didn't make those changes and improve those numbers.

 

So I do think it should be a factor... but even for catchers, it's one factor. Hitting is another. And I'm sure there are several. 

 

And again, the work and drills and focus that pitch receiving is receiving now from Swanson and everyone else is great because hopefully by year's end, all of these guys will continue to improve. 


#35 Seth Stohs

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:57 AM

 

I'm not going to claim that Rortvedt should rank above Jeffers, but it feels like based on age and level performance they're not all that far apart as prospects, albeit for some differing reasons. Beyond that, developing quality catchers that can actually use the bat effectively sure seems to be a challenge for MLB, so if Rortvedt really has taken a leap forward with his hitting there's a ton of value there. but I freely admit I'm on Team Rortvedt.

 

I'm concerned about Blankenhorn. It's hard not to think of his season last year as a disappointment; Arraez has clearly passed him at this point and we simply didn't see much of that power potential in Ft. Myers. Maybe he and Lewin Diaz just hit that FSL wall we've come to expect and Alex Kirilloff is an even bigger outlier?

 

Strong "next wave" of talent clustered at Ft. Myers right now, which is a place where I feel like we really start to winnow out who are actually going to be real prospects vs JAGs. Should be an interesting season.

 

I'm a big fan of Rortvedt, and obviously so are the Twins. And I do think that he can take another step forward this year. He is very strong. He's a good athlete, even beyond the "for a catcher" preposition that always needs to be added. He's got the arm and all those other things I mentioned. I am curious how the offense develops in 2019. If asked right now,, I would say that Rortvedt will play in the big leagues. I think there's a very good chance of that... and again, that speaks very highly to the Twins depth.

 

I'm frequently told that FSL numbers can be very misleading ,especially for guys that are power hitters and do get good launch. It can suppress numbers. Diaz was hurt last year and struggled but man has he put in the work. And I've said probably enough on Blankenhorn. Maybe High-A will be it, but I'm willing to bet on them moving up yet. 

 

And I would say that Kirilloff is absolutely an outlier in the same way that Sano was an outlier in his (first stop in the) Florida State days. Kirilloff is special. All of his teammates know that. But notice that Lewis hit homers with as much frequency as Kirilloff in his (about 20 games less) in Ft. Myers last season. 


#36 clutterheart

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 10:58 AM

Your low ranking of Maciel is a bit of an outier compared to national prospect minds.

 

Any reason why you like him less than most?


#37 USNMCPO

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 11:10 AM

What I see is a farm system with the talent to not only provide a solid future for the Twins by itself, but also with the talent to acquire MLB players to improve the current roster as needed. What a change from the past! Thanks Seth. Great insight as always.

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#38 dbminn

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 11:16 AM

 

What I see is a farm system with the talent to not only provide a solid future for the Twins by itself, but also with the talent to acquire MLB players to improve the current roster as needed. What a change from the past! Thanks Seth. Great insight as always.

 

Agreed! A lot of talented players acquired since the beginning of 2016.

 

Will there be a serious 40-man roster crunch coming up in the future? I hope someone at TD will put up a list of Rule V eligibility for 2020 and 2021 at some point (hint).

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#39 Thrylos

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 11:32 AM

I'd rank Raley higher than Wade and only lower than Larnach, Kiriloff, and Rooker (these 3 mentioned in alpha and not any other order btw.) He has 5 tools vs 3 (no arm and power) for Wade, is a year younger, and had very similar performance at the same stop last season.Wade's hit and run tool is better, but Raley's other 3 tools are much better.If I were to think of a Raley comparable, it would be one of my favorite prospects who just did not make it for whatever reasons, Joe Benson...

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#40 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 11:46 AM

I'd rank Raley higher than Wade and only lower than Larnach, Kiriloff, and Rooker (these 3 mentioned in alpha and not any other order btw.) He has 5 tools vs 3 (no arm and power) for Wade, is a year younger, and had very similar performance at the same stop last season. Wade's hit and run tool is better, but Raley's other 3 tools are much better. If I were to think of a Raley comparable, it would be one of my favorite prospects who just did not make it for whatever reasons, Joe Benson...


MLB Pipeline has a 50 grade for Wade's arm, compared to a 45 grade for Raley's hit tool.
So if Raley has 5 tools, then Wade has 4.
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