As we roll into the middle part of May, it is time to start shifting our focus back on the upcoming MLB First Year Player Draft. Unlike a year ago, where the Twins didn’t have their 3rd pick until pick number 124, this year the Twins will have three picks in the top 54. This means the Twins should have a lot more ammunition to bring some more quality players into the organization. To get ready for the draft, we have compiled a list of who we think are the top 50 prospects in this year’s draft.50. Graeme Stinson | Duke |Pos: LHP | Height: 6’5” | Weight: 250 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: Never
Fastball: 60 Slider: 65 Changeup: 50 Control: 50 Overall: 50
We start our list with a college pitcher, who isn’t on this list so much for what he has accomplished, but for the potential of what he might accomplish at the professional level. In a class that lacks high end pitching talent, Graeme Stinson posses one of the best two-pitch combos of any pitcher in the draft.
Stinson features a hard-sinking fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90’s that is hard for hitters to elevate with power. This gives Stinson the innate ability to keep the ball in the ball park, as he has allowed just 3 home runs in 110 career innings pitched at the collegiate level. Stinson’s best pitch, however, is his wipeout slider. He has relied heavily on this pitch to help him strikeout nearly 14 batters per 9 innings while at Duke.
Many peg Stinson to be a reliever long term as a professional. He made just 5 starts this spring before getting shutdown with a hamstring injury, but the results weren’t that inspiring as he had just a 4.58 ERA. Stinson was much better in his sophomore campaign where he pitched 62 innings, almost exclusively out of the bullpen, with a 1.89 ERA and had 98 strikeouts to just 19 walks.
49. John Doxakis | Texas A&M | Pos: LHP | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 205 | Age: 20
Previously Drafted: Never
Fastball: 55 Slider: 55 Changeup: 50 Control: 60 Overall: 50
The next player on our list is also a college left-handed pitcher, but that about where the similarities between John Doxakis and Graeme Stinson end. While Stinson is more of a wild card with some electric stuff, Doxakis is more of the safer pick who projects as a 3 or 4 starter at the MLB level.
While his stuff doesn’t flash, Doxakis’ pitches still play at a high level thanks to some deception. What makes Doxakis so appealing is his ability to throw 3 different pitches, all with excellent command. Doxakis didn’t get the opportunity to start at A&M until this year, but he has taken full advantage of it. In 12 starts for the Aggies, Doxakis has a 1.99 ERA while striking out 81 and walking just 16 in 77 innings.
I got a first hand look at Doxakis this spring, when he faced off against LSU. He absolutely shut down the LSU lineup in that game and didn’t really give them a chance to get on the scoreboard while he was pitching. The only run LSU got off of Doxakis in that start was unearned and came off a misplayed ball by the right-fielder and a throwing error that turned a routine flyball into a little league inside the park home run.
48. Matthew Lugo | Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.)| Pos: SS | B/T: R/R | Height: 6’1” | Wight: 185 | Age: 18
Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 50 Arm: 50 Field: 50 Overall: 50
Puerto Rico has had a knack for producing middle infield talent in recent years. In terms of type of player, Lugo is more of a Carlos Correa type than a Javier Baez type. Though he isn’t nearly the prospect that either one of those two were at this point in their development.
Lugo’s main asset that he has going for him at this point is his bat. He has a smooth stroke that allows him to hit the ball all over the field. He is still developing some power, but he just turned 18 on May 9th, so he still has plenty of time to grow into his body.
It is still up in the air whether or not Lugo will be able to stay at shortstop long term. Many scouts view his lack of elite lateral quickness as something that will hinder him at the position. The team that feels most strongly about his ability to play short
will probably be the team that ends up taking Lugo.
47. Greg Jones | UNC Wilmington | Pos: SS | B/T: R/R | Height: 5’11” | Wight: 170 | Age: 18
Previously Drafted: 17th Round, 2017 (BAL)
Hit: 50 Power: 40 Run: 80 Arm: 55 Field: 50 Overall: 50
The Minnesota Twins probably got a good look at Greg Jones last year when they were scouting his then teammate, and 2018 Twins 2nd round pick Ryan Jeffers. Unlike Jeffers, who was drafted for his potential with the bat, Jones skillset resembles that of Byron Buxton.
Jones is perhaps the fastest player in this year’s draft class. While he currently plays shortstop, many view Jones as a better prospect in centerfield, where he can fully utilize his speed. In his short 2-year college career, Jones has stolen 50 bases in 61 attempts.
The biggest question around Jones entering this year was with the bat. While Jones doesn’t have much power, he has a knack for getting on-base. So far in 50 games this season, Jones has a .341/.487/.525 slash line, while drawing 25 walks and 10 hit-by-pitches to just 32 strikeouts. Most of Jones’ power this year has been generated by his speed as he has 9 doubles, 6 triples and just 4 home runs.
46. Josh Smith | LSU | Pos: SS | B/T: L/R | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 175 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: 38th Round, 2016 (DET)
Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 55 Arm: 50 Field: 55 Overall: 50
Josh Smith might be one of the players with the highest floors in the entire draft class. Not only has he proven that he can have success at the highest amateur level in the SEC, but he brings a solid all-around game that will help him succeed at the next level.
After missing nearly all of 2018 with a back injury, Smith has bounce back nicely in 2019, and has been the best player for LSU. Not only does Smith provide excellent and reliable defense at the shortstop position, but he also does an excellent job of getting on base out of the leadoff spot.
For the season, Smith leads all LSU hitters in batting average (.351), on-base percentage (.445), slugging percentage (.524) and stolen bases (15). Given his range, arm strength and reliability, Smith should have a good shot at staying at short in the future, but if he has to make the move to second, he has the bat to do so.
45. Matt Wallner | Southern Miss | Pos: OF | B/T: L/R | Height: 6’5” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: 32nd Round, 2016 (MIN)
Hit: 50 Power: 60 Run: 45 Arm: 70 Field: 50 Overall: 50
The Forest Lake, Minnesota native Matt Wallner checks in at number 45 on our list. The Twins had previously drafted Wallner in the 2016 draft, but instead he opted not to sign with the home town team and decided to try and improve his stock by playing college ball at Southern Miss.
What makes Wallner so intriguing as a prospect is his two raw plus tools in his power and arm strength. That combination makes him an ideal candidate to play right-field as a professional. So far in 128 games played at Southern Miss, across three seasons, Wallner has slugged 49 home runs. Additionally, Wallner has touched 97 MPH on the mound, but with that raw power his future looks to be as a hitter.
The main concern with Wallner is there appears to be a lot of swing and miss in his game. He has a long left-handed swing that could give him some troubles as he starts to see better pitching at a higher level.
44. Kendall Williams | IMG Academy (FL) | Pos: RHP | Height: 6’6” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
Fastball: 55 Curveball: 55 Slider: 45 Changeup: 50 Control: 50 Overall: 50
The first of three players from the IMG Academy to make the Twins Daily top 50, Kendall Williams is the prototypical tall and projectable right-handed pitcher that scouts drool over. At 6’6” and still just 190 pounds, Williams has the frame that should allow him to develop quickly as he grows into his body.
Williams currently sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, but that is expected to rise with his age. He also features a sharp breaking curveball that gives fits to hitters at the high school ranks. While Williams is able to dominate at his current level with just those two pitches, he has shown off a decent changeup that leads many to believe he will have a good three pitch mix to stay as a starter long term.
The part that might be the most impressive with Williams is his ability to throw his pitches for strikes, despite his long and lanky frame. Often times that isn’t the case with taller pitchers, and further yet shows he has what it take to be a starting pitcher.
43. Ethan Small | Mississippi State | Pos: LHP | Height: 6’3” | Weight: 215 | Age: 22
Previously Drafted: 26th Round, 2018 (ARI)
Fastball: 55 Curveball: 50 Changeup: 55 Control: 55 Overall: 50
If there is one pitcher that has shot up my rankings the most this spring, it is Ethan Small from Mississippi State. After missing all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery, Small had a strong bounce back season in 2018, striking out 122 batters in 101 1/3 innings.
In 2019, Small still had to prove that 2018 wasn’t just a fluke year after Tommy John, and he has done just that. So far, in just 73 innings over 12 starts, Small has already matched his strikeout total from a year ago at 122, which ranks first in the SEC and second in the entire NCAA.
What’s keeping Small from being higher on this list is he still lacks a high velocity fastball and hasn’t shown much of a breaking ball. What gives Small his success is his deceptive delivery, which he models after Clayton Kershaw, and his ability to command all parts of the strike zone.
42. Carter Stewart | Eastern Florida State JC | Pos: RHP | Height: 6’6” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
Previously Drafted: 8th Overall, 2018 (ATL)
Fastball: 60 Curveball: 70 Changeup: 50 Control: 50 Overall: 50
If you follow the draft year-to-year, the name Carter Stewart probably rings a bell. That’s because last year he was taken with the 8th overall pick in the draft. Coincidentally, Stewart was also ranked in last year’s Twins Daily Top 50 Draft Prospect list. Despite getting drafted 8th overall, Stewart and the Braves failed to reach an agreement on his signing bonus due to concerns with a wrist injury.
Stewart is eligible again for this year’s draft after opting to going the Junior College route as opposed to holding his commitment to Mississippi State. Stewart hasn’t quite flashed the same stuff he was a year ago at this point, which has caused his stock to fall. His fastball, instead of sitting in the mid-90’s, has been more in the 92-94 range of late.
What makes Stewart stick out from other prospects is the spin his is able to generate on his curveball. In the modern way of analyzing pitchers, Stewart's curveball jumps out as one of the best pitches in the draft. I might have Stewart ranked 42nd, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is off the boards well before this point with some team wanting to take a chance on him.
41. Sammy Siani | Penn Charter HS (PA) | Pos: OF | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 175 | Age: 18
Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 55 Arm: 50 Field: 55 Overall: 50
Many might want to compare Sammy Siani to his older brother Mike Siani, who was a 4th round pick by the Cincinnati Reds a year ago. However, I don’t think that comparison is just. While Mike was more of a polished outfielder, with the speed and arm strength to play centerfield at the MLB level, Sammy is more renowned for his hitting ability.
It is hard to say whether or not Sammy has the ability to play centerfielder, as many scouts believe he will be a long term left-fielder, as he lacks the arm strength to play right. Sammy has a smooth left-handed swing that allows him to be an excellent hitter to all parts of the field.
The big question with Sammy will be, does he have enough power to play a corner outfield position, or the glove to play in center? A team that fills pretty confidently in answering yes to either one of these two questions will probably be the teams that takes Siani on draft night.
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