Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Photo

Article: 2019 Twins Midseason Top Prospect List: 1-5

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Cody Christie

Cody Christie

    Twins Contributor

  • Twins Daily Staff
  • 1,445 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 07:30 PM

Minnesota has one of baseball’s strongest farm systems and the five players below are only part of the equation. With the trade deadline less than a month away, at least one of these players could find themselves in another organization. Some of these names seem like they would be untouchable in a trade, but Minnesota hasn’t had a big-league team this good in quite some time. If the deal is right, it could make sense to trade a top-5 prospect.Compared to the Twins Daily Preseason Top-20 rankings, the top-5 has stayed exactly the same. In fact, the top-3 prospects were named in the same order on every ballot. Jordan Balazovic has been a fast riser among Twins top prospects and he just missed the top-5. If he continues his strong start to the season, he could be a top-5 prospect before the start of next year.

5. Wander Javier – SS
Age: 20
ETA: 2023
2019 Stats (A-): .172/.274/.258 (.532 OPS), 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 31 K, 12 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 5
Seth: 4 | Tom: 5 | Cody: 5 | Ted: 6 | Steve: 4

Wander Javier needs to stay healthy after missing all of 2018 with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. During this spring, he had a quad injury that limited him. Minnesota hopes he can live up to the $4 million bonus he signed for back in 2015. He quickly acclimated to professional life as he hit .308/.400/.654 (1.054) in the 2016 Dominican Summer League. Although, he put up those numbers in only nine games and 30 plate appearances. Back in 2017, he hit .299/.383/.471 with Elizabethton.

He lost an entire season, but he is still only 20 years old, which makes him over a year younger than the competition in the Midwest League. Javier has added weight since signing with the Twins and there is still room for him to grow and add more power. At present, his quick hands help him to generate power and drive the ball to all fields. Most scouts believe he will be able to stick at shortstop long-term.

4. Trevor Larnach - RF
Age: 22
ETA: 2021
2019 Stats (A+): .308/.375/.459 (.833 OPS), 25 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 66 K, 30 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 4
Seth: 5 | Tom: 4 | Cody: 4 | Ted: 5 | Steve: 6

Out of the players in the top-5, Larnach might be having the best overall season. He’s stayed healthy and, on the field, so that certainly helps. Minnesota drafted Larnach in the first round in 2018. During his junior season at Oregon State, he hit .348/.463/.652 (1.115) with 19 home runs. His breakout campaign helped the Beavers to claim the College World Series. After signing with the Twins, he split time between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids while batting .303/.390/.500 (.890). He added 19 extra-base hits and combined that with a 28 to 21 strikeout to walk ratio.

Throughout his college career, Larnach added over 50 pounds to his frame and he’s added at least another 10 pounds since signing with the Twins. Adding weight has certainly helped his power production. He is among the FSL leaders in batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS. Not to mention, he leads the league in doubles and total bases. Larnach uses an advanced approach at the plate and he can drive the ball to all fields.

3. Brusdar Graterol – RHP
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
2019 Stats (AA): 47.2 IP, 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.42 K/BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 3
Seth: 3 | Tom: 3 | Cody: 3 | Ted: 3 | Steve: 3

Graterol has come a long way since the Twins signed him as a 16-year old back in 2014. The right-handed hurler was forced to miss all of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery. Luckily, he has come back to put himself in the conversation as a top-100 prospect in all of baseball. His fastball can hit in the triple digits multiple times per game but he usually sits in the high-90s. Add in a good slider and an improving change-up and he makes it tough on opposing batters.

Last year, Graterol split time between Low- and High-A. In over 100 innings, he had a 2.74 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. He also posted a 107 to 28 strikeout to walk ratio. To start the 2019 campaign, Minnesota continued to be aggressive with him by moving him up to Double-A. He had only pitched 60 2/3 innings in Fort Myers. He has responded to the challenge by allowing two runs or fewer in eight of his nine appearances. Unfortunately, he is on the injured list with a should impingement that could be related to a trapezius injury from earlier in the year.

2. Alex Kirilloff – OF/1B
Age: 21
ETA: 2020
2019 Stats (AA): .268/.356/.399 (.755 OPS), 12 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 37 K, 17 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 2
Seth: 2 | Tom: 2 | Cody: 2 | Ted: 2 | Steve: 2

Following a monster 2018 season, Kirilloff lofted himself into the conversation of best hitting prospect in all of baseball. In 130 games, he hit .348/.392/.578 (.970) with 20 home runs and 44 doubles. He had the highest OPS among hitters in the Midwest League and Florida State League with 280 plate appearances. Fort Myers would claim the FSL Championship and he added a five-hit game to help the cause. Following the season, he was named the Twins Daily Hitter of the Year and MiLB named him the Breakout Prospect of the Year.

Naturally, one can expect a little regression this year even with higher expectations. Injuries have also played a role in his decreased production. He missed the first month of the season with a wrist injury before coming back for 29 games. Then he headed back to the injured list with the same injury.

1. Royce Lewis - SS
ETA: 2021
Age: 20
2019 Stats (A+): .229/.276/.350 (.625 OPS), 13 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 72 K, 20 BB
2019 Ranking: 1
Seth: 1 | Tom: 1 | Cody: 1 | Ted: 1 | Steve: 1

When the Twins selected Lewis in 2017, he became the Twins first number one overall pick since Joe Mauer. Since then, he has put himself in the conversation as one of baseball’s best prospects. In his pro debut, he hit .279/.381/.407 (.788) with 15 extra-base hits in 54 games between the GCL and the Midwest League. He made a return trip with the Kernels last season and posted a .853 OPS with 23 doubles and nine home runs. In the second half, he’d be promoted to Fort Myers where he’d help the club the FSL Championship with three home runs in two games of the series.

Lewis is a scouting department’s dream as he has all the attributes of a five-tool player. He can hit and his power tool showed improvement throughout 2018. In fact, 13 of his 14 home runs came in the final 86 games last year. So far this year, his offensive numbers are down. In a recent chat, ESPN’s Keith Law mentioned there have been some changes to his swing and setup. He thinks there are “way too many moving parts.” His speed is undeniable, and he will continue to get better at stealing bases. As far as defense, many believe he will be able stick at shortstop.

Will any of these players be dealt before the trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Also, stop back tomorrow as Nick will review out countdown of the top prospects.

Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings
Prospects 36-40
Prospects 31-35
Prospects 26-30
Prospects 21-25
Prospects 16-20
Prospects 11-15
Prospects 6-10
Prospects 1-5 (TODAY)
Top Prospect Recap Coming Tomorrow

Click here to view the article
  • glunn, nicksaviking, nclahammer and 1 other like this
Cody Christie
@nodaktwinsfan

#2 Dman

Dman

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,554 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 08:16 PM

Not too much to say as that is a consensus top 5.Wander is the wild card.I am starting to doubt he can stay healthy and if he can't stay healthy he is going to fall.He is not having a great year so far in A ball but he is still young and has really nice tools.Patience is a virtue and a lot of guys I had started to doubt had breakouts this year.Lets hope that happens with Wander real soon.

 

Lewis and Kiriloff are both having down seasons and Graterol is hurt making us question whether he is destined for the pen like many experts predicted.It has been a trying year for teh top of our prospect list but they have the talent and I expect all of them to bounce back given time.

  • DocBauer likes this

#3 benji21

benji21

    Member

  • Members
  • 154 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:10 PM

I’ve wondered the last year or so where the strikeouts are for graterol. I’ve had an eye on him since before he became a household name because of his tantalizing velocity, but how is he not even at 9 K/9??

#4 Danchat

Danchat

    Pro Bowl Armchair QB

  • Members
  • 4,676 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:16 PM

I have to be concerned with Lewis... he's had nearly a full season at A+ and his hitting numbers are bad. It seems he still needs to work on his swing, which isn't something your top prospect should be dealing with.

 

Kiriloff, on the other hand, isn't killing it right now but I'm still very confident in him. Let's see if he can catch fire in the second half and start razing AA.

  • DocBauer and bighat like this

Check out my work at Purple Pain, a Vikings forum: 

Mock Draft 2019

Running Back Rankings - 2019 Draft Class


#5 jkcarew

jkcarew

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Members
  • 1,206 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:37 PM

Graterol slides down some for me. 5 years in and he’s on pace to having only one year with anything even close to 100 innings. He might be a regular member of a major league starting rotation some day...he’s just turning 21...but he’ll need to show real evidence that’s realistic at some point.
  • DannySD likes this

#6 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 5,266 posts

Posted 01 July 2019 - 10:41 PM

Count me as an optimist for this group, as well as the rest of the top 10. (Even beyond)

Graterol is being fast tracked to AA at only 20yr old? And we are worried about SO numbers when most kids his age are in A or low A? PLEASE. My only concern is health. Let's say he has a blip and doesn't hit MLB until he's an "ancient" 22-23yr old. Come on!

Wander, yea, he just needs to be healthy. All the talent in the world. Is he injury prone? Or is he just still growing in to his body? Time will tell, but I'd sure give him time at only 20.

Were I a trade partner with the Twins, I'd be jumping on Larnach. Big bat and fast riser.

The injury bug has, unfortunately, hit a lot of top prospects in the system, including Kirilloff. Stinks! But would you bet against him long term? Honestly, I think he's going to be special. And regarding the depth in the system...a hunch maybe...i think I'd keep him even beyond Lewis.

That being said, I would do all I can to keep Lewis. Think about this for a second, he's only 20 and in A+ ball. Most guys his age are in rookie ball. But a great 2018 has some of us down on him why? Because we thought/hoped he'd be in the majors at 21?

The depth and potential of this system is outstanding, I know a few guys are going to be gone in a couple of weeks. I just hope we are smart and make the right moves without giving up too much.
  • Mike Frasier Law, Dman, curt1965 and 6 others like this

"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

--Lou Brown


#7 Old Twins Cap

Old Twins Cap

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 899 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 06:03 AM

 



That being said, I would do all I can to keep Lewis. Think about this for a second, he's only 20 and in A+ ball. Most guys his age are in rookie ball. But a great 2018 has some of us down on him why? Because we thought/hoped he'd be in the majors at 21?

Well, the really special players, Lindor, the two Atlanta sluggers, Devers, et al, they are in MLB at 19-20-21 years of age.

 

So, I think we have learned that Lewis is not going to be one of those, and will follow his own path up the ladder.

 

How good is his defense?How fast is he?Can he adjust his swing?

 

If he's got Buxton tools, and a Buxton track, Twins can live with that.

 

If he's less than that, and on a Buxton time-frame, it is time to think about what we can get for him that would better fit the current competition window.

  • USAFChief, Mike Frasier Law, DocBauer and 2 others like this

#8 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    G.O.A.T.

  • Twins Mods
  • 13,887 posts
  • Locationthe charred ruins of BYTO

Posted 02 July 2019 - 06:27 AM

I'm kind of souring on Graterol and Javier. Both are always injured. Javier isn't even producing in low A. I get that he's young, but he cannot seem to play for a full season. Graterol is another one in that capacity. He's got potential to be a 1, but if he's never healthy, will he get it? It seems like he might be another Alex Meyer. I kind of wonder if he's dangled for top of the rotation help. That makes sense to me, especially if it's controllable. 

  • Twins33 and Dman like this

#9 rdehring

rdehring

    Rochester Red Wings

  • Members
  • 1,233 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 06:32 AM

Looking at this group, Javier isn't doing well in A-ball and they would be selling low...too many questions.Yet, the little he has played means its like he is starting his career in low A-ball, certainly deserving his #5 ranking.

 

Larnach, great season from a top pick. Graterol, fantastic prospect.Yet, the injury may affect his value in a trade.

 

Kirilloff and Lewis are the same story.Top 10 nationally, or at least they were, who will be sliding based on disappointing numbers for Lewis and so-so for Kirilloff who has battled an injury.Don't see the Twins getting true value for either of these...at least the value we think should be there based on their ceilings.

 

So when there is a trade, I see the players leaving being from further down the list, or maybe Larnach.Fortunately, there are some great stories there...Rooker, Gordon, Diaz and a smorgasbord of pitchers.Just look at the pitchers who had great outings last night!

  • DocBauer and gagu like this

#10 Vanimal46

Vanimal46

    What's His OPS?

  • Members
  • 12,204 posts
  • LocationAustin, TX

Posted 02 July 2019 - 07:50 AM

I'm kind of souring on Graterol and Javier. Both are always injured. Javier isn't even producing in low A. I get that he's young, but he cannot seem to play for a full season. Graterol is another one in that capacity. He's got potential to be a 1, but if he's never healthy, will he get it? It seems like he might be another Alex Meyer. I kind of wonder if he's dangled for top of the rotation help. That makes sense to me, especially if it's controllable.


Also, it's worthwhile to mention that both players are rule 5 eligible this off-season. I wish Graterol was healthy this year so they could trade him for MLB talent.

#11 benji21

benji21

    Member

  • Members
  • 154 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 08:33 AM

For Graterol, I don’t really care that he’s younger than the competition re strikeouts. I care about results for that. He’s got 100 mph heat and he can’t get A+ and AA hitters to whiff? That concerns me especially with the shadow of kohl stewert looming large.
  • USAFChief likes this

#12 PDX Twin

PDX Twin

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 888 posts
  • LocationPortland, Oregon

Posted 02 July 2019 - 09:38 AM

 

I have to be concerned with Lewis... he's had nearly a full season at A+ and his hitting numbers are bad. It seems he still needs to work on his swing, which isn't something your top prospect should be dealing with.

 

 

 

Maybe it means that he *is* working on his swing and is still not quite comfortable with the changes.

It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#13 Tom Froemming

Tom Froemming

    Content Editor

  • Administrators
  • 2,137 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 10:17 AM

Had Brusdar Graterol continued to pitch well and be healthy, I would have considered putting him at No. 1. 

 

There's really no reason to be concerned over an 8.69 K/9, 24.3 K% and a swinging strike rate of 13%. All of those numbers could certainly be better, but I think the overall quality of hitters you face once you get to Double A is a massive difference. He's the second-youngest pitcher to log at least 40 innings in Double A this season. He'll start to get more refined and consistent the more he throws and the longer he's in the high minors.

 

When his slider is good, that's his best pitch. Pretty crazy thing to be able to say about a guy with a 100 mph fastball. And he can get a ton of arm-side run and sink on that heater, which has helped him post a ground ball rate in excess of 50%.

 

If you want to try and do a statistical comp of Graterol to another top prospect, Sixto Sanchez would be a good place to start. They're nearly the same age and both are pitching not just at the same level, but in the same league.

 

Southern League numbers

Graterol: 1.89 ERA, 24.3 K%, 13.0 SwStr% (47.2 IP)

Sanchez: 2.77 ERA, 25.4 K%, 10.7 SwStr% (52.0 IP)

 

MLB Pipeline has Sanchez at No. 22 overall while Graterol is No. 50. They have Ian Anderson at No. 26. Keep in mind that he's 21 and had a four-game cameo in Double A last year, but here are his Southern League numbers:

 

Anderson: 2.94 ERA, 31.4 K%, 12.1 SwStr%

 

The Tigers have No. 2 overall prospect Casey Mize, who's 22, and No. 32 Matt Manning, 21, in Double-A's Eastern League:

 

Mize: 1.21 ERA, 25.1 K%, 14.0 SwStr% (52.0 IP)

Manning: 2.60 ERA, 29.4 K%, 13.2 SwStr% (86.2 IP)

 

I think Graterol stands up pretty well against all these guys.

  • birdwatcher, pbrezeasap, 70charger and 3 others like this

Find me on Twitter @TFTwins and subscribe to my YouTube channel.


#14 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 17,425 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 02:05 PM

Later tonight,, we will be posting our Top 40 Recap... So, make sure you start prepping your personal Top 20 or Top 30 lists for that discussion. 

  • Carole Keller and dbminn like this

#15 Carole Keller

Carole Keller

    I only stalk idiots.

  • Twins Mods
  • 23,054 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:10 PM

Thank you all for putting this whole series together. As one who spends time in Fort Myers, it's fun going to the games and telling my Mom a little about who is who, something I owe completely to this site and the hard work all of you guys do reporting on the minor leagues and the prospects.

  • ashbury, Seth Stohs, dbminn and 1 other like this

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a skunkweed will always be a skunkweed and instantly recognizable. 


#16 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 17,425 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:14 PM

 

Thank you all for putting this whole series together. As one who spends time in Fort Myers, it's fun going to the games and telling my Mom a little about who is who, something I owe completely to this site and the hard work all of you guys do reporting on the minor leagues and the prospects.

 

Too kind... thank you!

 

A side story... I was back home for a few days last week, and my dad started asking me about Poppen and Wade and Thorpe and Arraez and in doing so, he acknowledged that he was reading about them in this year''s prospect handbook.

 

He said he wanted to see where we had ranked Arraez, what I''d written about him, stuff like that. In 11 years, he's never mentioned that... 

 

So, it was cool to know that if my dad was actually reading it, then I assume others are as well.

 

Always good to hear that people read and enjoy content here and some of our other projects. 

  • TRex, DocBauer, dbminn and 1 other like this

#17 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 9,743 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 05:35 PM

Kiriloff has a higher obp than I thought he had for all his struggles. That's a pretty good sign.

  • Dman likes this

#18 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 5,266 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 10:29 PM

Had Brusdar Graterol continued to pitch well and be healthy, I would have considered putting him at No. 1. 
 
There's really no reason to be concerned over an 8.69 K/9, 24.3 K% and a swinging strike rate of 13%. All of those numbers could certainly be better, but I think the overall quality of hitters you face once you get to Double A is a massive difference. He's the second-youngest pitcher to log at least 40 innings in Double A this season. He'll start to get more refined and consistent the more he throws and the longer he's in the high minors.
 
When his slider is good, that's his best pitch. Pretty crazy thing to be able to say about a guy with a 100 mph fastball. And he can get a ton of arm-side run and sink on that heater, which has helped him post a ground ball rate in excess of 50%.
 
If you want to try and do a statistical comp of Graterol to another top prospect, Sixto Sanchez would be a good place to start. They're nearly the same age and both are pitching not just at the same level, but in the same league.
 
Southern League numbers
Graterol: 1.89 ERA, 24.3 K%, 13.0 SwStr% (47.2 IP)
Sanchez: 2.77 ERA, 25.4 K%, 10.7 SwStr% (52.0 IP)
 
MLB Pipeline has Sanchez at No. 22 overall while Graterol is No. 50. They have Ian Anderson at No. 26. Keep in mind that he's 21 and had a four-game cameo in Double A last year, but here are his Southern League numbers:
 
Anderson: 2.94 ERA, 31.4 K%, 12.1 SwStr%
 
The Tigers have No. 2 overall prospect Casey Mize, who's 22, and No. 32 Matt Manning, 21, in Double-A's Eastern League:
 
Mize: 1.21 ERA, 25.1 K%, 14.0 SwStr% (52.0 IP)
Manning: 2.60 ERA, 29.4 K%, 13.2 SwStr% (86.2 IP)
 
I think Graterol stands up pretty well against all these guys.


Great post and very informative!

Fair or not I wonder if some are confusing Romero and Graterol. Not directly or absolutely, but seeing a young fireballer suddenly struggle. Maybe part of the "why can't we have nice things" arguement. HOPEFULLY, Graterol's injury turns out to be minor. But 20yo with stuff dominating AA when most guys his age are in A ball or lower? Just healthy and continuing to learn and grow is the important thing. My goodness, even 2 years away he would be young!
  • Tom Froemming likes this

"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

--Lou Brown


#19 benji21

benji21

    Member

  • Members
  • 154 posts

Posted 03 July 2019 - 08:49 AM

I can’t quote on mobile, but Tom, thanks for the post. Graterol’s swinging strike rate does hold up against those other elite prospects and makes me more optimistic.
  • Tom Froemming likes this

#20 ashbury

ashbury

    Haighters gonna Haight

  • Twins Mods
  • 22,475 posts
  • LocationNatick, MA

Posted 03 July 2019 - 09:54 AM

I can’t quote on mobile, but

Touch the body of the post that you wish to quote, and at the bottom of the post (so maybe you'll have to scroll down) there will be some buttons among which one is "Quote". Touch the body of the post again, to make the buttons go away. Or, at least, that's how it is on my Android phone.

It is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelet.