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Front Page: 3 Current Twins That Were Late-Blooming Prospects

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:00 PM

Not every top prospect is going to make it at the big-league level and there will be plenty of unranked prospects that become significant contributors. Minnesota’s farm system has been strong in recent years and this has helped to form the team’s current core. However, there are players on the roster that took time to develop. Here are three players that took their time to become fixtures with the Twins.Mitch Garver
Twins fans are well aware of what Mitch Garver was able to accomplish last season on the way to his first Silver Slugger Award. Among American League catchers, Garver ranks first in WAR, first in slugging percentage, first in on-base percentage, and second in home runs. He did all of this in his age-28 season after posting a .739 OPS with seven home runs over his first two big-league seasons.

Garver was never considered a top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. Seth and I both had him in the teens entering the 2017 and 2018 seasons respectively. Throughout his minor league career, he hit .270/.363/.428 (.791), which are very respectable numbers for a catcher. His power numbers last season were completely off the charts and it will be interesting to see if Garver can continue to be one of the best hitting catchers in the American League.

Highest Twins Prospect Ranking (Year)
Cody: 13 (2017)
Seth: 16 (2018)

Trevor May
When the Twins traded for Trevor May, he was supposed to become a starting pitcher. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2017 season and he has been pitching out of the bullpen over the last two seasons. During that time, he has posted a 3.01 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 11.5 SO/9. Last season was his first time making over 60 appearances and he posted a career best 2.94 ERA.

Prior to the 2012 season, May was considered a top-100 prospect by all three national prospect ranking entities (Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus). He was coming off a season where he was almost two years younger than the competition in the FSL while posting a 12.4 SO/9 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. As part of the Twins Prospect Handbook, Seth and I both had him in our top-10 Twins prospects prior the 2013 campaign.

Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
Cody: 6 (2013)
Seth: 9 (2013)

Taylor Rogers
Minnesota’s bullpen had some rocky moments last season, but the one consistent was Taylor Rogers and his dominance in late inning situations. He ranked second among AL relievers in WAR and Win Probability Added. Rogers wasn’t being relied on as a traditional closer either. In 17 different appearances, Rocco Baldelli asked Rogers to collect more than three outs. Minnesota’s bullpen looks stronger for 2020, so it will be interesting to see if he is used in a more traditional closer role.

Throughout his minor league career, Rogers was always considered a starting pitcher. In fact, 87 of his 99 minor league appearances came as a starting pitcher. Because he was usually projected as a starter, Seth and I never had Rogers ranked inside out top-10 Twins prospects. Now this past season, he might have been the most valuable reliever in the American League.

Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
Cody: 17 (2016)
Seth: 11 (2015)

If you want to learn more about potential late blooming prospects, make sure to pick up a copy of the 2020 Twins Prospect Handbook. There are profiles and scouting reports on nearly 170 players in the Twins farm system along with articles and prospect rankings.

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Cody Christie
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#2 Otwins

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:27 PM

Who is your prediction for the late bloomer this year?


#3 High heat

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:51 PM

Garver worked hard on his defense and the power came.  I think many thought he would have to move off C and the bat doesn’t translate.

 

Rogers is one who succeeded moving from starter to reliever adding mph and ditching the change. Also sticking with the fourseamer and pitching philosophy. 
 

also to consider would be Duffey, many called for him to be cut this time last year.  Now people consider him one of our top set up men.  Ditching the big curve and command of the fastball.  
how about Adrianza, he didn’t come up in our organization, was seen as a solid glove but never hit.  Comes to the Twins bat develops and is a guy who can hit when he doesn’t play everyday.  Something valuable that many good hitters can’t do.

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#4 tony&rodney

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 11:19 PM

Adrianza is an excellent player and his ability to come off the bench has been a noteworthy part of the Twins success recently.

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#5 h2oface

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:47 AM

This is exactly why I don't pay much attention to prospect ratings. I have especially ignored the Wander Javier hype.

 

I pick Nick Gordon as this years late bloomer. 24 already. 2 years until prime age, according to some recents articles on TD. Late at 24? Yup, especially since he has been in the org since, what, 18? and he was a #1 pick. 5 overall. I hope he doesn't join Kole Stewart and Levi Michael as a total first round bust.

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#6 goulik

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 05:38 AM

This is exactly why I don't pay much attention to prospect ratings. I have especially ignored the Wander Javier hype.
 
I pick Nick Gordon as this years late bloomer. 24 already. 2 years until prime age, according to some recents articles on TD. Late at 24? Yup, especially since he has been in the org since, what, 18? and he was a #1 pick. 5 overall. I hope he doesn't join Kole Stewart and Levi Michael as a total first round bust.


I could have just liked this post if you didn’t have those first 2 sentences. I like prospect rankings and following Wander Javier. On the other hand, your paragraph on Nick Gordon is spot on and exactly who I was thinking of as our next late bloomer.
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#7 John Bonnes

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 07:55 AM

I'll add one more new Twins to this list: Josh Donaldson. Didn't play his first full year in the majors until he was 27, which explains how's he's 34 years old despite just hitting free agency last offseason. 

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#8 Rosterman

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:36 AM

Patience is the key, and sometimes an organization is more than happy to have a player tread in the minors and age, rather than become a hot young prospect. The question is: do most players have 1-3 very very good years in the scheme of things, maybe 3-5 years of okay ballplay?

 

I always like Trevor May and looks like he may be a possible closer for the Twins. Can he get mean and just throw first pitch (and second pitch) strikes?

 

Regarding Garver, I remember when the discusion was between him and Stu Turner on who would contribute to the Twins first. Kinda like the discussion around Rortvedt and Jeffers now.

 

Taylor Rogers needs to stay in setup, or called in to close sparringly. He is good and would be nice to get that goodness in more games for holding a lead.

Joel Thingvall
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rosterman at www.twinscards.com

#9 Doctor Gast

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:02 AM

I think almost all our prospects since Mauer have been late bloomers ( Berrios might be exception).Many great prospects were let go or traded for nothing because they lost patience in them ( Aaron Hicks) or they didn`t fit in their philosophy ( David Ortiz ) . Now present philosophy & technology I believe will help bring up prospect & evaluate them faster, cutting down on mistakes. I think Gordon will improve this season but I see him having difficulty to adjust to the big league & he`ll never be more than average. Hope I`m proven wrong

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#10 gman

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 03:22 PM

Would you say that Kepler bloomed? He came up a year before Garver and the same year as Rodgers. I'm not sure that at this same time last year that I would say Kepler has bloomed.

Or is this considered an overall age thing versus a time spent in the majors?


#11 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 05:23 PM

Would you say that Kepler bloomed? He came up a year before Garver and the same year as Rodgers. I'm not sure that at this same time last year that I would say Kepler has bloomed.
Or is this considered an overall age thing versus a time spent in the majors?


It looks to me like overall age combined with relative lack of prospect status.

#12 gman

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:00 PM

 

It looks to me like overall age combined with relative lack of prospect status.

Just my opinion. Since both Rodgers and Garver were drafted as 4 year college seniors that made them older to start their professional careers. Obviously there is a certain amount of training and learning going on with college ball. Still that 4 year age difference places them at an older "bloom" stage. I would be more apt to agree with the late bloom label if they were drafted as 18 year old high school seniors and "made it" as 28-29 year olds.

In Mays case he was injured for 1 1/2 years. Hardly unusual for pitchers these days. Still it places him that much older to the point when he is considered to have succeeded.. Maybe we could set some ground rules to determine what makes a player a late bloomer.


#13 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:19 PM

Just my opinion. Since both Rodgers and Garver were drafted as 4 year college seniors that made them older to start their professional careers. Obviously there is a certain amount of training and learning going on with college ball. Still that 4 year age difference places them at an older "bloom" stage. I would be more apt to agree with the late bloom label if they were drafted as 18 year old high school seniors and "made it" as 28-29 year olds.
In Mays case he was injured for 1 1/2 years. Hardly unusual for pitchers these days. Still it places him that much older to the point when he is considered to have succeeded.. Maybe we could set some ground rules to determine what makes a player a late bloomer.


Even with the injuries and college I still think calling May a late bloomer is fair.
When you draft a college player, it's reasonable to expect them to develop faster.

I can agree with Garver though, catcher is a different animal altogether.

#14 Nine of twelve

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 09:53 PM

This is a reflection of how baseball is different from the other 3 major team sports (OK, 4, I suppose, if you include soccer). It takes much longer on average for players to develop their skills to the point where they succeed at the sport's highest level. It's extremely rare for a player in one of the other sports to make his debut at or after age 25 but that happens a lot in baseball.