Here are our choices for the Nos. 16-20 spots in the system. Make sure to let us know how you feel about these rankings in the comments below. We put a lot of work into compiling these lists, but it is an inexact science.
20. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF
2019 Stats (AA/A+): .295/.349/.502 (.851 OPS), 15 2B, 0 3B, 14 HR, 71 K, 22 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention
Seth: 17 | Tom: 19 | Cody: 33 | Ted: 29 | Steve: 17
We should probably come up with a name for the post-FSL breakout. How about the Pensacola push? Whatever you want to call it, that’s what Blankenhorn is doing this season.
After posting a .686 OPS over a full season with the Miracle last year, Blankenhorn boasted a .781 OPS in his second time around the circuit and was promoted up to Double-A after just 15 games. He has terrorized Southern League pitching, boasting a .300/.342/.525 line (.866 OPS) in 54 games. He’s among the league leaders in virtually every major offensive category.
Blankenhorn has struggled against same-sided pitching over his career, but is making positive steps in that regard. He has a career-high .702 OPS vs. lefties this year. In the field, Blankenhorn has spent 43 games at second base, 25 in left field and just two games at third base this season.
Here’s a look at some of his highlights since joining the Blue Wahoos:
19. Misael Urbina, CF
2019 Stats (Rk-DSL): .269/.371/.442 (.813 OPS), 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 K, 5 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: Honorable Mention
Seth: 20 | Tom: 27 | Cody: 16 | Ted: 21 | Steve: 23
This kid is 17. It’s entirely possible we have him way too low on this list. Then again, might be way too high on this list. The Twins signed Urbina out of Venezuela for $2.75 million last July. He has great speed, which should serve him well in the outfield, but he also came highly regarded for his baseball acumen and makeup.
There’s such a wide range of talent in the Dominican Summer League. It can be difficult to try to put much stock into statistical performance down there, but it is encouraging to see Urbina hit the ground running in his first 14 games of pro ball.
18. Jorge Alcala, RHP
2019 Stats (AA): 71.2 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.85 K:BB Ratio
2019 Preseason Ranking: 19
Seth: 12 | Tom: 22 | Cody: 35 | Ted: 14 | Steve: 15
It’s starting to appear more likely that Alcala’s future will be in the bullpen, but it’s pretty exciting to think about what he could be in that role. He’s been used as a “primary” pitcher following an opener in four of his outings this year. He has not responded well to that adjustment. As a traditional starter, Alcala has a 4.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 3.86 K:BB ratio. As the primary, he’s at 8.35 ERA, 1.96 WHIP and 1.77 K:BB ratio.
Alcala has also had a difficult time limiting damage with runners on. He’s limited opponents to just a .666 OPS with the bases empty but they’ve roughed him up to the tune of a .920 OPS with runners on. Opponents also have a sky high .360 BABIP against Alcala in 2019.
Taking a look at the breakdown of how our writers ranked Alcala individually, you get a good idea for the range of opinions on Alcala.
17. Akil Baddoo, CF
2019 Stats (A+): .214/.290/.393 (.683 OPS), 3 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 39 K, 12 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 10
Seth: 23 | Tom: 16 } Cody: 14 | Ted: 19 | Steve: 20
Baddoo gets leapfrogged by several prospects in large part because he’s going to lose a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. The dip from 10th to 17th may seem a bit harsh, but all the guys who passed him by are all either brand new to the system or having incredible seasons.
It’s still fairly rare for a position player to have to undergo that procedure, but in recent years we’ve seen Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff come back and show no ill effects from Tommy John. This injury will cost Baddoo time, but he still has as much potential as always. In the little time he spent with Fort Myers prior to the injury, 29 games, Baddoo was hitting for power (.393 slugging in a league where the average is .356), but his plate discipline slipped a bit.
16. Ben Rortvedt, C
2019 Stats (AA/ A+): .247/.352/.409 (.760 OPS), 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 42 K, 28 BB
2019 Preseason Ranking: 14
Seth: 21 | Tom: 13 | Cody: 17 | Ted: 17 |Steve: 16
Rortvedt’s bat keeps showing more and more as he climbs up the ladder. His OPS has progressed from .559 to .599 to .710 to .760 so far this season. He already has a career-high six home runs this season, and his plate discipline hasn’t suffered. He has a 19.2 K% and 12.8 BB% so far this season. At 21, he’s among the youngest players in Double-A. The Southern League weighted average age for batters is 23.7.
Rortvedt’s always had a good arm, but he’s committed to trying to improve on getting the low strike called this season. Moving up the ladder has also meant more competition for reps behind the plate. After appearing at catcher in 97% of his games in 2017, that number dipped to 82% last season and is all the way down to 67%. The drop in time behind the dish has allowed Rortvedt to get more plate appearances to date than any of his prior seasons.
Here’s some recent video from Rortvedt’s time with the Blue Wahoos:
Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings
Prospects 11-15 Coming Soon