Let’s get started by reviewing prospects from 40 down to 31, starting with a left-hander selected out of Clemson in 2017.
#40 LHP Charlie Barnes
The Twins made Barnes their fourth-round pick in 2017 after three years at Clemson. Touted as one of the best changeup pitchers in the draft, Barnes made six appearances for the Elizabethton Twins and then was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he made another six starts. After working 101 innings in college, he worked 48.1 innings in pro ball. He walked 18 and struck out 46 batters in his debut. Barnes turned 22 following the minor league season.
#39 Ricky De La Torre
When the Twins used their sixth-round pick in 2017 on the shortstop, he became the highest-drafted player from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy since Carlos Correa was the #1 overall pick in 2012. De La Torre was projected to go earlier in the draft, so the Twins were happy to swoop up the athletic, 6-2 shortstop. The 18-year-old hit .268/.341/.359 (.701) in 42 games during his pro debut. He played a bit of second base when Royce Lewis was in the GCL, but upon Lewis’s promotion, De La Torre played mostly shortstop. He should advance to E-Town in 2018.
#38 LHP Tyler Watson
The Twins acquired Watson from the Nationals at the trade deadline for Brandon Kintzler. The 20-year-old had been Washington’s 34th-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Arizona. Most believed he would go to college. He had posted a 4.35 ERA at Hagerstown (Low A) in 98 innings. In 120.1 combined innings, he walked 32, struck out 116. At 6-6, there is a lot of projection. He’s throwing a little over 90 now with good, but still developing, secondary stuff.
#37 LHP Lachlan Wells
As a 19-year-old, Lachlan Wells spent the second half of the 2016 season in Cedar Rapids. He went 6-4 with a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts. In 71.1 innings, he walked 16 and struck out 63. In 2017, he moved up to Ft. Myers where he went 4-10 with a 3.98 ERA. His peripheral numbers were all pretty similar to his numbers a year earlier. He did miss nearly two months with an elbow flexor muscle strain. He did return to the Miracle late in the season. He won’t turn 21 until late February.
#36 RHP Jake Reed
Like Nick Burdi, Reed was a 2014 draft pick that we figured we would see before now. He dominated pro ball his first season. Since then, he has had some control issues and some injury issues that have cost him time. He was well on his way in 2017 until an oblique injury on the final day of spring training cost him the season’s first two months. He remains a legit relief pitching prospect. He has a fastball with a lot of movement at 97. He also has a darting slider.
#35 RHP Landon Leach
Leach was a prospect who had a lot of helium as the draft approached. He had been a catcher in the Canadian youth leagues until the last couple of years when he got a shot on the mound and reached into the mid-90s with a fastball. He agreed to the terms set out by the Twins and they took him in the second round of this year’s draft. It took several weeks for Leach to get his work visa and then he headed down to Ft. Myers. He turned 18 in July and pitched in 13.1 innings over five appearances before the end of the season.
#34 RHP Aaron Slegers
Slegers was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2013 out of Indiana where he was the reigning Big 10 Pitcher of the Year. He has moved up one level each season. He received an invitation to big league spring training in 2017, and had a really nice season with the Red Wings. He went 15-4 with a 3.40 ERA. In mid-August, he made a spot start against Cleveland and responded b y giving up just two runs in 6.1 innings. He made four total appearances for the Twins. He is 6-10. He doesn’t throw real hard, sitting mostly in the low-90s but occasionally touching 94. He’s got the secondary pitches and know-how to pitch. He can be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter.
#33 LHP Gabriel Moya
Moya came to the Twins in late July from Arizona in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. At the time of the trade Moya had a 0.82 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP for Jackson (also in the AA Southern League). After the trade, he helped Chattanooga to a share of the Southern League championship. With the Lookouts, he had a 0.61 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in 14.1 innings. When the Lookouts finished their playoff run, Moya was summoned to the big leagues. He posted a 4.26 ERA in seven games for the Twins. The left-hander has a herky-jerky, deceptive motion and delivery making his 90 mph fastball appear much faster. He has a good slider and a changeup and has a chance to be a good lefty-reliever for years. Recently, he was named MiLB.com’s minor league relief pitcher of the year.
#32 RHP Tyler Wells
Another tall starter, Wells spent most of his 2017 season in Cedar Rapids. Drafted in the 15th round in 2016 out of Cal State - San Bernadino, Wells has a good fastball. His best pitches might be his breaking balls. He has a really good 12-6 curveball, but he also has shown a really sharp slider. He was limited to 14 starts in 2017 due to a couple of stints on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. He went 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In 75.1 innings, he walked 22 and struck out 92 (11.0 K/9).
#31 RHP Nick Burdi
Like Reed, the assumption was that Burdi would already be on the 40-man roster, an established, dominant, late-inning reliever for the big league club.. Instead, he is now a question mark to be added to the 40-man roster in November after having Tommy John surgery early in the 2017 season. But this almost still feels too low. Yes, he’ll probably miss a majority of the 2018 season, but when he comes back from surgery, he’ll still be a reliever with upper-90s fastball and an upper-80s slider. And, he’ll only be 25 throughout the 2018 season.
So there you have it, my choices for Twins prospects 31-40. What do you think of these choices or these rankings? Feel free to ask questions or leave your comments below.