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  • Part 2: Seth's Top 30 Twins Hitting Prospects (21-25)


    Seth Stohs

    Today we get back to my Twins Top 30 Hitting Prospect rankings with Part 2, prospects 21 through 25. Today's list includes more names that you have heard of, however, it still presents a group of players at various levels in the organization, and players at various levels of development. Do you agree with these rankings. 

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily

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    A quick reminder. These prospect rankings are meant as a fun look at prospects throughout the Twins organization. In Part 2 today, you'll read about some hitters at various levels of development which can make it difficult to rank and differentiate. 

    After reading about this group of players, enjoy the comments. Participate by asking questions or discussing the players mentioned. When we finish the rankings, I'd like to know your thoughts and your rankings. 

    Let's get started with Twins hitting prospects ranked 21-25. 

    #25 Jermaine Palacios 
    2021 STATS: .259/.340/.439, 17 2B, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 23.3 K%, 9.8 BB%, 18/26 SB 

    Jermaine Palacios originally signed with the Twins way back in 2013 from Venezuela. By 2017, he had become a very solid Twins prospect, reaching into some Top 10 lists. Before the 2018 season, he was traded to the Rays for Jake Odorizzi. He really struggled in 2019 and 2020, especially in Double-A. He didn’t play in 2020 and became a free agent. He had other options, but he chose to come back to the Twins organization. The plan for him was to play all over the infield, but when Royce Lewis’s season came to an end, he became the almost-everyday shortstop. He was a very stabilizing factor in the Wind Surge infield, a fantastic defensively shortstop with a strong arm and range. In addition, he hit. He got on base, and he really showed a lot of power. Following the season, he very quickly signed to remain with the Twins organization on a minor league contract. He is currently hitting .349/.431/.563 (.994) with 11 doubles and four homers in 40 games in the Venezuelan Winter League. He will not turn 26 until mid-July. 

    #24  Charlie Mack 
    2021 STATS: .229/.370/.368, 7 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 26.4 K%, 18.3 BB%, 2/2 SB

    Charlie Mack was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2018 out of high school. He spent time as an infielder but after the 2019 season, he was moved behind the plate. Unfortunately, there was no 2020 minor league season, but Mack continued to work at it and showed progress on defense in 2021 with the Mighty Mussels. His bat really came around in the second half too. Mack has a nice, pure, left-handed swing that should develop more power. He’s got a patient approach as well. He will be 22-years-old throughout the 2022 season and should spend it in Cedar Rapids. His brother Joe was the Marlins first-round pick in 2021. 

    #23  Mark Contreras 
    2021 STATS: .251/.338/.485, 30 2B, 3 3B, 20 HR, 29.6 K%, 9.1 BB%, 15/20 SB

    Mark Contreras had a bit of a breakout season in 2021. The former minor league Gold Glove outfielder struggled with the bat in 2019. However, in 2021, he showed a good approach at the plate and really started to drive the ball, as you can see from 53 extra base hits. He remained strong in the outfield and played all three positions which is good since the Twins hope centerfield is pretty well set for awhile. Meanwhile, he will be 27 throughout the 2022 season and continuing to prepare himself in St. Paul for The Call.  

    #22  Will Holland 
    2021 STATS: .214/.336/.401, 15 2B, 10 HR, 27 RBI, 33.1 K%, 11.0 BB%, 19/24 SB

    The Twins selected Will Holland in the 5th round of the 2019 draft. He was playing with Auburn in the College World Series. In 2021, he played in Ft. Myers. He missed a little time with injury and played in 76 games. He was a shortstop in college, but this year he spent a lot of time in centerfield. While he didn’t hit for average, as the season went on he took quality plate appearances and showed terrific power. Holland is a great athlete who can play all over the diamond. 

    #21 Seth Gray 
    2021 STATS: .212/.321/.333, 13 2B, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 28.3 K%, 10.6 BB%, 5/6 SB

    Seth Gray certainly looks the part of a power-hitting third baseman. He is big and strong, yet he is pretty quick on his first at third base and plays the position pretty well. It was a disappointing season for him offensively. He wasn’t able to really find a run of consistency throughout the year. There were a lot of swings-and-misses, but he also has a patient approach at the plate. It’s important to also remember that with the missed season, he also jumped over Low-A ball. 2022 will be a big year for him, but the talent and strength are certainly there to move up this list rapidly. 

    While Contreras and Palacios could be ready to fill a role in the big leagues in the right situation, Mack was a high school pick changing positions while moving up to the Mighty Mussels. Meanwhile Gray and Holland are college guys who have had their ups and downs but both remain filled with talent and tools to give hope that it can click. Let's not underestimate how much the lost season affected people differently. 

    Discuss... and keep coming back every day throughout the holiday season as we continue to discuss these prospects. 

    Previous Rankings 
    Hitters Part 1: 26-30
    Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 

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    Palacious has been around for quite a while, and seems to get pretty good marks for defense. He has pretty decent batting stats, not outrageous strikeout numbers, decent walk numbers and even steals a few bases.

    So what does he have left to prove before he is a legitimate prospect to play shortstop for the big club, because he sure doesn't get much mention for that possibility?

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    1 hour ago, twinsfansd said:

    Palacious has been around for quite a while, and seems to get pretty good marks for defense. He has pretty decent batting stats, not outrageous strikeout numbers, decent walk numbers and even steals a few bases.

    So what does he have left to prove before he is a legitimate prospect to play shortstop for the big club, because he sure doesn't get much mention for that possibility?

    Good point.  In my mind, I'd like to see him prove that 2018 and 2019 were the fluke, not 2021.

    I don't know what the likelihood of this would be, but I'd love to see him just flat out take the SS position in ST.  Make it hard for the organization to send him back down.  He excites me more than most of the remaining free agent crop anyway. 

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    I saw Palacios play at Cedar Rapids in 16 or 17 and thought he looked great.  When I did my minor league trips this past summer, I saw him at Wichita.  In both cases, I was impressed with him defensively--good range, enough arm, and good instincts.  And, he hit well when I saw him.  However, I know 5 games over a period of 4 years isn't enough to form an intelligent opinion.  But, I am curious Seth if you think he could hold his own in the majors?  Thanks for the write ups.  

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     Palacios is less of a prospect and just a possible player for a couple of years.  He is entering his prime and could have a few good years at MLB level if given a shot, but you should not expect him to play too many years.  I say give him a shot see what he can do.  He may be a couple year stop gap, and if impresses enough some team might want him via trade if we have a SS ready to go. 

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    Nice list!  I had Palacios making the Twins 40 man especially since they needed SS help but I guess I was wrong.  I still think he gets taken in Rule V.  If the Twins do lose him I think they will regret not adding him but we will see. They must have been saving that spot for a veteran SS with plans on Lewis playing there eventually but I still think Palacios would have been a better bet than Gordon but they know best.  At any rate he had a monster season and was a big part his teams success last year.  Was great too see him break out and given his past years performance was not expected by me at all.

    I agree with Seth that Mack turned the bat around late in the season. Hoping he has figured some things out as he could end up being a versatile player.

    Let me just say that I thought Contreras was never going to make it.  His 2019 season was pretty brutal at the plate and I always liked De La Trinadad better.  This past year though he was money.  He showed really good power this year and he plays solid defense.  I think he would be a good Jake Cave replacement.  Definitely someone to watch next year.

    I was a big fan of the Holland draft pick but his swing still is concerning.  The power is there but so is the swing and miss. Hopefully things go better next year.

    Gray started off pretty good and then tanked most of the rest of the season.  Have to say I was pretty disappointed. The eye and bat have a ways to go IMO.

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    I like all the Palacios comments.  If he is good glove like the summary says maybe he can be our short term solution until we plug in Lewis.  I am surprised he is rated this low.  

    Contreras is another batter I would have thought belonged higher on the list.   I expect both of these players to be grabbed in rule V.  

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    Two thoughts, Seth, as I read about Palacios.  First was your using the word 'fantastic' when describing his defense.  Is he really that good defensively?  He can't be the next Ozzie Smith, but is he Simmons good?

    My second thought went back to the Odorizzi trade.  I really hope the FO has been working on another deal that would bring in someone solid like Odor in exchange for say a mid-teen prospect...not Noah Miller, but around there.

    Thanks, Seth.

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    13 minutes ago, roger said:

    Two thoughts, Seth, as I read about Palacios.  First was your using the word 'fantastic' when describing his defense.  Is he really that good defensively?  He can't be the next Ozzie Smith, but is he Simmons good?

    My second thought went back to the Odorizzi trade.  I really hope the FO has been working on another deal that would bring in someone solid like Odor in exchange for say a mid-teen prospect...not Noah Miller, but around there.

    Thanks, Seth.

    I'm guessing you mean 2021 Simmons good? Because one could argue there wasn't much different between Ozzie and Simmons in their prime. 🙂
    I agree that I hope Palacios isn't picked in the Rule 5.  At first, I was shocked he was this low.  But between age and streaky hitting and the names in front of him, it makes sense.  I hope we see him this next year and he surprises us.

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    3 hours ago, twinsfansd said:

    Palacious has been around for quite a while, and seems to get pretty good marks for defense. He has pretty decent batting stats, not outrageous strikeout numbers, decent walk numbers and even steals a few bases.

    So what does he have left to prove before he is a legitimate prospect to play shortstop for the big club, because he sure doesn't get much mention for that possibility?

    I think that's a very fair question... I think he should start 2022 in Triple-A while Royce starts the season playing SS at AA... But I think if Palacios can show he can hit in AAA like he did last year in AA, you might have something. And, he'd likely be a short-term option, but I think he's at least put himself into that discussion. 

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    1 hour ago, RJA said:

    I saw Palacios play at Cedar Rapids in 16 or 17 and thought he looked great.  When I did my minor league trips this past summer, I saw him at Wichita.  In both cases, I was impressed with him defensively--good range, enough arm, and good instincts.  And, he hit well when I saw him.  However, I know 5 games over a period of 4 years isn't enough to form an intelligent opinion.  But, I am curious Seth if you think he could hold his own in the majors?  Thanks for the write ups.  

    I don't have a great sense for that. Defensively, as you mention, I think he'd be just fine (after getting rid of some nerves, I'm sure)... Offensively, that's that question. As was mentioned by @wsnydes above, he really just kind of needs to show that 2021 isn't the outlier after his struggles in 2018 and 2019. He's a little older, more mature... all that helps. 

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    1 hour ago, Trov said:

     Palacios is less of a prospect and just a possible player for a couple of years.  He is entering his prime and could have a few good years at MLB level if given a shot, but you should not expect him to play too many years.  I say give him a shot see what he can do.  He may be a couple year stop gap, and if impresses enough some team might want him via trade if we have a SS ready to go. 

    And if he's a "couple-year stopgap" he should probably be higher up on this list. He's younger than several other prospects we have and will rank, but I also agree that he can be a shortstop, but for an MLB career, he could be a utility guy long-term... which again, warrants this ranking. 

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    I’d like to see Palacios get a chance. He had a nice comeback year at Wichita and if he could hit a little with some power and base running speed while being an average defender, that package would be better than what Simmons achieved. It’s all speculation at this point, but at his age a player goes from prospect to suspect pretty quick. 

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    Again I see players with lower Avg. If these are our top hitting prospects we are in a world of hurt. I don't know how long this club can survive with this all or nothing approach. Its fine to have a few guys like Sano in the lineup but you need to score runs without depending on the homeruns.

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    Always enjoy your lists. As a request, could you put the players age next to their name going forward? 

    Of these five, Holland is the one that excites me the most. IIRC, he was targeted as a potential first round pick going into his junior season but had a pretty bad year. Getting him in the 5th was a nice get. There is some talent there, we just need to unlock it. He'll be 24 this year so it's getting a bit late but let's hope he breaks out. He finished last year really strong.

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    1 hour ago, Karbo said:

    Again I see players with lower Avg. If these are our top hitting prospects we are in a world of hurt. I don't know how long this club can survive with this all or nothing approach. Its fine to have a few guys like Sano in the lineup but you need to score runs without depending on the homeruns.

    The name of the game is OPS right now and the analytics tend to show batting average is not the best way to impact OPS. Slugging has the greatest impact on runs scored and even though mighty Casey strikes out a lot when he does connect he scores a run or gets a double or triple.  

    OBP is also important to OPS thus taking walks becomes greater than batting average.  Most of the guys on this list have an OBP in the mid 300's.  Rosario was a free swinger with decent BA but he didn't walk much and his OBP and thus OPS suffered for it.  Eye at the plate Hard hit rate are the popular kids right now.  The three outcome game (K, Walk, HR) looks like it is here to stay and the players stats above show they are being groomed that way.

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    I am interested to see if Contreras will be given a shot. He probably should have come in August/September when Refsnyder and Cave were stinking things up. I suppose they didn't want to carry him on the 40 man, but he's already turning 27. I don't think he has enough upside to be taken in the Rule 5 draft.

    Palacios is the one guy who I think could be taken, but teams may be turned off by how it took until his third year at AA to figure out how to hit that level of pitching. I see him as a bench bat who can handle SS well and should work out as a utility guy. Maybe he can become a replacement to Adrianza mid-2022.

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    2 hours ago, Dman said:

    The name of the game is OPS right now and the analytics tend to show batting average is not the best way to impact OPS. Slugging has the greatest impact on runs scored and even though mighty Casey strikes out a lot when he does connect he scores a run or gets a double or triple.  

    OBP is also important to OPS thus taking walks becomes greater than batting average.  Most of the guys on this list have an OBP in the mid 300's.  Rosario was a free swinger with decent BA but he didn't walk much and his OBP and thus OPS suffered for it.  Eye at the plate Hard hit rate are the popular kids right now.  The three outcome game (K, Walk, HR) looks like it is here to stay and the players stats above show they are being groomed that way.

    While this is true, by definition... Batting average is essentially counted TWICE in OPS. I'm one who would definitely like to see more balls put in play... it's WAY more fun to watch. 

    I think the process is more important than the results (even though obviously in the big leagues, results matter, at least in terms of wins). So I do think Hard-Hit rate is very important. Exit Velocity. Things like Swings outside the strikezone and others that show control of the strike zone. Those are things that front offices should care about... 

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    3 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    While this is true, by definition... Batting average is essentially counted TWICE in OPS. I'm one who would definitely like to see more balls put in play... it's WAY more fun to watch. 

    I think the process is more important than the results (even though obviously in the big leagues, results matter, at least in terms of wins). So I do think Hard-Hit rate is very important. Exit Velocity. Things like Swings outside the strikezone and others that show control of the strike zone. Those are things that front offices should care about... 

    Yeah the Rod Carew, George Brett days were fun.  To the eye hits are more beautiful than walks but I still think the home run is king and I think that is what has brought us to where we are today.  That dribbler through the infield is harder to come by these days so why not swing for the fences and put a run on the board with one swing?  The romance with batting average seems to be gone maybe not from a fan perspective but as a strategy to win it has been replaced with OPS.

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    20 hours ago, Dman said:

    The name of the game is OPS right now and the analytics tend to show batting average is not the best way to impact OPS. Slugging has the greatest impact on runs scored and even though mighty Casey strikes out a lot when he does connect he scores a run or gets a double or triple.  

    OBP is also important to OPS thus taking walks becomes greater than batting average.  Most of the guys on this list have an OBP in the mid 300's.  Rosario was a free swinger with decent BA but he didn't walk much and his OBP and thus OPS suffered for it.  Eye at the plate Hard hit rate are the popular kids right now.  The three outcome game (K, Walk, HR) looks like it is here to stay and the players stats above show they are being groomed that way.

    Maybe, just maybe, this is part of the reason the game is losing its popularity. Afterall, I can go out to any beerball softball field and watch guys "swing for the fences" for free any time. As far as here to stay goes, maybe you're right, although I personally hope its just another disturbing trend. I truly miss the players like R. henderson and wills and Carew that could steal bases. I tend to get bored watching guys striking out at absurd rates or standing stationary on base hoping the next guy up can hit it over the fence. I'm sure there are some that like this brand of baseball, but how many like it only when their team is winning?

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    I just wonder about prospects with higher than maybe a 20% rate of striking out. That's a lot of times to strike out- even in minor league parks with slightly poorer lighting. But these are somewhat lower prospects or still young kids.

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    On 12/22/2021 at 7:33 PM, Dman said:

    Yeah the Rod Carew, George Brett days were fun.  To the eye hits are more beautiful than walks but I still think the home run is king and I think that is what has brought us to where we are today.  That dribbler through the infield is harder to come by these days so why not swing for the fences and put a run on the board with one swing?  The romance with batting average seems to be gone maybe not from a fan perspective but as a strategy to win it has been replaced with OPS.

    That is why the bats of Celestino, Larnach and Rooker had so much to do with the Twins win-loss record.

    Two singles and a double are worth more than a home run with bases empty.

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