With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30.
#30 SS Jelfry Marte
Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL.
#29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez
Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August.
#28 3B Andrew Bechtold
Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power.
#27 RHP Griffin Jax
Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.)
#26 OF Aaron Whitefield
The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.)
So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below.