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  • Part 3: Seth's Top 30 Twins Hitting Prospects (16-20)


    Seth Stohs

    Yesterday, we jumped into the top 20 Twins pitching prospects, and today, we look at Twins hitting prospects that I've ranked 16th through 20th. Get to know just a little about five more Twins hitting prospects to watch. 

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (photos of Camargo, Isola, Severino), William Parmeter (photo of Soularie), Steve Buhr (photo of Morales)

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    I can remember talking with a long-time Twins executive a long time ago. He used the phrase "catcher attrition," and I've never forgotten that. It is hard to develop catchers and get them to the big leagues. It is a tough position physically. Not only do they have to try to develop as a hitter, but they have to develop as a catcher. They need to work on improving their ability to block pitches, have good footwork and develop arm strength and accuracy. Now, a huge focus is on presenting pitches, which has a huge impact on plate appearances. It is a physically grueling position. Not only is catching tough on the knees, but foul tips can be incredibly painful. Now try to hit when you can't feel your legs. 

    While the Twins have Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt with big league time, they also have some catchers to watch in High-A and Double-A (as well as a few in the lower levels too). This grouping of five hitting prospects includes three catching prospects who, in my opinion, do have the potential to be big leaguers in some role or capacity if things shake out right for them. In addition to three catchers, this group also contains a couple of high-ceiling hitters looking to find their position. They both could take big jumps up this list in 2022. 

    Let's continue the countdown.

    #20 - C/OF Jeferson Morales 
    2021 STATS: .255/.370/.438, 24 2B, 12 HR, 53 RBI, 18.4 K%, 12.0 BB%, 12/15 SB

    Jeferson Morales may not be a household name among Twins fans, but he has been in the organization since signing out of Venezuela in October of 2016. He played in the DSL in 2018 and the GCL in 2019. Like others, he did not have a 2020 season. He began the 2021 season in Ft. Myers where he hit .237/.377/.407 (.783) with 19 doubles and seven homers. He finished by hitting .301/.350/.516 (.866) with five doubles and five homers in 25 games in Cedar Rapids. He also stole 12 bases. Morales is interesting. While he stands just 5-8 (in his spikes, probably), he has shown really good power. He’s got a good approach at the plate, willing to take his walks. He plays behind the plate where he is a good athlete but has a lot of room for improvement. He also played a lot in the outfield as well. He will turn 23 in May. He should start with the Kernels and hope to get to Double-A by season’s end.  

    #19 - C/1B Alex Isola 
    2021 STATS: .243/.342/.425, 15 2B, 17 HR, 52 RBI, 21.3 K%, 12.7 BB%, 1/1 SB

    The Twins selected Alex Isola out of TCU in the 29th round of the 2019 draft. After signing, he played seven games at Elizabethton before moving up to Cedar Rapids. Like others, he missed the 2020 season, but he was invited to Twins spring training as a part of the depth camp in 2021. When the season began, he returned to Cedar Rapids, which of course was now the High-A affiliate. He is solid behind the plate, strong and athletic with a good, accurate arm (though he threw out just 8% of base stealers in 2021). His season started out slow in terms of batting average, but he was still getting on base. As it approached midseason, he put things together and started adding more and more power. He played a lot at first base just to keep his bat in the lineup most games. He should head back to big-league spring training before jumping up to Wichita to start the season.   

    #18 - C Jair Camargo 
    2021 STATS: .236/.279/.418, 7 2B, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 37.9 K%, 4.3 BB%, 3/4 SB

    The Twins acquired Jair Camargo in the Brusdar Graterol/Kenta Maeda deal with the Dodgers. He had originally signed in July of 2015 out of Colombia. He moved up the Dodgers system slowly  including playing in the Midwest League in 2019. He didn’t play in 2020, of course, but the Twins sent him to Cedar Rapids for the 2021 season. He played in 71 games, most behind the plate, but also a dozen games at first base. He fits the look of a catcher, compact and strong. He has room to improve behind the plate in all areas, but he is a good athlete and has a strong arm. He threw out 23% of base stealers. Camargo does have some real power. He hit 13 homers and several of them went to the opposite field. There isn’t a pitch that Camargo won’t swing at. In 316 plate appearances, he walked just 12 times! That may be the key to any future success he has moving forward. Camargo won’t turn 23 until July.

    #17 - 2B/OF Alerick Soularie 
    2021 STATS: .240/.367/.360, 4 2B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 24.7 K%, 15.3 BB%, 9/10 SB

    The Twins drafted Alerick Soularie in the second round of the 2020 draft after a powerful career at the University of Tennessee. In 76 games between 2019 and 2020, he hit .336/.448/.586 (1.034) with 15 doubles and 16 homers. He also stole ten bases in 11 attempts. 2021 was set to be his professional debut, but a foot injury in spring training meant that his professional debut was delayed until August. After about a week in the FCL to get some live game action, he moved up to the Mighty Mussels and played 28 games. While he didn’t hit for average, he showed patience and a good eye at the plate. He played a combined 22 games at second base and nine games in left field. If I were to guess, I think he’ll end up in the outfield, but of course having some flexibility won’t hurt at all. Soularie is 22 years old. He should spend most of 2022 in Cedar Rapids. 

    #16 - 2B/3B Yunior Severino 
    2021 STATS: .273/.372/.430, 29 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 70 RBI, 29.4 K%, 12.2 BB%, 3/3 SB

    The 22-year-old Yunior Severino has already had an interesting career. He originally signed with Atlanta, but when they were caught for transgressions in their international scouting, he became a free agent and signed quickly with the Twins before the 2018 season. In 2019, he played just 22 games in Cedar Rapids because of a wrist injury. After a lost 2020, he began 2021 in Low-A Ft. Myers. While his overall numbers look solid, the splits are interesting. In 63 games in Ft. Myers, Severino hit just .245/.347/.393 (.740) with 17 doubles and five homers. He moved up to Cedar Rapids and in 35 games, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. His 29 doubles were behind only Jose Miranda in the Twins system. Reports are that he hit the ball hard in Ft. Myers, but that league can really hurt offensive output. If he can stay healthy, he could have a breakout season in 2022. 

    I think this is a pretty interesting group of prospects. First, I think having depth of catchers is a good thing. All three are potentially strong offensively. Each has some defensive talent and some work to do yet. Severino and Soularie both present high-ceiling offensive potential, though each will need to find a defensive home or get better around the diamond. There is certainly talent in this group. 

    Feel free to discuss and ask questions. 

    Previous Rankings
    Hitters Part 1: 26-30
    Hitters Part 2: 21-25
    Hitters Part 3: 16-20 

    Pitchers Part 1: 26-30  
    Pitchers Part 2: 21-25
    Pitchers Part 3: 16-20 

     

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    I like the upside on Severino, but the rest don't have a lot of the excitement factor to me. It's good to have catcher depth and guys in the organization that you can go to, but I'm not sure any of these look like they have a breakout potential to me. I hope I'm wrong.

    Pitching side of the equation looking a little stronger and deeper at this point in the lists. That said...we're still pretty far down the prospect lists.

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    Nice summaries as usual, Seth.  It is nice to see three players who wear the "tools of ignorance" on the list.  In some ways, I think catchers are the hardest position players to evaluate as so much depends upon their ability to improve behind the plate.  But, when you start with three who have some skills with the bat, chances are one of them will develop his defensive skills enough to make the majors.  Jeffers was originally in that category after all.  

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    Very interesting group, Seth.  Perhaps even exciting!

    Agree that catching is so important and like all three of these kids.  Will be interesting to see if you have any other catchers included between #16 and #1?  (Rortvedt has enough big league time to not be included in this analysis, right?)

    Have liked Soularie since he was drafted and will be looking to follow him closely this summer.  Perhaps the biggest question with Severino is whether or not he has done a good job of investing his $4.5M.  That is what he got if you combine what Atlanta paid him with the amount he signed with the Twins?  To be honest, I don't recall Severino doing as well last summer as his numbers indicate, especially at Cedar Rapids.  Should be interesting to see if he gets thru the Rule 5, I would think so, assuming there is a draft when baseball gets going again.

    Thanks for this series, Seth.

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    59 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    Pitching side of the equation looking a little stronger and deeper at this point in the lists. That said...we're still pretty far down the prospect lists.

    I agree with this comment. And that's more than fair since the "hitters" list no longer includes the likes of Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Rortvedt or Gordon. And Rortvedt would rank higher than these three catchers, at least by a little bit. 

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    I think Morales will be done being a sleeper candidate after this season.  Really solid line and having a good eye at the plate just helps a hitter get better pitches to hit or at least get on base.  He is pretty small and looks a little funny at the plate to me but his results speak for themselves and barring injury I expect really good things for him in the future.

    Still not sure what to think about Isola.  I was pretty excited when he found his power stroke last year and he too seems to have a pretty good eye at the plate.  He could stand to make a bit more contact IMO but he has a chance.  I will be watching him closely this year.

    Camargo has a powerful swing but that K rate is pretty painful.  To be honest I just don't see him making it but he is young and things can change.  To me of the three catchers he is the least likely to get there but hey most MLB catchers don't hit all that well so having a power stroke benefits him as if he gets a hold of a pitch it it likely out of the park.  Agree with OP that he has lot's to work on but he also has time on his side for now.

    Too small a sample size to know much about Soularie just yet.  I just hope the bat is as advertised.

    Fort Meyers was tough on bats last year with pretty much any hitter making it out of there doing much better at High A in Cedar Rapids. While he has the Hard Hit Rate the Twins FO loves I still don't know if his hit tool is going to be good enough at the higher levels.  He was money at High A though so maybe he is ready to break through hard to say.  I will say I would be very surprised if a team took him in Rule V.  He is no Baddoo IMO.  It feels like he has a ways to go but I hope he makes it.

     

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    6 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    I agree with this comment. And that's more than fair since the "hitters" list no longer includes the likes of Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Rortvedt or Gordon. And Rortvedt would rank higher than these three catchers, at least by a little bit. 

    Seth, Can you explain this comment about Rortvedt please.  Does this ranking not consider fielding skills? Thank you for your excellent summaries. 

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    I was in Elizabethton several years ago when Severino was there.  One of the "officials" of the team introduced me to Larnach. Nice guy, especially when I teased him about knocking my Tarheels out of the college World Series.. Later I asked this official who were the other players  currently on the Elizabethton team that have impressed him. He said: "See that light pole in left field?  Severino had hit a ball over that light pole. Watch him"    I have been hoping he would keep progressing toward the Twins. Severino is my minor league hitter/fielder pick to click this year.

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    28 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Seth, Can you explain this comment about Rortvedt please.  Does this ranking not consider fielding skills? Thank you for your excellent summaries. 

    Rortvedt and the others from that message are no longer "prospects." My definition of prospect (and all the national publications) is that they have Rookie of the Year eligibility. 

    These rankings try to encompass the overall player, so while hitting gets a lot of the discussion, defense can play a role. 

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    1 hour ago, Seth Stohs said:

    Rortvedt and the others from that message are no longer "prospects." My definition of prospect (and all the national publications) is that they have Rookie of the Year eligibility. 

    These rankings try to encompass the overall player, so while hitting gets a lot of the discussion, defense can play a role. 

    Seth, I understand that Rortvedt was not eligible for ranking in this list. I just disagree that he would rank higher than these 3 , "at least by a little bit". My point is that if he were eligible for this list, which I understand he is not, then considering his defensive skills, which are superior to our 2 major league regulars, Rortvedt should rank higher than these 3 catchers on the list by a lot more than just  "by a little bit"...But then I have not seen the next 15 rankings, which I'm sure will blow my feeble argument out of the water. Thanks for your excellent contributions to TD. 

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    26 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Seth, I understand that Rortvedt was not eligible for ranking in this list. I just disagree that he would rank higher than these 3 , "at least by a little bit". My point is that if he were eligible for this list, which I understand he is not, then considering his defensive skills, which are superior to our 2 major league regulars, Rortvedt should rank higher than these 3 catchers on the list by a lot more than just  "by a little bit"...But then I have not seen the next 15 rankings, which I'm sure will blow my feeble argument out of the water. Thanks for your excellent contributions to TD. 

    Ah, sorry I misunderstood the question... I think he would be about 8-10 places higher on this list than these catchers. I've enjoyed watching him play defense back to 2017, and I do think he will be a competent hitter at some point. I think he can have a Drew Butera length and type of career. 

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    Camargo is the one ranking I'd argue with. It's been my understanding his defense is probably better than Isola or Morales, and he does have some decent power, but seems behind them in hit ability/potential. I appreciate the importance of the catching position and all its many facets, but I think a young catcher(s) with a good bat(s) and OK defense that can be improved/learned on would rank higher IMO that the good defense and questionable bat.

    I was disappointed Soularie missed as much time as he did. I'm really interested to see what he can dobgiven a little time. Athletically it seems he has the whole package.

    Agree that Severino could be a really fast riser in 2022. Would really be something if we were talking about him this time next year similar to how we have been talking about Miranda.

    I found it really interesting how so many hitters fared this past season with the flip of Cedar Rapids and Ft Myers from high and low A ball. Apparently, if you can hit, or at least hold your own at Ft Myers, you're in for a large growth/production uptick once you hit Iowa.

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    The other fun prospects to follow was Pearson (the OF we got from the Angels for international signing cap space) and David Banuelos (the C we got from Seattle for the same thing) basically nothing.....   

    Banuelos is in AAA must be a good defensive C cause he doesnt hit at all career .570 OPS

    anyone know what happened to Pearson?

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