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  1. Most national prospect list have been released over the last few weeks. Here is a look at some of the Twins top talent that fall at the back end of Cody’s Top 20 Twins Prospects.Evaluating prospects in a pandemic certainly presents multiple challenges. Three of these names have yet to make their professional debut and that adds another wrinkle to the evaluation process. Minnesota’s system is deep and any of these names could impact the big-league roster in the years ahead. 20. Danny De Andrade- SS (16-years old) Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 The 2021 international signing period opened on January 15 and the Twins were expected to be aggressive. De Andrade was the organization’s highest rated signee, but he’s only 16-years old and he’s a long way from making his Target Field debut. Many players at his age are listed as shortstops, but there is no guarantee he will stick at that position. At 6-feet tall and 160 pounds, there is some room to add weight and even more power in the batter’s box. Scouting reports already praise him for his ability to drive the ball to all fields so he will be an exciting player to follow in the year’s ahead. 19. Jose Miranda- INF (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2021 Miranda has steadily been working his way through the Twins system since the club drafted him back in 2016. As a 21-year-old, he spent nearly all of 2019 at High-A, but he was able to make one appearance at Double-A. This winter he has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League and he’s had a strong offensive showing in 15 games. He hit .302/.377/.472 with six doubles and a home run. Fans can expect him to spend most of 2021 at both of the organization’s highest minor league levels with an outside chance of him making his big-league debut. 18. Emmanuel Rodriguez- OF (17-years old) Acquired: 2019 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 Rodriguez was Minnesota’s top international signing from the 2019 signing period, when MLB.com ranked him as the eighth best player available. He has yet to make his professional debut because of the pandemic. His best tool is his hit tool, and he is often praised for his baseball instincts. Some compared him to a young Eddie Rosario. When he signed, he was listed at 165-pounds and there are reports that he added upwards of 20 pounds since that point. He trained at home all last year so it will be nice for him to get a chance to work with Twins coaches more regularly in 2021. 17. Alerick Soularie- OF/2B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 Second Round Pick ETA: 2024 Soularie is the third name on this list that has yet to make his professional debut. The Twins took him in the second round of last year’s draft out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 in just over a season’s worth of at-bats. In college, he played a lot of outfield in college, but the Twins are likely going to shift him to second base since he profiles better that that position. Some scouts question his approach at the plate, but his raw athleticism should help him to make adjustments when he is able to make his professional debut. 16. Cole Sands- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Injuries have been part of his professional career as IL trips cost him parts of the 2018 and 2019 campaign. On the mound, his stuff is hard to ignore as he has a mid-90s fastball with some good movement that he combines with a plus breaking ball. Missing the 2020 season was tough on him because it would have allowed him to prove he can stay healthy and build up his innings total. Next winter, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster, so he has a lot to prove during the 2021 campaign. Which of these prospects stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  2. Evaluating prospects in a pandemic certainly presents multiple challenges. Three of these names have yet to make their professional debut and that adds another wrinkle to the evaluation process. Minnesota’s system is deep and any of these names could impact the big-league roster in the years ahead. 20. Danny De Andrade- SS (16-years old) Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 The 2021 international signing period opened on January 15 and the Twins were expected to be aggressive. De Andrade was the organization’s highest rated signee, but he’s only 16-years old and he’s a long way from making his Target Field debut. Many players at his age are listed as shortstops, but there is no guarantee he will stick at that position. At 6-feet tall and 160 pounds, there is some room to add weight and even more power in the batter’s box. Scouting reports already praise him for his ability to drive the ball to all fields so he will be an exciting player to follow in the year’s ahead. 19. Jose Miranda- INF (22-years old) Acquired: 2016 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2021 Miranda has steadily been working his way through the Twins system since the club drafted him back in 2016. As a 21-year-old, he spent nearly all of 2019 at High-A, but he was able to make one appearance at Double-A. This winter he has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League and he’s had a strong offensive showing in 15 games. He hit .302/.377/.472 with six doubles and a home run. Fans can expect him to spend most of 2021 at both of the organization’s highest minor league levels with an outside chance of him making his big-league debut. 18. Emmanuel Rodriguez- OF (17-years old) Acquired: 2019 International Free Agent ETA: 2025 Rodriguez was Minnesota’s top international signing from the 2019 signing period, when MLB.com ranked him as the eighth best player available. He has yet to make his professional debut because of the pandemic. His best tool is his hit tool, and he is often praised for his baseball instincts. Some compared him to a young Eddie Rosario. When he signed, he was listed at 165-pounds and there are reports that he added upwards of 20 pounds since that point. He trained at home all last year so it will be nice for him to get a chance to work with Twins coaches more regularly in 2021. 17. Alerick Soularie- OF/2B (21-years old) Acquired: 2020 Second Round Pick ETA: 2024 Soularie is the third name on this list that has yet to make his professional debut. The Twins took him in the second round of last year’s draft out of Tennessee where he hit .336/.448/.586 in just over a season’s worth of at-bats. In college, he played a lot of outfield in college, but the Twins are likely going to shift him to second base since he profiles better that that position. Some scouts question his approach at the plate, but his raw athleticism should help him to make adjustments when he is able to make his professional debut. 16. Cole Sands- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 5th Round Pick ETA: 2021 Injuries have been part of his professional career as IL trips cost him parts of the 2018 and 2019 campaign. On the mound, his stuff is hard to ignore as he has a mid-90s fastball with some good movement that he combines with a plus breaking ball. Missing the 2020 season was tough on him because it would have allowed him to prove he can stay healthy and build up his innings total. Next winter, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster, so he has a lot to prove during the 2021 campaign. Which of these prospects stands out to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Normally, the signing period opens in July, but this year it got pushed back as teams dealt with the pandemic. Now it will open at 8 AM Central Friday, January 15 with some big names to keep an eye on. Top of the Class Many consider Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes to be the top available player during the signing period. He is the younger half-brother of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since he is already 23-years old, he could move quickly to get to the big-leagues and there are many that consider him a five-tool talent. Other top players expected to sign include Oscar Colas, Wilman Diaz, Carlos Colmenarez, and Armando Cruz. However, the Twins are not expected to sign any of the top five players in this class. Recent Minnesota Signings Minnesota has been focused on outfielders in the international market over the last three seasons. Back in 2017, the club signed Venezuelan outfield Carlos Aguiar for a $1 million signing bonus. Minnesota’s 2018 class included Venezuelan center fielder Misael Urbina. Last year’s two biggest names were Emmanuel Rodriguez ($2.5 million) and Malfrin Sosa ($900,000) out of the Dominican Republic. How Can the Twins Spend? Minnesota has $6.431 million to spend in the current international signing period. This is tied for the highest total with Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay. MLB.com is expecting the Twins to be very aggressive as the signing period opens. Who Will the Twins Target? After focusing on outfielders for three years, the Twins will turn to the infield at the top of their 2020-21 signing class. Minnesota has been rumored to be tied to Venezuelan shortstop Danny De Andrade, who MLB.com ranks as the 16th best prospect in the entire class. The 16-year-old comes in at 6-feet tall while weighing 160 pounds. https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1349801710751985668?s=20 Even though he is Venezuelan, he has been training for multiple years in the Dominican Republic with Jamie Ramos, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program. His defensive skills are strong enough to stick at shortstop, but there is some concern that he will need to move to third base because of his size. He can drive the ball to all fields and his bat speed helps to separate him from other international prospects. His body has plenty of room to add strength and he is very projectable. The Twins are also connected to shortstop, Fredy LaFlor, MLB.com’s number 28 prospect in the class. They compare him to a young Eduardo Escobar and that would certainly make Minnesota fans happy. Scouting reports have him starting his career at shortstop, but he also can shift to center field or second base. He’s a switch hitter with a quick swing. What are your thoughts on this year’s international signing class? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. There is no question how important signing international players is to MLB organization. One strong signing class can alter a franchise’s future as Minnesota’s current core includes Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jorge Polanco, who were all signed during the same international signing period.Normally, the signing period opens in July, but this year it got pushed back as teams dealt with the pandemic. Now it will open at 8 AM Central Friday, January 15 with some big names to keep an eye on. Top of the Class Many consider Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes to be the top available player during the signing period. He is the younger half-brother of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since he is already 23-years old, he could move quickly to get to the big-leagues and there are many that consider him a five-tool talent. Other top players expected to sign include Oscar Colas, Wilman Diaz, Carlos Colmenarez, and Armando Cruz. However, the Twins are not expected to sign any of the top five players in this class. Recent Minnesota Signings Minnesota has been focused on outfielders in the international market over the last three seasons. Back in 2017, the club signed Venezuelan outfield Carlos Aguiar for a $1 million signing bonus. Minnesota’s 2018 class included Venezuelan center fielder Misael Urbina. Last year’s two biggest names were Emmanuel Rodriguez ($2.5 million) and Malfrin Sosa ($900,000) out of the Dominican Republic. How Can the Twins Spend? Minnesota has $6.431 million to spend in the current international signing period. This is tied for the highest total with Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay. MLB.com is expecting the Twins to be very aggressive as the signing period opens. Who Will the Twins Target? After focusing on outfielders for three years, the Twins will turn to the infield at the top of their 2020-21 signing class. Minnesota has been rumored to be tied to Venezuelan shortstop Danny De Andrade, who MLB.com ranks as the 16th best prospect in the entire class. The 16-year-old comes in at 6-feet tall while weighing 160 pounds. Even though he is Venezuelan, he has been training for multiple years in the Dominican Republic with Jamie Ramos, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program. His defensive skills are strong enough to stick at shortstop, but there is some concern that he will need to move to third base because of his size. He can drive the ball to all fields and his bat speed helps to separate him from other international prospects. His body has plenty of room to add strength and he is very projectable. The Twins are also connected to shortstop, Fredy LaFlor, MLB.com’s number 28 prospect in the class. They compare him to a young Eduardo Escobar and that would certainly make Minnesota fans happy. Scouting reports have him starting his career at shortstop, but he also can shift to center field or second base. He’s a switch hitter with a quick swing. What are your thoughts on this year’s international signing class? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  5. One of the biggest mysteries and also one of the best ways to add quality to a system is through International Free Agency. It’s one of the best because you look at some of the premier players in the game and they come from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, countries where players are not subjected to the draft. But it’s a mystery in the sense that teams have only so much money to spend, yet only a few signings make headlines and you never seem to know if teams have more to spend or even who the players are. Putting this report together at any time of the year is going to be misleading. When the Twins release their media guide, it includes all the players they have signed - including players from the current signing period. But the signing period runs until the middle of next June, so they’ll continue to add players to the class. As of now, there are 15 players in this group. 2019-20 Signings (July 2, 2019 - June 15, 2020) Luis Blanco, RHP, Venezuela. (9/1/2000) Miguelangel Boadas, RHP, Venezuela. (12/7/2002) Gregory Duran, OF, Dominican Republic. (10/8/2002) Argenis Jimenez, OF, Venezuela. (4/21/2003) Yon Landaeta, P, Venezuela. (3/16/2000) Juan Nunez, P, Dominican Republic (12/7/2000) Ricardo Olivar, C, Venezuela (8/10/2001) Breilin Ramirez, INF, Dominican Republic (9/6/2002) Bonus: $400k Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Dominican Republic (2/28/2003) Bonus: $2.5 million Endy Rodriguez, INF, Dominican Republic (6/10/2003) Malfrin Sosa, OF, Dominican Republic (9/13/2002) Bonus: $900k Yonardy Sota, OF, Dominican Republic (1/31/2003) Bonus: $550k Amilcar Vasquez, C, Venezuela (12/26/2001) Carlos Velasquez, RHP, Venezuela (9/13/2001) Joseph Yabbour, RHP, Venezuela (7/9/2003) As you can see, all hail from Venezuela or the Dominican Republic. And there are definitely some names to remember. Emmanuel Rodriguez received the biggest bonus and will be the highest-ranked prospect on this list for at least a couple of seasons. Joseph Yabbour signed the day he turned 16 and will continue both the pipeline of hard-throwing prospects - he’s in the mid-90s already - and the family tradition, which includes the Escobars and Acunas. It is expected that every single one of these players will play exclusively in the Dominican Summer League this summer. 2018-19 Signings (July 2, 2018 - June 15, 2019) Hector Acevedo, C (11/20/1997): .183 (17-93 in 28 games), 26:12 K:BB, .296 OBP, .344 SLG (.640 OPS) Develson Aria, LHP (3/20/2001): 2-4, 5.25 ERA, 17 games (1 start), 39:27 K:BB in 36 innings Julio Bonilla, RHP (11/15/2000): 3-2, 3.20 ERA, 11 games (2 starts), 25:12 K:BB in 25.1 innings Yennier Cano, RHP (3/9/1994): 0-0, 4.2 ERA, 10 games, 15:14 K:BB in 15 innings. (Split time between GCL Twins and high-A Fort Myers.) Rubel Cespedes, INF (8/29/2000): .271 (45-166 in 42 games), 32:9 K:BB, .322 OBP, .404 SLG (.726 OPS) Oscar Corporan, RHP (10/4/2000): 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 2 games, 1:7 K:BB in 1.1 innings Rhodery Diaz, OF (9/12/2001): .319 (46-144 in 41 games), 26:18 K:BB, .406 OBP, .458 SLG (.864 OPS) Ricardo German, OF (8/17/2001): .208 (10-48 in 15 games), 22:5 K:BB, .278 OBP, .250 SLG (.528 OPS) Steve German, RHP (2/15/1999): 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 8 games, 12:9 K:BB in 10 innings Carlos Gutierrez, RHP (1/16/2000): 2-1, 5.73 ERA, 15 games (4 starts), 43:11 K:BB in 44 innings Jeury Lopez, INF (11/3/2001): .208 (26-125 in 39 games), 55:20 K:BB, .338 OBP, .248 SLG (.586 OPS) Jesus Medina, RHP (4/25/2002): 0-2, 7.13 ERA, 8 games (2 starts), 24:11 K:BB in 17.2 innings Jorge Mesa, INF (4/2/2002): .196 (11-56 in 17 games), 20:5 K:BB, .262 OBP, .393 SLG (.655 OPS) Erasmo Moreno, RHP (6/22/2002): 2-3, 3.35 ERA, 14 games (6 starts), 39:16 K:BB in 40.1 innings Anferny Olivo, C (1/12/2002): .197 (14-71 in 23 games), 20:13 K:BB, .329 OBP, .240 SLG (.569 OPS) Alexander Pena, INF (4/12/2002): .281 (41-146 in 20 games), 32:13 K:BB, .356 OBP, .411 SLG (.767 OPS) Elpidio Perez, LHP (11/11/1998): 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 6 games, 16:7 K:BB in 12.1 innings Juan Pichardo, LHP (6/25/1998): 4-1, 1.69 ERA, 14 games (11 starts), 65:9 K:BB in 58.2 innings Leyner Ponce, RHP (12/22/2000): 0-3, 4.11 ERA, 20 games, 34:13 K:BB in 30.2 innings Saul Puente, INF (7/21/2002): .206 (20-97 in 33 games), 43:10 K:BB, .287 OBP, .217 SLG (.504 OPS) Wilker Reyes, LHP (2/25/2002): 1-4, 5.67 ERA, 16 games (5 starts), 33:21 K:BB in 33.1 innings Jose Rodriguez, INF (2/17/2002): .221 (32-145 in 40 games), 22:12 K:BB, .285 OBP, .324 SLG (.609 OPS) Jose Rosario, INF (12/31/2001): .248 (28-113 in 42 games), 21:33 K:BB, .422 OBP, .283 SLG (.705 OPS) Misael Urbina, OF (4/26/2002): .279 (51-183 in 50 games), 14:23 K:BB, .382 OBP, .443 SLG (.825 OPS) Miguel Vallejo, OF (8/21/2001): .209 (23-110 in 32 games), 40:13 K:BB, .318 OBP, .309 SLG (.627 OPS) A much longer list, adding over 20 prospects in a signing period is very typical. With the exception of Yennier Cano, a Cuban, all of these players played in the DSL last summer. Misael Urbina, a center fielder, was the headliner of the group, receiving a reported bonus of $2.75 million. He also put up the most impressive stats. Though stats can sometimes be misleading, Urbina played in more games and hit for more power than any other first-year international player in the organization. He also took more walks than he struck out. In addition to age relative to the league, those are some of the biggest things to look at when considering DSL stats. A struggling 16-year-old should be viewed differently than a struggling 21-year-old. Things that stood out to me besides Urbina: Rhodery Diaz, a switch-hitter who played mostly left field and isn’t much younger than Urbina, put up similar numbers with higher slugging. There just aren’t many guys at this level hitting for much power. Jose Rosario is another switch-hitter, who played a lot of second base, and drew more walks than strikeouts. He didn’t hit for a lick of power (only three of his 28 hits went for extra bases) and had 15 stolen bases. When you have great plate discipline, you can learn to become very dangerous. Oh, and at 5-9, 150, there’s a decent chance he’ll get stronger. Without having any idea about pitchers’ stuff, I look most closely at K:BB. Despite being older, Juan Pichardo had a 65:9 K:BB ratio in just less than 60 innings. That’s quite impressive. Of course, all of these names - with one exception - are seven promotions from the big leagues. The vast majority will never make it past AA, but it’s still fun to follow. And dream.
  6. Fans can look up and down the current Twins roster to find impact players signed as part of the international signing period. Max Kepler and Miguel Sano were both signed out of the 2009 signing class. One year after Kepler and Sano signed, Jorge Polanco was inked to a deal out of the Dominican Republic. Even rookie Luis Arraez has his origin traced to the 2013 international signing period. Minnesota’s Bonus Pool The Twins are in the second tier of teams that have $5,939,800 to spend during the 2019-20 spending period. Compared to Minnesota, only eight teams have more money to spend and five other teams have an equal pool from which to spend. These new hard cap rules have helped to level the playing field when it comes to signing international players. Since Minnesota had a “Competitive Balance Pick” in Round A of the draft, they were given an extra $541,500 for the current signing period. Teams in the competitive balance portion of the draft are deemed by MLB to be smaller markets or smaller revenue clubs. This helps those clubs to level the playing field. Also, teams can trade for up to an additional 60% of their original bonus pool allotment. However, these trades can’t happen until after the signing period opens on July 2. Signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club’s bonus pool. Players to Watch Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com expects the Twins to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. Last year, Minnesota was able to sign Misael Urbina, MLB.com’s number six prospect in the 2018 signing class. He is an outfielder that hails from Venezuela. In Twins Daily’s Midseason Top-40 Prospects, he came in as the 19th best player. Urbina is making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. So far this season, he is hitting .271/.380/.441 (.821) with seven extra-base hits in 16 games. The Twins are tied to another MLB top-10 prospect for the current signing period. Emmanuel Rodriguez, a Dominican outfielder, is ranked as the eighth best player in the current class. FanGraphs places him as the 19th best prospect and provides . At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, there is still room for him to grow. Multiple prospect sites praise him for his hit tool. MLB.com said, “Rodriguez is athletic with a strong body and a medium frame. He has shown a solid hitting approach and advanced knowledge of the strike zone for a player his age. He has an efficient swing that creates lots of backspin and generates power to all fields. He also has a real feel and natural instincts for the game and specifically, hitting.” FanGraphs referred to him as a “smaller tweener” type and they said he has a “good feel to hit and instincts.” MLB.com even compared his skill set to a young Eddie Rosario. Malfrin Sosa, another outfielder from the Dominican, is also tied to the Twins. Sosa, a right-handed hitter, comes in at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. His big size means he projects as a corner outfielder, but he has the raw power to fit that mold. His hit tool is one thing to work on, but he is a little younger than some of the other potential signees. FanGraphs ranks him as the 28th best international prospect in this class. In all reality, neither of these players will be at Target Field in the next five years. That being said, it’s tough to ignore the importance of international signees on the current Twins roster. Players signed through this method can impact line-ups throughout the game. What are your thoughts on the two names above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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