Minnesota Twins 2020 Top-25 Prospects
Although their postseason run ended in a flash, the Minnesota Twins were one of the biggest surprise teams in 2019. They can thank all that offense for that. It’s just too bad that Minnesota didn’t have a playoff-caliber pitching staff and that their bats went cold during the ALDS against the Yankees. I mean, that wasn’t even remotely close to being a competitive series. I’m not trying to rag on you Minnesota, but it’s the truth. Luckily, you have help on the way with two members of this top-25 Minnesota Twins prospects list due to arrive in Minnesota by early-2021 at the latest. And not only are they the top two in your own system, we’re talking about two top-25 overall prospects in baseball. Get excited Minnesota.
Overall System Grade: B
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Rochester – International League
Double-A: Pensacola – Southern League
Advanced Single-A: Fort Myers – Florida State League
Low Single-A: Cedar Rapids – Midwest League
Short Single-A: None
Rookie: Elizabethton – Appalachian League, Gulf Coast League (1), Dominican Summer League (1)
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Baseball Podcast weekly with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney!
Top-25 Minnesota Twins Prospects – 2020
1. Royce Lewis, SS
When you look at Royce Lewis’ stat line, 2019 was a down season. The 2016 #1 overall pick posted his worst slash line as a professional (all four of them), walked less, struck out more, hit for less power, wasn’t as efficient on the base path, etc. There’s no need for me to go on, you get it. But if there’s a silver lining to be had in 2019 for Lewis, it would be his dominant showing in the Arizona Fall League. I saw a few of his games while I was out there, including the Fall Stars game, and all Lewis did was tear the cover off the ball.
Not only did he win the Fall Stars game MVP, but Lewis won the MVP for the entire AFL after hitting .353 with three homers and five steals. Lewis’ AFL performance was him sending a loud message to all of his doubters out there who may have downgraded him after his rough minor league campaign. This is exactly why you can’t solely look at stats when making determinations on prospects. They often don’t tell the full story. I’m willing to simply chalk it up as a bad season. There were also some minor ailments hampering Lewis at times in 2019.
When you look at the tools, they’re still as prominent as ever. Lewis possesses an above-average to plus hit tool with great barrel control and a solid feel for the strike zone. He starts with his hands high above his head and uses a massive leg kick to time pitches and a longer stride towards the pitcher. It’s a lot, yes, but Lewis does a great job of keeping everything in sync and not letting his mechanics get out of wack. There’s plenty of bat speed thanks to quick hands and Lewis is able to use the whole field well. There are no doubts in my mind that he will be able to restore that batting average to pre-2019 levels in 2020 and beyond.
As for the rest of his offensive profile, Lewis has plus speed and at least average raw power. With the loft he generates in his swing, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had some 20+ homer seasons to go along with 25-30 steals or so. Although, the 15-20 range should be more so where he settles in. If Lewis’ down 2019 created any sort of a buy-low window in your dynasty league, pounce. He’s still a top-10 prospect with a high ceiling and high floor as well.
2. Alex Kirilloff, 1B/OF
Speaking of down seasons. Well, calling it a down season might be a bit much as Alex Kirilloff still hit .283, but it was down for his standards, especially in the power department. After hitting .348 with 71 extra-base hits and 20 home runs in 131 games in 2018, Kirilloff dropped to that .283 mark I mentioned with 29 extra-base hits and nine home runs in 94 games for Double-A Pensacola. When you break it down, 39.9% of Kirilloff’s hits in 2018 went for extra-bases compared to just 27.4% in 2019.
Where did all that extra-base power go? Well, an early-season wrist injury seems to be the culprit for a lot of things, limiting his power and really throwing his swing off in the first half of the season. And just when Kirilloff seemed to be finding his groove, boom, another IL stint, this one for an ‘undisclosed injury.’ When you look at his monthly splits below, you’ll see that the batting average was there every month beside his first month of the season (May), but it took until August for his power to start coming back.
Take out May and Kirilloff hit .299. Still down from his lofty .348 mark, but more in line with what we can expect from him moving forward. Kirilloff is one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues with double-plus contact skills and a sound plate approach. He’s never had a super high walk rate, but Kirilloff has always kept his strikeouts in check and should be able to hit .300 or better more often than not moving forward. As for the power, Kirilloff is never going to be a masher, but there’s enough raw power here to settle in around 25 annually if he can add loft to his swing. Outside of his Midwest League (A) stint in 2018, Kirilloff has hovered around 30% for his fly-ball rate.
Don’t expect much speed from him, but this is a nice four-category offensive package that can make him an above-average offensive first baseman or corner outfielder. As I said with Lewis, buy-low if you’re able to.
3. Trevor Larnach, OF
While most of the attention was on the struggles of Lewis and Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach quietly excelled in 2019, hitting over .300 with a walk rate north of 10%. The HR total took a slight dip from his 2018 levels though, hitting 13 in 127 games after combining for 24 in 110 games between Oregon State and the low minors after the draft. That was just at the surface though. If you look behind the scenes, you’ll see that Larnach’s power actually took a step forward. His average flyball distance improved from 286 to 305.7 feet and was pushing 330 feet (329.8) during his stint in Double-A. But at the same time, Larnach’s flyball rate dropped around 6% which cause some of those would-be home runs to turn into doubles in the gap.
All in all, the 2019 season was a positive step forward in Larnach’s development as a prospect. His power has been trending up since his sophomore season at Oregon State and really took off once Larnach began incorporating his lower half more in his swing. Larnach does a great job at keeping his weight back pre-pitch and transferring that weight forward with strong hip rotation and quick hands. His swing generates natural backspin and loft, and with his plus raw power, should translate into 30-homers annually at peak to pair with an average around .280 or so thanks to his above-average contact skills and approach. Larnach looks tailor-made for the middle of the order and should ascend to Minnesota by mid-2021 or so, maybe even late-2020.
4. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
When it comes to electric arms, Brusdar Graterol’s is one of the most electric you’ll find at any level. That was put on full display down the stretch when he was chucking triple-digit gas out of the Minnesota pen down the stretch and into the playoffs. While throwing his fastball around 2/3 of the time with Minnesota, Graterol averaged 99 mph and mixed in a high-80’s slider with sharp two-plane tilt. While starting in the minors, Graterol would usually sit 95-97 on average, but this just shows how electric his right-arm can be when unleashed in shorter bullpen stint.
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) September 15, 2019
Now, this opens up the question of whether Graterol is a starter or reliever long-term. Honestly, he could succeed in either role with his FB/SL combination giving him closer upside. It will all depend on the development of his changeup and if he can keep his mechanics and command in check with his bigger 265-pound frame. Graterol doesn’t use his changeup too often and when he does, it’s usually harder and straighter in the low-90’s. If he can develop a better feel for it and create more velocity separation from his heater, that will go a long way in Graterol reaching his upside as a #2 starter.
5. Misael Urbina, OF
The lack of buzz surrounding Misael Urbina is peculiar. He was considered one of the top-10 players from the 2018 J2 crop and inked one of the biggest signing bonuses of the 2018 period at $2.75m. Yet, his name doesn’t generate the same level of excitement as other top guys from this class currently do. Sure, he doesn’t have nearly as much power as Marco Luciano or Orelvis Martinez, but Urbina’s combination of hit and speed makes him a very intriguing prospect with high upside.
From the right side, Urbina’s swing is fluid with plenty of bat speed. He’s shown a good feel for hitting for his age with an advanced plate approach. We saw that approach in the Dominican Summer League this summer when Urbina produced a 23/14 BB/K ratio in 50 games. DSL numbers are never the be all end all, but that type of approach is very promising for the 17-year-old Urbina. With his contact skills, approach, and speed, Urbina looks ticketed for a slot near the top of the batting order and one that can add home run totals in the teens at peak. With a strong 2020 campaign stateside, Urbina will vault well within my top-100 overall prospects.
6. Keoni Cavaco, SS
Some might’ve thought that the Twins drafting Keoni Cavaco 13th overall was a tad high. But for fantasy purposes, Cavaco is very interesting. Shortstops with plus speed and plus raw power are always coveted, making Cavaco a great target outside the top 10-15 of FYPDs this winter. Will he stay at shortstop is the real question. Cavaco has shown decent enough range with a strong throwing arm from shortstop, but it’s a real possibility that he outgrows the position and moves back to third where he played some in high school. Whichever position he ends up at, Cavaco’s offensive profile will fit in just fine.
As I said, Cavaco possesses plus raw power and speed with 25/25 upside down the road. What will determine if he can reach that lofty plateau is the development of his hit tool and plate discipline. It was a small sample size in the Gulf Coast League, but those weaknesses were exposed with a .172 average and 35/4 K/BB ratio (38.0% strikeout rate) in 92 plate appearances. From the right side, Cavaco’s swing is quick with natural loft, but that is mostly due to him dropping his hands during load which creates an uppercut swing path. He’ll use a smaller leg kick to time pitches (almost a toe tap at times) and creates torque from his strong hips. If he can make more consistent contact and improve his approach, there’s solid upside here.
7. Jordan Balazovic, RHP
After beginning his breakout in 2018, Jordan Balazovic fully broke out in 2019 with a 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 12.4 K/9. This shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone though. Balazovic has the combination of stuff, command, and size that you look for in #2 or #3 starter and he’s slowly been putting that all together as he advances through the Minnesota system. With a projectable 6’5 frame, Balazovic has steadily added more velocity with each passing season and now sits in the mid-90s with life, touching as high as 98 at times. There’s some effort in his delivery, especially in his upper half, but Balazovic repeats his delivery well and creates great extension towards home plate.
His main secondary pitch and biggest out pitch is low-80’s slider with sharp two-plane break that projects as a potential plus offering. Balazovic has also shown the feel for a changeup in the upper-80’s. He’ll overthrow the pitch at times, causing it to straighten out, but this should be an average third offering for him with added development. There’s also a curveball in Balazovic’s arsenal around 80-81 mph that has flashed above-average at times but doesn’t project as highly as the slider. With this arsenal, above-average command and control, and a strong frame, Balazovic has the makings of a high-end mid-rotation arm with the ceiling of a back-end #2 starter.
8. Matt Wallner, OF
If power is what you desire, Matt Wallner will light your fire. Wow, is this a top-25 article or a dating site? It’s true though. Wallner was one of the top power bats from the 2019 class and fits the power-hitting corner outfielder mold. Other characteristics of that mold include a strong throwing arm (check) and questionable contact skills and plate discipline (check). As a former pitcher, Wallner has a very strong throwing arm and shows that off regularly from right field. His easy plus raw power has also been very apparent, combining for 33 doubles and 31 home runs combined between Southern Mississippi and the minors in 126 games in 2019.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) April 6, 2018
With a big 6’5/220 frame, borderline double-plus raw power, and leveraged swing, Wallner is a 30-plus homer bat in the making. His swing is geared for power with a strong lower half and a slight uppercut swing path due to a lower hand slot during load. A moderate leg kick and stride are used to time pitches with plus bat speed and torque creating an explosive swing. While the approach can be aggressive, Wallner hasn’t let his strikeouts get out of control and has shown the ability to work the count and take a walk when needed. Ultimately, Wallner projects as a .260/30+ bat that should settle into the middle of the Twins order within the next couple of seasons.
9. Brent Rooker, OF
It feels like Brent Rooker has been around forever even though he was only drafted back in 2017. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s now 25 that makes me think that. After quickly being bumped up to high-A in 2017, Rooker spent the entire 2018 season in Double-A and the entire 2019 season at Triple-A. We might have seen him up in Minnesota late in 2019 if it wasn’t for the groin injury he suffered in mid-July. The injury was deemed minor at first but cost Rooker over a month of time before he returned to game action in the GCL on August 26th. Two days later, the rest of the GCL season was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian. At that time, the Twins assigned him back to Triple-A Rochester, but decided to play it cautious and shut Rooker down for the remainder of the season.
Like with Wallner, power is Rooker’s calling card. He’ll start with a slightly hunched over pre-pitch setup, hands around shoulder high. There are no glaring mechanical concerns with his swing, but Rooker’s pitch recognition isn’t the greatest and he’ll often chase pitches outside the zone. He also has gotten more and more pull-happy over the last season or two, sitting at a 55.2% pull rate in Triple-A this past season. The .282 average you see above looks promising, but when you factor in the inflated .417 BABIP and his strikeout concerns, Rooker projects more as a .250-.260 type of hitter than one that hits .280-plus. His defense is suspect at best at both first base and in the outfield, but Rooker’s power will keep him in the lineup, probably as a #5 or #6 hitter that can stretch the order and get on base at a solid clip.
10. Jhoan Duran, RHP
Fun fact, if you rearrange Jhoan, you can spell the first name of former Twins ace Johan Santana. Jhoan Duran doesn’t nearly have that type of upside, but he’s developing into a nice mid-rotation type of arm for the Twinkies. Like Graterol, Duran is a power right-hander with a lively arm and electric fastball. He’s generally sit in the 95-97 range, topping out at 100, with some arm-side life and is able to hold his velocity deep into starts. While the velocity has been consistent, Duran’s command has not. He won’t get himself in trouble with too many free passes but doesn’t hit his spots consistently, which can lower the effectiveness of his arsenal at times. Definitely a control over command arm at present.
Outside of that blazing four-seamer, Duran will mix in a low-90’s two-seamer with hard sinking action and a low to mid-80’s knuckle-curve. I’ve seen some call the two-seamer more of a hard splitter, but regardless, it’s a weapon for Duran against lefties. The knuckle-curve is a dynamic offspeed offering with big 1-7 break that serves as Duran’s main out pitch. All three of those offerings are above-average or better offerings and can be used to put batters away. He’ll also throw a changeup at times, but the pitch is well behind and lacks consistency. Due to the inconsistent command, there’s a little reliever risk here, although, his velocity and overall arsenal would make him a great late-inning option. If the command improves, Duran has the upside of a high-end mid-rotation arm.
11. Gilberto Celestino, OF
This Twins system has a bunch of guys that fly under the radar. Another example of that is Gilberto Celestino, a solid all-around player with upside on both sides of the ball. In addition to his above-average defense and throwing arm in the outfield, Celestino has shown a nice offensive package at the plate, headlined by his contact skills and speed, both of which are above-average tools. His speed is actually borderline plus and Celestino displayed good instincts on the bases from 2016-2018, converting on 47 of his 54 attempts for an 87.0% success rate. For that reason, I’m willing to give him a pass on his underwhelming 14/22 mark in 2019.
At the plate, Celestino uses a bigger leg kick and stride in his quick right-handed swing. He’s shown an exceptional feel for the barrel and strike zone with a line-drive-oriented approach. However, he can get a tad pull happy at times, especially over the last couple of years. When it comes to power, this is the one tool that doesn’t grade as a 55 or better. He’s far from a zero in this department, however, and did show more power in 2019 as his flyball rate rose. At peak, Celestino could be a 15-homer type to go along with a strong batting average and 25 steals. Don’t you dare sleep on him in dynasty leagues.
12. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF
Just another example of an under the radar international signing for the Twins. Emmanuel Rodriguez signed for $2.5m and was considered one of the top 10-15 players available on the international market this year, but hasn’t yet created much excitement in dynasty leagues. Sure he hasn’t played yet, but for the most part he can be acquired for cheap in dynasty leagues or isn’t even owned at all depending on how deep your league is.
The Twins have already reached agreements with four international prospects, including Dominican OF Emmanuel Rodriguez, who you can see below.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) July 2, 2019
The reason for that is Rodriguez doesn’t have any standout tools. There’s no big power here or blazing speed, but Rodriguez does a lot of things well with 50-grades or better on all of his tools. While Em-Rod is a sound defender, his real upside comes on the offensive side of things with above-average to plus raw power and at least average foot speed. His quick left-handed swing creates plenty of natural loft, and with some added bulk, 25-homers are possible down the road. While he stands to lose a step as he fills out, Rodriguez should still have enough speed to get into double-digits steals annually. The upside here is much higher than his price tag, making him a great dynasty target.
13. Akil Baddoo, OF
Following the 2017 season, I ranked Akil Baddoo inside my top-100 overall prospects. Since then, he’s been on a steady decline and is now outside my top-250 overall. Come on Baddoo! Now, with that being said, there are still some projectable tools here that keep him on the dynasty radar. To start, Baddoo is a plus runner with good instincts on the bases. That has led to a 79.7% career success rate stealing bases and 81.6% since the start of 2018. With a starter’s workload, I have no doubts that Baddoo could be a 25-steal threat on an annual basis.
Switching over to the plate, Baddoo has displayed an advanced plate approach throughout his minor league career. He walked more than he struck out in 2017 and has posted a rock-solid 13.8% walk rate for his career while keeping his strikeout rate below 25%. The problem has been with his contact skills. After hitting .323 in 2017, Baddoo has followed that up with a .243 mark in 2018 and .214 in 2019. Pssst, Akil, that’s the wrong way. Baddoo has shown plus bat speed from the left side, but his swing can get a tad long at times due to a deeper hand coil. If he can shorten up his swing and make more consistent contact, there’s still a lot to like here with Baddoo. After missing most of the season following elbow surgery in May, Baddoo will likely start 2020 back in High-A.
14. Wander Javier, SS
When it comes to boom or bust prospects, Wander Javier fits the mold as well as anyone, and then some. The raw tools are there, but raw is the keyword there for now. Imagine sitting at a restaurant and you order a nice steak. You sit there with high expectations for this steak as you sip your beverage of choice and munch on an appetizer. Then, the waiter or waitress puts down your plate with a raw piece of meet on it, not even cooked at all. The damn thing is practically still mooing at you. That’s Javier’s tools and minor league career in a nutshell.
There’s no doubting the upside that Javier has, but at this point, he’s far more risk than reward. And with how long he’s been in the system, the Twins were forced to make the decision of whether or not to protect him from the Rule-5 draft and place him on the 40-man roster. They did not. What does that tell you? Now, I still drafted Javier in ProspectMock480 due to his all-around offensive upside, including a nice power/speed blend, but all the time missed and poor performance in his first year back make Javier a difficult player to roster in dynasty leagues right now unless you roster 300-plus prospects overall.
15. Gabriel Maciel, OF
When it comes to speed, Gabriel Maciel has one of the highest speed upsides on this list and in the entire system. A borderline double-plus runner, Maciel has let that speed run wild on the bases and can cover a ton of ground in the outfield. Despite his blazing speed, Maciel is still learning how to use it effectively on the bases. The 69 steals in 310 games are nice, but the 32 times he’s been caught certainly isn’t. A sub-70% success rate isn’t going to give you the green light too often on the bases so improving that efficiency will be key for Maciel going forward.
At the plate, he’s by far hit over power. Maciel has shown a good feel for hitting from both sides of the plate without any substantial platoon splits. His swing is quick and direct through the zone with quick hands. His lack of loft and well below-average raw power limit his power upside to single-digits at the moment, but with his contact skills, plate approach, and speed, Maciel has intriguing upside for dynasty leagues.
16. Matt Canterino, RHP
This ranking could very easily prove to be several spots too low if Matt Canterino reaches his upside of a mid-rotation arm. Taken in the 2nd round back in June out of Rice, Canterino already features three potential plus pitches from his high 3/4 arm slot. While the delivery has some herky-jerk to it, Canterino has shown he can repeat it fairly well, but one does wonder if he can continue to do so long-term.
Those three potential plus pitches I mention are his low to mid-90’s fastball, knuckle-curve, and slider. Both breaking balls have good shape and can each be used as an out pitch. With that nasty trio, Canterino hasn’t used a changeup much, and as you can expect, it’s inconsistent and well behind the rest of his arsenal. If Canterino can develop the changeup into a serviceable offering while keeping his mechanics and command in check, get ready to see him soar up prospect rankings in 2020.
17. Ryan Jeffers, C
Now, this is a player I have a hard time seeing where he fits in Minnesota’s plans longterm. With the emergence of Mitch Garver in 2019, along with plenty of DH types, Ryan Jeffers feels like the odd man out as we head into the 2020 season. Jeffers isn’t knocking on the door to the Twin Cities in 2020 but should be ready by 2021 which is still three years before Garver hits free agency following the 2023 season.
That leads me to question whether Jeffers will serve as Garver’s backup for a few years. He kinda has the profile for it if we’re being honest. Jeffers has displayed plus power and a decent plate approach with solid enough contact skills, but I’m not sure how big of an offensive impact he’ll make at the Major League level. If given a starter’s workload, Jeffers could be a .260/.330/.425 type with 15-20 homers at peak. However, his defense, while being adequate, doesn’t stand out. I’m not saying that Jeffers could be a serviceable starting catcher, I just don’t see that happening in the near future.
18. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
Alright mate, let’s talk about Australian southpaw that made his 2019 Major League debut with the Twins late in the season. Lewis Thorpe looks the part of a Major League rotation piece. Where in the rotation you ask? Well, when you look at his arsenal, command/control, and feel for pitching, he projects mostly as a #4 or #5 starter for me. A myriad of injuries over the years has cost Thorpe some of his velocity to the point where his fastball is a 50 or 55-grade offering at best instead of the plus pitch it once was. Even in mostly a bullpen stint for Minnesota down the stretch, Thorpe only averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball.
Thorpe’s best offspeed pitch is easily his mid-70’s curve with a big 11-5 break out of his 3/4 arm slot. He’ll also mix in a serviceable slider and changeup, both of which project as Major League average offerings. While his delivery can look stiff at times, there are no major mechanical issues here and Thorpe has shown he can repeat it well. This isn’t an arm to go wild on in dynasty, but there’s a good chance he makes it as a back-end rotation arm.
19. Will Holland, SS
Even though he’s not actually from Holland, I can’t help but hear that line from Austin Powers Goldmember, “I am from Holland, isn’t that weird?” every time I see Holland’s name pop up. Anyways. Holland’s draft stock dropped considerably with a lackluster final collegiate season at Auburn and puts his longterm offensive upside in question. Defensively, Holland has the tools to remain at shortstop longterm with a strong throwing arm and above-average range thanks to his borderline plus speed.
That speed has been notable on the bases as well with 22 combined steals between Auburn and the minors in 2019 while being caught only four times in 98 games. Don’t let his smaller 5’10/180 frame fool you either, there’s some nice raw power here too with the potential for 20 homers at peak. The downfall for Holland has been his contact skills that will need to improve if he wants to capitalize on his power/speed potential.
20. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/OF
For the longest time, I’ve been lower on Travis Blankenhorn than most. He’s always been a solid prospect but projected as a better real-life prospect than fantasy prospect to me. Honestly, he still does, but with the offensive strides he made in 2019, I’m willing to bump him up into the top-20 here. Blankenhorn hit for more power than he ever has before while adding in a .277 average and 11 steals without getting caught. The added power and batting average are a welcome sign after Blankenhorn struggled to hit for average in 2017 and 2018. The upside here still isn’t incredibly high, but Blankenhorn does enough of everything to develop into a low-end starting second baseman or a high-leverage utility man due to his defensive versatility.
21. Blayne Enlow, RHP
The Twins really prefer the big right-hander starting pitchers. This list has been littered with them, starting with Brisdar Graterol and now adding Blaine Enlow here at #21. Enlow isn’t a pitcher that is going to smack you upside the head with his upside, but he possesses a deep mix of pitches and with a mound presence that should allow him to stick as a back-end starter.
He sits in the low-90’s with some run on his fastball, topping out around 95 and will mix in as many as four other pitches. A big breaking curveball projects to be the best of the bunch, although, Enlow has been inconsistent with it. He’ll also mix in a stiffer changeup that lacks much velocity separation and a hard mid-80’s slider that he can add velocity to and turn into a cutter around 88-90. As of now, he’s a #5 starter long-term for me. Some changeup development could turn that into a solid #4.
22. Luke Raley, OF
Like with Jeffers, I’m not entirely sure how Raley fits in Minnesota right now. He’s an older prospect already at 25 and has a similar skill set to guys that are ahead of him on the depth chart like Brent Rooker or have more upside like Matt Wallner. Raley’s easy plus raw power is his calling card and could lead to 25-homers if given everyday at-bats. He’s also got some nice athleticism for someone his size and possesses borderline average foot speed. The contact skills are so-so, but there’s some nice offensive upside if he’s ever given the chance to prove it with Minnesota. I’m just not sure when or if that’s going to happen. Missing over 2/3 of the minor league season after needing ankle surgery didn’t do him any favors either.
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) October 20, 2019
23. Spencer Steer, INF
The Twins went hitter-heavy at the beginning of the 2019 draft, with four of their first five picks being position prospects. Included in that was Spencer Steer, a shortstop from the University of Oregon. After a quiet couple of seasons at Oregon, Steer had a breakout final season after a strong showing on the Cape in 2018, hitting .349 with six home runs and six steals in 56 games while walking nearly as many times as he struck out. The tools here aren’t robust, but Steer has shown a good feel for hitting with exceptional strike zone awareness. He’s more hit than power, and is an average runner, so I wouldn’t expect more than 10-15 homers or steals from him long-term. As of now, Steer projects as a utility infielder with upside for more.
24. Nick Gordon, SS
Part of me doesn’t even want to include Nick Gordon anymore. But alas, he sneaks in due to his proximity to the Majors and the fact that he can still do a little of everything. While playing sound defense at short, Gordon was able to bump his batting average up to .298 in 2019, ending a two-year slide in that category. His swing path and below average raw power cap him in the single-digits for power, but Gordon has exhibited average contact skills and foot speed, enough to project him as a .270/15 type. That, plus his solid defense, should allow him to carve out some sort of a role with the Twins. Whether that’s as a starter, utility infielder, or bench bat remains to be seen.
25. Griffin Jax, RHP
Already 25, Griffin Jax has taken a bit longer to develop due to his commitment to the Air Force at the beginning of his professional career. After logging just 39.1 innings combined in 2016 and 2017, Jax’s commitment to the Air Force concluded, allowing him to finally make strides as a prospect. Jax made 14 starts in 2018 and 23 this past season, combining for 215 innings with encouraging results. The strikeouts haven’t been there quite yet, but that’s not overly surprising. Jax will likely never be a big strikeout arm as he mostly pitches to contact with his low-90’s sinking fastball and above-average changeup. His slider is still a work in progress and could cause Jax’s K rate to tick up a tad with further development. This is more of a floor prospect than one with a high ceiling.
Others To Monitor
Seth Gray, 3B/OF: The Twins 2019 4th round pick has above-average to plus power and can draw walks, but below-average contact skills and strikeout concerns limit his value for now. Definitely a name to watch moving forward though.
Yunior Severino, 2B: Not a player that is going to wow you, but has the contact skills and raw power to hit .270 with 15 homers annually. But unlike most middle infielders, Severino has zero speed upside and has yet to steal a base in his 135 minor league games.
Jose Miranda, INF: Above-average contact skills and limits his strikeouts well, but that has yet to translate into higher batting averages. With his defensaive versatility, Miranda projects more as a backup infielder than an every day starter.
LaMonte Wade Jr.: An advanced plate approach and solid contact skills should keep in in the Majors for a while, but doesn’t project as a big impact player. If he can secure a starting role, he could carve out low end value with .270/10/15 upside.
Edwar Colina, RHP: Remained mostly a starter through 2019, but Colina’s fastball/slider combination and so-so control project him as more of a set-up man for me.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, Baseball-Reference, Baseball America, Pitcher List, Jonathan Mayo, NCAA Baseball
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