Jul 31, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan speaks to the media prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins Monday Minor League Update

Not all prospects start their seasons in April.  Some stay in camp and work out with coaches and instructors, waiting to play short-season ball in June.  The Twins have a variety of impressive prospects who are not quite ready for game action.  The eight prospects on today’s list are miles from Minnesota, but inching closer to starting their own game-activity.  Let’s meet them!

Stephen Gonsalves – SP

One of the worst and most irresponsible things that you can do as a writer is give incorrect or misleading information.  I was guilty of this during my top 30 prospect countdown.  I stated that Gonsalves slipped in last year’s draft due to a suspension for using marijuana.  That was not the case.  In fact, he missed time his Senior year for lying to his school about teammates using marijuana.  Huge difference, my apologies to everyone for the bad information.  I promise to be more careful going forward.

As a player, Gonsalves will be a steal as a fourth-round pick.  He’s a tall lefty with good stuff and improving command.  He was fantastic in his pro debut last season and I think there’s an outside chance that he sees Cedar Rapids by the end of the season.

Fernando Romero – SP

Romero is another in a long line of young starting pitchers who the Twins currently employ.  This starter is just 19 and has improved over both of his short seasons.  In 2013, he threw 45 innings and finished with a 1.60 ERA.  He’s a shortish right-hander but he has great stuff.  Shortish right-handers have to have great stuff to get by.  It looks like he might have the stuff to get by.

Lewis Thorpe – SP

Thorpe is an 18-year-old Australian starter with massive upside.  He had a sparkling pro debut in 2013 and found himself on Baseball Prospectus’s top 101 prospect list.  He boasts an impressive arsenal with a heavy fastball, a great change and a developing curve.  You just don’t often get that arsenal from the left side.  Thorpe is just a kid and he’s only thrown 44 professional innings, but it’s going to be really fun watching him develop as he matures.

Chih-Wei Hu – SP

Resist the temptation to assume that Hu is a junkballer or someone who throws a ton of different pitches just because he’s from Asia.  The Taiwanese starter throws a pretty hard fastball, hitting the mid-90s.  In 36.2 innings in the GCL, Hu posted a 2.45 ERA with 39 strikeouts and just 8 walks.  He’s an outstanding talent and still just 20.  He’s likely headed for Elizabethton in June where he’ll join the talented starters above him on this list.

Brian Navarreto – C

I ranked Navarreto very aggressively on my top 30 list.  I doubt anyone else had him as high as 17 and that might have been too high.  I tend to love catcher prospects, so I’m irrational.  Navarreto’s biggest tool is his power.  He stroked ten doubles and three home runs in just 158 plate appearances in 2013.  Much like others on this list, he’s just a teenager and has a long way to go until he’s Minnesota Bound, but this catching raven could be a monster player if everything goes well.

Lewin Diaz – 1B/OF

The Twins signed Diaz as a 16-year-old free agent this past July.  He’s already 6′ 4″ and 210 pounds, so first base seems to be his logical home.  Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Diaz may have the biggest power of all international free agents last year.  The Twins are hoping for big things from Diaz as they gave him a $1.4 million bonus.  His massive size makes it unlikely that he will provide much speed or defense, so his bat will have to be impressive.  I imagine that he will play in the Dominican Summer League this year and get a chance to show what he can do with his bat.

Amaurys Minier – 3B

Minier made his pro debut in 2013 as a 17-year-old in the GCL.  He struggled, but he did display his awesome power, hitting six home runs in 119 plate appearances.  The Twins spent a lot of money on Minier and have high hopes for his future.  He’s a third baseman, he’s from the Dominican Republic and he’s got big-time power, so the Miguel Sano comparisons are both unsurprising and completely unfair.  Minier won’t skyrocket like Sano did, but he should still turn heads as he moves from rookie-ball to full-season ball.  It just might take a few seasons.

Nelson Molina – SS

Molina was advertised as a glove-first shortstop after the Twins drafted him in the 11th round last June.  Actually, he was glove-first all along, but I didn’t become aware of him until that point.  He performed as advertised.  He hit a meager .110/.178/.119 in 120 plate appearances in the GCL.  Molina’s calling card is shortstop-quality defense, so the batting line is only somewhat concerning.  Molina obviously is nowhere near ready for full-season baseball at age 19.

prospectoctopusEight extremely young, talented players just biding their time until a spot opens in Cedar Rapids or the Rookie Ball season starts.  Once they reach games, I’ll make sure to provide updates on their performance and progress.  Next week, we’ll look at the eight best performances from the organization in the month of April.  See you then; have a nice week!

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