Miguel Sano approves of Taylor’s list. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor, the Prospect Octopus presents his updated top 10 prospect list. Taylor kept a close eye on the Twins’ 2013 draft and their Minor League affiliates to make sure that his list is as up-to-the-minute as possible. One player has graduated off of his list – Aaron Hicks, and one player has dropped off of his list – Trevor May. Other than that, there should be mostly familiar names. However, the order has shifted and a couple of new players have joined the ranks of the best Twins prospects. Enough sausage making, let’s list!
Just Missed (Preseason rank in parenthesis):
Trevor May (10) – His command is simply not there and he just keeps getting older. He’s still a good prospect, but his shine is less bright.
D.J. Baxendale (24) and Tyler Duffey (21) – Both have shown they can handle the low levels, but will their stuff match up against AA and AAA hitting? I hope so.
Josmil Pinto (NR) – I wasn’t huge on Pinto before the season, but he just keeps hitting and hitting for power. He should get a AAA promotion at some point and could be in Minnesota before long.
Adam Walker (17) – Huge power, lots of strikeouts. Strikeout totals don’t typically decrease as players move up levels, so his power needs to accompany him as he develops.
Niko Goodrum (16) – So close to the top 10. His tools seem to be actualizing this season. He continues to develop as a player and a human. I love him.
Travis Harrison (11) – Huge power and it’s showing in games. He is slugging almost .500 as a 20-year-old. He’s could be in the top 10 by season’s end.
10. Max Kepler (8)
Max Kepler slipped two spots without playing a game this season. That seems unfair. He is still an extremely interesting prospect. He broke out last season and flashed some tremendous power. The man can hit, run and field. He’s young and he’s from Germany. Those are two unrelated facts, but both make him a little more intriguing than the average prospect. He should be starting his season soon, and many eyes will be focused on his performance.
9. Jorge Polanco (13)
Polanco was tabbed as a breakout candidate in my off-season list and it appears I was right. Polanco has a great glove and should have the range for short. More importantly, he’s hitting and he’s hitting well. Polanco has posted an OPS over .800 so far. That isn’t insane, but would be excellent production from a slick-fielding shortstop. He’s 19.
8. Kohl Stewart (NR)
Welcome to prospect lists, Kohl Stewart. I’m guessing he will have a home here for years to come. Stewart throws hard and has a nasty slider. However, that’s all he has right now and he’ll need to continue to work on his repertoire to start in pro ball. He’ll have plenty of time to develop and the Twins will be very patient with him. He has a solid delivery, so there should be no reason to worry about an injury; except for the fact that he throws baseballs for a living.
7. Jose Berrios (9)
Based on raw talent, Stewart should be ahead of Berrios. Berrios has a quality that seems to help him play above his talent level. Not to say he isn’t talented, as he has excellent stuff. However, Berrios has confidence that borders on swagger and it seems to help him when he takes the mound. I ranked Berrios ahead of Stewart because he’s shown that he has the stuff for pro ball, by no fault of Stewart. He was just drafted; what can he do?
6. Alex Meyer (5)
I’ve dropped Meyer just a touch, although I still think he is great. He went on the Minor League DL this weekend with a shoulder strain. Hopefully, he will have a speedy recovery and resume his season. He has shown a great ability to get strikeouts, but his control needs some work. He’s a big guy, so command may always be an issue. He might need more AA and AAA time than originally thought, but the extra time in the Minors could pay off huge in the Majors.
5. Kyle Gibson (6)
Kyle Gibson is ready to play for the Twins. He might not be consistent enough, but he certainly has the stuff. In fact, I’d guess that he would be the Twins’ best starter from this point on. However, if the Twins want to keep him in Rochester, I wouldn’t really care. Perhaps some extra seasoning will do him well. Gibson still has number 2 starter upside, but he may be a couple seasons from that ceiling. He is still only in his first full season since major elbow surgery, so taking it slowly is certainly wise.
4. Eddie Rosario (7)
I’ve moved Rosario up on this list, mostly because I had him too low to begin with, but also because I have read reports that his defense at second base is really coming along. I can’t say I’m surprised, as he is a great athlete and a smart baseball player. The man can hit, which is the carrying tool for position players. If you can hit, you can flex your power and speed. If he can also play second base, he’s an extremely valuable player. This is looking more and more like his reality and future.
3. Oswaldo Arcia (4)
We all got a taste of Arcia in April and May and I think we all liked what we saw. Arcia is an enthusiastic player who can hit and hit for power. He has a sweet line drive swing and he seems to be a good teammate. His defense was not as far along as his offense, but he looks athletic enough to develop into a good corner outfielder. He might be best suited for left, due to his lack of range, but his arm can certainly play in right. Regardless, he’ll be back in Minnesota by August. I’m fairly certain.
2. Miguel Sano (2)
The biggest knock on Sano was his defense at third. He’s a massive human, and massive humans usually can’t handle the hot corner. However, many have reported that Sano was not as bad as they thought he would be. Faint praise, but when that is a player’s biggest weakness, faint praise is better than no praise.
Sano was promoted to AA New Britain on Sunday. This will be the biggest test for Sano to this date. So far, Sano has proved that he can hit for massive power at every level. If he continues to hit as he has, but now for New Britain, his MLB ETA will list as 2014, and maybe even 2013. His MLB debut will be one of the most exciting events in recent history and it seems like it might be coming sooner than expected.
1. Byron Buxton (1)
All you need to know about Byron Buxton is recorded here. Just read that and keep in mind that one day Byron Buxton will patrol the Twins’ outfield. He might just change the history of the franchise as well. The sky is the limit with this guy. He is number one on the Twins’ list and might be number one on MLB’s list by season’s end. He’s so good.
Thank you for indulging us. The Twins have one of the most stacked farm systems in all of baseball. For most teams, this exercise would be difficult because it would be hard to find 10 good prospects. For the Twins, there are 15 or so names to consider. The future is very bright. Have a nice week!