Original image courtesy of: Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports Paint Overlay courtesy of Yours Truly.
Taylor, the Prospect Octopus, and I are fishing the briny deep to scrape the bottom of the ocean for the deepest of prospects. Our eight prospects today are all teenagers and thus mostly playing in short-season rookie ball. Teenage prospects provide the most hope of all, as each is still a child and each has a lot of development to complete. It is easy to look at an Appy League strikeout rate and get your motor running. The truly elite prospects dominate these low levels while still qualifying for their High School baseball teams. The names today are the elite of the Teen Twin prospects. Enjoy!
Jorge Fernandez – Gulf Coast Twins
Jorge Fernandez was drafted in the 7th Round in the 2012 MLB draft. He was a member of the International Baseball Academy in Ceiba, Puerto Rico and was one of the few non-college relievers drafted by the Twins in 2012. Fernandez did not have an impressive debut in 2012, but has added a bit of power in an extremely short sample in 2013. Fernandez is just nineteen but is playing first base more frequently than catcher. If he is a first baseman long-term, then he needs to hit a lot. He’s young, so we can dream.
Kohl Stewart – Gulf Coast Twins
You might remember Kohl Stewart from about a month ago when the Twins made him their first-round-pick. Stewart made his highly anticipated pro debut on the Fourth of July and provided the GCL with fireworks and spectacle! Exaggeration. He did pitch two innings and strike out two batters, so that’s cool. He just graduated high school in June and he’ll be eighteen all season long. Stewart will need time to develop, but could develop into a top 100 prospect by seasons’ end. He may already be there, in fact.
Lewis Thorpe – Gulf Coast Twins
You call that a knife? Lewis Thorpe is from Australia, so I am obligated to remind everyone about Crocodile Dundee. Thorpe will pitch his whole short season as a 17-year-old. So far in only 13 innings, Thorpe has recorded 20 strikeouts. That’s a lot of strikeouts! Thorpe is currently tall and lanky, but so are most teenagers. He’s added velocity and a couple secondary pitches since getting to the States and if all of that continues to develop, the Twins might have a very interesting starting pitching prospect coming up through their system.
Amaurys Minier – GCL Twins
We discussed Minier in this space last week, and since then he has cooled off significantly. Not too surprising, as Minor Leaguers go through adjustment periods quite frequently. Minier is just 17 and signed with the Twins last July. The 6′ 2″ Dominican is playing mostly third base and it appears that he has the ability to play that position as he rises through the system. His size screams projection as his big frame could lead to some power down the line.
Brian Navarreto – GCL Twins
Navarreto is extremely interesting to me. He was the Twins’ 6th round pick just a month ago, and at 6′ 2″ and 200 lb, he seems a bit large for a catcher. However, everything that I have read about Navarreto is very positive regarding his defense. He is just 18-years-old and has only played nine pro games. However, the results are great so far, as he has posted a .308/.419/.500 triple slash. He’s evenly splitting his time behind the plate and at first base, but he isn’t the only catcher on the roster, so I wouldn’t look into that too much just yet. If he does ever move out from behind the plate full time, he loses a lot of luster in my eyes. We’ll hope that doesn’t happen.
Randy Rosario – Elizabethton Twins
Randy Rosario is another tall, lanky lefty who is turning some heads in the low levels of the Minor Leagues. Rosario signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and just turned nineteen in May. Last season, Rosario impressed with strikeouts, but also issued a lot of walks. This season, he has maintained his strikeout rate while cutting his walk rate to a minuscule 0.9 per nine. Of course, he’s only thrown ten innings. With a strong season with Elizabethton, Rosario could put himself on the national prospect scene.
Felix Jorge – Elizabethton Twins
Jorge was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. At just nineteen-years-old, Jorge is starting to emerge as an interesting starting pitcher. He doesn’t have crazy strikeout rates like some other short-season pitchers, but he also doesn’t have a high walk rate, which is encouraging to me. Jorge has shown good command of his expanding repertoire and through 12.1 innings in Elizabethton, Jorge has given up just two hits and four walks, while striking out 13. Jorge could be a sleeper in the Twins’ system and a lot of eyes will be on whether or not he makes his full season debut in 2014.
Byron Buxton – Fort Myers Miracle
Oh right, Buxton is still 19! While all his fellow teenagers are just starting their seasons, Buxton is playing at his second level of the season and he has started to engage his dominance mechanism. After a hot week, Buxton has a .375/.390/.500 triple slash in nine games with Fort Myers. I’ve pretty much thrown everything I know about prospects out the window with Buxton. I would have thought he’d spend full seasons with Low A and High A, just because of his Georgia high school profile and that fact that everyone referred to him as “toolsy.” However, Buxton has proven that the Twins will move their prospects as individuals and based on their performance. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Buxton made his MLB debut in 2014 as a 20-year-old. He pretty much has no ceiling.
Thank you for sifting through the pages of the Twins’ Teen Beat with us. Next week, we will focus on the eight prospects who are closest to making their MLB debut. It’s a guessing game, but guessing games are fun. Have a nice week, everyone!