Puckett’s Pond Top 20 Minnesota Twins Prospects: Others To Know
Rookie Ball Hitters
Carlos Aguiar, OF – This is a bit of counting chickens before they’re officially hatched as Aguiar hasn’t signed his contract because he doesn’t turn 16 until the end of August, but the Twins are his expected destination and he is an impressive specimen to say the least, with a right field profile and already 6’3″ and around 200 pounds of “good” weight.
Andrew Bechtold, 3B, Elizabethton – Bechtold was part of a strong Chipola College JuCo program this last season. He has a very good compact swing and flashed power in his final college season, though he has limited track record, so he may take longer than a typical college 3B type.
Ricky De La Torre, SS, GCL – The second excellent young shortstop the Twins drafted in the 2017 draft, De La Torre won’t even turn 18 until July 21st as one of the younger members of the class. He has a projectable frame that should allow for power as he grows into his 6’2 frame, and if he adds too much size for shortstop, his arm should allow him to play at third quite well.
Yeltsin Encarnacion, SS, DSL – Signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic, Encarnacion has shuffled for two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, but he’s breaking out in a big way this year with a .364/.475/.606 line and more impressively, a 13/5 BB/K ratio over 23 games so far.
Kolton Kendrick, 1B, Elizabethton – A big lefty bat that the Twins picked in the 8th round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Louisiana, Kendrick was known for power and his eye at the plate. He’s been able to display both of those qualities when healthy (a bout with mono really took down his 2016 season), but contact has been his biggest issue. If he could get the contact more consistent, he’s walking in almost 20% of his plate appearances and getting extra base hits in half of his hits, so he could be an impressive power hitter.
Jelfrey Marte, SS – Signed this July by the Twins for $3M. Just 16, with good ability to make solid contact as a switch hitter, though likely to project more as a gap power hitter. Very good speed, though struggles at times to get out of the gate. Defensively, he’s got excellent reviews for his footwork, glove, and arm at shortstop, which is very encouraging.
Jose Miranda, IF, Elizabethton – The Twins’ 2nd round selection in 2016 out of Puerto Rico, Miranda has bounced around the infield a bit, but he’s continued to flash excellent bat to ball skills, zone recognition, and surprising power from his frame that’s still filling out. Just barely 19 (at the end of June), Miranda’s biggest question is going to be where he fits defensively as his bat is certainly going to play.
Alberoni Nunez, OF, DSL – Making his debut in the Twins system as a 17 year-old, Nunez is certainly making a positive impression. On the season in the DSL, he’s hitting .330/.373/.485 with 4 doubles, 4 triples, a home run, and 2 stolen bases. He has primarily played right field thus far, but has flashed athleticism not expected from a “cheap” signee from the Dominican last summer.
J.J. Robinson, 1B, Elizabethton – A 33rd round pick this season, I’m including Robinson as a three-true outcome guy who seems to walk, strikeout, or homer. He had one of the more impressive balls I got to see hit in the BP video I saw of him. The swing is long and certainly has work to do, but the power is unquestionable.
Benjamin Rodriguez, 1B, GCL – Another late-round pick, in the 38th round this year, the Twins originally announced the 6’6, 240-pound (though I think that’s about 20 pounds light!) Rodriguez as a catcher. He’s played all of his games at first base this season so far, and the home run power that he struggled to tap into with Pepperdine has not manifested yet, but he’s smacking the ball around, hitting .340/.441/.560 in 15 games so far.
Estamy Urena, SS, DSL – Urena slipped through to the Twins as a guy who was higher profile in the 2015 IFA class, but he seemed to drop off the radar some before signing last July 2nd. Urena is an elite defender at shortstop. His bat is not projected to lead to much power over the fence, but he has high baseball intelligence, which has allowed him to show well on the base paths in the DSL this summer, where he’s hit .337/.404/.472 with 3 doubles, 3 triples, a home run, and 2 stolen bases, posting a 12/11 BB/K ratio.