30. Landon Leach, RHP, GCL
2017 Stats: 13 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6/10 BB/K
Info: Considered the top Canadian prep prospect in past June’s draft, Leach was selected in the 2nd round of the draft. He’s 6’4″ and 220 pounds, which has filled out plenty this season, and his body is still adjusting to its new-found physical maturity, which leads to some issues in his mechanics at times, and his lack of time on the mound also likely means he’ll be a longer development project. However, Leach has a repertoire that could allow him to develop into a mid-rotation starter or better, with a fastball that can touch mid-90s with incredible sink and late movement. He has a breaking pitch that has been slurvy, but when he can get a true slider action out of it, it is impressive. He’ll be a guy that could spend another year with the GCL and then move to Elizabethton in 2019, but the talent is such that if he’s allowed to develop, he could truly be an elite arm.
29. Jose Miranda, 2B, Elizabethton
2017 Stats: .283/.340/.484, 11 HR, 2 SB, 16/24 BB/K
Info: Yet another Puerto Rican Twins draftee, Miranda was selected as a competitive balance round B pick in 2016. He struggled coming out of Puerto Rico in 2016 in the GCL, but his time in Elizabethton this season was much better. Miranda moved to second base this season, and that looks to be a long-term home for him, though it’s not as a better than average defender, but he doesn’t miss any balls that he should get to, which is a good thing. Miranda had an odd batting profile, which has seemingly caught the imagination of many Twins fans as he saw an irrational amount of his fly balls leave the yard for home runs this season. I do think Miranda has legit above-average power with better gap power than home run power, but he did show very good zone recognition and has the bat speed to flip away balls he cannot handle, which may not lead to a high walk rate down the road, but it should allow him to keep his strikeout rate positive.
28. Tyler Watson, LHP, Cedar Rapids
2017 Stats: 120 1/3 IP, 4.34 ERA 1.26 WHIP, 32/116 BB/K
Info: Watson was a “throw away” pick by the Washington Nationals in 2015, a guy that they thought would likely go to college rather than sign as a 34th round draft pick. Instead, he did sign, and he’s developed well as a lefty starter. Watson is 6’5″ and 200 pounds, but he does not generate huge velocity with his big frame, rather using his frame to generate excellent plane on his fastball and change to create weak contact. Watson continued pounding the zone this year with all three of his pitches, and he showed an ability to manipulate the grip of his pitches to garner extra movement on his pitches while still commanding them well. This did not lead to high strikeout rates, especially after his trade to the Twins, but it did lead to plenty of weak contact and no extra base runners. One scout that talked with me compared Watson very strongly to Twins lefty prospect Stephen Gonsalves, who is one of the top prospects in the system, in their frame, pitch offerings, and approach. Twins fans will hope Watson develops in the way Gonsalves did.
27. Emmanuel Morel, 2B, GCL
2017 Stats: .260/.353/.336, 12 SB, 15/37 BB/K
Info: When I talked around to people in the game this summer, it seemed that every one of them that had seen him raved about Morel. When I looked at his raw numbers, that was tough to see, so I did some more digging, and this is Morel’s second season with the GCL club. He doesn’t have power projection, but he has exceptional hands defensively, working at short, but projecting as a plus defender at second, showing what one scout called “natural instincts at the keystone”. Morel has plus to double plus speed that allows him to steal bases well. He will turn 21 next season, and it will be interesting to see if the Twins move him up to Elizabethton or if they challenge him by pushing him to Cedar Rapids. Morel reminds me a ton of former Twins and Marlins infielder (among others) Luis Castillo, though Castillo was in the majors quite young.
26. Andrew Bechtold, 3B, Elizabethton
2017 Stats: .299/.406/.424, 2 HR, 27/40 BB/K
Info: Bechtold was the Twins 5th round selection in June out of Chipola, where he’d just won the Junior College World Series. Bechtold has very positive offensive skills, with plus bat speed that could translate to a plus contact grade if he can continue progress on his pitch recognition. Bechtold is also a good athlete and has good baseball instincts, allowing him to swipe a base or two along the way, but definitely allowing him to take plenty of extra bases while he’s on the bases. Bechtold is a plus fielder with plus arm strength. He’s a natural at third baseman, but he could work at a number of positions as well. He could jump right over Cedar Rapids in 2018 if the Twins are comfortable with sending him to Fort Myers.