Puckett’s Pond’s Minnesota Twins 2018 Top-40 Prospects: #11-15
The Minnesota Twins have an exciting farm system. Here is our top 40 ranking of the Twins prospects as we continue onto prospects numbers 11-15.
The Minnesota Twins have had a disappointing 2018 season. Out of survival, we as fans have to find something to root for when our teams are not performing well. Which causes us to often then turn our attention to what is next for our favorite team, for baseball that means the prospects in the minors. That special attention gives added intrigue to this series which takes a unique look at the Twins current crop of prospects as we at Puckett’s Pond put on our talent evaluating caps to rank the Twins prospects.
What else makes this not only an intriguing but also an exciting group to rank is that the Twins have made several additions to their prospect ranks during their sell-off at the trade deadline. All those new faces are players we haven’t gotten much of a look and learning about those new players can always be a fun exercise as well.
This list is a group effort by several writers here at Puckett’s Pond. Know that we each have our own opinion on players but have put our rankings together to compile this list. Some or all of us will have ranked certain players in a much different place than where they will land on this ranking. That is just how this sort of exercise works.
With that here is the first instalment of our rankings as we look at what is now often regarded as a top-10 farm system in baseball. We have already covered prospects numbers 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35 and 36-40. Here are numbers 11-15 of the Puckett’s Pond prospect rankings.
No. 15 Gilberto Celestino, CF, Elizabethton Twins
Nate’s Rank: 16, Gary’s Rank: 17
Gilberto Celestino was acquired from the Houston Astros along with pitcher Jorge Alcala in the July 37 Ryan Pressly trade. The Dominican signed with the Astros for a $2.5 million dollar bonus and stayed home in the capital city Santo Domingo starting the 2016 season playing in the Dominican Summer League.
From the Houston Chronicle:
"Celestino has represented the Dominican Republic at international tournaments since he was 11 in 2010. The 6-1 1/2 , 175-pound left-handed batter first made a name for himself as an 11-year-old in August 2010 when he was named Most Valuable Player of the 12 and-under Serie International de Béisbol. A year later, he was named to the Rawlings All-Defensive Team at the 12U Cal Ripken Tournament in Aberdeen, Maryland."
The speedy center fielder performed well enough in the DSL to earn a promotion to the rookie league GCL Astros to finish the 2016 season. Celestino spent all of 2017 in Greenville of the Appalachian League posting a line of .268/.331/.379 for an OPS of .709 striking out 59 times and drawing 22 walks in 235 at-bats. He picked up eight assists and committed two errors in the outfield playing against competition averaging 2.3 years his senior.
Oddly, following a mediocre rookie league performance, Houston bumped Celestino up to AA Corpus Christi to start the 2018 campaign. The 19-year-old appeared in three games going hitless in eight at-bats including five strikeouts. Reassigned to lower level Class A Tri-City, still to years younger his average opponent, Celestino found his groove with a slash line of .323/387/.480 with an OPS of .868. He collected eight doubles, four home runs, struck out 25 times, and drew eight walks in 127 at-bats. He also stole 14 bases without being caught.
Celestino was assigned to rookie league Elizabethton following the Pressly trade. In 22 games he has a line of .267/.315/.326, an OPS of .641, with three doubles, a triple, 14 strikeouts, and five walks. He has also been successful on eight of nine attempted steals.
Baseball Prospectus had Celestino ranked #7 in the Astros’ system and said about the center fielder:
"With his shorter swing and quality approach, scouts who have seen Celestino this year continue to suggest he looks more and more like an above-average hitter down the line. He’s continuing to gain strength as he reaches physical maturity, leading to him driving the ball more consistently…"
In another place on Baseball Prospectus John Eshelman wrote:
"The Role: OFP 55—First-division starting center fielder, top of order Likely 45—Second-division starting center fielder The Risks: The bat. There’s tantalizing potential given Celestino’s toolset and age, but until I see better pitch recognition in full-season ball, I question future impact. Nonetheless, the speed and defense raise the floor."
MLB.com ranks the six-foot, 170 pounder #14 in the Twins system with an overall rating of 45. He was ranked #23 in the Houston system coming into the season.
Fangraphs assigned Celestino a future value of 42. He is rated highly for his speed, with the same potential as a fielder, with an above average arm, and potential above average hitting tool. While they see his power developing, it will max out as well below average.
There are two items that keep popping up in my research of Celestino. First is the comparison to Chicago Cubs 24-year-old center fielder Albert Almora. If not put to bed entirely, that analogy needs to take a nap. While both are good hitters and quality center fielders, they have important differences, most notably Almora’s larger frame. Almora often bats fifth in the Cubs line-up, a slot that will never be a fit for Celestino. The second is the references to the rarity and apparent liability of Celestino’s hits-right/throws-left profile. I’m not impressed with either view regarding Celestino’s status as a prospect.
Gilberto Celestino could grow into an electric producer both offensively and certainly on defense. With 46 stolen bases in 52 career attempts, he can make things happen when he gets on base. Better plate discipline and extra pop in the bat are the keys to becoming more than a solid fourth outfielder at the Major League level.