If there’s one mantra the Minnesota Twins have always lived by, it’s that the future is always bright. For all the pains of having to watch the team try to cobble together a big league roster over the years — to varying degrees of success — the farm system has always been a point of pride.
That’s why it was such a big deal when the Twins jumped up the MLB Draft board last year thanks to the new lottery system. Originally picking No. 13 overall, Minnesota snuck into the Top 5 and landed Walker Jenkins; a prospect many believe could have been the No. 1 pick if he had come out a year later.
Minnesota already had a good thing going with its youth movement supplying much-needed replenishment to the roster. Royce Lewis and Eduoard Julien led the charge, with Matt Wallner and Ryan Jeffers not far behind. Guys like Brooks Lee, Austin Martin, Matt Canterino, and David Festa all figure to make their debuts in the near future, which means the influx of young talent will continue into 2024.
Thanks to drafting Jenkins and adding the young slugger to the system, the fun won’t end any time soon.
Walker Jenkins’ MLB Pipeline ranking is a sign of a bright future for Twins
MLB Pipeline is combing through all of the top prospects at every position and ranking them ahead of this year’s Top 100 being revealed.
It wasn’t really a question of whether or not Jenkins was on the list, it was where would he end up. As it turns out he’s entering this season as the No. 5 outfield prospect, just behind No. 2 overall pick Dylan Crews and ahead of both Max Clark and Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Here’s the complete Top 10:
1. Jackson Chourio, Brewers
2. Evan Carter, Rangers
3. Wyatt Langford, Rangers
4. Dylan Crews, Nationals
5. Walker Jenkins, Twins
6. Max Clark, Tigers
7. James Wood, Nationals
8. Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs
9. Colton Cowser, Orioles
10. Roman Anthony, Red Sox
Jenkins isn’t the only Twins prospect who is getting some love from MLB.com’s experts. Brooks Lee was ranked among the top shortstop prospects this year, clocking in at No. 6 at his position with the likelihood that he’s still in the Top 25 overall.
One small bummer is that Jenkins wasn’t named alongside any of Top Tools that helped influence the ranking, but he doesn’t have to. He’s going to be 19-years old when he returns to action this spring, and he’s already laid down a tremendous foundation to build upon.
Last year in Rookie League and Single-A, Jenkins slashed .362/.417/.571 in 105 at-bats while hitting three home runs, driving in 22 runs and striking out just 14 times. He wasted no time in making a name for himself hitting a grand slam in just days after signing his contract.
That’s what we’re dealing with here, and it’s a wonderful thing. Jenkins is way far out from being even close to making his MLB debut, with an ETA closer to the end of this current championship window than anything that would suggest he can help contribute.
What that means is the pieces are already being put in place to bridge eras for the Twins. Jenkins might not be able to help current stars like Bryon Buxton and Carlos Correa, but the table is set for Royce Lewis and Brooks Lee to be in that role when Jenkins gets the call later this decade.
A lot can happen between now and then, but it’s not too early to think about getting some shades since the future is looking so incredibly bright.