Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects 2015
1. Byron Buxton
The 2014 #1 overall prospect in baseball had a tough 2014, battling back from an injury only to slam into the outfield wall and play in only 31 games-30 in High A Fort Myers and 1 in AA New Britain. Buxton’s tools are still very, very impressive, and if he can stay healthy he should be at Target Field in 2015. He is a prototypical five tool player-speed, power, a great arm, excellent in the field and the ability to hit for average. Buxton should be a perennial all star if he can remain healthy.
After seeing Sano for two series in 2013, it is very obvious to me how immense his potential is. It was blatant that he was far superior to any other hitter on either team. (Xander Bogaerts was on the home team, the Portland Sea Dogs) His power and large frame jumps out both in the field and in the batter’s box, as he slings the baseball across the diamond from third with a surprisingly easy motion and hardly ever makes weak contact at the plate. Like Buxton, Sano was injured in 2014, so he will likely sink in overall prospect rankings, but his raw power should lead him to become a very successful player in the major leagues, granted he can reduce his high number of swings and misses.
3. Jose Berrios, RHP
Berrios had a breakout year in 2014, jumping up to AAA Rochester at the end of the season after beginning at High A Fort Myers. The Puerto Rican native has a deceptive fastball with a hard curve and decent change. The thing scouts love about the 20-year-old, however, is his control and polish. Being so young and yet so mature both pitching wise and off the field, Berrios figures to have a very promising future in Minnesota.
4. Kohl Stewart, RHP
The fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, the Twins feel they have a gem in Stewart. The tall, athletic right hander brings tremendous upside, plus velocity and already possesses 3-4 pitches at which batters consistently swing and miss. While he is not as polished as Berrios because he focused on football in high school, Stewart has arguably the greatest potential of any Twins pitching prospect. He looks to build on a strong season for the Midwest League Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2014 in 2015, possibly earning a late season promotion to New Britain.
5. Nick Gordon, SS
Gordon, who has prodigious baseball lineage, was drafted by Minnesota in the 2014 draft with the fifth pick. His brother, Dee, is a shortstop for Miami, and his father, Tom, was an all star closer whose name recently appeared on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. Athleticism and speed play to the shortstop’s favor, and he has an ability to spray the ball to all fields. While nothing very special at the plate, Gordon could be an impact player at the major league level if he can add strength to his six foot frame.
6. Alex Meyer, RHP
Meyer is the highest level prospect so far on the list. His gigantic body and immense arm strength contribute to an intimidating presence on the mound. After struggling with control in the past, Meyer has seemed to put it all together, inducing many ground balls with his downhill motion and keeping pitch counts down. After a great year in AAA Rochester, look for him at Target Field in 2015.
7. Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS
Polanco has scouts raving about his abilities at the plate, holding a career .353 OBP. He projects to be a pretty good hitter at the major league level. The questions regarding the Dominican lie in the field. He has not looked great at shortstop, drawing reviews of choppiness and uncertainty. He has played more at second, but if he can learn the shortstop position, Polanco could become a valuable commodity given the lack of able-hitting players at short in the bigs.
8. Eddie Rosario, 2B
Rosario is another strong hitting middle infielder, using his quick hands and hard contact to create success at the plate. A converted outfielder, the native of Puerto Rico is solid in the field, but is looked upon for his hitting primarily. He struggled in half a season at AA in 2014, so look for him to go back to work there in 2015.
9. Trevor May, RHP
My goodness! Do the Twins have any lefties? May had a very high potential after being traded from Philadelphia for Ben Revere. He is definitely not a finesse pitcher, but has power stuff and is very close to being effective (still needs a little work on command) as either a starter or reliever for Minnesota.
10. Adam Brett Walker, RF
Walker burst onto the scene in 2014 in the Florida State league, blasting an incredible (for the FSL) 25 home runs. His stunning raw power is what slides him into the top ten, but in order to succeed at the higher levels he, like most sluggers, needs to be more patient at the plate and reduce his strikeouts considerably.
11. J.R. Graham, RHP
Graham was drafted in the Rule 5 Draft from Atlanta this December, and looks to carry out the potential that was so high in 2012. He is a very hard thrower, having been said to hit 100 MPH at points. His fastball and slider have nasty sinking motions, creating many ground balls. After enduring injuries in 2013, scouts and coaches believe he will be better suited for the bullpen, most likely the only place he could win a roster spot with the Twins in 2015.
12. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
The Australian southpaw has the Twins giddy about his future. With increasing arm strength and surprising motion on all of his pitches, Thorpe excelled in the Midwest League this past season. His composure and work ethic are there — now all he has to do is live up to the lofty expectations.
13. Max Kepler, 1B/OF
Kepler has battled injuries the past few years, and 2015 will be very important for him. He has to bridge the gap between having a “high ceiling” and actually succeeding, because he is running out of time. Barring injuries, Kepler will continue to improve in the outfield and in the batter’s box, leading to a possible MLB Debut in 2016.
14. Nick Burdi, RHP
A 2014 2nd round pick, Burdi is primed to shoot up Minnesota’s system. The former Louisville closer hit the upper-90s regularly with his fastball and added a deadly slider in college. He is a rare prospect who pitches like the stereotypical major league closer, the role the Twins hope he will occupy at Target Field in the not-so-far-off future.
15. Mason Melotakis, LHP
Another relief prospect, Melotakis has a quality fastball with a sharp slider and a change up that is coming along. Right now, it looks as though he could stick in the ‘pen or become a back-of-the-rotation starter, but the product of Northwestern State looks to ride his fastball and slider to the Major Leagues.
16. Felix Jorge, RHP
Jorge was a prized prospect out of the D.R. in 2010, and his quality three pitch mix and velocity retain rave reviews even though he spent most of 2014 in Low A Elizabethton. He does have a startlingly thin frame, so some scouts worry about durability and question if he will be able to take on the burden of innings a starter typically does. To move on from the Appy League, Jorge needs to bulk up or move to the bullpen.
17. Travis Harrison, 3B/OF
Harrison is another powerful corner infielder who has home run potential. In 2011, Minnesota drafted him in the first round after being awed by his hitting in high school. He is below-average at the hot corner, but could reach the bigs as a first baseman, DH or corner outfielder and produce quality runs for the Twins.
18. Jake Reed, RHP
Reed, an Oregon Duck drafted in the fifth round in 2014, is quite similar to Burdi in his hard throwing nature. He has very good control for someone so inexperienced, and his polish combined with sinking action on his fastball and a deceptive slider, the Twins hope, will propel him to The Show.
19. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
Gonsalves has a tall ceiling, and needs consistency in order to move up the ranks of the minor leagues. He has the potential to throw his fastball in the low nineties and his very good off speed stuff. If Gonsalves can strengthen his arm, he can be consistently effective and even the flashes he gave in 2014 into a full, quality season.
20. Stuart Turner, C