Last month, Twins Daily posted its Top 20 Prospects. In previous years, we had just done the Top 10, but the Twins system is so strong that we felt that we should highlight twice as many prospects this year. In reviewing the prospect list, there are several very interesting topics that came up.
The first thing that became apparent were that there were a few clear groupings that create some interesting discussion.
THE ELITE PROSPECTS
2014 was a rough year for Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Buxton suffered from several injuries and never was able to get into any sort of rhythm. Miguel Sano missed the entire season with Tommy John surgery. However, elite tools are elite tools.
Byron Buxton not only remained the #1 prospect in the Twins farm system, but he ranked #1 or #2 in all of the major national prospect rankings as well. Why? His elite tools, his speed, his defense and his arm. Meanwhile, most believe in his hit tool and believe he will be able to hit some home runs too.
Miguel Sano has as much power as anyone in minor league baseball, including Cubs’ 3B prospect Kris Bryant. His missed season does not change that. Sure, it may make some question his ability to throw as hard, but he had an ‘80’ arm before, so if he lost a little zip, he’s probably still got ‘70’ arm strength. Questions regarding his ability to play 3B are no more or less than a year ago. Sano remained a top 20 prospect in baseball.
The hope for both of these guys is that they can be organization-changing talents. They are both still just 21 years old and have plenty of time.
THE THREE TOP PITCHERS
Twins Daily’s final ranking had Jose Berrios at #3, Kohl Stewart at #4, and Alex Meyer at #5. However, we all acknowledge that there could be compelling arguments to ranking each ahead and behind each other. All three of these guys were Top 10 prospects one year ago. Berrios was the choice for Twins pitcher of the year in 2014 after pitching at three levels, pitching in the Florida State League All Star Game and the Futures Game. Stewart fought injuries again and a lack of strikeouts, but he’s still just 20 years old and has as much potential as anyone if he can be healthy. Meyer is clearly the closest to the big leagues and has a chance to be a top of the rotation starter soonest, possibly by late 2015. All have a chance to be good MLB pitchers.
THE MIDDLE INFIELDERS
Jorge Polanco became the youngest player to debut with the Twins since Joe Mauer in 2004 when he was called up as a 20 year old in May. He is seen as more polished and solid all-around. Nick Gordon was the Twins top draft pick in 2015, a shortstop out of high school with great baseball genetics. He clearly has the higher upside, but also presents a larger risk because he has a long ways to go.
CLOSE TO THE BIG LEAGUES
The Twins have struggled over the past four years. There’s no questioning that. They have had a top five draft pick each of the last three seasons. All three of those players rank in the Twins Daily top six prospects. Twins fans, understandably, want to start seeing the fruits of the Twins strong farm system and player development in recent years.
For each of the Top 10 prospects, we added an ETA in their profile. Two of the Top 10 prospects debuted in 2014 (Polanco and May). The year 2015 was shown for seven of the Top 10 prospects, and in reality, it is possible that as many as eight of the Top 10 could debut with the Twins in 2015. The only two that really have little opportunity to debut in 2015 would be Kohl Stewart and Nick Gordon, the last two first-round draft picks out of high school.
For many more tidbits on the Twins Daily Top Prospects Summary, including youngest, who would have been Propsects 21-25 and much more, click here.
TD Top Prospects 16-20
TD Top Prospects 11-15
TD Top Prospect #10: Nick Burdi
TD Top Prospect #9: Trevor May
TD Top Prospect #8: Eddie Rosario
TD Top Prospect #7: Jorge Polanco
TD Top Prospect #6: Nick Gordon
TD Top Prospect #5: Alex Meyer
TD Top Prospect #4: Kohl Stewart
TD Top Prospect #3: Jose Berrios
TD Top Prospect #2: Miguel Sano
TD Top Prospect #1: Byron Buxton
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