After coming within seven votes of each other in Round 5, I shoved Jose Berrios and Josmil Pinto into a cage match and expected blood. Or at least a more definitive answer on who the Twinkie Town community believed to be the better prospect. It turns out that even without the distractions of other options, Berrios and Pinto matched up really well.
But a winner must be chosen, and with 52% of the vote Josmil Pinto comes away as our number six Twins prospect for 2014. Berrios gets tossed back onto the ballot for the seventh-best prospect. I expect him to win, but I wanted to give those who voted for Pinto in the prior full round an opportunity to vote for someone else if they so chose.
For each round, a certain number of players will be presented with statistical history, a brief overview, and other basic information such as age and level.
Once on a ballot, players will remain on the ballot until they eventually win a vote. Barring something drastic, like a trade.
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With Berrios facing his first full-length season as a professional, he understandably slowed a bit at the end of the season. In spite of that he still put forward a pretty solid season for a 19-year old at Single-A. This season will be very telling, as it's likely that he'll spend most (if not all) of his season with Fort Myers; some pundits thought he projected as a reliever when he was drafted, yet the Twins will continue to use him as a starter until he proves he can't be effective doing it. Can he continue to strike batters out at an above average rate and can he continue to be an efficient and productive starter? Let's find out.
Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2014 Age: 18 2013 High Level: GCL Twins, 44.0 IP (Rookie)
It might seem a bit premature to throw international signing Lewis Thorpe into the voting fray so early, but we're doing it. In spite of his age, in spite of his distance from the Majors, in spite of his small sample size, Thorpe absolutely dominated with the GCL Twins in eight starts and four relief appearances. The Twins will no doubt keep him in rookie ball this season, possibly with Elizabethton, but another blistering performance like this might tempt the Twins into seeing how he does in Cedar Rapids at the end of the season. Scouts mostly seem to think he has mid-rotation upside, but it's easy to dream on the Australian 17-year old lefty with amazing strikeout rates.
Jorge Polanco, SS/2B 2014 Age: 20 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 523 PA (Single-A)
Polanco's age relative to his level of competition is as much of a reason for excitement as is his production on its own. After struggling in Rookie leagues as a 16 and 17-year old, the last two years have been a revelation and have helped to reveal why the Twins liked him as a kid in his mid-teens out of the Dominican Republic. Another fantastic season could see him continue to climb the organizational ladder, and if he starts the season at Fort Myers and plays well it's not out of the question that he finishes his summer at Double-A Fort Myers. Before we get too excited though, let's see where the Twins place him to start the season and then actually wait to see if he continues to be as outstanding of a hitter as he's been the last two years.
Felix Jorge, RHP 2014 Age: 20 2013 High Level: Elizabethton, 61 IP (Rookie)
I was going to wait another round or two to add Jorge, but after the discussions we've had here and considering how highly BP ranked him in their list, it's certainly possible he merits more consideration than I was giving him. With 12 strong starts under his belt in E-Town this season, Jorge will be pushed ahead to Cedar Rapids this summer and we'll see how his great arm deals with not just better hitters but with a full season. Berrios tired a bit in 2013, and the same is virtually guaranteed to happen to Jorge or any pitcher coming off of a short season. The question is: how will he handle it?
Max Kepler, CF 2014 Age: 21 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 263 PA (Single-A)
Kepler was slow out of the gate due to a late start, and he never really picked up a lot of steam. The Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League anyway, where he played first base but continued to struggle against, admittedly, elite-level competition. The tools are all there, and as an athlete he appears to rank very well in each of the five tool categories even if none of them are 70s or 80s on the 20-80 scale. At 21 this coming season I think the Twins are going to start looking for him to put up numbers to match his potential. There's a lot of good upside with Kepler, which is why the team added him to the 40-man roster this week. Hopefully we can see that talent play out in on-the-field production this season.
Which player qualifies as the seventh-best prospect in the Twins system?
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