Minnesota Twins 2014 Prospect Vote: Round 6

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Even the head-to-head face off was a tight ballot.

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.

Twinkie Town Top Prospects for 2014

  1. Byron Buxton, CF
  2. Miguel Sano, 3B
  3. Alex Meyer, RHP
  4. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF
  5. Kohl Stewart, RHP
  6. Josmil Pinto, C
Your rules:

  • 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.
  • Sometimes no players will be added to subsequent ballots. Sometimes more than one player will be added. Early rounds will have fewer players for which to vote, and later rounds are more likely to have more.
  • Share with your friends! Let's get as many votes as possible.
  • A general list has already been assembled, and players are slated to join the voting at a specified time, but you are welcome to recommend players that you think should be added in the following round.

Players up this round: Jose Berrios, Lewis Thorpe, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Felix Jorge

Jose Berrios, RHP
2014 Age: 20
2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 103.2 IP (Single-A)

    Year Age Tm Lev W L ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
    2012 18 Elizabethton Rk 2 0 1.29 3 3 14.0 0.643 5.1 0.6 0.6 14.1
    2012 18 Twins Rk 1 0 1.08 8 1 16.2 0.600 3.8 0.0 1.6 14.6
    2013 19 Cedar Rapids A 7 7 3.99 19 19 103.2 1.399 9.1 0.5 3.5 8.7
    2 Seasons 10 7 3.35 30 23 134.1 1.221 8.0 0.5 2.9 10.0
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
    Generated 11/12/2013.

    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)

    Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
    2013 17 GULF Rk 4 1 2.05 12 8 44.0 0.864 6.5 0.4 1.2 13.1
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
    Generated 11/12/2013.

    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)

    Year Age Lev G PA 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG
    2010 16 FRk 18 68 2 0 0 6 9 .250 .309 .283
    2010 16 Rk 34 119 5 0 1 12 9 .223 .299 .301
    2011 17 Rk 51 193 8 3 1 15 24 .250 .319 .349
    2012 18 Rk 51 204 15 2 5 20 26 .318 .388 .514
    2013 19 A 115 523 32 10 5 42 59 .308 .362 .452
    4 Seasons 269 1107 62 15 12 95 127 .287 .349 .418
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
    Generated 11/21/2013.

    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)

    Year Age Tm Lev W L ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
    2011 17 Twins FRk 2 1 2.67 9 5 27.0 1.037 6.3 0.0 3.0 8.7
    2012 18 Twins Rk 0 3 2.34 12 7 34.2 1.212 7.8 0.0 3.1 9.6
    2013 19 Elizabethton Rk 2 2 2.95 12 12 61.0 1.213 8.3 0.3 2.7 10.6
    3 Seasons 4 6 2.71 33 24 122.2 1.174 7.7 0.1 2.9 9.9
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
    Generated 11/21/2013.

    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)

    Year Age Tm Lev G PA 2B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
    2010 17 Twins Rk 37 153 6 0 6 1 13 27 .286 .346 .343
    2011 18 Elizabethton Rk 50 221 11 1 1 1 23 54 .262 .347 .366
    2012 19 Elizabethton Rk 59 269 16 10 7 0 27 33 .297 .387 .539
    2013 20 Cedar Rapids A 61 263 11 9 2 0 24 43 .237 .312 .424
    4 Seasons 207 906 44 20 16 2 87 157 .269 .348 .429
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
    Generated 11/21/2013.

    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.
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