Congratulations to the Max Kepler fan club, who have successfully lobbied for Kepler's victory for the organization's ninth-best prospect going into 2014. The German-born outfielder took home 32% of the votes, with Lewis Thorpe in second place with 26% and - also strangely - Adam Brett Walker in third with 21% of the vote. Third baseman Travis Harrison actually finished with the least votes.
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.
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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 in Round 9: Lewis Thorpe, Felix Jorge, Travis Harrison, Trevor May, Adam Brett Walker
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.
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?
Travis Harrison, 3B 2014 Age: 21 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 537 PA (Single-A)
Harrison's triple slash doesn't look as impressive as his short-season Rookie league debut in 2012, but there are a number of things to keep in mind. First, he definitely slowed in the latter part of the season as his body wore down. That will balance itself out. Second, while his strikeout rates jumped from 20% to about 23%, his walk rates also bumped - from a good 9.5% to an impressive 12.7%. His isolated power was basically identical. What also went up, though, was his percentage of poorly-struck balls. Let's see how he performs this season; the power is real, and that's exciting.
Trevor May, RHP 2014 Age: 24 2013 High Level: New Britain, 151.2 IP (Double-A)
With a full season at Double-A under his belt, May will be moved into the Red Wings' rotation with a call to Minnesota just a phonecall away. His strikeout rates stayed strong over the full season though, and his walk rates (10.2%) were actually the lowest of his minor league career...which is nice. In the Arizona Fall League this winter he pitched well for the most part, securing hopes that he's ready for the next step in his development. He currently projects to post good strikeout rates while being a guy with some control issues, but if he's your number three or even number four, that's perfectly fine.
Adam Brett Walker, RF 2014 Age: 22 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 553 PA (Single-A)
Walker sometimes gets overlooked because, unlike Harrison, he was a collegiate draft pick. His power potential is incredible, but playing on the same team as Miguel Sano and, later, Byron Buxton will result in a bit of overshadowing. Walker's biggest issue is his all-or-nothing philosophy: he struck out less often than Harrison, for example, but his walk rates are so low that he looks like an all-power masher right now. Which is great, because those guys are immensely valuable while they're under team control, but the hope is that better discipline and pitch recognition will raise his ceiling. Scouts like his defense, too, which is a bonus, as is his underrated ability to steal a bag from time to time.
Who is the Twins' tenth-best prospect heading into 2014?
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