There's been an increased focus on the farm system around Twinkie Town this season, which isn't a surprise to anybody. The future is bright, allegedly, so why not look toward that light at the end of the tunnel?
This is a new feature that I imagine we'll be able to run in September every year. The 25-man roster is comprised entirely of prospects in the Minnesota farm system, and will include a lot of the Twins' top prospects. Guidelines are subjective, with performance and ceiling both being competing variables and age being a factor as well.
September callups are still eligible for the roster, while guys who had extended time on the Major League roster (Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Kyle Gibson) are not. ETA years are estimated based on one level per year, adjusted plus or minus time depending on the player, and of course whether or not they are already on the 40-man roster.
|SP2||Alex Meyer||AA||23||Sept 2014|
|SP5||Trevor May||AA||23||Sept 2014|
The rotation is, for the first time in a long time, comprised mostly of players who are relatively close to the Major Leagues. In recent seasons, starting pitching prospects have been nonexistent. To have Meyer, Baxendale, and May all on the verge of Triple-A, and with Kyle Gibson likely to make the rotation out of spring training, there are a handful of pitching prospects that are not only talented but, oddly enough, are capable of striking hitters out.
|3B||Miguel Sano||AA||20||Sept 2014|
|SS||Danny Santana||AA||22||Sept 2014|
I originally slated Rosario as the team's second baseman, making Polanco the shortstop, Santana the bench infielder, and sliding Niko Goordum off the roster. Instead, because of Brian Dozier's success at second base this season, because of Rob Antony's supposition that Rosario could shift position, and because of the current middle infield depth among Twins prospects, I made a preemptive move and penciled him into the left field slot.
Overall, I think that's an exceptionally strong list of prospects. Vargas could go unprotected this season and subsequently lost through the Rule 5 draft, but I expect the eight other players will be in the Minnesota system for a number of years barring a trade.
How would your lineup look? Mine might go: Polanco, Rosario, Buxton, Sano, Walker, Kepler, Vargas, Pinto, Santana. It's tempting to put Buxton into the leadoff spot, with his on-base skills and his speed able to cause havoc, but his hitting skills are so impressive that I'd want other higher on-base players in front of him so that he would have more opportunities to produce runs with his bat as well as his other assets.
|Backup Catcher||Kyle Knudson||AA||25||2015|
|Backup Infield||Travis Harrison||A||20||2017|
|Backup Infield||Niko Goodrum||A||21||2016|
|Backup Outfield||Zach Larson||Rookie||19||2018|
I had a bit of a debate with myself over Zach Larson making this list, but his numbers were exceptional in his first complete minor league season. Additionally, when you look down the list of outfield prospects the list gets a bit narrow when you move past Buxton, Kepler, and Walker (and even Rosario if you're with me on that one). We could go for Angel Morales, but if I had to choose to keep one or the other I'd go with Larson.
Knudson was the catcher closest to the Twins who seemed to have some skill at the plate. Harrison has a lot of upside if he can keep the strikeouts down a bit and get better with making contact, and Goodrum just slid in front of Amaurys Minier.
The big difference in this group is that it's pretty young, on the whole. Three of the seven were on a Rookie League roster this season. Suffice it to say I chose potential upside over maturity in this case. Thorpe and Gonsalves are my lefties, and if I had to choose I'd probably use Jones the first and Jones the second as my set-up men.
On the whole I think this is a pretty solid squad. Is there anyone you'd have preferred to see?