This one was tight at the top, but Amaurys Minier just skipped past D.J Baxendale by three measly votes. With 38% of the ballot, that makes Minier prospect number 25 for the Twins in 2014. Minier is still a ways off, but scouts love his ceiling. No doubt his arrival won't be happening for another three years if he ends up getting fast-tracked at some point down the line.
The Twins had Baxendale on the fast track through his first two seasons in the system, which is exactly what you love to see from a collegiate pick. He struggled a bit in Double-A in 2013 though, so he's likely to start there again this season - particularly in light of the number of pitchers in the upper levels of the system. He seems to be the second-best pitcher from the 2012 draft, behind Berrios, meaning that - compared to our prospect list last season - he's leapfrogged fellow draft mates J.T. Chargois (#12), Mason Melotakis (#16), and Luke Bard (#17).
Taylor Rogers, LHP 2014 Age: 23 2013 High Level: Fort Myers, 130.2 (Advanced-A)
Rogers was, as our own Roger notes, one of the better pitchers in the Twins' minor league system last year. He doesn't strike anyone out, but the command is decent and he does a good job of limiting base runners. He was an 11th-round pick in 2012 so you'd like to hope he can move quickly, but some of that will depend on how well he adapts to tougher competition. Can he continue to be successful even if he posts pedestrian strikeout rates?
Mason Melotakis, LHP 2014 Age: 23 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 111 IP (Single-A)
Melotakis was rated higher last season (#16), but after being thrust into a starter's role for much of 2013 it's not a surprise that his rate stats took a dip. So it's not that he had a bad season, but that quite a few prospects took a step forward. Melotakis is just 23 this season and should step up to Fort Myers, and if he continues to be an effective pitcher he could be pushed to Double-A by the end of the season. And of course he's a lefty, which helps, even if he doesn't have a great ceiling.
Niko Goodrum, SS 2014 Age: 22 2013 High Level: Cedar Rapids, 455 PA (Single-A)
After three seasons stuck in Rookie ball, Goodrum finally escaped last season and displayed the solid all-around skills that scouts have been hoping for. He continues to have a few issues at the high-responsibility position and he'll never develop any real power, but he's capable of being a decent contact hitter with good strike zone judgment and on-base skills, and he knows how to use his speed both in the field and on the bases. Can he make the most of a couple of plus tools? Or will he continue to toil away in the minors and hope for a bench or fringe role three or four years down the road?
Adrian Salcedo, RHP 2014 Age: 23 2013 High Level: Fort Myers, 58.1 IP (Advanced-A)
Salcedo has been off of our list for the last couple years after making appearances earlier in his history with the organization. It's been a slow move through the ranks so far, but with his move to the bullpen his rate stats have improved and, with them, the front-line stats like ERA and WHIP. It's helped him to be a more efficient and effective pitcher, and as a result we see him on our list towards the end of our voting. He's a borderline Top 30 guy, so where he lands is up to you.
Dalton Hicks, 1B 2014 Age: 24 2013 High Level: Fort Myers, 178 PA (Advanced-A)
With his season numbers inflated by 400 really good plate appearances in Single-A, it's easy to see Hicks as a legitimate prospect. He's just two years into his professional baseball career, but finishing High-A at age 23, with a performance that isn't all that inspiring, will paint things in a new light. A bigger issue: if Kennys Vargas starts the season at Double-A, which he should, Hicks could return to Fort Myers to start the season as a 24-year old. We need to see more from Hicks before his prospect status improves, and there isn't much time left for that, either.
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