Pre-Draft Look at the Best & Worst of the Twins Minor Leagues

Rob Carr

Before the draft hits, we should take a look at the state of the system before they add one or two new top prospects. And as it sits now,the Twins are looking good.

Let’s look at 10 guys who are performing well:

1 – Jorge Polanco - .319/.400/.425 - No prospect playing in the Twins system right now looks as good he does. This switch hitter is getting it done from both sides of the plate. A .405 on-base percentage as a lefty, and a .399 mark as a righty. He has more walks than strikeouts. He is only 20-years old. He is playing in High-A as shortstop but he has a lot of errors. I doubt he can stick there. But his offensive production should let him end the year at Double-A. His defense is still a work in progress, but if he can stick at short his prospect rating will be sky high next year. Otherwise it will just be very high.

In a nut shell, its time to get excited about Jorge Polanco. If you’re not. Get on board the excited train.

2 – J. O. Berrios – 43 IP, 2.70 ERA, 45 K, 20 F-ing years old! Not bad. His last three starts have touched on dominating. This kid is looking really good. I’d like to see him end the year at Double-A.

That’s two 20-year old guys in High A Ball kicking butt. Wow

3 - Kennys Vargas – .303/.386/.510. The only reason I am putting him at 3 is age compared to Berrios and Polanco, also his lack of position holds him back. Maybe that's wrong's my list. Tough luck. Only one other position player prospect playing in the Twins system looks better than him. This switch hitter is getting it done from both sides of the plate. A 1.01 OPS as a lefty, and a .884 OPS as a righty. He leads all Twins minor leaguers with 8 home runs. He is 23 years old and playing DH/1B. So he has to hit well, and he is. If he keeps the mashing up, he could be up at Triple-A by the all-star break and with the Twins as a September call-up. His power from both sides of the plate could make him a virtual lock to make the Twins in 2015.

Barring injury, its looking likely that Kennys Vargas beats Sano, Rosario, & Buxton to the Majors. Is it time to trade Joe Mauer? Well…maybe not.

4 – Alex Meyer – 24 years old. 40 IP, 49 K. Opponents are hitting .215 against him. His ERA is kinda of high and I do think that’s marginally important. But he is still getting it done.

5 – Kohl Stewart – At age 19 he is the youngest player in the Twins system getting regular playing time. 34 IP, 2.34 ERA. Opponents are hitting .184 off him. Only 26 strikeouts from him but I’m not worried. Those will come.

6 – Trevor May – 24 years old. 43 IP, 46 K. Opponents are hitting .207 off him and he got his ERA down to 3.35 His problem is walks, big innings and fly balls. I think he will be fine.

7 – Levi Michael – .322/.379/.432- I never liked this pick. He has stayed at the same level for the last three years. But give credit to where it due. Yet another switch hitter, he has a .393 batting average as a lefty, and a .300 average as a righty. As a second baseman, he is behind a lot of better prospects. But for the first time ever, he is holding his own. He is injured now and hasn't played since the May 8. I still hold a grudge against him because well…that’s the way my fandom works. But hope he gets healthy and back to producing.

8 – Niko Goodrum – This switch hitting 22-year old is hitting .291/.355 /.404. Not great, but pretty OK. He is hitting .433 vs lefties so I think he is better from the right side of the plate. He is playing mostly third base. In his career he has played short, second, third and the outfield. He has utility guy written all over him with good speed and versatility. I just like this kid as a player and its good to see him putting his tools together.

9 – Logan Darnell – 25 years old lefty with a sparkling 2.32 ERA. Opponents are hitting .224 off him and 31 IP with 33 SO and 11 BB. Pretty Good. Further his name is Logan and we can reference the movie Logan’s Run any time we want, and that’s not bad.

10 - Deibinson Romero – At 28 years old, he doesn't really count as "prospect" but its nice to see this grown man producing. .310 / .412 / .468. If Plouffe goes on one of his patented mid season prolonged slumps, we could see the right handed Romero called up. This guy has been with the organization his whole career and it would be nice to see him get some time with the club.

In this list are three pitchers are at Triple-A: May, Meyer and Darnell. This organization is going to have to make some choices in the future. Will players like Pelfrey and Correia block their future? Also, four of the hitters are switch hitters. Is that normal? I don’t know!

Other guys who might have gotten consideration:

A.J. Achter - Maybe the best minor league bullpen guy. 28 strikeouts in 25 innings. Early call up to Triple-A - this 25-year old is just waiting for a call up.

Yorman Landa – 20 years old 2.74 ERA with 23 innings pitched and 25 strikeouts. Too many walks but the kid is young and good. I would like him back in the starting rotation.

Aaron Slegers – Came out hot but got roughed up his last two starts. But the guy is a Ground Ball Machine!

Sean Gilmartin – 39 IP, 37 K, 3.63 ERA. He is giving up a fair amount of hits and is an extreme flyball pitcher. But he is doing well.

Tyler Duffy – I just like his name. I hope I can cheer for a guy named "Duffy." He was just promoted to Double-A and his holding his own with a 3.65 ERA as a 23-year old. But not getting enough strikeouts

Taylor Rogers – 23 years old who had a bad start at Double-A. But has 42 strikeouts in 41 Innings. Opponents are hitting .304 off him. Not good.

Mitch Garver – 23 year old catcher for Fort Myers is hitting .290/.377/.493.

Kris Johnson - I was ageist here. At 29 I wasn't interested in adding him. But he's posting a 2.08 ERA in 39 innings with 40 strikeouts.

Zach Larsen – 20 years old in Cedar Rapids hitting .292/.348/.408. Keep an eye on this kid. He just keeps on hitting.

Tanner Vavra – Fine, he is 24 and in Low-A. But he is hitting .297/.360/.385, is a coaches kid, is from Menomonie, Wisconsin, and blind in his right eye! You have to cheer for this kid.

Disappointing Starts:

Stuart Turner -22 High-A .190/.257/.260.

Felix Jorge – 30 IP, 8.80 ERA!!! Still only 20 and lots of time for him to adjust but we should be wary of guys who are not getting ground outs and strike outs in the low minors, young or not.

Randy Rosario – Injured! With a 5.40 ERA in 11 innings. He was still getting ground outs and hopefully he doesn't need Tommy John. Only 20 years old and in High-A, so lots of time. I still have my eye on this one.

Max Kepler - .220/.321/.356 Still showing good plate discipline, but…he’s got to produce!

Adam Walker - .227/.288/.387. Seven home runs but only a .675 OPS! Nice HR numbers but…..51 strikeouts in 42 games point to major issues with his approach.

Travis Harrison – .266/.349/.378. Maybe its not fair to call him disappointing. He is 21 and not stinking with a .727 OPS. But…I want this kid to break out.

DJ Baxendale – 6.64 ERA on the disabled list. Sigh. I was hopeful. So hopeful.

Ryan Eades – 4.62 ERA 39 IP, 37 K. Not a disaster, but for a second round pick I wanted more from him in Low-A.

Luke Bard – Short seasons haven't started yet.

The above disappointments notwithstanding, there are a lot of guys having good starts and plenty to keep our eyes on. The best position player prospects have barley played - Buxton & Sano are healing and Rosario is trying to avoid smoking marijuana. Further, we haven’t even see Amaurys Minier, Lewin Diaz, Lewis Thorpe, Stephen Gonsalves & Fernando Romero. These five guys are on top prospect lists but haven’t played an inning because they are at extended spring training. The Short Season leagues start up soon so we will soon be able to track these guys too.

Things are looking up in Twins land. The club is .500, the Draft is coming up quick and the excitement on the farm continues!

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