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2014 Minnesota Twins All-Prospect Team

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Know what researching this confirmed? That the Twins still have a kick-ass farm system.

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In putting this team together for the second year in a row, it was odd not being able to automatically pencil in Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano. Surprisingly, this team still has a sneaky amount of talent, and a good deal of depth - especially on the pitching side. Let's run through how I choose the team.

  • The All-Prospect team is a 25-man roster comprised entirely of Twins minor league players
  • Performance, ceiling, and age are all factors in who gets rostered
  • September call ups are eligible, but players with extended time of the Major League roster (Trevor May, Michael Tonkin, Josmil Pinto, Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas) are not eligible
  • ETA for each player is based roughly around one level per season, with variation depending on the player and whether or not the player is already on the 40-man roster
  • Here's the team from last year

With that in mind, let's get started.

Starting Rotation

Position Player 2014 Highest Level 2014 Age ETA
SP1 Alex Meyer AAA 24 2015
SP2 Jose Berrios AAA 20 2016
SP3 Lewis Thorpe A 18 2018
SP4 Jason Wheeler AAA 23 Late 2015
SP5 Stephen Gonsalves A 18 2018


The depth here was ridiculous. I could have put together a second rotation that would be pretty talented in its own right, even if it wouldn't have the name recognition. But the crew above is a rotation five deep that I'd gladly put against any set of five starting pitcher prospects for any other team in baseball.

Wheeler might have the lowest ceiling of the group. The ultimate upside of the other four is unknown, but two of those players are just 18 years old and destroying hitters. Berrios and Meyer are both Top 100 prospects in all of baseball, and Thorpe shouldn't be too far out. Is there a potential ace in the bunch? If Meyer remains a starter and finds a little more control, perhaps. Berrios might not be an ace but continues to exceed everyone's expectations.

Who was in that second-string rotation? Kohl Stewart, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Matt Batts, and Sean Gilmartin.

Starting Nine

Position Player 2014 Highest Level 2014 Age ETA
C Mitch Garver A 23 2016
1B Lewin Diaz Rookie 17 2019
2B Levi Michael AA 23 2016
3B Bryan Haar A+ 24 2016
SS Jorge Polanco MLB 20 2016
LF Eddie Rosario AA 22 Sept 2015
CF Max Murphy A 21 2017
RF Adam Walker A+ 22 2017
DH Amaurys Minier Rookie 18 2019


No Buxton, no Sano, no Vargas, no Pinto, no Santana, no problem. There's a lot of youth in this group, and a number of these guys were either drafted or signed in the last two years. Still, even without those five guys that you could arguably pencil in, there's a good deal of upside. Garver had a breakout campaign and is a legitimate hitter with great discipline. Diaz and Minier are international signings who are only just starting to realize their potential. Polanco's future looks bright, even if it's at second instead of short. Walker has great power, Murphy was a fantastic surprise out of this year's draft, and nobody is sleeping on Rosario.

It's good to look two or three years into the future and already see a couple of guys who could be topping the prospect lists in 2017. I'm not saying Diaz and Minier will be the next Buxton and Sano, but there's some real potential for serious upside.

What would the lineup look like? That's hard this year. Polanco and Rosario toward the top, Haar and Michael near the bottom; everyone else can be dropped from three to seven. Let's just go: Polanco (SS), Rosario (LF), Murphy (CF), Garver (C), Walker (RF), Minier (DH), Diaz (1B), Haar (3B), and Michael (2B).

Bench

Position Player 2014 Highest Level 2014 Age ETA
Backup catcher Stuart Turner A+ 22 2016
Backup infield Nick Gordon Rookie 18 2018
Backup infield Niko Goodrum A+ 22 2016
Backup outfield Tanner English Rookie 21 2017


It's rough having a farm system so deep that the number five overall draft pick is on the bench in this exercise. I expect Gordon to be pushing for the starting job on the All-Prospect team next year.

Bullpen

Position Player 2014 Highest Level 2014 Age ETA
Closer Tyler Jones A+ 24 2016
RHP Cole Johnson AA 25 2015
RHP Nick Burdi A+ 21 Sept 2015
RHP Jake Reed A 21 2016
RHP A.J. Achter AAA 25 2015
RHP Brandon Peterson A+ 22 2016
Long relief Matt Batts A 22 2016


Just like the starting rotation, I actually had a problem narrowing this list to seven players. As a rule I kept off anyone who was older than 25, which meant I couldn't choose Lester Oliveros or Ryan O'Rourke, both of whom had fantastic seasons in relief. That took me down to about ten players, not including the rotation leftovers. The final guy cut was Trevor Hildenberger, a 22nd-round pick for the Twins this past June.

In the end, I only took one player with starting experience in Batts - who I've rostered as my long reliever. Outside of that, I focused a great deal on WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio. This left us with a ton of strikeout pitchers and guys with pretty good control. You'll notice that a lot of these guys should be ready to go in the next two, maybe three years. Oliveros, Zack Jones, Hildenberger - there are another half dozen relievers who already look pretty good who aren't on this list. Can you imagine Glen Perkins at the end of a bullpen comprised entirely of strikeout pitchers making the Major League minimum? Teams think they're in heaven if they have three guys to turn any contest into a "six inning game." The Twins will turn it into a four inning game.

I'll pull my head out of the clouds just long enough to ask: is there anyone you'd have liked to see make the team?