Miguel Sano topped Jose Berrios in round two with 56% of the vote. An early Sano lead was eclipsed thanks to viral support from Berrios family and friends, but eventually Sano's voters swung the results back in his favor. Congratulations to Miguel, who is likely to be the Twins' number two prospect on most lists heading into 2015. Berrios, meanwhile, is a fantastic prospect who will soon be on the board...even though he's now stepping up against a deeper ballot.
Twins 2015 Top 30
- Byron Buxton, CF (Buxton 72%, Sano 28%)
- Miguel Sano, 3B (Sano 56%, Berrios, 44%)
New additions to this round: Nick Gordon, Alex Meyer, Jorge Polanco, Kohl Stewart
Jose Berrios, RHP
2015 Age: 21
2014 High Level: Triple-A
|2014||20||A+, AA, AAA||2.76||25||140.0||1.11||7.6||0.4||2.4||9.0||3.7|
Berrios only had one start in Triple-A at the end of the season, but it counts. It's also worth looking up his particulars to see exactly just how good he was against Double-A hitters (he was good) and Advanced-A (oh, the humanity, those poor, poor batters).
The knock on Berrios, and what has made scouts less optimistic about his ceiling in spite of his performance, is his height. He's listed at six foot even, officially, but people who see him in person tend to think he comes up a little short. What difference an inch or two makes, at that height, isn't a great deal, because the primary concern is his the movement he can generate on a downward plane. Essentially: the pessimist believes Berrios won't be able to pitch up in the zone.
On the plus side he has a three-pitch mix including a good fastball, a changeup, and a potential out-pitch in his curve. His makeup, both as an individual and his maturity on the mound, has been nothing but exemplary from all corners. And as of right now, the numbers speak for themselves. Berrios is an elite talent.
Nick Gordon, SS
2015 Age: 19
2014 High Level: Rookie
Gordon's 2014 must have been a flash before his eyes. First he raised his stock by filling out a bit and having a good senior year for Olympia High School in Orlando, then he graduated, then he was drafted (or maybe vice versa, I'm not sure when school was out for Nick this year), and shortly after being drafted he signed and started playing ball. Just having to focus on baseball in 2015 almost sounds like a relief.
How highly you rate Gordon will depend on your faith in whether hit hit tool will develop - and how far it will develop. Scouts were seemingly split by his approach in his 57 games for Elizabethton this season, but for a kid barely out of high school that's hardly a surprise. He put up decent numbers as an 18-year old shortstop in rookie league this year, and the defensive tools are most certainly there. The question is, what does his future hold? All-Star leadoff hitter with Gold Glove defense? Utility infielder with slick defensive skills? Something else?
Alex Meyer, RHP
2015 Age: 25
2014 High Level: Triple-A
Meyer's two biggest issues, and these are the things that have kept him from being called up outside of the occasional sore shoulder, are efficiency and command. In spite of making 27 starts in 2014 he pitched just 130.1 innings. And while he struck out a very impressive 153 batters in that time, he also walked 64.
Regardless, the appeal of Meyer is obvious. He throws fastballs that leave vapor trails (FanGraphs gives it a past/present grade of 70/80 on the 20-80 scale) and sliders (60/65) that cut through a batter's swing like a laser. Scouts like that he's so tall (6' 7"). Hitters just don't hit him very well.
If he can reign in that command, even just a little bit, that will help him cut down on the early pitch counts and Meyer will be an ace. Should that not happen, he's projected as a mid-rotation strikeout threat or a blow-'em-away reliever. I know what we're all hoping for.
Jorge Polanco, SS/2B
2015 Age: 21
2014 High Level: MLB
Due to injuries in the middle infield and no other options on the 40-man roster, the Twins were actually forced to call up Polanco from Fort Myers in 2014. He made a couple of brief appearances, collecting just eight plate appearances in five games, but he impressed everyone. Not just because he was 2-for-6 with a double, triple, three runs batted in, two walks and two strike outs, but because he showed a level of maturity that you absolutely love to see from young players.
We shouldn't see Polanco again until 2016, barring something going very very wrong (or, I suppose, very very right, but let's not get ahead of ourselves). Scouts like to say his long-term home on defense will be second base instead of shortstop, which was where he played for an overwhelming majority of 2014, but here's the thing with Polanco: he just keeps hitting.
With a good eye and power that will develop as he gets older (and his competition's experience doesn't dwarf his own), Polanco projects as an above average middle infielder.
Kohl Stewart, RHP
2015 Age: 20
2014 High Level: Single-A
Stewart's season may seem underwhelming by some, particularly for a guy who was rates as the #40 prospect in the game by Baseball America - and #54 by Baseball Prospectus - heading into 2014. But the only real thing that was missing were the strikeout rates.
At 19 years of age, Stewart was facing batters who were an average of three years his senior in Single-A this year. In spite of that gap in age and experience, and in spite of the lack of strikeouts, he was very effective. Look at the hits allowed, base runners per inning, and home runs allowed columns. Just because hitters weren't swinging and missing as often as we'd like, that doesn't mean those older players weren't getting out-classed.
Stewart is described as having an assassin's demeanor on the mound. As a result, sometimes he can come off as truculent or standoffish. But he's a teenager, and he's focused, and not everyone needs to have the social grace of Jose Berrios. The Twins ranked him third in their MLB.com prospect rankings in the midst of 2014 - where do you rank him for 2015?