While there will be disagreement with these results and while the other candidates could all make their cases, it's not much of a surprise: Alex Meyer comes away with the fourth slot in the Twinkie Town community prospect rankings. His raw stuff, potential, and imminent arrival with the big league club are all good reasons to look forward to the career of the tall, lanky right-hander.
We'll go one more round and close out the top five before we add another name or two to the ballot for Round 6.
Twins Top 30 prospects for 2015
- Byron Buxton, CF (Buxton 72%, Sano 28%)
- Miguel Sano, 3B (Sano 56%, Berrios 44%)
- Jose Berrios, RHP (Berrios 73%, Meyer 16%, Stewart 4%, Gordon 4%, Polanco 3%)
- Alex Meyer, RHP (Meyer 63%, Stewart 17%, Polanco 10%, Gordon 10%)
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?
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?