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Twins Minor League Report: July 31, 2014

Jesse checks in on the Twins top 30 prospects.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
1 Byron Buxton CF Fort Myers (A+)
It's been a frustrating year for Buxton in terms of his wrists, but he's healthy now and back on the field. He's not just back and playing - he's scorching. He's batting .362/.455/.596 in his last ten games, upping his season triple slash to .268/.348/.451. Could he still finish the season in Double-A? It's probably a stretch, but the Twins have said all along that Buxton is setting his own timeline. With only 20 games under his belt this season, the chances of starting in center field on Opening Day 2015 are slimmer than they were just three or four months ago, but we'll see him in spring training. With a talent like this - you just never know how quickly he can move.
2 Miguel Sano 3B New Britain (AA)
Sano is still rehabbing following Tommy John surgery and will miss the regular season. Like Buxton, whether or not he can grab a job with the Twins from Opening Day is now a matter of debate rather than a near guarantee. Let's see what the team has him do over the off-season.
3 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
Meyer has allowed 20 hits combined through his last six starts, surrendering just six earned runs (1.54 ERA) while striking out 37 in 35 innings. He's also walked 18, which continues to be his achilles heel as far as the front office is concerned. We know he's on an inning count this year, and has totaled 106.1 innings so far this summer. On the season he's struck out 120, walked 52, and owns a dwindling 3.05 ERA.
4 Eddie Rosario CF/2B New Britain (AA)
Rosario has played in 19 games since our last update, and while he has improved (his OPS is up from .609 to .668 for the Rock Cats), it's been slow-coming. He's slumping again now, just 3-for-28 in his last six games. In 119 games at Double-A going back to his first stint last season, Rosario is now batting .265/.309/.404 at that level. It looks like he'll be starting the season there in 2015, and isn't on pace for a Twins debut until next September at the earliest. Hopefully he can finish the season strong.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Stewart is on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement, but Terry Ryan doesn't believe it's anything serious. Considering the nature of shoulder impingements, it might be in Stewart's best interest to finish the season on the DL for the Kernels. If he doesn't experience any pain, then hopefully he gets some work in over the winter. But for now, it's better safe than sorry.
6 Josmil Pinto C Rochester (AAA)
Pinto is hitting .250/.395/.478 in Triple-A, including popping off three homers in his last six games. He's drawn 20 walks versus 19 strikeouts. Base runners continue to be an issue, as they're 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts off of him. If the Twins want to add some offensive potential they can call up Pinto today - they just wouldn't be able to  have him catch unless it's an emergency. In fact, if Pinto is ever going to catch outside of an emergency, he has some serious work to do in the off-season.
7 Jose Berrios RHP New Britain (AA)
Berrios was in the middle of his fourth start at Double-A on Tuesday afternoon when he was lifted for what the Twins are continuing to call "shoulder tightness." His velocity dipped, which could be a sign of a number of things both serious and minor. As of today, the Twins don't believe that Berrios will miss any time and that he should make his next scheduled start. That's good news, so let's hope it holds.
8 Jorge Polanco SS/2B New Britain (AA)
After finishing his time in Fort Myers with a .291/.364/.415 triple slash in 94 games, Polanco has now played in five games for Double-A New Britain. Having just turned 21 this month he's another young player that the Twins are putting onto an accelerated timeline. So far he's 6-for-22 (.273) with two doubles, five strikeouts, and no walks. He should finish the year with the Rock Cats (while possibly coming back to the Twins in September), and seems likely to be a guy the Twins won't have a problem calling on in 2015 when they need some middle infield help.
9 Max Kepler CF/LF/1B Fort Myers (A+)
After missing another week of action, Kepler re-joined the MIracle on Tuesday. In his last ten games he's hitting .344/.421/.406, and that's enabled his slow climb to continue. His OPS during our last check-in was .668, and it's now up to .681. The 21-year old seems likely to start 2015 by returning to Fort Myers.
10 Lewis Thorpe LHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Thorpe has now made ten starts for Cedar Rapids, and the 18-year old is holding his own. There are definite ups and downs, but on Tuesday he struck out ten in 5.2 innings of work, walking one, giving up four hits, and allowing just two runs. On the season for the Kernels he owns a 4.74 ERA, striking out 44 in 43.2 innings while walking 20. He should start 2015 in Fort Myers as a 19-year old, but he's earning his Top Ten organizational prospect ranking.
11 Trevor May RHP Rochester (AAA)
Making just his second start in July yesterday (and his first since July 19), May shut out his opponent over 6.2 innings of work. He struck out five, walked one, and surrendered five hits. With a 1.64 ERA in his last ten games and a 2.27 ERA on the season it's easy to demand his presence in Minnesota, but it might be a good idea to make sure he can make consecutive starts for Triple-A before he's asked to do so for the big league club. Regardless, provided he's healthy there's no reason why May shouldn't be starting games for the Twins within the next two weeks.
12 Adam Brett Walker RF Fort Myers (A+)
Great power, great whiff rates. That continues to be Walker's story, leading the organization with 21 home runs but also striking out an incredible 124 times in 101 games. That includes 17 times in his last ten appearances. He's batting .235/.291/.428. There's some real offensive potential for Walker, but he'll be 23 in October and he's likely to start 2015 back with the Miracle.
13 Felix Jorge RHP Elizabethton (R)
Jorge made his seventh start of the season for Elizabethton on Tuesday, allowing one run over six innings while striking out four. He's having much more success there than he had in 12 appearances (eight starts) for Cedar Rapids, with 34 strikeouts in 37.1 innings and a 1.93 ERA. Is he ready for another shot with the Kernels? It depends on how confident in the 20-year old the front office really is. The numbers certainly support it.
14 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Gonsalves earned a promotion after six very good starts for Elizabethton (29 innings, 26 strikeouts, ten walks, 2.79 ERA), and so - shortly after his 20th birthday - the Twins moved him to the Kernels. He's made one start and looked good, striking out six in six innings, giving up just three hits, walking one and shutting out Dayton. There's a good change that Gonsalves moves up in our rankings next year.
15 Michael Tonkin RHP Rochester (AAA)
With a 2.76 ERA in 27 appearances for the Red Wings, Tonkin is still just waiting for his opportunity. He's tallied 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.
16 Travis Harrison 3B Fort Myers (A+)
Harrison is in the midst of a little slump, but it's nothing too bad. He still owns a respectable line of .286/.358/.384, and he finally slugged his second homer of the year since our last update. He's still mostly a singles hitter, in spite of the 27 so far this year. I don't really believe in day/night splits, but he's hitting .343/.438/.463 during the day (67 at-bats) and .272/.338/.366 at night (290 at-bats).
17 Danny Santana CF/SS Minnesota (MLB)
If he isn't the Rookie of the Year for the Twins, I don't know who is. In 48 games he's hitting .315/.346/.455 - which is well above his career triple slash of .273/.317/.391 in the minor leagues - while playing shortstop and center field. Just give him the award now.
18 Kennys Vargas 1B New Britain (AA)
It's been a difficult few weeks for Vargas, but he looks like he's coming out of his slump a bit. He's hitting .281/.360/.472 in 97 games for the Rock Cats. Bernie Pleskoff, in an article from that I highly recommend you read, said that Vargas reminds him of Mo Vaugh, Dave Parker, and, of course, David Ortiz. He adds that Vargas can hit from both sides of the plate, rare for a power hitting switch hitter, and that he "has the potential to be a serious middle-of-the-order" guy. It's hard to argue. Vargas has 36 homers since the start of 2013. He turns 24 tomorrow, which means there's a very real possibility that he contends for the starting job at designated hitter from Opening Day for the Twins. He's not that far away.
19 Ryan Eades RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Eades is actually in the midst of his best stretch so far this season, allowing seven runs combined in his last three starts (18 innings). He's been working hard on commanding the strike zone better and has succeeded to a point, walking 11 in his last seven starts. On the season he's given up 117 hits in 97.2 innings, striking out 78 and walking 40.
20 Zack Jones RHP Fort Myers (A+)
In our last report, we said that Jones "could be throwing live in the next couple of weeks," and that a "rehab stint somewhere like the GCL Twins will be likely." And that's now officially the case, as Jones made his first appearance of the season on Tuesday. He pitched two thirds of an inning, giving up one hit but striking out two. Not a bad way to come back.
21 Fernando Romero RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Romero has undergone Tommy John surgery. If we see him in 2015, it will be late in the year.
22 Sean Gilmartin LHP Rochester (AAA)
Continuing the trend of strong starting pitching at Triple-A, Gilmartin has given the Twins eight starts of 3.52 ERA baseball. He's consistently fine, giving up 46 hits in 46 innings, striking out 34 and walking 13. I'd be surprised if he gets a look with the Twins this year, but considering the deference the team has continually given to Kris Johnson, Logan Darnell, and Yohan Pino, it probably shouldn't be surprising if they tab Gilmartin, either.
23 Stuart Turner C Fort Myers (A+)
It's been a struggle at times for Turner at the plate this year, but the good news is that he's batting .297 in his last ten games. On the season he's six-for-six in stolen base attempts, and defensively he's thrown out 33% of base runners (19 of 58). The triple slash of .250/.321/.363 is nothing to get excited about, but Turner's offensive potential was always a roll of the dice anyway.
24 Amaurys Minier 3B GCL Twins (R)
Minier goes hot and cold, but right now - he's hot. He's 6-for-15 in his last four games with a pair of homers and eight runs driven in. In 31 games for the GCL Twins, the 18-year old has hit .286/.372/.467. There's a lot of talent, so even though Minier is a good four years away he's worth watching.
25 D.J. Baxendale RHP Fort Myers (A+)
In nine starts for Fort Myers, Baxendale has a 5.92 ERA in 48.2 innings. The command is okay as he's only walked 11, but that doesn't mean he's unhittable: 57 hits allowed. Batters are hitting .298 off of him this season between the Miracle and the Rock Cats.
26 Niko Goodrum SS Fort Myers (A+)
He's gained five points of OPS since our last update, but those are marginal gains that can swing game-to-game. Goodrum continues to play on in Fort Myers following the departure of Polanco, although Levi Michael has finally returned. On the season, Goodrum is batting .251/.327/.343 with 24 stolen bases in 26 attempts while playing third base and a bit of shortstop and second base. At 22 it's hard to peg what the Twins will do with Goodrum next year, as far as whether he'll come back to Fort Myers or whether the organization will try him at Double-A.
27 Mason Melotakis LHP New Britain (AA)
After owning his bullpen role for the Miracle, the Twins have moved the 23-year old Melotakis to Double-A. His debut was rough (two runs in two innings), but he's held offenses scoreless since and owns a 1.59 ERA in eight appearances. Through 11.1 innings he's struck out 16 and walked one. Think he's playing inspired?
28 Lewin Diaz OF DSL Twins (Summer)
In 30 games, Diaz has flashed some occasional power but mostly has dominated left-handed pitching to the tune of a .400/.520/.750 line. He's less successful versus righties (.220/.304/.352), but while such drastic splits are concerning at such an early stage of a prospect's career it's also worth noting that Diaz is also very young. He turns 18 in November. His line on the year is .252/.346/.423, including 14 walks and 21 strikeouts in 111 at-bats.
29 Logan Darnell LHP Minnesota (MLB)
Darnell struck out seven and didn't walk a soul through his first start for the Twins, lasing five innings versus the White Sox. Of course, he also gave up seven runs, but that's not all on him. He's had a brilliant season in Rochester, too.
30 Adrian Salcedo RHP New Britain (AA)
Salcedo has given up runs in back-to-back games, but it's the first time he's been touched in successive appearances in a couple of months. He's struck out 47 in 44.2 innings and owns a 4.84 ERA, but if he's not on his game then Double-A hitters are giving him a case of death by paper cut. He's allowed just one home run this season. Again, he's another guy that you'd like to see finish strong because there is some potential there.