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Twins Minor League Report: August 18, 2014

It's time to check in on the Twins' top 30 prospects.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
1 Byron Buxton CF New Britain (AA)
In his Double-A debut, Buxton dove for a ball in the right-center field gap and crashed into Mike Kvasnicka's knee. He sustained a concussion and will miss the rest of the season as a result, with the Twins monitoring his progress in Fort Myers. This has been a year to forget for Buxton who, after putting up video game numbers in 2012 and 2013, hit .234/.313/.405 between Fort Myers and one game in New Britain in 2014. He'll continue to be the organization's number one prospect in 2015, but a lost season means that instead of competing for the starting center field job on Opening Day, he'll need to work his way back through the 2015 season. If things go well, and they'll have to, Buxton might debut for the Twins late next summer.
2 Miguel Sano 3B New Britain (AA)
It sounds like Sano won't be available to play over the winter as the Twins give him all the time he needs to prepare for the 2015 season. Can he still compete for the starting third base job from Opening Day? That seems a bit optimistic, but we should still see him in spring training. And from there it would be all up to Sano.
3 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
With 117.2 innings now in the books for Meyer in 2014, it's hard to say how much longer the Twins will let him go before shutting him down for the winter. His last two starts have been short - one because he was getting beat up and the most recent because he was just throwing too many pitches - but it's worth remembering that the Twins held Kyle Gibson to 150 innings in 2013, his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. Obviously Meyer hasn't undergone Tommy John, but the organization is clearly being careful following all the time he missed in the middle of last season.
4 Eddie Rosario CF/2B New Britain (AA)
Rosario is hitting .300 in his last ten games and riding a 12-game hitting streak, raising his Double-A triple slash to .248/.292/.406. He's striking out more than he has at any lower level, getting sent down on strikes in one of every five plate appearances. He's also walking less, which isn't a surprise. The power still seems to be there, as he's homered six times (including one yesterday) and tallied 16 doubles in 64 games. Is the hitting streak a sign that things are falling into place as the Rock Cats' season begins its final couple of weeks? Let's hope so.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Stewart returned to the Kernel rotation last Wednesday, holding Beloit to one run over four innings while striking out four and walking nobody. It was his first start in nearly four weeks after an injury scare, but it sounds like the Twins are confident that the shoulder impingement wasn't as bad as it could have been. Still, Stewart will be monitored closely through the end of the season and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Twins ask him to just rest over the winter. This season, Stewart has thrown 85.2 innings of 2.42 ERA baseball, striking out 62 and walking 23 with a .229 opponent batting average.
6 Josmil Pinto C Rochester (AAA)
Josmil Pinto wants you to know he's sick and tired of facing Triple-A pitchers and has raked to the tune of a .412 batting average in his last ten games. In 46 games for the Red Wings, Pinto is batting .293/.398/.522 with 26 walks and 26 strikeouts. He's lifted six homers and 16 doubles, and when you throw in his triple it means that exactly 50% of his hits for Rochester have gone for extra bases.Between Mauer, Suzuki, and Vargas there just isn't room for him to play everyday in Minnesota, but he'll definitely be on expanded rosters in September.
7 Jose Berrios RHP New Britain (AA)
The 20-year old Berrios is starting to figure out Double-A hitters now, throwing nine innings of two-run baseball over his last two starts. He's not blowing hitters out of the sky like he did in Fort Myers, but in six starts for the Rock Cats (29 innings) he's struck out 20, walked nine and allowed just 21 hits for a 3.72 ERA. Even if nobody above him on this list graduates (perhaps Pinto), Berrios will compete with Alex Meyer for the number three spot for 2015.
8 Jorge Polanco SS/2B New Britain (AA)
It was a slow start at Double-A for Polanco, but he's come on strong in his last ten games by hitting .316, stealing five bases, and taking his first three walks since his promotion. He's now struck out 17 times (and walked just the three times) in 22 games for the Rock Cats, and his recent hot streak has boosted his triple slash to .261/.286/.318. He should start in Double-A again next year, but we'll see him back in Minnesota occasionally before he becomes a full-time Twin in, potentially, 2016.
9 Max Kepler CF/LF/1B Fort Myers (A+)
It's been a long climb for Kepler, but after a very disappointing start to the season he continues to show improvement. He's hit .343 in his last ten games, including three walks and two strikeouts, and his line is now up to .259/.333/.374. It's been a slow and steady tick in the right direction.
10 Lewis Thorpe LHP Cedar Rapids (A)

Since our last update, Thorpe has made seven more starts. In that period he's thrown 32.1 innings and struck out 41 while allowing ten earned runs (2.78 ERA). He's been impressive for the Kernels since his promotion from Elizabethton, and has now struck out 61 in 59 innings for a 3.97 ERA in 13 starts for Cedar Rapids. Opponents are hitting just .236. It's no Berrios-in-Fort-Myers, but for an 18-year old it's pretty exciting stuff. Thorpe looks like he'll continue to be a Top 10 talent in the organization for 2015.

11 Trevor May RHP Minnesota (MLB)
It wasn't a good Major League debut (seven walks and four runs in two innings), but he was a bit better in relief last Tuesday and he's slated to start the final game of the wrap-around weekend series with Kansas City tonight. It'll be his home debut, so with a friendly crowd at his back it'll be fun to watch him pitch in a meaningful game against the Royals.
12 Adam Brett Walker RF Fort Myers (A+)
Walker has jacked an additional six homers since our last update, giving him 24 on the season. He's hitting .244/.301/.436 in 463 at-bats for the Miracle, and has struck out an incredible 143 times. Strikeouts aren't bad on their own, but when you swing and miss that much (and only walk 37 times) the power can only get you so far. I'll be interested to see where the Twins start him off in 2015. Walker turns 23 in October, so he has time to work on things.
13 Felix Jorge RHP Elizabethton (R)
Jorge has now made ten starts for Elizabethton and is showing that he's ready to move forward. He owns a 2.08 ERA in 56.1 innings, having struck out 50 and walked 13 with just one home run surrendered. In January, Jorge will turn 21, and he'll get another opportunity to stick with Cedar Rapids. I'm unsure if he'll go up or down in next year's rankings, because I think you could make a case either way. I imagine it will largely depend on others who rise and fall.
14 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Gonsalves  was promoted to Single-A and, five starts in, has done better for Cedar Rapids than he did for Elizabethton. In 23 innings he's given up just 17 hits, walked four, struck out 21 and allowed just four earned runs. Batters are hitting .205 off of him, and he's allowing less than a base runner per inning. Gonsalves just turned 20 in early July, so he's about seven months younger than Jorge, but his command has played up so far. With Ryan Eades having a disappointing season and Stuart Turner's bat not coming along as fast as we might have hoped, Gonsalves has been 2013's second-best draft pick behind Kohl Stewart - who is now Gonsalves' rotation-mate.
15 Michael Tonkin RHP Rochester (AAA)
Tonkin has walked ten batters in his last 15 innings of work, but it hasn't really stopped him from being effective. With 41 strikeouts in 39.2 innings for the Red Wings, he owns a 3.18 ERA and picks up enough ground balls to limit big innings even if he does issue an extra walk or two. This is still a story about opportunity. Still, there's good news for Tonkin: not everyone in the Minnesota bullpen has a future with the Twins, but he sure does.
16 Travis Harrison LF Fort Myers (A+)
Having been switched to the outfield, not much has changed for Harrison offensively. He's added a third home run since our last update and is up to 30 doubles on the year, but his slugging percentage remains unchanged. Instead, his on-base percentage has spiked with 26 walks between now and the previous minor league report. On the season, Harrison is batting .281/.370/.380. It's a line you want to see from your center fielder or middle infielder, not from a third baseman or left fielder. The silver lining here is that he's creating runs at 19% above the league average, and while the walk rates have stayed more or less the same from 2013 his strikeout rates have dropped dramatically (23.3% in Cedar Rapids last year to 16.2% in Fort Myers this year).
17 Danny Santana CF/SS Minnesota (MLB)
Minnesota Twins Rookie of the Year.
18 Kennys Vargas 1B Minnesota (MLB)
Three homers, 15 runs batted in in 15 games, a .316/.353/.468 triple slash. He's slower than you could have imagined, but his hands and bat are much quicker and that power is astonishing. If he's not Minnesota's starting designated hitter next year I'd be surprised.
19 Ryan Eades RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Eades actually hit a stretch of being relatively effective, allowing nine earned runs over five starts. He lowered his ERA a full run over that stretch, but it still sits at 5.68 for the season. No doubt Eades is looking forward to this season just being done so he can start again next year with a clean slate.
20 Zack Jones RHP Fort Myers (A+)
After posting a 3.38 ERA with nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings in his rehab stint, Jones was promoted to Fort Myers. He debuted there yesterday, throwing a scoreless inning. Fort Myers is where he dominated in 2013, but a healthy season would have had him on course to be a candidate for the Minnesota bullpen in 2015. He'll need some time to get back on track now, and he'll be 24 next year so hopefully he can pick up where he left off.
21 Fernando Romero RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Romero is out for the year and has undergone Tommy John surgery.
22 Sean Gilmartin LHP Rochester (AAA)
Gilmartin is the perfectly competent starter for the Triple-A club, although he was blown up for seven runs over four runs yesterday. It seems likely that he'll be brought to Minnesota when rosters expand in September.
23 Stuart Turner C Fort Myers (A+)
Turner had his average up to .249 after a three-hit game earlier this month, but he's gone cold again and his triple slash has fallen to .238/.309/.347. Behind the plate there haven't been any complaints that I've seen, and he's caught exactly one-third of attempted base-stealers (22 of 66).
24 Amaurys Minier LF/1B GCL Twins (R)
Now that the season has been underway for the GCL Twins for some time, we're finally getting our first true glimpse of what Minier could be capable of one day. He's hitting .287/.383/.493 with seven homers and eight doubles in 150 at-bats, posting 22-to-46 walk-to-strikeout totals. He's played mostly left field this year and has only made one error in 221.2 innings, but he doesn't always move the best. This is his first extended try in the outfield for the Twins, though, so he could very well improve for next season. Minier won't turn 19 until January.
25 D.J. Baxendale RHP GCL Twins (R)
In spite of increasing strikeout rates over his final few appearances, Baxendale couldn't piece together many games that made it look like he was heading in the right direction. As a result he was demoted, for the second time this season, this time to the GCL Twins. Baxendale has made two starts and has yet to allow a run, but it seems likely that he'll drop out of our Top 30 in 2015.
26 Niko Goodrum 3B/SS Fort Myers (A+)
Goodrum is essentially treading water, gaining a couple of points on his OPS since our last update. Because he'll be just 23 in February, it seems likely that Goodrum repeats in Fort Myers next season unless the Twins think that challenging him will raise his game. Still, I think Goodrum will be a fringey Top-30 prospect for the organization in 2015. He's batting .249/.331/.339 this year.
27 Mason Melotakis LHP Double-A (AA)
Melotakis has reinvented himself as a reliever this year, and it's worked. After 47 innings of 3.45 ERA in Fort Myers, the Twins bumped him to Double-A and he's rewarded their faith with a 1.54 ERA in nine appearances. He continues to blow batters away with 16 strikeouts in 11.2 innings, walking just two. He just gets in under the age-23 season line with a birthday in June, so it's worth noting that he won't be 24 until June next year. Melotakis could be a dark horse bullpen candidate come spring training.
28 Lewin Diaz OF DSL Twins (Summer)
For a 17-year old it's always hard to know what to expect. The batting average hasn't been anything special this year (.247), but with an on-base clip of .373 and a .409 slugging percentage he's doing something right. The power and pitch recognition will come, and if he can keep the eye for the strike zone (26 walks versus 24 strikeouts) then there's plenty of talent left to harness here. He should continue to hang around the 25-30 area of our Top 30 for 2015...if he doesn't come in sooner to surprise a few people.
29 Logan Darnell LHP Rochester (AAA)
Darnell isn't afraid to throw at the black of the plate, and its resulted in occasional games where he hands out walks like they're going out of style. But on the season he owns a 3.29 ERA in 106.2 innings.
30 Adrian Salcedo RHP New Britain (AA)
He has something to prove after a disastrous start to the year, and he's getting there: Salcedo's season ERA is down to 4.02 in 56 innings.