Nick Burdi didn't lead this ballot until sometime after we'd received 300 votes, at which point the next 50 or 60 votes went - almost in their entirety - in Burdi's favor. It was enough to push him into the lead, and over the weekend his margin of victory only increased. Congratulations to a guy who may be Glen Perkins' setup man by some point in 2016.
We'll stick with a three-man ballot for Round 9.
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%)
- Kohl Stewart, RHP (Stewart 56%, Polanco 26%, Gordon 18%)
- Trevor May, RHP (May 28%, Gordon 27%, Polanco 21%, Rosario 20%, Thorpe 4%)
- Nick Gordon, SS (Gordon 35%, Polanco 30%, Rosario 29%, Thorpe 6%)
- Nick Burdi, RHP (Burdi 38%, Polanco 31%, Rosario 23%, Thorpe 8%)
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.
Eddie Rosario, OF/2B
2015 Age: 23
2014 High Level: Double-A
After Baseball Prospectus gave him a spot in their Top 100 prospect heading into 2014 (#60, after being rated #87 pre-2012), a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse and a disappointing season at Double-A means Rosario's stock is likely to take a hit - even if he scorched the earth with the corpses of pitching prospects in the Arizona Fall League.
Basically, Rosario is in a year where he has something to prove. He turned 23 at the end of September, and we all know what getting older does to the sheen on prospects. If he can return to form, there's a good chance he could be helping the Twins out down the stretch this autumn; if he struggles we may see him for a cup of coffee in September, but his status as a prospect will see him tumble out of the Top 10.
An important part of Rosario's value derives from what has, historically, been a good bat. He still receives commendations for his swing and talents as a "pure hitter." As a second baseman, that made him look even better. But after spending just 18 games there in 2014, and a total of 72 in the outfield, it's worth considering how that affects his status as a prospect - especially when some scouts have made mention of his pre-swing mechanics. Let's hope for a great year from Eddie in 2015, both on and off the field.
Lewis Thorpe, LHP
2015 Age: 19
2014 High Level: Single-A
There's enough buzz around Thorpe that, if he stays health in 2015 and continues to perform, he could leapfrog Stewart as the second-ranked pitcher on our prospect list at this time next year. The results speak for themselves, but also like Berrios there seems to be good makeup and maturity from a young player.
While Thorpe's velocity isn't impressive, with experience and strength that comes with physical development he could eventually have a fastball approaching 95 mph. It's in the low-90s currently, but with good movement it looks like a plus pitch regardless of how fast he can throw it. The fastball is complimented with a changeup and breaking balls that are still works in progress.
As has been mentioned in other threads, Thorpe's arm wore down a bit at the end of the year and he was ultimately diagnosed with a strained UCL. That's to be expected from a teenager's arm that hasn't stopped throwing game-situation pitches in over a year, though. We'll see how he looks this spring, after a decent rest, before we get too worried.