Round 9 was a throwback to the first few rounds of our community prospect voting, where the winner ran away with it. Jorge Polanco takes the ninth spot on our list, probably a bit lower than he's qualified to finish, but it just goes to show just how strong of a system the Twins have.
We're adding four pitchers to the ballot for Round 10. Four position players will join them in Round 11.
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 (Polanco 51%, Rosario 36%, Thorpe 13%)
Tyler Duffey, RHP
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Triple-A
|2014||23||A+, AA, AAA||3.67||25||25||149.2||1.15||8.5||1.0||1.8||6.8||3.8|
Duffey is one of Minnesota's 2012 draft picks that profile as a reliever, but who has been utilized as a starter. He's been effective in that role so far, in spite of being a closer for Rice, and in 2014 he worked his way to the top echelon of the Twins' farm system.
In Duffey's favor are his numbers as well as his body type and pitch arsenal. As a starter his fastball sits in the low 90s, compared to the upper 90s as a reliever. It's backed up by a plus curve and a developing changeup.
It will be interesting to see where the Twins place him to start the season. With so many pitchers available to fill out the rotation in Rochester, including quite probably Alex Meyer and Trevor May, it wouldn't be surprising to see Duffey begin 2015 in Double-A Chattanooga. But he's ready for Triple-A, and he should spend most of 2015 with the Red Wings. He could even see a cup of coffee with the Twins in September.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
2015 Age: 20
2014 High Level: A
Young for his level, continually putting up good numbers, and being left-handed leave Gonsalves' prospect status in good stead, and you can see why Minnesota's fourth-round prep pick in 2013 was at one point considered a potential first-rounder.
Scouts agree, however, that for Gonsalves to continue to succeed as he climbs the ladder he'll need to continue to develop all three of his pitches. They continue to say what they said last year: wait and see. It's quite possible that only continued strong performance will convince the scouts that this young left-hander can reach his potential.
How highly you rate Gonsalves will depend on where you choose to put your faith - in the very good numbers put up by a pitcher young for his level, or in the scouting reports that are underwhelmed with the stuff and are cautious about how it will play further up the minor league rung. He should split 2015 between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers.
Jake Reed, RHP
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Single-A
Reed is, in a way, the opposite of the Twins' pitching draft class of 2012: he could be a starter, but the team looks like they intend to continue using him as a reliever. That works in his favor as far as this list is concerned, because as a starter his upside would be quite limited. But as a reliever, his season as a reliever in Minnesota's system was rivalled only by Nick Burdi.
The Twins have worked with Reed a good deal on his mechanics and have smoothed out his delivery, once so high maintenance, and as a result he's looking like a gem of a selection. With a high-velocity fastball with good movement, a devastating slider, and a changeup in progress, Reed may profile as a mid-teens level prospect for 2015...but he could be off of this list altogether at this time next year if things go well. He certainly looked good in the Arizona Fall League.
Taylor Rogers, LHP
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Double-A
After a fine but unspectaular 2013, Rogers delivered a solid performance as the stalwart of New Britain's rotation in 2014. He offers a low 90s fastball with a good changeup in the lower 80s and a mid 70s curve. While he isn't a strikeout pitcher, he attacks the corners with a game plan to get the batter to swing at the pitches he chooses. It works, and he gets a lot of ground balls as a result.
Right now, Rogers profiles as a fringey back-end starter. Those players are always necessary for any club, and they carry value in team-control years. With a strong 2015 it's possible that Rogers sees time with the Twins by season's end.
Rogers is in the same boat as Duffey, in that the sheer quantity of starters who should be available to fill out the rotation in Triple-A could result in him starting the year at Double-A. But he should spend most of 2015 in Triple-A, which is where he belongs.
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.