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Minnesota Twins 2015 Prospect Vote: Round 11

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We needed to end Round 10. It was an unadulterated slaughter.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations to Eddie Rosario, who gets the final spot on our community's top ten Twins prospects for 2015. He won my a monster margin, as you can see below. But let's get on with it, because with four position players being added to the ballot we're now nine-deep for choice. This should be an interesting few rounds.

For reference: the next player to be added is likely to come in the vicinity of Round 15.

Twins Top 30 prospects for 2015

  1. Byron Buxton, CF (Buxton 72%, Sano 28%)
  2. Miguel Sano, 3B (Sano 56%, Berrios 44%)
  3. Jose Berrios, RHP (Berrios 73%, Meyer 16%, Stewart 4%, Gordon 4%, Polanco 3%)
  4. Alex Meyer, RHP (Meyer 63%, Stewart 17%, Polanco 10%, Gordon 10%)
  5. Kohl Stewart, RHP (Stewart 56%, Polanco 26%, Gordon 18%)
  6. Trevor May, RHP (May 28%, Gordon 27%, Polanco 21%, Rosario 20%, Thorpe 4%)
  7. Nick Gordon, SS (Gordon 35%, Polanco 30%, Rosario 29%, Thorpe 6%)
  8. Nick Burdi, RHP (Burdi 38%, Polanco 31%, Rosario 23%, Thorpe 8%)
  9. Jorge Polanco, SS/2B (Polanco 51%, Rosario 36%, Thorpe 13%)
  10. Eddie Rosario, OF/2B (Rosario 72%, Thorpe 18%, Gonsalves 4%, Reed 3%, Duffey 2%, Rogers 0%)

Tyler Duffey, RHP
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Triple-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2012 21 Rookie 1.42 12 0 19.0 0.63 4.7 0.5 0.9 12.8 13.5
2013 22 A+, A 3.64 24 18 121.0 1.15 8.6 0.6 1.7 6.8 4.0
2014 23 A+, AA, AAA 3.67 25 25 149.2 1.15 8.5 1.0 1.8 6.8 3.8
3 Seasons 3.51 61 43 289.2 1.12 8.3 0.8 1.7 7.2 4.2


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

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2013 18 Rookie 0.95 8 5 28.1 1.02 5.7 0.0 3.5 12.4 3.6
2014 19 Rookie, A 3.02 14 14 65.2 1.14 7.4 0.3 2.9 9.6 3.3
2 Seasons 2.39 22 19 94.0 1.11 6.9 0.2 3.1 10.4 3.4


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.

Travis Harrison, LF
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Advanced-A

Year Age Lvl PA 2B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2012 19 Rookie 253 12 5 24 51 .301 .383 .461 .845
2013 20 A 537 28 15 68 125 .253 .366 .416 .782
2014 21 A+ 537 33 3 64 86 .269 .361 .365 .726
3 Seasons 1327 73 23 156 262 .269 .368 .404 .771


It was an interesting 2014 for Harrison, who shifted both his defensive position and his offensive priorities. Minnesota is making a commitment to Miguel Sano at third base, and shifted Harrison to the outfield as a result. It's not surprising, considering most scouts expected Harrison to be shifted off of third eventually. At the plate, Harrison hit just three home runs (compared to 15 in 2013) in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, but managed to post strong walk rates while cutting down significantly on the strikeouts.

By the Twins websites' own admission, Harrison doesn't have any plus tools. On the other hand, nearly all of the tools are roughly average. Numerous reports list him as a potential bench or platoon option down the line. The question is: do you believe in the tools? 2015 will be a telling year for the 50th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Max Kepler, OF/1B
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Advanced-A

Year Age Lvl PA 2B HR SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 Rookie 153 6 0 6 1 13 27 .286 .346 .343 .689
2011 18 Rookie 221 11 1 1 1 23 54 .262 .347 .366 .714
2012 19 Rookie 269 16 10 7 0 27 33 .297 .387 .539 .925
2013 20 A 263 11 9 2 0 24 43 .237 .312 .424 .736
2014 21 A+ 407 20 5 6 2 34 62 .264 .333 .393 .726
5 Seasons 1313 64 25 22 4 121 219 .267 .344 .418 .762


Kepler's numbers from 2014 are disappointing, but considering how much better he was after coming back from his injury I think it's safe to say we can't put all of our stock in the overall triple slash. Improving as the year went along, in August he hit an impressive .314/.357/.495, and he his well in the AFL to boot. Overall in 2014 was still 9% better than the average hitter in the Florida State League, increased his walk rate over 2013 and decreased his strikeout rate at the same time. The power, but ISO's standards, was more or less a push.

Unfortunately, that means your guess as to Kepler's true potential is about as good as anyone else's who hasn't watched him play. The hit, run and fielding tools are average, and his athleticism has always been praised, so the number one goal for Kepler in 2015 has to be to simply stay healthy and in the lineup.

The scouts still like Kepler, even if his ceiling has come down. Do you trust their reviews, or does the lack of health and track record of mediocre performance taint your view? He should take his lumps in Double-A this year.

Jake Reed, RHP
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Single-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2014 21 A 0.36 16 25.0 0.52 3.6 0.0 1.1 11.2 10.3

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

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2012 21 Rookie, A 2.27 15 10 63.1 1.11 7.5 1.0 2.4 10.5 4.4
2013 22 A, A+ 2.88 25 24 140.2 1.20 8.5 0.4 2.3 6.0 2.6
2014 23 AA 3.29 24 24 145.0 1.29 9.3 0.2 2.3 7.0 3.1
3 Seasons 2.94 64 58 349.0 1.22 8.7 0.4 2.3 7.2 3.1


After a fine but unspectacular 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 fringe 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.

Lewis Thorpe, LHP
2015 Age: 19
2014 High Level: Single-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2013 17 Rookie 2.05 12 8 44.0 0.86 6.5 0.4 1.2 13.1 10.7
2014 18 A 3.52 16 16 71.2 1.37 7.8 0.9 4.5 10.0 2.2
2 Seasons 2.96 28 24 115.2 1.18 7.3 0.7 3.3 11.2 3.4


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.

Stuart Turner, C
2015 Age: 23
2014 High Level: Advanced-A

Year Age Lvl PA 2B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2013 21 Rookie, AA 146 5 3 12 23 .272 .345 .384 .729
2014 22 A+ 364 16 7 31 61 .249 .322 .375 .698
2 Seasons 510 21 10 43 84 .256 .329 .378 .707


I can see why it's hard for people to get too excited by Turner, but the fact is that most scouts see him as a future starter. His catch-and-throw skills and his arm rate highly, he moves well and is mechanically sound, pitchers love throwing to him and his coaches talk about his advanced understanding of the game.

His splits versus right-handed pitchers indicated in 2014 that's his strong side, but the truth is that Turner's offense may never be anything to write home about. There's some power there, but the contact skills aren't seen as anything other than below average. Still, if a guy is an excellent defensive catcher and hits 10 or 15 home runs a year, a .240 batting average isn't going to bother anyone.

Turner will spend most of 2015 at Double-A. He's not on the 40-man roster, so if he isn't added by the end of the season it will be interesting to see where the Twins place him at this time next year. When Kurt Suzuki's contract expires in two years, we may see Turner splitting time behind the plate with Pinto.

Adam Walker, RF
2015 Age: 23
2014 High Level: Advanced-A

Year Age Lvl PA 2B HR SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2012 20 Rookie 252 7 14 4 0 19 76 .250 .310 .496 .805
2013 21 A 552 31 27 10 0 31 115 .278 .319 .526 .844
2014 22 A+ 555 19 25 9 5 44 156 .246 .307 .436 .743
3 Seasons 1359 57 66 23 5 94 347 .259 .312 .484 .796


If you want to vote for a player with a truly plus tool, Walker's power rates as a 65 on the 20-80 scale. That's somewhere between "good" and "All-Star" respect for what could be some of the best power in the system. It's worth mentioning that he hit those 25 home runs in a pitcher-friendly league. He's hit 52 home runs over the last two years - it's safe to say Walker can mash the baseball.

When he hits it, that is. Walker's hit tool is below average, and he can be aggressive which leads to a great deal of strikeouts. And while his arm is certainly strong enough for right field, his defensive ratings aren't as telling. Consistency could be an issue, with some scouts praising his fielding as adequate while others believe he's headed to left field because he's not terribly accurate with his throws.

For Walker to be successful, he has to prove he can continue to display his power in games and not just batting practice, and he needs to find a way to make more contact or he's going to be a .200 hitter whose power can't be used because he doesn't get on base often enough to provide any level of consistency.He should start the season in Double-A, where it would be wonderful to see him post a strong first half and earn a promotion to Triple-A before the end of the summer.