This turned out to be a somewhat close race, with just 12 votes separating first and second place. Our third and fourth place finishers picked up a significant number of votes, too. Congratulations to Max Kepler for coming through.
We're going to experiment with something a bit different this round. Tyler Duffey, Travis Harrison, Taylor Rogers, and Stuart Turner each received 5% of the vote or less, so for this round I'm taking them out, allowing you to focus on the three guys who - overwhelmingly - garnered the most votes in Round 12 but didn't win. It's just for this round, and it's not something I will be doing with any kind of regularity, but it's pretty clear that there is a line between the front runners and the also-rans on our last ballot. Duffey, Harrison, Rogers, and Turner will all re-join us for Round 14.
With that in mind, here we go: Stephen Gonsalves versus Jake Reed versus Adam Walker. And...go!
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%)
- Eddie Rosario, OF/2B (Rosario 72%, Thorpe 18%, Gonsalves 4%, Reed 3%, Duffey 2%, Rogers 0%)
- Lewis Thorpe, LHP (Thorpe 48%, Kepler 21%, Reed 10%, Gonsalves 9%, Duffey 5%, Walker 4%, Turner 1%, Harrison 1%, Rogers 1%)
- Max Kepler, CF/1B (Kepler 30%, Gonsalves 27%, Reed 18%, Walker 13%, Turner 5%, Duffey 5%, Harrison 1%, Rogers 1%)
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.
Adam Walker, RF
2015 Age: 23
2014 High Level: Advanced-A
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.