Nick Gordon is the community's number seven prospect for the Twins heading into 2015. Both Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario led the race at various points, but as voting slowed down over the last 24 hours it was Gordon that nosed into the lead.
Welcome to Round 8, and welcome flame-throwing reliever Nick Burdi to the ballot.
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
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: High-A
Burdi is already generating a lot of excitement, both throughout the fan base and in the organization, because of his impressive numbers in his professional debut. He was Minnesota's second-round pick in the 2014 draft, went directly to Cedar Rapids and then to Fort Myers and, as you can see, blew the competition away.
Aside from those strikeout numbers, there's plenty to like about Burdi, He's big (6' 5") with room to fill out, he's aggressive on the mound, and he pairs a high-90s fastball with a plus slider. His changeup is mostly non-existent and could probably be dropped until he can command it better (which is an issue he might need to address more in 2015 across the board). Burdi is on the fast track, but he still needs to stay healthy and have a good year before we get too stoked about a September callup - but it's not unreasonable to think it could happen.
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.