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Poll: Twins minor league outfielder of the year

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Minnesota's outfield depth is pretty deep.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As of this writing, our poll for the Twins' minor league infielder of the year is a dead heat between Nick Gordon and Jorge PolancoBe sure to cast your vote while the ballot is open.

So far, our two existing ballots had lists of players who had good years...but you may not have called those candidates the best prospects at their position. For our outfielders poll though, things are a bit different. You could make an argument that these six players aren't just the best performing players at their position this season, you could easily argue that they're the six top-rated outfielders in the system.

Jean Carlos Arias, CF
2015 Age: 17
High Level: Dominican Summer League (R)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
44 189 23 11 9.5 15.9 .311 .378 .537 3

On the opening day of the 2014-2015 international signing period, the Twins signed Arias for $450,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He was known to be very raw, but the belief was and continues to be that his speed and arm strength are both plus tools.

In his debut professional season, his game skills certainly appeared to be on display. Granted it's the DSL, but for a 17-year old to put up numbers like this it's certainly what you want to see; even if you can't put read too much into the numbers it's always preferable to see players succeed.

Arias turns 18 in January, and isn't likely to make it out of Rookie ball in 2016. He may spend another season in the DSL as he continues to develop his tools.

Byron Buxton, CF
2015 Age: 21
High Level: Minnesota (MLB)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
72 327 30 22 9.2 19.3 .305 .367 .500 9

We saw Buxton struggle at the Major League level, but in the minor this season he excelled at both Double-A and Triple-A. There was a bit of rust in the early going, but he did eventually find his groove again and he earned his opportunities with the Twins throughout the season.

You can immediately see where Buxton stands out by looking at his line. He has the ability to pick up extra-base hits in bunches, coming away with ten doubles and seven home runs in the minor leagues this year but - most impressively - 13 triples. He was also successful on 88% of his stolen base attempts, getting caught just three times.

It seems likely that Buxton starts 2016 in Triple-A, which is fine. But he's the future of center field for the Minnesota Twins. Is that good enough to get your vote for outfielder of the year?

Tanner English, CF
2015 Age: 22
High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
104 443 35 37 10.8 19.6 .265 .359 .406 8

English was really just getting his season on track when he went down with his injury, diving for a ball on August 14. Finishing May with a .222/.345/.340 line, his results indicate that a switch was flipped: English hit .271/.338/.386 in June, .275/.362/.441 in July, and .405/.447/.619 in August before missing the rest of the season.

What helps English's case are his elite defensive skills. He utilizes his speed exceptionally well in the field, where he can track down a ball with the best you could put against him, and the arm is good. The speed shows on the bases as well, where he stole 37 bases in 44 attempts (84%).

English will have his doubters since scouts continue to be conservative when it comes to his offensive potential, but in two seasons he's looked pretty good.

Max Kepler, OF
2015 Age: 22
High Level: Minnesota (MLB)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
118 508 56 19 13.6 13.4 .318 .410 .520 3

Oh, so this is what the Twins thought they might get when they signed a 16-year old German boy back in 2009. He played in 37 games at first base this year, but he also had 36 in right, 19 in center, and 15 in left. His defensive skills profile better in a corner spot, but his tools allow him a touch of versatility.

This was a breakout campaign for Kepler, not just in terms of performance - where he racked up 32 doubles, 13 triples, and nine home runs and 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts - but in terms of his health as well. It was good to finally see him put together a full season, and his skills were on full display. Could it hurt to point out that he walked more than he struck out in 2015?

Kepler seems destined to be a Top 3 prospect in the organization heading into 2016. Whether or not that's enough to earn him your vote for outfielder of the year is the question.

LaMonte Wade, CF
2015 Age: 21
High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
68 300 22 12 15.7 12.0 .302 .418 .486 11

Wade was Minnesota's ninth-round draft pick in 2015, scorching Appalachian League pitchers before a late-season promotion to Cedar Rapids. Granted, 21 isn't exactly young in a rookie league, but when you're promoted due to your scorched earth policy you're doing something right.

With a skill set that flashes plus across most areas and other attributes in his favor (patience, advanced feel at the plate), Wade's professional debut has elevated his stock. He's fully capable of playing all three outfield spots, although he may profile better in a corner spot down the road, but it's his bat that will determine whether he'll be seen as a legitimate prospect or a potential fourth outfielder.

Wade's debut was impressive. Is it enough to elevate him above the well-known names on this list?

Adam Brett Walker, LF
2015 Age: 23
High Level: Chattanooga (AA)

G PA XBH SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG Assists
133 560 65 13 9.1 34.8 .239 .309 .498 5

With great power comes great responsibility strikeout totals. Leading not just his team nor the organization but his entire league in home runs and strikeouts, Walker might have the most raw power of anyone in the system after Miguel Sano. Considering Sano has now graduated to the big leagues, perhaps Walker now owns that crown.

He's smart enough on the bases and plays an adequate corner outfield, making the most of his speed and his arm. But the only question here is this: how seductive is the power Walker can generate? Are those home run totals enough for him to get your vote?