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Minnesota Twins 2015 Prospect Vote: Round 17

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Round 16 had its favorites. Amaurys Minier came out on top.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Five of the nine candidates on the ballot for Round 16 came away with at least 10% of the vote, and three of them were newcomers. The winner is 19-year old Amaurys Minier, whose offensive upside clearly resonates with a lot of people - it's hard to argue with a kid who was on pace for about 24 home runs in a 600-plate appearance season and whose OPS came in at .925...even if it was against Rookie level competition. Keep an eye out for this guy in 2015 to see how he responds outside of the GCL.

We'll stick with the current eight candidates for Round 17.

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%)
  11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP (Thorpe 48%, Kepler 21%, Reed 10%, Gonsalves 9%, Duffey 5%, Walker 4%, Turner 1%, Harrison 1%, Rogers 1%)
  12. Max Kepler, CF/1B (Kepler 30%, Gonsalves 27%, Reed 18%, Walker 13%, Turner 5%, Duffey 5%, Harrison 1%, Rogers 1%)
  13. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (Gonsalves 47%, Reed 32%, Walker 21%)
  14. Jake Reed, RHP (Reed 49%, Walker 24%, Turner 12%, Duffey 7%, Harrison 5%, Rogers 3%)
  15. Adam Walker, RF (Walker 47%, Turner 22%, Duffey 16%, Rogers 7%, Harrison 7%)
  16. Amaurys Minier, LF/1B (Minier 24%, Turner 18%, Hu 17%, Duffey 15%, Garver 10%, Harrison 6%, Jones 4%, Graham 3%, Rogers 2%)

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.

Mitch Garver, C
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Single-A

Year Age Lvl PA 2B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2013 22 Rookie 225 15 2 19 31 .243 .313 .366 .679
2014 23 A 504 29 16 61 65 .298 .399 .481 .880
2 Seasons 729 44 18 80 96 .280 .372 .445 .817

The best scouting report on Garver is available from Seth Stohs in his 2015 Prospect Handbook. They named him their Hitter of the Year thanks to his offensive value, a culmination of discipline, an understanding of the strike zone, and his power.

Garver is also an apt defensive catcher, earning solid reviews from the coaches he's played with so far. He was a runner up for the award for the best collegiate catcher, which went to Stuart Turner, but the impression we're getting is that Garver is earning a reputation as an interesting talent on both sides of the ball.

In our interview with Rob Antony, he didn't put a timeline on Garver. But he believed his upside was as an above average hitter with some power, and that's great for a catcher. With a good start in Fort Myers, he could earn a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga before the year is out.

J.R. Graham, RHP
2015 Age: 25
2014 High Level: Double-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2011 21 Rookie 1.72 13 8 57.2 1.13 8.1 0.0 2.0 8.1 4.0
2012 22 A+, AA 2.80 26 26 148.0 1.06 7.5 0.5 2.1 6.7 3.2
2013 23 AA 4.04 8 8 35.2 1.38 9.8 0.0 2.5 7.1 2.8
2014 24 AA 5.58 27 19 71.0 1.48 10.0 0.3 3.3 6.3 1.9
4 Seasons 3.37 74 61 312.1 1.20 8.4 0.3 2.4 6.9 2.9

Injuries have derailed what was once seen as a potential top-flight arm. His velocity is still recovering and is likely to sit somewhere between the upper-90s where it was before the injuries set in, and the low-90s where it was for parts of 2014. Some of the dip in velocity is by design, however, as Graham works through his mechanics for a more consistent delivery and better command.

Graham will have an opportunity to make the club out of spring training as a member of the bullpen. His status as a Rule 5 draft pick means that if the club doesn't take him, the Twins will need to work out a trade with Atlanta to send Graham to the minor leagues or, alternatively, just send him back to the Braves. With the array of players eligible and ready to contribute for the Twins, his spot in the bullpen isn't as secure as it may have been if he's arrived under the same circumstances in years past.

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.

Chih-Wei Hu, RHP
2015 Age: 21
2014 High Level: Single-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2013 19 Rookie 2.45 12 5 36.2 0.98 6.9 0.0 2.0 9.6 4.9
2014 20 Rookie, A 2.15 13 12 71.0 0.87 6.0 0.0 1.9 8.1 4.3
2 Seasons 2.26 25 17 107.2 0.91 6.3 0.0 1.9 8.6 4.5

All Hu did, as a member of a pitching staff that included Stephen Gonsalves, Lewis Thorpe, and Kohl Stewart, was put up the best numbers of any of them. Keep in mind that all of these pitchers were at least two years younger than the average player in the midwest league, but all of them were impressive. Hu, somewhat surprisingly, was the best.

Signed last in the summer of 2012, there's always been a little bit of buzz around Hu. But his 2014 campaign, amongst such respected peers, should generate some real excitement. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can be dialed up to 94 or 95. His secondary pitches need work, but for a guy at such a level it's what you expect.

His raw stuff isn't as obviously impressive as Stewart's, and he hasn't had the press of Thorpe, but Hu probably deserves to be on par in a discussion with Gonsalves. He's one to watch in 2015.

Zack Jones, RHP
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Advanced-A

Year Age Lvl ERA G SV IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2012 21 Rookie, A 2.25 18 4 20.0 1.10 5.0 0.4 5.0 15.3
2013 22 A+ 1.85 39 14 48.2 1.15 5.2 0.4 5.2 12.9
2014 23 Rookie, A+ 1.80 11 3 10.0 1.20 5.4 0.0 5.4 12.6
3 Seasons 1.94 68 21 78.2 1.14 5.1 0.3 5.1 13.5

Jones lost a great deal of 2014 thanks to an aneurysm in his shoulder. It was unfortunate, because in 2013 he'd demolished hitters in the Florida State League. I felt like, with one more similar season, he'd be knocking on the door of the Major League bullpen by the start of 2015 if not the end of 2014.

As things happened, his development took a hit. He returned near the end of the season and got in 11 good appearances, and he went to the Arizona Fall League as well. He struggled with command a bit in the AFL, but for a guy who really needed that time to shake off some rust and get that muscle memory back it's not unexpected.

Rob Antony feels that Jones' number one priority should be to develop his secondary pitches. Once he does that, he could be on a fast track to the Majors. Until then, it's hard to say how close he really is. For 2015, he should see a good deal of time at Double-A.

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.

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.