Congratulations to young slugger Lewis Diaz, who comes in as the community's #24 prospect after his age-17 season in 2014. Can he turn into something of a shadow for Amaurys Minier? Both have ceiling with the bat and questions about where they'll play on defense.
Joining today's ballot is Minnesota's first-round pick in 2011, Levi Michael.
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 (Gonsalves 47%, Reed 32%, Walker 21%)
- Jake Reed, RHP (Reed 49%, Walker 24%, Turner 12%, Duffey 7%, Harrison 5%, Rogers 3%)
- Adam Walker, RF (Walker 47%, Turner 22%, Duffey 16%, Rogers 7%, Harrison 7%)
- Amaurys Minier, LF/1B (Minier 24%, Turner 18%, Hu 17%, Duffey 15%, Garver 10%, Harrison 6%, Jones 4%, Graham 3%, Rogers 2%)
- Stuart Turner, C (Turner 26%, Hu 25%, Garver 14%, Duffey 13%, Harrison 7%, Jones 5%, Rogers 5%, Graham 5%)
- Chih-Wei Hu (Hu 58%, Duffey 22%, Garver 19%)
- Mitch Garver, C (Garver 31%, Duffey 28%, Harrison 16%, Jones 13%, Rogers 8%, Graham 5%)
- Tyler Duffey, RHP (Duffey 41%, Harrison 26%, Jones 17%, Rogers 12%, Graham 5%)
- Travis Harrison, LF (Harrison 32%, Jones 24%, Rogers 19%, Graham 13%, Cederoth 12%)
- Taylor Rogers, LHP (Rogers 29%, Jones 27%, Diaz 18%, Cederoth 16%, Graham 10%)
- Zack Jones, RHP (Jones 26%, Diaz 23%, Cederoth 17%, Graham 17%, Murphy 16%)
- Lewin Diaz, 1B (Diaz 33%, Cederoth 25%, Graham 24%, Murphy 18%)
Michael Cederoth, RHP
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Rookie
In recent seasons, the Twins have made a point of drafting velocity wherever it's available. Cederoth ticks that box, as a third-round selection in 2014 out of San Diego State who converted from a starter to a reliever in his third and final season and proceeded to touch 100 mph with his fastball. That kind of velocity usually makes pitchers a possible first-round draft pick.
Cederoth fell to the Twins in the third round because of his troubles with command. As has also been the case in recent seasons, the Twins have started out by attempting to develop this high-velocity arm as a starter. In shorter rookie league starts his fastball sat in the mid-90s, which is still pretty good, and there's good news in that his control wasn't good but was still better than it was in college.
The belief is that Cederoth will transition back to the bullpen eventually, partially because of that incredible fastball velocity and partially because of the command issue, but also because there isn't an obvious second plus pitch right now as both breaking balls are a work in progress. He should spend most of the year in Single-A Cedar Rapids. There's certainly reason for caution here, but scouts also like Cederoth as a potential late-inning reliever down the line.
J.R. Graham, RHP
2015 Age: 25
2014 High Level: Double-A
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.
Levi Michael, 2B
2015 Age: 24
2014 High Level: Double-A
|2014||23||Rookie, A+, AA||65||281||11||2||1||10||6||28||36||.313||.389||.387|
Every time we talk about Michael, we're contractually obligated to mention the fact that he A) was a supposedly polished middle infielder who would move quickly through system, and B) struggled to find a foothold. He spent all of 2012 and 2013 in Fort Myers, posting an OPS in the mid .600s and never showing the knack for hitting that would be necessary to see him move quickly.
He found success in his third go-round however, hitting .305/.375/.395 for Doug Mientkiewicz in Fort Myers in 2014. It earned him a promotion to Double-A where he flourished in a small sample, hitting .340/.444/.358 in 15 games. Michael has shown, at times, to be very strong versus left-handed pitching, so it's worth watching to see if his splits become indicative of a platoon disposition.
Michael should start 2015 at Double-A. He does a number of things well (decent speed, good base runner, decent arm for second base, line-drive hitter), but he doesn't have a plus tool and his ceiling could be as a utility player if he doesn't continue to hit well. There are a lot of young and talented middle infielders in the organization these days (imagine saying that a few years ago), so he has his work cut out for him. Still, the Twins took him in the first round for a reason, so he'll be one to watch, and it's worth wondering whether injuries have slowed his development the last couple of years. If he stays healthy, he could flash something a bit unexpected.
Max Murphy, CF
2015 Age: 22
2014 High Level: Single-A
The Twins took Murphy in the ninth round of the 2014 draft. He was seen as a player with a number of solid tools, although none of them stood out as a big plus tool even after hitting .314/.414/.598 for Bradley University. But his ability to "flash plus tools" didn't always jive with his performance, leading analysts like Jim Callis to say Murphy "plays beneath the tools a little bit."
Murphy obviously impressed in his rookie league debut, raking and earning a promotion to Cedar Rapids at the end of the year where he struggled a little bit. His status as a prospect will depend a good deal on how he performs in 2015. Will he play up to his tools, where his athleticism and arm and power will show the kind of player he's capable of becoming? Or will he play beneath the tools?
While he's capable of playing center field, scouts believe that long-term Murphy will end up in a corner outfield spot where his arm and decent wheels will make him a fine defender. The tools are there, but until he proves it his bat will be questioned.