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Minnesota Twins top 30 prospects update: 5/14/2015

Are Chih-Wei Hu and Stephen Gonsalves still dominating? Is Byron Buxton still putting up video game numbers at Double-A?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I'm watching the Twins game as I'm writing this, and I have to admit that I don't feel as good about this one as I did the game that was on as I wrote this feature last week. Still: it's only the fourth. I'd love to be wrong.

In between game stuff and draft features and discussions based around the upcoming roster squeeze, let's take a break and check in on our top 30 prospect list.

1 Byron Buxton CF Chattanooga (AA)
With a double-header, Buxton has played eight games since our update last week. The first few games saw him continue his tear, but he's 0-for-11 in his last three games. For the week his line includes a 5-for-31 performance, with a home run, two walks, eight strikeouts, and two stolen bases. It's a step back for a guy who could have powered Rhode Island with the energy he was emanating just a few days ago, but it's nothing that's going to hold him back. Terry Ryan has been in Chattanooga and has seen him play. Six weeks from now, around the 22nd of June, if he's lighting things up we should see a promotion happening. To Triple-A or to Minnesota...we'll have to see. But a promotion is coming regardless.
2 Miguel Sano 3B Chattanooga (AA)
Sano had a better week, which is great news. He's 10-for-29 since last week's report, with a home run, five RBI, four runs scored, three walks, and six strikeouts. It's raised his triple slash to .211/.321/.440. There's work to be done here, but it's certainly refreshing to see better results.
3 Jose Berrios RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Jose Berrios threw a complete game shutout yesterday, striking out eight. Add in another eight-strikeout game last Friday, and Berrios now owns the minor league lead for strikeouts with 53. In 45 innings the young right-hander owns a 2.60 ERA. Buxton might be a few weeks away from a promotion, but I'm not sure how much longer the Twins can afford to wait on this guy.
4 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
Meyer was lit up on Saturday for his worst start of the season. He allowed eight runs in just 2.2 innings, and his ERA has ballooned to 7.62. Optimistically we're looking at a confidence issue, which is perhaps due to the command/efficiency/mechanics issue combined with the fact that he's still in the minor leagues. Pessimistically, with his history it's easy to speculate about his health. All we can say for sure is that right now he's in a funk, and if the Twins want him to force their hand to get a spot on the big league team he's certainly not doing that.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Stewart returned to the mound for the Miracle on Monday, putting in 2.1 innings. He allowed a run on two hits and two walks, and he didn't record a strike out. Hopefully he'll be given the green light with his pitch count the next time out and we can get another start in the books where it's worth analysing how he's done. Right now it hasn't been a bad start for Stewart by any stretch of the imagination, but for a Top 100 prospect the expectations are high.
6 Trevor May RHP Minnesota (MLB)
May's outing on Monday was disappointing because it's looked like he's been leading up to a big performance. Instead he was in rough shape from the outset against Cleveland. But it's important to not get too ensconced in the ups and downs of a guy who's barely exceeded his rookie status.
7 Nick Gordon SS Cedar Rapids (A)
Speaking of ups and downs, Gordon had another week like we discussed last Thursday. In five games he was 5-for-22 with three stolen bases and seven runs scored. The speed and defense as as-advertised.
8 Nick Burdi RHP Chattanooga (AA)
After a tough few outings last week, Burdi looked much better this week. In two relief appearances he's retired four on strikes and issued just one walk. Let's hope this is the start of a trend.
9 Jorge Polanco SS/2B Chattanooga (AA)
It turns out that Polanco is really good at baseball. His upswing continued unabated this week with a 10-for-32 performance including a home run, six runs driven in, five runs scored, and a stolen base. He has yet to play an inning at second base, meaning that his primary position has overwhelmingly been shortstop for the last two seasons. Polanco's hitting .297/.333/.466.
10 Eddie Rosario OF/2B Minnesota (MLB)
Rosario has been overmatched more of late and it's showing in his line. He's played six games for the Twins and is hitting .217/.208/.348. At some point he'll go back to the minors, either when Shane Robinson returns or when Oswaldo Arcia comes off of the disabled list, and that's fine. He'll be back, and he'll be better for both the experience with the Twins and for a little more time in the minors.
11 Lewis Thorpe LHP n/a
Thorpe will be having Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2015.
12 Max Kepler OF/1B Chattanooga (AA)
"Hopefully he can start the climb earlier than he did last year." We said that last Thursday. All Kepler has done is go 13-for-30 with three stolen bases. Kepler is batting .405 in his last ten games, and his triple slash on the year is up to .304/.340/.435 on the season...and .324/.352/.471 in his 18 games at Double-A. He's yet to hit a home run this season, but ten of his 28 hits this year have still gone for extra bases.
13 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Here's how good Gonsalves has been this spring: he allowed one run in five innings in this week's start, and his ERA went up. The command slipped a bit and Gonsalves walked four, but it's hard to say that it wasn't an effective outing. With a 1.41 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 32 innings, this southpaw's stock continues to rise.
14 Jake Reed RHP Chattanooga (AA)
It's almost like Reed and Burdi's weeks mirror each other. Reed put in a pair of appearances since our last update, two innings each. Five of the six outs he recorded came on strikes. The ERA is back down to 5.14, and he's struck out 15 in 13.1 innings so far.
15 Adam Brett Walker RF Chattanooga (AA)
Three home runs, ten runs batted in...that's a pretty good week. Contact is an issue, and he's not walking enough, or maybe he's striking out too much, or maybe it's both, but we know those things. But hoo boy, that power. Walker has jacked nine home runs so far and is slugging .557. The .252 batting average is alright. It's just that .298 on-base percentage and the 42 strikeouts in 31 games.
16 Amaurys Minier LF/1B Extended Spring Training
Minier is currently in extended spring training.
17 Stuart Turner C Chattanooga (AA)
Turner cracked a game-winning home run last Friday, a great time for his first jack of the season. He continues to work counts and take walks, and a couple of two-hit games this week helped his triple slash out a little. With a .242 batting average in his last ten games, plus eight walks, Turner's slow start could be turning around.
18 Chih-Wei Hu RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Where Gonsalves gets credit for being an under-the-radar prospect, Hu doesn't get the same level of attention. But once again, all he did this week was throw six shoutout innings, striking out six batters. That's 36 strikeouts in 35 innings so far this year with just five walks and 23 hits allowed. Hu owns a stunning 1.03 ERA. Whenever the 21-year old finally gets promoted to Double-A, Gonsalves should be awarded his rotation spot in Fort Myers. At least that's my hope.
19 Mitch Garver C Fort Myers (A+)
While his offensive performance hasn't been as obvious as it was in 2014, he's now batting .320 in his last ten games with nine walks, just three strikeouts, nine RBI and, get this, a stolen base. 20 walks in 29 games have buoyed his on-base percentage to .342. The batting average (.206) and slugging percentage (.247) still have a long way to go.
20 Tyler Duffey RHP Chattanooga (AA)
In 13 innings over two starts this week, Duffey struck out 12, walked two, and gave up just two runs. At 24 and clearly over-matching less experienced hitters at Double-A, it's time for Duffey to get back to Triple-A. But for now he's looking every bit the Top 20 prospect he should be, brandishing a 2.76 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work.
21 Travis Harrison LF/RF Chattanooga (AA)
Right now Harrison is seeing the ball exceptionally well. He's finding hit pitches but, just as importantly for his game, he's allowing his understanding of the strike zone to tone down his aggression. In eight games this week he's coaxed out seven walks while going 8-for-26 with a home run and a pair of doubles. His combination of good contact skills and willingness to take a walk more than offsets the lack of power, illustrated by his .282/.392/.427 season line.
22 Taylor Rogers LHP Rochester (AAA)
Rogers took the mound on Tuesday and the game got away from him. His first four innings were fine, but Toledo scored five runs in the fifth. He did strike out seven, but that's two sub-par starts in a row for Rogers.
23 Zack Jones RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Jones finally gave up a home run this week. That's about all you can say. The right-hander owns a 1.80 ERA with 14 strikeouts in nine innings with just one walk allowed.
24 Lewin Diaz 1B Extended Spring Training
Diaz is currently in extended spring training.
25 Michael Cederoth RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Cederoth put forward his best start of the year on Saturday, going six full innings while allowing Beloit to plate just two runs. Command will continue to be an issue but Cederoth's stuff is strong enough where he can get away with it at the lower levels.
26 J.R. Graham RHP Minnesota (MLB)
Graham had been doing alright until that Tigers game this afternoon. It was just one of those games - it's not like he's the only Twins pitcher who was lit up today.
27 J.T. Chargois RHP Fort Myers (A+)
After not throwing a pitch for the organization for two years, it would be very easy to write off a 24-year old reliever. But Chargois continues to toil away in Fort Myers, looking to earn a promotion or two by the time the year is over. Right now he's getting by younger hitters (I wouldn't say less experienced). That's good, it's obviously what we want to see, but the real test of Chargois' status as a prospect will come after his eventual promotion.
28 Huascar Ynoa RHP n/a
Ynoa is not currently in-season and he is not attending extended spring training.
29 Levi Michael 2B Chattanooga (AA)
Michael has been out of action for a week and a half, since he injured his ankle sliding into second base. He's still noted on the 7-day disabled list.
30 Tanner English CF Cedar Rapids (A)
It wasn't a good week for English, who was blanked until a single on Tuesday and a couple of hits yesterday. His season triple slash is down to .214/.345/.316.