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Minnesota Twins top 30 prospects update: 5/28/2015

It's been two weeks since we last checked in, so some things have changed. Jesse tracks Minnesota's top 30 prospects to date.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Twins fans. Your baseball team is in a tie for first place this morning. And they're doing it with their best prospects still waiting to emerge later this season. I'll tell you what I think: even if this current group of Minnesota Twins isn't likely to continue winning 60% of their games, the talent - and sheer amount of talent - down on the farm is going to make the second half of this season very, very interesting to watch.

With that in mind, let's check in on our top 30 prospects to see what they've been up to.

1 Byron Buxton CF Chattanooga (AA)
Yesterday, Byron Buxton hit an inside the park home run. He's riding a seven-game hitting streak (14-for-32) where he's driven in nine runs, stolen three bases, struck out six times and taken three walks. His triple slash is up to .271/.325/.525, which is notable because one month ago it was .210/.279/.355. While the strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't what we're accustomed to seeing from Buxton, he continued to accumulate extra-base hits in bunches. 23 of his 49 hits have been for extra bases this year, including six doubles, six homers, and 11 triples.
2 Miguel Sano 3B Chattanooga (AA)
Like Buxton, Sano's upswing continues. One month ago his triple slash was a disappointing .173/.317/.385 and as of this morning it's up to .242/.344/.490. This month alone he's raised his season OPS 150 points. Yesterday we talked about Keith Law's most recent prospect update, where he mentions that Sano could be looking at a promotion within a month. I'd argue both Sano and Buxton are getting to the point where they're almost forcing the issue. If both of these guys aren't in Triple-A by the end of June, it means one or both players have taken a step back from where they are right now.
3 Jose Berrios RHP Chattanooga (AA)
In two starts since our last update Berrios has pitched 11 innings of five-run baseball, striking out ten and walking two. Montgomery and Mobile were able to capitalize in innings where Berrios rarely allowed more than a single hit. On the season Berrios owns a 2.89 ERA in 56 innings with 63 strikeouts and 17 walks. He still owns the top spot in the Southern League for strikeouts.
4 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
Meyer was shifted to the bullpen since we lacked checked in, and on Monday he made his bullpen debut by striking out two in an inning against the Durham Bulls. He didn't allow a walk or a hit, and dispatched all three batters in 13 pitches (nine strikes). The appearance dropped his ERA below 7.00 for the first time since May 3, and it was certainly a good way to start things off.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Another top prospect has his arrow pointing up as Stewart's last two starts have seen him hold opponents to two runs across 12 innings. The eight strikeouts are better and the one walk is even more impressive in that stretch, and he's yet to allow a home run this spring which is nice. Overall 18 strikeouts in 34.2 innings isn't very good, but there's a lot of baseball left to play this year. If Stewart can keep the plus command we've seen over his last two outings, keep the ball in the park, and continue to scatter hits then the strikeout totals won't matter quite as much. It would result in a lower prospect ranking next year, however.
6 Trevor May RHP Minnesota (MLB)
May was about as sharp as he's been his last time out, striking out nine and not issuing a walk in seven innings. He's dropped his season ERA from 5.40 to 4.95 since our last update, but his FIP (2.98) and xFIP (3.88) seem to be better indicators of his performance this year. His 10.0% swinging strike rate remains the best among Minnesota's starters, and his 1.1 fWAR leads all Twins pitchers and is third on the team behind Brian Dozier (1.4 fWAR) and Trevor Plouffe (1.3).
7 Nick Gordon SS Cedar Rapids (A)
Gordon seems to have a fairly good idea of where the strike zone is, but he's not making good contact at the moment. He's hitting just .228/.299/.281 in 42 games so far this year, including 16 walks and 35 strikeouts and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts, but the batted balls aren't finding grass. The biggest refuge here is the fact that he's still just 19 years old and that he's two and a half years younger than the average player in the Midwest League.
8 Nick Burdi RHP Chattanooga (AA)
In four relief appearances these last two weeks, Burdi has struck out eight and walked one in 7.1 innings, giving up eight hits and two runs. The command has improved: he's walked 14 batters in 19.1 innings this year, but only two in his last 11.1 frames. Occasionally his stuff flattens out and/or catches too much of the plate and hitters can rip on him in spite of that upper-90s velocity, but that's been less common over the last few weeks. His ERA is still 5.59, but that's down from 7.50 two weeks ago.
9 Jorge Polanco SS/2B Chattanooga (AA)
One hitting streak ends and one day later another begins. Polanco looks like he pressing for a promotion of his own as the 21-year old is hitting .341 in his last ten games. Ideally it would be better to see him taking a few more walks, but for the time being he's seeing the ball well and reaping the rewards. In 41 games he's hitting .314/.350/.430 for the Lookouts while exclusively playing shortstop, going 9-for-12 in stolen base attempts. I still think Polanco's future is as a second baseman, but if the Twins don't want to move him this summer there's a chance he gets in the mix for the starting shortstop job in spring training next year.
10 Eddie Rosario OF/2B Minnesota (MLB)
Going 6-for-14 in his last four games has helped turn things around a little bit for Rosario, who is starting to look better at times in the outfield corners. He's still taken just one walk in a Major League debut that's gone on longer than we all thought it would. After 53 plate appearances you'd like to see more walks, but we're saying the same thing about Eduardo Escobar (three walks in 131 PAs), Aaron Hicks (two walks in 52 PAs), and Danny Santana (two in 163).
11 Lewis Thorpe LHP n/a
This report from Baseball America's Matt Eddy on April 11 puts Thorpe's surgery in the past tense and echoes the reports I've read that Thorpe had the surgery in late March, but there has been no news on his recovery and rehabilitation timeline. According to the Tommy John surgery database his surgeons are listed as Dr. John Steubs and Dr. Pearce McCarty.
12 Max Kepler OF/1B Chattanooga (AA)
Kepler is riding a ten-game hitting streak and only looks to be getting better. He's been very difficult to strike out, particularly in recent weeks as he seems to have really turned a corner. He's now starting to collect extra-base hits in bunches as well, with 13 of his 16 doubles coming since May 10 (and six of those in the last week). On the season Kepler is now batting .348/.385/.557 with 16 doubles, two home runs, seven stolen bases in eight attempts, and what has become complete ownership of Southern League pitching over the last few weeks. This might be the prospect we've all been waiting for, and couple be another Twins prospect pushing for a job in Triple-A in the relatively near future.
13 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Cedar Rapids (A)
I'm not convinced anything can slow Gonsalves down at this point. In two starts these last two weeks he hasn't allowed a run, and on Tuesday he struck out 12 Wisconsin hitters in six innings. His ERA is down to 1.31 through 48 innings pitched. That promotion has to be coming soon.
14 Jake Reed RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Reed keeps pushing the needle in the right direction after a slow start, and in his last ten outings he owns a 2.76 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 16.1 innings. On the season he's given the Lookouts 20 innings of 4.05 ERA baseball.
15 Adam Brett Walker RF Chattanooga (AA)
Walker continues to drive in runs. He continues to collect extra-base hits. But holy cats, those strikeouts! He's been sent down on strikes 17 times in his last ten games, and that makes 61 strikeouts in 43 games. Put it another way: he's striking out in 34.5% of plate appearances. So sure, that .537 slugging percentage is impressive...but something will need to change here, because otherwise Major League pitchers will eat Adam Brett Walker alive.
16 Amaurys Minier LF/1B Extended Spring Training
Minier is currently in extended spring training.
17 Stuart Turner C Chattanooga (AA)
It's been an up-and-down season for Turner, and these last two weeks have been no exception. He was 0-for-9 in his first three games following our last update, including three strikeouts and three walks. But in his second week Turner was 6-for-18 with two home runs three walks and two strikeouts. He's hitting an unimpressive .215/.320/.346 in 31 games this year. On the plus side he has yet to allow a passed ball this year and he's catching a fair amount of attempted base stealers. Those are good things.
18 Chih-Wei Hu RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Terry Ryan doesn't think Hu will be promoted as soon as Twins fans would like, but Hu doesn't care. He owns a 1.03 ERA in six starts for the Miracle and in a spot start for Triple-A Rochester he allowed just one run on two hits and four walks in six innings. Hu put down six batters on strikes. Right now it's impossible to see him not in Double-A before season's end.
19 Mitch Garver C Fort Myers (A+)
Garver just isn't having a good year. He's taken a real hit in terms of his status as a prospect, hitting .197/.327/.228 in 39 games for the Miracle. That includes the stretch over his last two weeks which has seen him go 3-for-27 with a pair of walks. It's been a rude awakening, but hopefully he can put something together for a stronger second half of his season.
20 Tyler Duffey RHP Rochester (AAA)
Duffey's promotion to Triple-A was well-earned after he gave the Lookouts eight starts of 2.56 ERA baseball, including 54 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. His first start for the Red Wings was very much the same: seven innings, six strikeouts, no walks, two runs. Duffey is a nearly MLB-ready pitcher who is ready to contribute to somebody's bullpen right now.
21 Travis Harrison LF/RF Chattanooga (AA)
Harrison looks like he's starting to figure things out, become a more consistent performer for the Lookouts. He doesn't have much in terms of home run power, but he collects doubles and his plus contact skills give him some offensive value. Three consecutive multi-hit games have bolstered his line to .296/.383/.440. He seems to have lost his knack for reading pitchers, which is odd: he's 1-for-6 in stolen base attempts this year
22 Taylor Rogers LHP Rochester (AAA)
Rogers has logged three quality starts in a row for the Red Wings after a couple of rougher outings, and through 62 innings owns a 3.34 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 20 walks. I'm not sure there's much more the minor leagues can do for Rogers, but it doesn't look like there will be an opening in the rotation for him anytime soon. As of today, Ervin Santana, Tommy Milone, and perhaps Alex Meyer are still ahead of him on the Major League rotation's depth chart.
23 Zack Jones RHP Chattanooga (AA)
While he hasn't been as untouchable as he was through the season's first few weeks, Jones is putting together a pretty good season. He's still allowing less than a base runner per inning in 2015 and has struck out 22 in 15.2 innings.The command seems to have slipped in his last outing, where he walked two of the four batters he's given a free pass to this year.
24 Lewin Diaz 1B Extended Spring Training
Diaz is currently in extended spring training.
25 Michael Cederoth RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
The Kernels appear to have moved Cederoth from the rotation as his last three appearances have all come in relief. Each outing saw him go at least two innings, but as a reliever who isn't expected to go five-plus his stuff has quite predictably played up. He's struck out nine in 8.1 innings since moving to the bullpen, not allowing a walk and giving up five hits (all in one appearance). His ERA is down to 4.32 in 33.1 innings.
26 J.R. Graham RHP Minnesota (MLB)
Graham put in three impressive innings versus the Pirates his last time out to pick up the starter, keeping the Pirates off the board. Five of his appearances this year have seen him go at least two innings, and he's blanked the opposition in each of those outings bar the five-run disaster versus the Tigers two weeks ago today. Graham is an integral part of Paul Molitor's bullpen right now, and he's not going anywhere.
27 J.T. Chargois RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Chargois earned a promotion this week, moving up to Double-A and making his first appearance for the Lookouts yesterday. In Fort Myers Chargois had a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings, with 19 strikeouts and five walks. His debut for Chattanooga yesterday was down to the wire as he did allow three hits, but he managed to "tightrope out of danger," as they say.
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 yet to return from the disabled list.
30 Tanner English CF Cedar Rapids (A)
English is making a valiant attempt to hold his own, collecting hits in eight of his last ten games even though his batting average in that period is still just .220. He also walked seven times in his last ten games, which tells you something about English's talents. On the seas he's hitting .227/.354/.353 with 29 walks and 33 strikeouts, including 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts. English is hanging in there, but he needs to find a way to hit better than .227 if he's going to succeed at higher levels.