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Minnesota Twins top 30 prospects update: 8/14/2015

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It won't be long until the minor league seasons come to an end. How have the Twins' top 30 prospects performed this year? Jesse provides your latest update.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Buxton is healthy, Hu has been traded, and Berrios is on the verge of a promotion. Here's your run-down of Minnesota's Top 30 prospects for 2015.

1 Byron Buxton CF Rochester (AAA)
Fully healthy and playing games for the Red Wings, Buxton has hit safely in all eight games since his return to action (13-for-32, .406). He's 2-for-2 in stolen bases and taken three walks against five strikeouts. Six of his eight games have seen him start in center field, with the other two games seeing him as Rochester's designated hitter. With Aaron Hicks playing so well, the Twins can take their time in bringing Buxton back to Minnesota. That will allow him to shake off a bit of rust, get used to seeing live pitching again, and when September rolls around we'll get to see how Paul Molitor fits Buxton and Hicks into the same outfield.
2 Miguel Sano 3B Minnesota (MLB)
Sano's Major League career is now 34 games old, and in 116 at-bats has hit .284/.397/.552 with seven homers, 23 walks, and 47 strikeouts. Over a full season that would put him on pace for 30+ home runs, 120+ RBI, 110+ walks...and 220+ strikeouts. He could finish the season with about 70 games played, which would expire his Rookie status. But would it be enough for him to receive Rookie of the Year consideration?
3 Jose Berrios RHP Rochester (AAA)
The 21-year old has made seven starts for the Red Wings, striking out 43 in 44.2 innings and posting a 3.02 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Both numbers are strikingly similar to what he'd posted through 15 Double-A starts this year (3.08 ERA, 1.11 WHIP).
4 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
Some players don't respond well to demotions. Meyer had earned a Major League call up last year, warts and all, and didn't get it. When he finally got the call this year he'd made eight appearances out of the Red Wings' bullpen, totaling 14 innings, 15 strikeouts, and one earned run allowed. Since returning, it's been 14 appearances worth 20 innings, 20 strikeouts, and 17 runs. Maybe this performance was in him regardless of promotions or demotions, but it does make for a pretty clearly defined split in his performance. It's too early to write him off, but it has been a disappointing year for Meyer and nobody will feel that more strongly than he does.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Stewart had one clunker since our last update (7 runs, 5.1 innings), but it was his first misstep since mid-June. He bounced back with a seven-inning, one-run performance on August 6 and 6.2-inning performance without allowing an earned run on Wednesday. With a 2.95 ERA in his last ten starts and improving strikeout totals as the season has gone on, Stewart is making progress. He does continue to allow too many base runners however, so that's something to keep an eye on. Opponents are hitting .281 off of him this year.
6 Trevor May RHP Minnesota (MLB)
May had been impressive in 15 starts to begin the season, but since moving to the bullpen has posted a 2.51 ERA in 13 appearances. Now he'll move back into the rotation for two starts, after which point the situation will be reassessed. His time in the bullpen has likely blown up any chance he had of being in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year, but that doesn't change his role with the Twins for the future. We'll just have to see how he's handled after he makes these two scheduled starts, the first of which is tonight.
7 Nick Gordon SS Cedar Rapids (A)
Minnesota's first-round pick in 2014 is continuing his upward trend, batting .366 in his last ten games. You can see his progress by breaking down his splits by month, as Gordon posted a .538 OPS in May, .711 in June, .772 in July, and .885 through 11 August games. Since the All-Star break he's hit .313/.359/.422 in 41 games. He's raised his season OPS by another 27 points since our last update two weeks ago, and is now batting .276/.339/.351 on the season. No matter how you look at it, the 19-year old shortstop has come along by leaps and bounds. It'll be exciting to see him continue to develop.
8 Nick Burdi RHP Fort Myers (A+)
One bad outing on August 5 put a dampener on what had been a brilliant return to form for Burdi after his demotion, but he still owns a .179 opponent batting average and a 2.25 ERA for the Miracle. He's also struck out 29 in 20 innings while issuing just three walks. Time is running out, but I'd love to see him squeeze in two or three appearances with the Lookouts at season's end.
9 Jorge Polanco SS/2B Chattanooga (AA)
Sent to Double-A since Danny Santana was sent to Triple-A, Polanco continues to mostly play shortstop. But he's also been given a couple of games at second base, to keep him familiar. The Twins will continue to ride one of the Eduardo's at shortstop in the short term, but if the season does go to hell in a hand basket we could see a lot of Polanco at short come September. He's hitting .294/.350/.403 in Double-A.
10 Eddie Rosario OF/2B Minnesota (MLB)
On August 1, Rosario drew a pair of walks against Seattle. Those are the only two free passes he's taken in his last 31 games. That's pretty much what we expect from Rosario right now, although we continually hope that he'll learn to work the count better in the future and learn to lay off of bad pitches. As ever, we note as a caveat to his lack of discipline that he can hit - basically - whatever he wants. The rookie is hitting .276/.300/444, with nine stolen bases in 14 attempts, 14 doubles, eight triples, six homers, and a 72-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 79 games.
11 Lewis Thorpe LHP n/a
Thorpe's rehabilitation is coming along just fine. His workouts are almost back to normal, with the focus on his upper body being not quite back to all systems go, He's up every morning doing his stretches and workouts, catching games if the Miracle are at home and getting some face time in with the team in the mornings. He could be picking up a baseball anytime now to begin the rehabilitation process specific to his arm, as four months following surgery is the standard time frame. Hopefully things continue to go well and we can see him get back on his feet next year.
12 Max Kepler OF/1B Chattanooga (AA)
Hitting .332/.417/.558 with 29 doubles, 12 triples, and seven home runs is a good way for a 22-year old to put his name on the prospect map. He's stolen 17 bases in 20 attempts this year, including 47 walks versus 52 strikeouts at Double-A. He and Buxton lead the league in triples, and as we mentioned yesterday Kepler's plate discipline is unparalleled for a player of his age in the Southern League. He should be in the organization's top five prospects for 2016.
13 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Fort Myers (A+)
In three starts since our last update, Gonsalves has given the Miracle 15.2 innings of four-run baseball, including 15 strikeouts, eight walks, and ten hits allowed. While he continues to be effective, how he achieves his results is inconsistent. Sometimes the command is better than others, sometimes he can get his strikeouts, sometimes the opposition finds him easy to solve and other times they'll find him impossible to solve. Naturally that's part of the game, but that type of inconsistency is what the Twins will be watching and evaluating as the year winds down.
14 Jake Reed RHP Fort Myers (A+)
After 44.2 innings of relief for the Lookouts, the Twins finally sent the inconsistent and struggling Reed back to Fort Myers. In his last four appearances before the demotion he'd thrown 4.2 innings, striking out one, walking six, and giving up eight hits. Clearly something wasn't working, and it was time to do to Reed what they'd already done to Burdi. So far Reed has just two appearances under his belt for the Miracle, but he still holds a clean slate with two hits allowed and one strikeout in three innings.
15 Adam Brett Walker RF Chattanooga (AA)
Walker leads the Southern League in home runs, RBI, and strikeouts - all by a significant margin. And he hasn't hit a homer since July 22, a stretch of 21 games. Sadly, this hasn't stopped him from striking out. The slump has lowered his line to .249/.314/.516.
16 Amaurys Minier LF/1B Elizabethton (Rookie)
Pitching has been tough for Minier to solve this year, and the strikeouts are racking up without results to help gloss them over. He's batting .297/.267/.293 in 40 games, including 54 strikeouts. He's still just 19, so hopefully we can see him grow and make adjustments next season and we can just chalk up 2015 to development.
17 Stuart Turner C Chattanooga (AA)
Our last update was quite optimistic on Turner as he'd been on quite a hot streak, but since July 29 he's gone just 3-for-32 (.094). His triple slash has dipped accordingly, to .213/.312/.301.
18 Chih-Wei Hu RHP Charlotte (A+)
He went to the Charlotte Stone Crabs when he was sent to Tampa Bay as half of the return for Kevin Jepsen. He made on start, gave the Crabs five innings of two-run baseball with six strikeouts and four walks, and then promptly hit the disabled list with a laceration on his left hand. Apparently it was "a freak accident," so it's nothing that the Twins were hiding. Hu will be back and he'll be fine.
19 Mitch Garver C Fort Myers (A+)
Garver is riding an eight-game hitting streak (11-for-28, .393), and his upswing continues. His triple slash is up to .251/.366/.340, making him another example of how players can adjust and learn as the season goes along; development is a long process for most players. Let's see if Garver can finish strong. He will probably start 2016 in Fort Myers, as a 25-year old, but I'd be surprised if he didn't get a bump to Double-A for most of next year.
20 Tyler Duffey RHP Rochester (AAA)
Duffey returned to Rochester after his spot start and threw six shutout innings versus Buffalo, striking out five and allowing just one hit and no walks. He has a 2.53 ERA in 14 Triple-A starts. He absolutely deserves every opportunity the Twins can afford him. Let's see if he can make his start tomorrow better than his MLB debut versus the Blue Jays.
21 Travis Harrison LF/RF Chattanooga (AA)
A couple of bright spots aside, the slump we alluded to in our last update continues for Harrison. He's batting .162 in his last ten games, meaning he hasn't posted a batting average better than .199 in a month since May. Harrison's line this year is down to .230/.343/.340.
22 Taylor Rogers LHP Rochester (AAA)
Since the calendar turned to July, Rogers has struggled. Through the end of June he owned a 2.96 ERA, but has followed it up with a 6.00 ERA in 30 July innings and a 6.75 ERA in 12 August innings. While Rogers is 24, I do wonder if part of this is a fatigue issue. He threw 140.2 innings in 2013 and 145 innings last year, and he's now sitting at 145.1 innings with four or five starts left on the books.
23 Zack Jones RHP Fort Myers (A+)
A small sample size dropped Jones from Chattanooga to Fort Myers, and Jones' performance for the Miracle continues to hint that his demotion may have been a mistake. Opponents are hitting just .122 off of him through 12.1 innings, having allowed just five hits and two runs. Jones has struck out 20 and walked just four in that time. Will the Twins give him another shot at Double-A before the season is out?
24 Lewin Diaz 1B GCL (Rookie)
An eight-game hit streak earlier this month brought Diaz's season back from the brink, but he's been a bit cold again this week, now batting .240/.336/.336 on the season. He's been taking some better at-bats more recently and has started to balance out the strikeout-to-walk ratio a bit, both signs that he's starting to adjust to the level. He should spend all of 2016 between the GCL Twins and the Elizabethton Twins - the latter only if things go well. At just 18,the Twins have time to be patient with Diaz.
25 Michael Cederoth RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
Cederoth hasn't pitched since June 4, having been placed on the disabled list June 7 with "an illness." He owns a 4.08 ERA on the season after six starts and five relief appearances; he's allowed just one earned run in 8.1 innings out of the bullpen.
26 J.R. Graham RHP Minnesota (MLB)
Graham has hit a rough patch, allowing 17 earned runs in his last 15 games (29.1 innings). The ERA has ballooned accordingly and now sits at 4.19. This was always going to be a risk for the Twins, so it's not worth getting too bent out of shape over Graham's recent performance. The Twins could now put him on the disabled list for a phantom injury and allow him to "rehab" in the minor league for the rest of the season if they like, since Graham has been on the active roster for the requisite 90 days, but it seems more likely that they give him the opportunity to pitch himself out of this funk.
27 J.T. Chargois RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Chargois has been on fire, and has strung together ten consecutive scoreless appearances. The last time he allowed a run was on July 12. In 24 innings for Double-A Chattanooga he's struck out 21, and while he's also walked 18 his command has been better of late. It's been great to see him bounce back after missing a couple of years, and essentially put his career back on track. He should split 2016 between Double and Triple-A, being one phone call away from the Twins.
28 Huascar Ynoa RHP Dominican Summer League (R)
For a 17-year old in the DSL, his performance is more about big picture and staging of expectations than any kind of look at an individual start. On the whole Ynoa is holding his own, having made 12 starts and posting a 3.09 ERA. He's struck out 38, but the command comes and goes. He does seem to be outclassing other hitters, most of whom are older than he is, based on the .207 opponent batting average this year. It's too early to classify Ynoa as anything but a promising arm, but he's certainly making the right kind of impressions.
29 Levi Michael 2B Chattanooga (AA)
A cold streak has dipped Michael's triple slash to .243/.360/.414. It's not a bad line for a second baseman by any means, which is worth remembering, and it's good to see that - on the whole - Michael has held his own at Double-A. He'll be 25 next year, so will the Twins return him to the Lookouts to start the season or will they test him by dropping him into Triple-A from the get-go? He'll need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, lest he be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
30 Tanner English CF Cedar Rapids (A)
It took English a little while, but he's been showing incremental adjustments throughout the season as a hitter. In the field his skills are developing well and he has impressive moves for a center fielder. But his bat was always the question, and just like Nick Gordon he's improved as the season has progressed. English slumped hard in May and finished the month batting .222/.345/.340 on the season. But in June he hit .271/.338/.386; in July he hit .275/.362/.441; this month he's hit .405/.447/.619 in ten games. His seasonal line is up to .266/.359/.407, and with his speed (37-for-44 in stolen base attempts) and defensive skills he's poised to climb our prospect list for 2016.