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Minnesota Twins top 30 prospect update: 8/28/2015

This is our penultimate look at the system for the year.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

While the Dominican Summer League has already finished and the GCL Twins wrap up tomorrow, all of the Twins' minor league affiliates will play their final regular season games by September 7. We'll have our final update around that time, followed by detailed looks at system depth as well as prospects that have put themselves on the map for 2016.

Here's how our Top 30 prospects have performed these last two weeks.

1 Byron Buxton CF Minnesota (MLB)
It hasn't been an easy transition to the Major Leagues for Buxton, who continues to rack up strikeouts. He's hitting .225/.257/.296 in 18 games with a triple, three doubles, one stolen base in three attempts, and a 9-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Interestingly he's hitting plenty of balls hard (24.4% of balls in play), but at times he has looked over-matched. Regardless, this experience will be invaluable and will help him in his transition into a full-time player for the Twins in 2016.
2 Miguel Sano 3B Minnesota (MLB)
All Cris Carter did was catch touchdowns. Right now it feels like all Sano does is hit home runs - unless they're bouncing off of a catwalk. This AL Rookie of the Year candidate is hitting .289/.394/.584 with 12 home runs in 47 games.
3 Jose Berrios RHP Rochester (AAA)
Since our last update Berrios made two starts, striking out 22 in 14 innings and surrendering one earned run. He seems a guarantee to be added to the 40-man roster and subsequently called to the Twins once the Red Wings' season is over.
4 Alex Meyer RHP Rochester (AAA)
Meyer's bounceback continues, now having thrown seven innings of scoreless relief. It's his best stretch since before his call up to Minnesota. His splits as a reliever reveal a 3.68 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 44 innings and a .253 batting average against. Walks remain an issue.
5 Kohl Stewart RHP Fort Myers (A+)
The ERA continues to imply that Stewart is every bit the pitching prospect everybody wants him to be, posting a 3.36 mark through 21 starts and 123.1 innings. Underneath that there's the .276 opponent average, the 68 strikeouts and 41 walks and 130 hits. August has been better, posting a 2.39 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP through four starts. No doubt Stewart is young for his level, but I'm very interested to see whether the Twins choose to try him at Double-A right out of the gate in 2016.
6 Trevor May RHP Minnesota (MLB)
The Twins want to move May back into the rotation in 2016, but he's pitching so well out of the bullpen that he may pitching himself right out of a starting job. Surely not, right? Regardless, his 1.89 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19 innings have been a god-send for a bullpen in dire need of a shut-down arm not named Glen Perkins.
7 Nick Gordon SS Cedar Rapids (A)
Gordon's offense has leveled out, maintaining his OPS since our last update. On the season he's stolen 24 bases in 32 attempts, has racked up 21 doubles, and has held his own by walking in 8% of his plate appearances versus a 16.6% strikeout rate. He's batting .275/.338/.352.
8 Nick Burdi RHP Chattanooga (AA)
As we'd hoped, Burdi has been called back up to the Lookouts to finish the season. In four games since his re-promotion Burdi has allowed two runs in 7.1 innings, striking out 13 and walking six. It's too late to completely turn around his stat line at Double-A in 2015, but in terms of development and player progress a good finish to the season would be fantastic to see.
9 Jorge Polanco SS/2B Chattanooga (AA)
Polanco is looking to snap out a bit of a cold stretch, more or less treading water since our last update. Between Double and Triple-A the 22-year old shortstop is batting .289/.340/.391, which isn't bad for a kid his age at the positions he plays. He's walked in 8.3% of his plate appearances at Double-A, which is a rate you'd like to see him reach at a minimum as he climbs the ladder. He should be with the Twins in September when the Lookouts' season ends.
10 Eddie Rosario OF Minnesota (MLB)
All Rosario has done is stick around in the Major Leagues as a rookie when nobody expected him to. He's amassed the sixth-most plate appearances for the Twins in 2015 and has played in the seventh-most games, hitting .274/.296/.452. It's a fine performance from a rookie who didn't show up until a week into the month of May, but he's taken one walk since August 1. The batting average is fine and we always knew that he was capable of hitting for average, but he doesn't profile like a player who will regularly slug .450. If he doesn't learn to walk more often, his upside as a player is going to be very limited. I'm not trying to harsh anyone's buzz here, because I really like Rosario, but he looks primed for serious regression in 2016 unless something changes.
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)
Kepler is actually a few months older than Polanco, which puts things into interesting perspective when you think about their trajectories as prospects. Both have been on our prospect lists for six years, and both look to maintain their eligibility for that list in 2016. Kepler, having one of the best seasons of a position player in the organization, should be in Minnesota's top five in 2016. He's slowed up recently but is still batting .331/.416/.552 in 102 games at Double-A. Along with Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, and Eddie Rosario, Kepler gives Minnesota five outfielders between the ages of 22 and 26 next year - one or more of them could be traded this winter.
13 Stephen Gonsalves LHP Fort Myers (A+)
The 21-year old southpaw continues to hold his own. His numbers for the Miracle aren't as video game-esque as they were in Cedar Rapids, but in 13 starts he's posted a 2.49 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 34 walks in 68.2 innings. Opponents are hitting just .232. He should start with the Miracle again in 2016 but he's showing the Twins exactly what they want to see from a prospect whose "stats are ahead of his stuff."
14 Jake Reed RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Reed came to the Miracle well after Burdi, so naturally he remains as he looks to sort himself out. In eight appearances since a well-earned demotion, Reed has thrown 11.1 scoreless innings, striking out seven, walking one, and posting a .211 opponent average. He's burning through Florida State League batters.
15 Adam Brett Walker RF Chattanooga (AA)
In June, Walker hit .316/.371/.758 with 11 home runs and 41 strikeouts in 25 games. He cooled off in July (.210/.286/.370) and is a block of ice so far in August, belting three home runs but hitting just .189/.304/.337. Put another way, he hit .270/.325/.585 with 19 home runs in the first half compared to .209/.301/.409 with ten home runs in the second half. One of those two is an impressive prospect. The other one is an aggressive slugger without a trace of discipline, and probably a non-prospect. 29 home runs and 100 RBI look sexy, but the road of the minor leagues is littered with sluggers who couldn't adapt up the ladder. There are obviously things to like here, but I feel like those things - as great as they are - are outnumbered in a sea of red flags.
16 Amaurys Minier LF/1B Elizabethton (Rookie)
It's just getting worse, so I'm not going to put much here. Minier is hitting .195/.274/.276 in 49 games.
17 Stuart Turner C Chattanooga (AA)
Like a few other players on this list, Turner's lines appear to be stabilizing. He's hitting .214/.314/.301, with too much of his offensive value tied up in a very good 12.4% walk rate. The Twins just need to be patient and hope that Turner's hit tool comes around a bit. Unfortunately there's not a lot of immediate help at catcher within the system, but rushing Turner would be a mistake. Truthfully he could probably receive Major League pitchers in 2016 if it came down to it, but nobody wants that. He needs time.
18 Chih-Wei Hu RHP Charlotte (A+)
Hu is back from the disabled list and has now made three starts and one relief appearance for the Charlotte Stone Crabs. It's been a rougher ride. For the Miracle he'd posted a 2.44 ERA in 84.2 innings, but in Charlotte the 5.40 ERA is buoyed by a pair of four-run outings where Hu couldn't get through the fifth.
19 Mitch Garver C Fort Myers (A+)
He's slowed down from his resurgence that we noted our last time out, but his season looks so much better than it did just a month ago. Garver is batting .249/.358/.340, that 13% walk rate doing wonders for his value at the plate. Even if he never recovers the power we saw in 2014, Garver's discipline makes him an interesting catcher to watch.
20 Tyler Duffey RHP Minnesota (MLB)
Duffey's outing against the Rays this week wasn't as impressive as his previous two starts, but since getting hammered by Toronto in his debut he's given the Twins 19 innings of four-run baseball. That's pretty good, and we've seen how good his curveball can be when he can pair it with the fastball. I'm still not sure what Duffey's upside is or where he might fit on this team for next year, but he's established himself as a player worthy of an extended look. He'll be in the conversation for the rotation out of spring training next year.
21 Travis Harrison LF/RF Chattanooga (AA)
Harrison posted some signs of breaking out of his slump over the last week, going 7-for-22 (.318) with six walks in his last seven games. But it's hard to call the season anything other than disappointing. The average is down to .236 and the power isn't enough to break a .360 slugging percentage. He'll be back next year, but he has work to do if he's going to re-establish himself as a legitimate prospect. He could drop out of our Top 30 for 2016.
22 Taylor Rogers LHP Rochester (AAA)
Rogers' inconsistency continues, and it may play on whether or not the Twins choose to add him to the 40-man roster and call him up in September. He struck out nine in 6.2 innings on Sunday and walked only one, but those four earned runs are a killer. His ERA on the year is still below 4.00, but with a 5.40 mark in his last ten games and 5.69 mark since the start of July the second half has been disappointing for this lefty.
23 Zack Jones RHP Fort Myers (A+)
Since our last update Jones has had a few good outings and a couple of let downs, but overall he's been impressive in Fort Myers. Since his demotion opponents are hitting just .147 against him, and with 31 strikeouts in 19.1 innings it's hard to see why Jones continues to float with the Miracle. He should be in the conversation for the 2016 bullpen and needs to be tested to see where his development really is.
24 Lewin Diaz 1B Elizabethton (Rookie)
Diaz's turn in Elizabethton has actually been worse than Minier's, hitting just .139/.225/.306 in 11 games since his move up from the GCL Twins.
25 Michael Cederoth RHP Cedar Rapids (A)
According to this report, Cederoth's "illness" was of a personal nature that he doesn't wish to disclose. I encourage you to read the full article, but suffice it to say that he's gearing himself back up into game shape. We may not see him pitch again this year, but he'll have his chances going forward.
26 J.R. Graham RHP Minnesota (MLB)
Graham is on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. He's served the minimum time he needs to serve on the MLB active roster, so the club could hide him on a "rehab" stint in the minor leagues once he's healthy. His season went in the pot in recent weeks, and now he owns a 5.15 ERA in 34 appearances and 57.2 innings.
27 J.T. Chargois RHP Chattanooga (AA)
Last time out we talked about how Chargois hadn't allowed a run since July 12. Yesterday, that streak finally ended. Since his promotion to Double-A, he owns a 3.18 ERA in 28.1 innings, striking out 24 and allowing just 23 hits. The 19 walks aren't great. It's hard to talk about how impressed I am by Chargois' performance this year, coming back after missing two full seasons due to various injuries.
28 Huascar Ynoa RHP Dominican Summer League (R)
Ynoa closed out the DSL season with a win, giving him a 2.70 ERA in 56.2 innings including 47 strikeouts and a .207 opponent batting average. People talk about how the competition level isn't as thick and fierce in the DSL, which is true, but when tracking a prospect that's just 17 and so far away you're more interested in trends than an overall stat line. But even if we start talking about personality, Ynoa ticked all the boxes this year. He's put together a great year and is poised for a climb in prospect rankings for 2016.
29 Levi Michael 2B Chattanooga (AA)
Maybe it was just a response to coming back from his injury, but Michael has picked it up again. He's hitting .295/.367/.455 in August - including a 13-for-34 (.382) mark over his last nine games. His season line is up to .266/.368/.443, which is very good for a second baseman. Michael is 24, so his upside will take a hit as a result, but considering his .313/.389/.387 performance in 2014 we might be seeing the blossoming of the Twins' 2011 first-round draft pick. He should climb the prospect list again next year, probably sneaking into the top 15.
30 Tanner English CF Cedar Rapids (A)
Manager Jake Mauer doesn't believe English will make it back healthy in time for the post-season for the Kernels, after diving for a ball in center field back on August 14. If that's the end of the year for English, the speedy 22-year old finishes the season with 37 steals in 44 attempts (84% success rate) and a .265/.359/.406 triple slash. That's a lot better than where he started the season, and it's a big exhibition for a player whose offensive upside is his biggest question mark. English will climb our rankings in 2016, although I wouldn't expect him to get out of the top 20. Regardless it's been a good year for the 11th-round pick from South Carolina.