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Twinkie Town prospect vote: Round 14

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A fleet of candidates vie for your applause.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Many thanks to DJL44 for picking us up for Round 13. As he noted, Byung Ho Park won Round 12. It was one of the closest contests in our community voting history, topping Adam Brett Walker 706 votes to 705. Engelb Vielma finished a distant third.

Walker took Round 13 in a landslide. His notoriety in the fanbase, having been a popular prospect over the last couple years not to mention the reputation that precedes him in terms of his power tool, made itself clear in comparison to all other players on the ballot.

Now that he's off the list, we carry on with Vielma and the five other prospects DJL44 put forward for your consideration. Below you'll find a brief report on each player, followed by your opportunity to make your voice heard. Who will win Round 14?

Twins top 30 prospects for 2016

  1. Byron Buxton, CF - 55% (Berrios 24%, Kepler 21%)
  2. Jose Berrios, RHP - 62% (Kepler 38%)
  3. Max Kepler, OF/1B - 78% (Jay 10%, Gordon 9%, Polanco 3%)
  4. Nick Gordon, SS - 59% (Jay 32%, Polanco 9%)
  5. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP - 59% (Jay 32%, Park 5%, Polanco 3%, Stewart 1%)
  6. Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS - 50 % (Jay 37%, Park 12%, Stewart 2%)
  7. Tyler Jay, LHP - 44% (Stewart 42%, Park 14%)
  8. Kohl Stewart, RHP - 62% (Park 21%, Burdi 11%, Meyer 4%, Vielma 2%)
  9. Nick Burdi, RHP - 44% (Park 33%, Meyer 21%, Vielma 2%)
  10. Lewis Thorp3, LHP - 44% (Walker 38%, Park 14%, Meyer 4%, Vielma 1%)
  11. Alex Meyer, RHP - 50% (Park 26%, Walker 22%, Vielma 1%)
  12. Byung Ho Park, 1B - 49% (Walker 49%, Vielma 1%)
  13. Adam Brett Walker, OF - 57% (Chargois 15%, Vielma 9%, Javier 9%, Rogers 5%, Hicks 3%, Jorge 2%)

J.T. Chargois, RHP
2016 Age: 25
2015 High Level: Chattanooga (AA)

Year Age Lvl ERA G GF SV IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2012 21 Rookie 1.69 12 8 5 16.0 0.94 5.6 0.0 2.8 12.4 4.4
2015 24 A+, AA 2.62 48 34 15 48.0 1.31 7.1 0.2 4.7 9.9 2.1
2 Seasons 2.39 60 42 20 64.0 1.22 6.8 0.1 4.2 10.5 2.5

In his first game action after missing all of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, rehabbing injury through much of '13 before having Tommy John surgery which kept him out all of the following year, Chargois acquitted himself of any doubts about his return to form. That had to have been as much of a relief to him as to the organization or anyone else.

What makes Chargois so alluring as a prospect is his ability to bear down on hitters. His fastball rests in the upper 90s, and he pairs it with a devastating slider/curve. The fastball, possibly the best in the organization, is rated between a 70 and 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, with the breaking ball and changeup usually sitting between 50 and 60; the secondary pitches are obviously lagging behind the fastball, but the slurve looks like a plus pitch in the making and the change might just have needed a bit more time to come online after missing two full seasons.

Command was an issue last year, particularly after his promotion to Double-A, but improvements are expected now that he's shaken off the rust a bit. Chargois is bound for Double-A for the time being, and based on his performance in 2015 it's only a matter of time until he's called into action.

John Hicks, C
2016 Age: 26
2015 High Level: Seattle (MLB)

Year Age Lvl G PA 2B HR SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2011 21 A 38 148 9 2 2 3 5 17 .309 .331 .446 .777
2012 22 A+ 121 538 32 15 22 8 28 73 .312 .351 .472 .824
2013 23 AA 80 327 14 4 13 4 22 62 .236 .301 .331 .632
2014 24 AA, AAA 81 323 12 5 7 3 27 66 .290 .351 .403 .754
2015 25 AAA 83 320 15 6 9 2 17 71 .245 .282 .362 .645
5 Seasons 403 1656 82 32 53 20 99 289 .280 .326 .408 .734

When the Twins claimed Hicks in December, it wasn't a move that was greeted with any real ceremony. After all, he Hicks hit just 2-for-32 in his Major League debut for the Mariners and he hasn't exactly set the world on first at Triple-A. What Hicks does well is catch. Scouting reports list his "pop time" - the time between receiving a pitch and getting rid of the ball to throw out a base runner - at less than two seconds.

He fits the mold of a traditional third catcher, perhaps with a bit more upside. You can see that he has, at times in the minors, hit well. He often gets credited with the phrases that are only applied to prospects who aren't expected to hit - that he's a student of the game, knows his pitchers and the opposing batters, and that his tools allow him to make up whatever ground he loses in arm strength.

Hicks is the third and final catcher on the 40-man roster. His acquisition allows the Twins to not rush Stuart Turner. In a backup capacity or as a short-term starter at the Major League level he'd probably be okay, but we need to see more from Hicks before we can project him into a larger role.

Wander Javier, SS
2016 Age: 17
2015 High Level: Did not play

MLB.com scouting grades: Hit 50 | Power 50 | Run 50 | Arm 60 | Field 50 | Overall 45

The number 15 prospect in the organization according to mlb.com, Javier was signed on the opening day of the international signing period last year for $4 million. If the scouting grades don't shout "budding star," there are a couple of reasons for that. In the first instance he's still very far away from being MLB-ready, only just turning 17 in December. Secondly, it's important to remember that a prospect with average (or slightly above average) tools across the board will make for a very promising player. Three or four years from now these grades will look very different, and by that point we'll have a better idea which tools might be a bit more tantalizing.

Due to spend 2016 (and perhaps 2017 depending on his performance) in the Dominican Summer League, Javier's ceiling made him the #12 ranked international prospect for the 2014-2015 signing period. Scouts talk about each of his skills in turn, talking about any of them ending up being a plus tool down the road. There are also some mechanical issues, but that's to be expected when you sign kids at this age.

Javier is likely to be on our prospect radar for a long time. Where does he fit on our 2016 prospect list?

Felix Jorge, RHP
2016 Age: 22
2015 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2011 17 F-Rookie 2.67 9 5 27.0 1.04 6.3 0.0 3.0 8.7 2.9
2012 18 Rookie 2.34 12 7 34.2 1.21 7.8 0.0 3.1 9.6 3.1
2013 19 Rookie 2.95 12 12 61.0 1.21 8.3 0.3 2.7 10.6 4.0
2014 20 Rookie, A 4.97 24 20 105.0 1.42 9.9 0.9 2.9 7.2 2.5
2015 21 A 2.79 23 22 142.0 1.06 7.5 0.7 2.0 7.2 3.6
5 Seasons 3.38 80 66 369.2 1.20 8.2 0.6 2.6 8.1 3.2

After something of a disappointing campaign in 2014, Jorge rebounded last summer to deliver a performance worthy of his prospect ranking. What he lacks in stuff he makes up for with a good mix of pitches that seem to be improving. Jorge is tall and thin, and is aggressive in going after hitters. His strikeout rates will drop as he climbs the ladder, but if the fastball-changeup combination continues to improve there's hope that he'll stick as a starting pitcher.

Still young and somewhat raw, there's a belief that the stuff can get better - especially if the breaking ball, a slider that improved through the season, can become a pitch Jorge can consistently throw for strikes. He should be challenged at Fort Myers in 2016. If he puts forward another strong season, there will be a bigger argument for him to crack the organization's Top 15.

Jorge was eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December. He was a strategic omission, with the Twins believing the right-hander was still too raw for anyone to take a risk on. The gamble paid off, but another good year will virtually guarantee his addition to the 40-man roster in the fall.

Taylor Rogers, LHP
2016 Age: 25
2015 High Level: Rochester (AAA)

Year Age Lvl ERA G GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K:BB
2012 21 Rookie, A 2.27 15 10 63.1 1.11 7.5 1.0 2.4 10.5 4.4
2013 22 A, A+ 2.88 25 24 140.2 1.20 8.5 0.4 2.3 6.0 2.6
2014 23 AA 3.29 24 24 145.0 1.29 9.3 0.2 2.3 7.0 3.1
2015 24 AAA 3.98 28 27 174.0 1.35 9.8 0.5 2.3 6.5 2.9
4 Seasons 3.29 92 85 523.0 1.26 9.1 0.4 2.3 7.0 3.0

Rogers has been a competent pitcher throughout his minor league career with the Twins, but suffers from Good-Not-Great Syndrome. He doesn't have one really good pitch, he doesn't have really good stuff, and when a player is coming up through the system it can be a challenge to peg a prospect who doesn't have one single asset that sticks out. Consistency doesn't breed excitement.

With nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, Rogers was for a time considered a candidate for the second lefty arm in the Twins bullpen. While he clearly has the pitches and the stamina to start, he's much more effective versus left-handed hitters than right. Just in 2015, righties hit .326 off of him with an .831 OPS. Lefties hit .177 with a .402 OPS, and he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning.

Right now, Rogers is absolutely buried on the Twins' starting pitcher depth chart. Minnesota's stated rotation is set for Opening Day, Trevor May, Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey, and maybe even Alex Meyer are on deck before the 25-year old lefty would get a sniff. If he's going to have a Major League career with the Twins, it'll have to come through the bullpen. And in that role, Rogers could be very, very effective.

Engelb Vielma, SS
2016 Age: 22
2015 High Level: Fort Myers (A+)

Year Age Lvl G PA H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2012 18 F-Rookie 44 181 42 4 3 0 16 5 18 27 .268 .354 .331 .685
2013 19 Rookie 48 178 36 3 0 0 8 3 16 30 .234 .318 .253 .571
2014 20 A 112 459 111 13 4 1 10 6 28 71 .266 .313 .323 .636
2015 21 A+ 120 501 119 9 2 1 35 12 35 71 .270 .321 .306 .627
4 Seasons 324 1319 308 29 9 2 69 26 97 199 .263 .322 .309 .631

Vielma has been in the system for four years now, and has quietly moved up the ladder in spite of underwhelming offensive numbers. Yet his bat has been just good enough to pair with his stellar defensive tools, making his promotion justifiable every step of the way.

His tools are impressive, combining a strong arm with good range and the sweet phrase every scout loves to hear: soft hands. Maturity and leadership on and off the field are intangible benefits that endear him to teammates and coaches alike. As Roger has said on multiple occasions, Vielma has the potential to be one of the best defensive shortstops in the Major Leagues. If he can hit .250 and boast a .290 on-base percentage (because he's never going to hit for power and walked in just 7% of his plate appearances last year), that will be good enough to make him an everyday player. He just has to show that he can get there; the bat is always going to be the question, and because of his size (5' 11" and 150 lbs are likely overstated) he'll always need to prove it.

Following the 2016 season the Twins will need to add Vielma to their 40-man roster. A successful campaign in Double-A will set up a Minnesota debut sometime in 2017, and he could - at some juncture - be considered as the club's starting shortstop.