After breaking out in an initial surge of support, J.T. Chargois managed to hold off a run by 17-year old Wandy Javier. Chargois, with the recent news about Nick Burdi, might become the club's first high-end reliever prospect to be called upon when the time comes.
The five prospects already on the ballot will remain for this round. We'll look at adding another name for Round 16.
John Hicks, C
2016 Age: 26
2015 High Level: Seattle (MLB)
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)
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)
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+)
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.