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Twinkie Town Prospect Vote: Round 30

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This is it. The end of the road.

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins
Can Aaron Slegers grab the last slot in our top 30?

Newly acquired outfielder Jake Cave won round 29. I am adding several new choices to consider for the final spot on the ballot.

Twins Top 30 prospects for 2018

  1. Royce Lewis - 57% (Gonsalves 25%, Gordon 18%)
  2. Stephen Gonsalves - 55% (Gordon 30%, Javier 10%, Romero 5%)
  3. Nick Gordon - 65% (Romero 19%, Javier 9%, Kirilloff 7%)
  4. Zack Littell - 57% (Romero 27%, Javier 13%, Kirilloff 4%)
  5. Fernando Romero 46% (Rooker 24%, Javier 21%, Kirilloff 9%)
  6. Wander Javier 44% (Rooker 31%, Kirilloff 13%, Enlow 7%, Graterol 5%)
  7. Brent Rooker 55% (Kirilloff 26%, Baddoo 7%, Graterol 7%, Enlow 5%)
  8. Alex Kirilloff 47% (Thorpe 23%, Graterol 13%, Baddoo 10%, Enlow 7%)
  9. Lewis Thorpe 30% (Graterol 22%, Baddoo 21%, Jay 16%, Enlow 12%)
  10. Brudsar Graterol 29% (Baddoo 19%, Enlow 19%, Garver 17%, Jay 14%)
  11. Akil Baddoo 32% (Enlow 27%, Jay 19%, Garver 15%, Jorge 7%)
  12. Blayne Enlow 48% (Jay 22%, Garver 21%, Jorge 8%)
  13. Tyler Jay 41% (Garver 38%, Wade 11%, Jorge 10%)
  14. Mitch Garver 48% (Wade 18%, Moya 14%, Curtiss 13%, Jorge 6%)
  15. LaMonte Wade 25% (Moya 23%, Curtiss 16%, Palacios 15%, Diaz 13%, Jorge 9%)
  16. Gabriel Moya 32% (Palacios 19%, Curtiss 17%, Diaz 14%, Jorge 9%, Blankenhorn 9%)
  17. Zack Granite 24% (Curtiss 21%, Palacios 20%, Diaz 18%, Jorge 11%, Blankenhorn 6%)
  18. John Curtiss 31% (Severino 29%, Diaz 19%, Jorge 14%, Blankenhorn 7%)
  19. Yunior Severino 33% (Diaz 26%, Jorge 25%, Rortvedt 13%, Blankenhorn 4%)
  20. Felix Jorge 41% (Diaz 28%, Bechtold 11%, Rortvedt 11%, Blankenhorn 9%)
  21. Lewin Diaz 49% (Rortvedt 15%, Bechtold 14%, Stewart 13%, Blankenhorn 9%)
  22. Ben Rortvedt 29% (Bechtold 22%, Blankenhorn 20%, Stewart 17%, Pearson 12%)
  23. Travis Blankenhorn 30% (Arraez 18%, Bechtold 17%, Stewart 16%, Miranda 12%, Pearson 6%)
  24. Luis Arraez 27% (Bechtold 24%, Stewart 24%, Miranda 13%, Pearson 10%)
  25. Andrew Bechtold 36% (Stewart 26%, Leach 19%, Miranda 14%, Pearson 5%)
  26. Landon Leach 32% (Stewart 32%, Miranda 18%, Banuelos 11%, Pearson 7%)
  27. Kohl Stewart 41% (Miranda 33%, Pearson 14%, Watson 9%, Banuelos 4%)
  28. Jose Miranda 50% (Jax 18%, Pearson 17%, Banuelos 8%, Watson 8%)
  29. Jake Cave 36% (Banuelos 21%, Pearson 17%, Jax 15%, Watson 11%)

Here are your choices for the final round of voting:

Jacob Pearson, LF

2018 Age: 20

2017 High Level: Arizona Angels (Rookie)

Jacob Pearson was drafted by the Angels out of high school in the third round of the 2017 draft. Pearson was considered the top high school talent in Louisiana on draft day so the Angels went overslot and signed him for a $1M bonus. He was acquired by the Twins for the opportunity to spend $1M in international bonus money. The Angels used that money to acquire Shohei Otani so I’m guessing they’re pretty happy with that trade. Pearson had a rough introduction to wood bat leagues hitting just .226/.302/.284 for the Angels’ rookie team but appeared to be making adjustments as the season progressed. Pearson projects as a future left fielder with enough speed to cover that position but due to a shoulder surgery not enough arm for CF. Scouts think he can hit for power and like his approach at the plate. He is also praised for his work ethic. Expect to see Pearson working in extended spring training before being sent to Elizabethton this summer.

David Banuelos, C

2018 Age: 21

2017 High Level: Everett (A-)

Banuelos was drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners. Prior to being drafted he was the starting catcher for the Long Beach State Dirtbags (no joke). Banuelos had a great reputation as a quality defensive player behind the plate in college throwing out 61% of opposing base stealers his sophomore year. This defensive ability got him named an honorable mention All-American as well as the college gold glove at catcher. The Mariners started him at their short season A team the Everett AquaSox (also not kidding) and he hit .236/.331/.394 while continuing to impress with his defense (38% caught stealing). The Twins acquired Banuelos in exchange for $1M in international bonus pool allocation so the Mariners could pursue Shohei Ohtani (they didn’t get him). Banuelos has an elite glove and will need to continue to produce at or above his established .730 OPS at the plate to advance through the minors. The Twins added him to a talented Cedar Rapids team this summer.

Tyler Watson, SP

2018 Age: 21

2017 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

The Washington Nationals took a flyer on Tyler Watson with the 34th round pick in the 2015 MLB draft. He was committed to Loyola Marymount but the Nationals were able to sign him for a $400,000 bonus. In 2016 he performed very well in the New York - Penn League posting a 2.09 RA, 1.9 BB.9 and 10.0 K/9. This earned him a mid-year promotion to Hagerstown in the Sally League. In 2017 he started at Hagerstown again and he had very good peripherals (2.3 BB/9 9.5 K/9) though his run average was above 4. The Twins acquired him when they traded Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals at the July trade deadline. Watson doesn’t have an overpowering fastball (87-90 MPH) but he is a lefty and he has an above average curve and changeup. He is listed at 6’5” and 200 pounds so there is hope that as he adds muscle he will add fastball velocity. His strikeout rate took a dive at Cedar Rapids after the trade which is why he is starting the season in Iowa but expect to see him at Fort Myers some time this summer.

Griffin Jax, SP

2018 Age: 23

2017 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

The Twins selected Griffin Jax in the third round of the 2016 MLB draft from the Air Force Academy. He pitched very well and was named co-pitcher of the year for the Mountain West conference in his junior year. When Jax was drafted the Twins and Jax thought there was a chance that his military commitment could be served in the Air Force reserves and Jax could pitch for the Twins simultaneously. Unfortunately for the Twins the current military policy says Jax has to serve two years in active duty before he can start his athletic career. Jax has been able to pitch a total of 39-2/3 innings while on leave and has shown a 90-93 MPH fastball, a decent slider and a changeup while avoiding walks (1.8 BB/9). He is able to continue to train while doing his job as a procurement officer but hasn’t seen much game action. There is some hope he will be able to pitch some innings for Fort Myers this summer since his job is located in Cape Canaveral but that is not definite. We will have to wait until next summer to see what Jax can do with a full season in the minor leagues. No pitcher from the Air Force Academy has ever made the big leagues so I’m sure if Jax is successful he will have a large cheering section.

Aaron Slegers, SP

2018 Age: 25

2017 High Level: Twins (MLB)

The Twins drafted Aaron Slegers out of Indiana University in the 5th round of the 2013 draft. Listed at 6’10” he has height that other pitching prospects envy. Slegers has pitched consistently well in the minors but hasn’t been particularly young for his level and he doesn’t strike out many (6.6 K/9). He uses a consistent delivery to hit his spots avoiding HR (0.6 HR/9) and walks (2.0 BB/9) while piling up innings (generally 150IP per season). He made his Twins debut last summer and is starting the 2018 season in AAA. His role in 2018 is to be starting pitching depth in the minors but there is the possibility that Slegers can add some velocity to his low 90’s fastball and become a major league starting pitcher or a tall change of pace in the bullpen.

Tyler Wells, SP

2018 Age: 23

2017 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Tyler Wells was the Twins 15th round selection in the 2016 draft from Cal State San Bernardino. He has steadily climbed the minor league ladder posting a great strikeout rate (10.9 K/9), decent walk rate (3.0 BB/9) and only allowing six HR in 140 innings. He has a pretty standard fastball, changeup and slider arsenal but uses his pitches effectively. He had some biceps tendinitis last July but has started well this season at Fort Myers. If all goes well we should expect to see him pitch for AA Chattanooga next season and we will see how he does with more advanced hitters.

Jovani Moran, RP

2018 Age: 21

2017 High Level: Elizabethton (Rookie)

In the seventh round of the 2015 MLB draft the Twins picked lefty Jovani Moran from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. He pitched 6 games for the Gulf Coast Twins that summer, then had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow that kept him out all of 2016. The Twins sent him to Elizabethton last summer and Moran was dominant out of the bullpen. He gave up only 2 runs in 24-2/3 innings while striking out 45 batters. As a skinny lefty with swing-and-miss stuff his future is almost certainly in the bullpen. Moran started the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids with a very talented group of teammates. If he can control his pitches and throw strikes with his nasty stuff he should continue to earn promotions.

Aaron Whitefield, OF

2018 Age: 21

2017 High Level: Cedar Rapids (A)

Aaron Whitefield might be the sleepiest “sleeper” prospect in the Twins minor leagues. He was a multi-sport athlete as a kid, participating in rubgy, track, and Australian rules football before switching to fastpitch softball at age 13. His parents were both high level fastpitch softball players and Aaron proved to be a natural, earning a spot on the Australian national team when they traveled to Argentina. At age 15 he decided to give baseball a try while continuing to play fastpitch which got him noticed by some baseball scouts. It wasn’t until age 17 and he was signed by the Twins that he switched over to playing baseball full time. Whitefield is a terrific athlete but was understandably pretty raw his first rookie ball season in 2015. He hit only .167 with no power for the Gulf Coast Twins but did better that winter in Australia hitting .314/.324/.457 while sharing time between 2B and CF. In 2016 he returned to the states and the Twins played him all over the field trying to find him a position. He hit .298/.370/.366 while repeating the GCL. When the season was over he was added to the World Baseball Classic roster for Australia. The Twins decided to skip Elizabethton and send him to Cedar Rapids last spring. He hit .262/.318/.414 and was the everyday centerfielder for the Kernels. In 2018 he has already drawn rave reviews for his outfield defense in Fort Myers. Whitefield understandably needs playing time to develop but he has made the most of every opportunity so far.

Poll

Who is the 30th and final prospect on our list?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Jacob Pearson
    (25 votes)
  • 5%
    David Banuelos
    (16 votes)
  • 4%
    Tyler Watson
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    Griffin Jax
    (7 votes)
  • 54%
    Tyler Wells
    (159 votes)
  • 16%
    Aaron Slegers
    (48 votes)
  • 3%
    Jovani Moran
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Aaron Whitefield
    (16 votes)
294 votes total Vote Now