As the top Twins prospect, and one of the best shortstop prospects in the minor leagues, Brooks Lee got an in depth look to evaluate his performance not only at the plate, but also in the field. Unfortunately for the Twins, there’s very little good news for the rest of what has been an often accessed and depleted farm system for the past few years. Graduates are many so the list might omit a few guys you’d expect to see like Julien, Varland, and Lewis. As it stands, it’s highly likely the Twins will have only Brooks Lee in the top 100 at the end of the season and the farm system overall rank should drop into the 25+ category which generally signals the twilighting of the competitive window for small and mid market team. I've used the MLB.com prospects list as it honestly doesn't matter much. Other than Brooks Lee, the Twins probably don't have another consensus A or B tier prospect in the system.
#2 – Emmanuel Rodriguez, Cedar Rapids Kernels (A+), a20, .206/.367/.397 ISO .191 OPS .764 wRC+ 124
Rodriguez’s bat took a nosedive compared to the previous amazing and seemingly unsustainable season in Low-A in every single imaginable category. BB rate is still very good at 19.3% (down from the nutso 28.6% last year), but the K rate has risen back up to alarming levels at 31.7%. Power has dropped off considerably, though pop is still there with a .191 ISO, and the BABIP is suggesting the underlying numbers aren’t terribly unlucky. Defensively, Rodriguez is holding his own in center field relative to his peers, but he’s certainly not playing at elite level. Cedar Rapids looks middle of the road in terms of pitching this year in terms of putting balls into play so the RF/9 probably doesn’t need adjusting. A middle of the road RF/9 at 2.65 with a below average fielding percentage of .978 suggests he’s likely to remain solid at the position. Rodriguez is just 20 years old and for high A, that’s young. Relative to his peers, he’s a year or two younger, but he’s not likely to grow into any additional power being already listed at 5’10" and 210lbs. More weight would, no doubt, put him out of CF. The Midwest League’s CF prospect list is short, but Rodriguez would certainly not outrank the Cubs’ Kevin Alcantara, who himself is a fringey top 100 guy as the Cubs’ 5th or so ranked prospect.
#3 – Connor Prielipp, CPX, a22, IL
No need to put stats into the header as Prielipp has spent nearly the entire year on the IL with problems in his previously surgically repaired elbow. He made a start in April at A+, spent 2 months on the IL, then made a start at the Complex and promptly returned to the IL after not making it through 3 innings. It’s pretty questionable if he’ll make the big show at this point, and I suspect another TJ is in the works at this point. If so, he essentially won’t pitch competitively until age 24 and he’ll be massively behind his peers.
#4 – Marco Raya, Wichita Wind Surge (AA), a20, (A+ stats) 2.94 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 10.43 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 0.92 WHIP
Raya’s had a real nice season starting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, putting up a pretty elite 29.5% K rate while managing a reasonable 6.1% BB rate. Raya’s innings have been heavily limited this year, generally not pitching more than 3 innings per start. Despite the nice peripherals, Raya is not particularly efficient in his starts, frequently hitting over 50 pitches, but Raya does have 4 pitches to work on in his development so a higher pitch count isn’t necessarily unexpected. In any case, his performance definitely warranted a promotion to AA at only age 20 where he’ll be pitching against high quality prospects 2 years older and general prospects 3-4 years older so Twins fans should keep their fingers crossed!
#5 – Matt Wallner, St. Paul Saints (AAA), a25, .292/.403/.528, .211 ISO, OPS .931, wRC+ 132
I shouldn’t need to type out much as the fans are familiar with Wallner’s bat at the MLB level already. Wallner brings 60 grade game power to the table, and he’s learned to be acceptably selective with his pitches at the AAA level with a 12.8% walk rate this year to follow up with his 15.3% BB rate last year. He’s got nothing left to prove at AAA and the only reason he’s down on the farm is the Twins carrying too many veteran boat anchors on short contracts, the stout refusal to put Buxton in CF, and the fact that Wallner’s defense is terrible. Wallner’s sprint speed is near center fielder territory (about 28 ft/sec) and he has a cannon arm, but his reactions are poor and his route running is exceptionally crude.