There’s a reason the last place Twins have been so aggressive in free agency this offseason: they have spent these past few seasons amassing one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, and their prospects are on the verge of breaking out. No other organization boasts the same pair of potential superstars at the top of their system, and few have the level of depth that Minnesota does. You may soon see a few of these in all star games and MVP ballots, but now they sit here as just vessels of potential – the Twins’ 2014 Top 15 Prospects.
Special thanks to Colin Kottke of Twins blog Pucket’s Pond for his invaluable aid in the completion of this list.
The Twins minor league affiliates:
Triple-A: Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Double-A: New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League)
High-A: Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State League)
Class-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels (Midwestern League)
Short-Season A: Elizabethton Twins (Applachian League)
Complex-Rookie: GCL Twins (Gulf Coast League)
Niko Goodrum – SS
Date of Birth: February 28,1992
Height/Weight: 6’3 170
Acquired: 2nd Round, 2010 MLB Draft
Analysis: Goodrum is all projection at this point – a clumsy amalgamation of tools that have yet to come together on the diamond. Baseball America has projected him to hit for power, but he had only four round-trippers last season and scouts certainly expect him to hit better than a paltry .260. The only statistically impressive point is his plate discipline as he had a 13% walk rate last season, leading to a .364 OBP. This mature approach at the plate will accelerate his development once his latent skills start to show. Defensively, he currently plays short and has a chance of sticking there, but Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com sees him as a third baseman down the line and the Twins have flirted with the idea of moving him to the outfield.
2014 Prognosis: Goodrum wasn’t particularly impressive at Cedar Rapids last season; no reason to move him up for the next. If he does he begin to hit in the Midwestern league next season – and I think he will – he could see a promotion to High-A after just a couple of months.
Adam Walker – OF
Date of Birth: October 18, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’4 225
Acquired: 3rd round, 2012 draft
Analysis: Walker hit .278 last year, led the Midwest league with 27 homers, plays a fluid right field, and can even swipe a bag too – that’s the good. The bad is 31 walks and 115 strikeouts in 553 plate appearances, and the resultant .319 OBP. He certainly has power and defensive chops, but his lack of discipline and inability to make contact may be exposed in the upper levels and lead to low averages and worse low on base percentages. He will have to improve his approach at the plate as no one will care about his home run totals, if he’s getting on base at a .290 clip.
2014 Prognosis: Players who lead their leagues home runs generally earn promotions to the next level.
Trevor May – RHP
Date of Birth: September 23, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’5 215
Acquired: Trade, Philadelphia Phillies
Analysis: Back in 2011, when he was still in the Phillies organization, May was considered to be one of the best live arms in baseball – a cannon who just needed to find some control and a third pitch. Two years later, May still hits 96 MPH with movement and backs it up with a solid changeup, but he is just as erratic as ever, and his curveball and slider are still wildly inconsistent. In his second year in Double-A, the 23 year old righthander got lit up to a 4.51 ERA and walked four batters per nine over 28 starts. This comes a year after he posted a 4.87 ERA and walked 4.7 per nine at the same level. He can still miss bats 9.4 K/9 in 2013, so there’s still potential for success, but it may ultimately come as a reliever.
2014 Prognosis: The Twins will probably give May one last chance to be a starter, but if he struggles – and his past record indicates he will – he may finally be moved to the bullpen.
Lewis Thorpe – LHP
Date of Birth: November 23, 1995
Height/Weight: 6’1 160 lb
Acquired: International Free Agent
Analysis: You don’t hear about a lot of Australians in major league baseball, but you’ll likely hear Aussie Lewis Thorpe’s name a lot in the coming years. The 18 year old lefthander got his first taste of professional ball this past season and was brilliant, posting a 10.7:1 K:BB ratio and a 2.05 ERA over 44.0 innings in the GCL rookie league. Thorpe is an excellent example of what scouts mean when they say, “projectable,” or that a kid, will “fill out.” Since signing with the Twins, Thorpe has grown an inch, tacked on 55 pounds, and as a result, took his fastball from 86-88 MPH, to 88-93 MPH. He’s a long ways off but with four potential major league quality pitches, he could have a very bright future.
Prognosis 2014: With Thorpe’s dominance of rookie ball in 2013, the Twins will probably push him to A-level Cedar Rapids next season.
Danny Santana – SS
Date of Birth: November 7, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11, 160
Acquired: International Free Agent
Analysis: Fast, with good range and arm in the field, a line drive swing, and little power, Santana is the classic old-time shortstop. He got his first taste of Double-A this past year, and played well, hitting .297 with gap power – twenty two doubles and ten triples – and thirty stolen bases. He only hit two home runs, but no one’s expecting him to hit more than 5 or six out per year. More importantly, he doesn’t walk a lot, with just 24 in 588 plate appearances (4% walk rate, less than one half the big league average) last season, and his OBP, already slightly below average at .333, will fall as he moves on to triple-A and the majors. If he doesn’t improve his discipline, he’ll never be a big league regular.
Prognosis 2014: Having successfully completed Double-A, Santana will start next season in Triple-A, and could be called on if there’s an injury in the Minnesota infield.