Minnesota Twins 2014 Top 15 Prospects


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

201321Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN1034553856210022444520460105.260.364.369.732142104

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

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

201321Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN129553508831413172710910031115.278.319.526.844267164

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

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

201323New BritainELAAMIN99.5004.51272722151.2149797614670159876591.4248.

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

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


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Generated 12/17/2013.

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

201322New BritainELAAMIN13158853966160221024530132494.297.333.386.71920888

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

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.

Sep 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Minnesota Twins catcher Josmil Pinto (43) hits a home run in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Target Field. The Twins won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports


Travis Harrison – 3B

Date of Birth: October 17, 1992

Height/Weight: 6’1 215

Acquired: 1st round (50th overall), 2011 draft

201320Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN1295374506611428015592468125.253.366.416.782187514

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Harrison was drafted in the first round and given an over-slot deal out of high school in 2011 because of his raw hitting ability, but that has yet to fully manifest itself statistically. He showed flashes of power, hitting fifteen home runs for Class-A Cedar Rapids and had a respectable .366 OBP, but his .253 average and 125 strikeouts left a lot to be desired. He’s very young and unpolished, though, and 25 homer power and a .280 average should come as he matures. He’s no Brooks Robinson at third, and he’ll never be much more than a below average defender, but he’s making strides. He had an outright clumsy .832 fielding percentage in 2012, having made 24 errors in just sixty games, but got that up to .915 this past season.

2014 Prognosis: Harrison will likely repeat the Class-A Midwestern league next year, probably with much better results, and be called up to High-A Fort Myers by July.


Josmil Pinto – C

Date of Birth: March 31, 1989

Height/Weight: 5’11 210 lb 

Acquired: International Free Agent

2013242 Teams2 LgsAA-AAAMIN126528456651413211574026683.309.400.482.882220144
201324New BritainELAAMIN107453386591192311468026471.308.411.482.89218683

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Lacking any plus tool, Pinto has been ignored as a prospect until he forced himself into the picture with tremendous statistical success. After a standout season in 2012, Pinto was sent to Double-A New Britain to start 2013 and had the best results of his professional career, showing on base ability and modest power. He had hit 14 home runs in the past, so 15 between Double and Triple-A this year was not a surprise, but the 66 walks were more than he had ever collected in a single season. A kid with enough plate discipline to get on base at a .400 clip will always find a path to the majors, and Pinto did, getting the call this past September and promptly going on a tear from behind the dish. He certainly will never hit .342 or slug .566 in a full season, but the numbers are certainly an indication of future success. The only question is whether he can stay at catcher, as he has always been a bit bulky for the position and – although this is a small sample size –  baseball reference lists him as having cost the Twins .2 wins in just 20 games behind the dish last year.

2014 Prognosis: He has clearly shown that the minor leagues are no longer a challenge and with Joe Mauer moving over to first base full time, Pinto is the obvious candidate for the starting catching job in Minnesota.


Max Kepler – OF

Date of Birth: February 10, 1993

Height/Weight: 6’4 180

Acquired: International Free Agent

201320Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN612632363556113940202443.237.312.424.73610022

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: There are only two German born players in all of Major League Baseball – Edwin Jackson and Jeff Baker – and Max Kepler might be the next. Kepler has great tools all around, with the ability to play an above average right field, hit for average and power, and even swipe a few bags. But after his first true statistical success in rookie ball in 2012, he failed to channel those tools onto the diamond this past season. He missed the first two and a half months of the year with an elbow injury, and looked overmatched in his first tour of the Midwestern league.. He hit only .237 with a 312 OBP, although his power numbers were not terrible, as he projected to hit about 20 home runs if he had played an entire season. Still, this year was a short sample size and his superior tools should keep him in the Twins’ top 10 and long term plans.

2014 Prognosis: Kepler will undoubtedly repeat Double-A next season and considering his struggles to this point, I’d imagine the Twins keep him there for the entire year.


Jose Berrios – RHP

Date of Birth: May 27, 1994

Height/Weight: 6’0 187

Acquired: 1st round (32nd overall), 2012 draft

201319Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN77.5003.9919190103.21055846640010091134551.3999.

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Conventional scouting wisdom dictates that small righthanders like the six foot, 187 pound Berrios can’t become viable major league starters. The Twins’ second first round pick from the 2012 draft, however, is trying to prove this principle wrong. After dominating in his professional debut last year, he posted a 3.99 ERA in his first full season, which, while not outstanding was acceptable. His peripherals were better as he struck out almost a batter per inning, and had a walk rate of only 3.5 BB/9 – a much better than most teenage pitching prospects. Berrios works off of a a low 90’s fastball which he can amp up to 96 when he needs, a fringe change up that should progress as he goes along, and a high-velocity hammer curve, which is his best best pitch.

2014 Prognosis: Keith Law wrote after the 2013 season that Berrios had the ability to start 2013 in High-A. He didn’t but he will next year and he’s polished enough to possibly reach Double-A by the summer.


Jorge Polanco

Date of Birth: July 5, 1993

Height/Weight: 5’11 165

Acquired: International Free Agent

201319Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN115523465761433210578444259.308.362.452.81321043

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: After spending three seasons in rookie ball, a 19 year old Polanco finally turned his good all around tools into full-season success with a solid performance in the A-level Midwest league. His .308 average and .362 average are both almost ideal numbers and are supported by an 8% walk rate and a 11% strikeout rate that, if posted by a major league, would be among the best in baseball. He only hit five home runs, but showed off gap power, hitting 32 doubles and ten triples en route to a .460 slugging percentage. A teenager in Class-A is invariably mostly projection, but statistical success like this is highly encouraging.

2014 Prognosis: Polanco has proven he can handle Low-A and he will move on to face stiffer competition at High-A Fort Myer to start next season.

Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Minnesota Twins center Byron Buxton reaches first on an error driving in a run in the third inning against East during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Kohl Stewart

Date of Birth: October 7, 1994

Height/Weight: 6’3 195

Acquired: First round (4th overall), 2013 draft

2013182 Teams2 LgsRkMIN001.357420.0137304024201840.8505.80.01.810.86.00

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Stewart was taken out of high school by the Twins with the 4th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft and proceeded to make only four starts and three relief appearances after that. In the combined 20 innings that he actually pitched for Minnesota’s rookie affiliates, he did precisely what would you would expect of a top five draft pick, pitching to a 1.35 ERA, 10.8 SO/9, and 1.8 BB/9. Stewart is no control artist and while his elite stuff – Mid-90s fastball, potentially above average changeup and plus slider – should allow him to maintain the strikeouts, the low ERA and walk total are likely just the results of small sample size.

2014 Prognosis: Stewart will report to Low-A Cedar Rapids to start next season. A two-sport star in high school, this will be the first year he focuses solely on pitching and it could take him several years to advance through the minor league ranks.


Eddie Rosario – 2B

Date of Birth: September 28th, 1991

Height/Weight: 6’0 190

Acquired: 4th Round, 2010 Draft

2013212 Teams2 LgsAA-A+MIN12254449680150328107310103896.302.350.460.81022882
201321Fort MyersFLORA+MIN522312074068135635361729.329.377.527.90310952
201321New BritainELAAMIN703132894082193438742167.284.330.412.74211930

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Rosario has done nothing but hit since he entered the majors and this year was no exception. Although he faltered slightly after being promoted to Double-A, he was playing against much older competition and his overall batting line was still impressive. The ten home runs and .302 average are probably what to expect from him going forward, despite the brief displays of 20+ homer power and .330+ averages he had put on in the past. His plate discipline left something to be desired yet again, as he walked only 38 times all year, leading to a 7.0% walk rate that was actually less than the year prior. Defensively, he continued to make strides at second after being drafted as an outfielder, but there is still work to be done.

2014 Prognosis: Rosario has been suspended fifty games at the start of next season for drug use, but will report to Double-A New Britain after that. The suspension will in all probability prevent him from accumulating enough at bats to move up to Triple-A.


Alex Meyer – RHP

Date of Birth: January 3, 1990

Height/Weight: 6’9 220

Acquired:  Trade, Washington Nationals

2013232 Teams2 LgsAA-RkMIN43.5712.99161678.167302633201003153331.2647.70.33.711.53.13
201323New BritainELAAMIN43.5713.21131370.06029253290843152991.2717.70.43.710.82.90

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: The sample size was small, as he dealt with shoulder injuries that forced him to miss most of the summer, but Meyer had a successful season in 2013. He continued to miss bats at a prolific rate – 11.5 K/9 – thanks to his overpowering fastball/slider combo. The book on Meyer had always been his wildness, but while his 3.7 BB/9 wasn’t sterling, it certainly indicated an improvement over the erratic offerings he threw in college. Any lingering concerns over his injury was assuaged after an impressive stint in the Arizona Fall League, as he pitched to a 3.12 ERA and struck out 28 batters in 26.0 innings there.

2014 Prognosis: Triple-A until July, then major league rotation.


Miguel Sano – 3B

Date of Birth: May 11, 1993 

Height/Weight: 6’3 195

Acquired: International Free Agent

2013202 Teams2 LgsAA-A+MIN123519439861233053510311365142.280.382.610.992268810
201320Fort MyersFLORA+MIN5624320651681521648922961.330.424.6551.07913526
201320New BritainELAAMIN6727623335551531955213681.236.344.571.91513364

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: The home runs and walks just keep coming for Sano, as he positions himself to be a high-power, high on base guy going forward. He was the second youngest player in all of baseball to go yard thirty five times last year, and his 13% walk rate would place him in the top tier in the majors for plate discipline. That being said, his inability to make consistent contact came to light when he was promoted to Double-A, as he proceeded to hit just .236 and strikeout in 29% of his plate appearances. Adam Dunn‘s career strikeout rate, by contrast, is just 28%. His defense at third was also suspect, but, as MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo points out, he has the potential to improve and stay there long term.

2014 Prognosis: Sano will return to Double-A next season, where he will likely remain until he learns how to field his position and make more efficient contact.


Byron Buxton – OF

Date of Birth: December 18, 1993

Height/Weight: 6’2 189

Acquired: 1st round (2nd overall), 2012 draft

2013192 Teams2 LgsA-A+MIN12557448810916319181277551976105.334.424.520.94425453
201319Cedar RapidsMIDWAMIN683212706892151085532114456.341.431.559.99015141
201319Fort MyersFLORA+MIN572532184171484222383249.326.415.472.88710312

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2013.

Analysis: Buxton is not only the top prospect in the Twins system, he is arguably the number one overall prospect in all of baseball, having been ranked as such by Baseball America, MLB.com, and ESPN. After being drafted second overall in 2012, he tore up the minors in his first professional season, swiping 50+ bases, hitting over .330, knocking 49 extra base hits, while also playing excellent defense in centerfield. More impressive was his approach at the plate, which was well beyond that of most every teenage prospect, as he walked 76 times (13% walk rate) and racked up only 105 strikeouts. The 12 home runs may not seem like a lot, but he’s still a teenager, and that can turn into 25 homer power as he fills out.

2014 Prognosis: 20 year olds don’t generally report to Double-A to start their second professional season, but Buxton will be the exception. If he has a similar performance there as he did in A ball this past year, he could be in the majors by September.