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Prospect Profiles: Minnesota Twins

Prospect Profiles: Minnesota Twins Image via Sportsgraphics36


A look at the farm system of the Minnesota Twins

The 2016 season for the Minnesota Twins was an utter disappointment on many levels, culminating in a disastrous 59-103 win-loss record and the removal of General Manager Terry Ryan at mid-season. Twins manager Paul Molitor faced criticism for how he chose to handle number one prospect Byron Buxton, as well as a team with perceived upside. With a new year comes a new season with renewed optimism. We will take a look at the future of the Minnesota Twins by taking a trip to the minors. Here are the top ten prospects in the Twins system.

Nick Gordon, SS

Gordon was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the 2014 amateur draft. Gordon is the son of former big league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon and the brother of current Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon spent the 2016 season with Class A Advanced affiliate Fort Myers, hitting .291 with three home runs and six triples, while swiping 19 bases. Gordon projects as an everyday shortstop that will hit for average and possess decent power towards the gaps. His fielding ability is above average but his speed on the base paths will prove a huge asset to the everyday lineup. If the Twins can develop Gordon and pair him in the line-up with another burner like Byron Buxton, the sky’s the limit.

ETA: 2018

Stephen Gonsalves, LHP

Gonsalves was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. His draft stock tumbled due to a rough senior season in high -school. The Minnesota Twins brought Gonsalves along slowly only to watch him explode onto the scene in 2016. Gonsalves posted a 13-5 record with an ERA of 2.06. Gonsalves features a cutter, curve and slider to go along with a fastball that hovers in the low 90’s. His improvements on his breaking pitches led to an impressive second half of the 2016 season. He projects as a third starter in the rotation but there is tremendous upside which the Twins are extremely excited about. While teams have been making moves this off-season, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think teams reached out on the possibility of acquiring Gonsalves. That’s not a move the Twins are willing to make at this point.

ETA: 2017

Fernando Romero, RHP

Romero was signed in 2011 by the Minnesota Twins and has suffered some setbacks in his short career. Romero arguably could have been considered one of the best pitching prospects in the majors, until he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 causing him to miss the remainder of that season and all of the 2015 campaign. Romero returned for the 2016 season posting a 9-3 record with a 1.89 ERA. Romero features a plus fastball that sits in the mid 90’s and occasionally hits high 90’s. He complements his fastball with a slider and change-up which he has great feel for. Romero is still considered raw and has huge upside, making him a valuable piece to the Twins future.

ETA: 2018

Alex Kirilloff, OF

Kirilloff was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft at number 15 overall. Kirilloff hit .306 with seven home runs for rookie affiliate Elizabethtown. Kirilloff features a short compact swing and displays great ability to square up the baseball on a consistent basis. His raw power is an attractive attribute to go along with his plus arm in the outfield. He projects as a corner outfielder, and his power ability leads many to believe he will be an everyday player.

ETA: 2020

Tyler Jay, LHP

Jay was selected sixth overall in the 2015 draft. Jay’s skill set was so impressive that many thought the Minnesota Twins would rush him to the big leagues to help bolster a bullpen desperately in need of depth. Jay, unfortunately, wore down, thus ending all notions of that plan. It’s become apparent that the Twins are content with keeping Jay as a starter as he continues to develop his off-speed pitches to complement his plus fastball and slider. Jay exhibits excellent command to go along with his array of pitches, leading the Twins to believe they have a true diamond in the rough.

ETA: 2018

Lewin Diaz, 1B

Diaz was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2013. Diaz had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .310 with nine home runs and 37 RBI’s with rookie affiliate Elizabethtown. Diaz has been compared to Ryan Howard. His swing leads many to believe that he will yield high power numbers. Diaz will progress as far as his bat allows him to go. He is a below average fielder, but at 19 years old, his upside is huge.

ETA: 2021

Adalberto Mejia, LHP

Mejia was acquired by the Minnesota Twins in the Eduardo Nunez trade. His fastball hovers in the low 90’s, but has late movement, making it difficult to read and hit. Mejia has had trouble in the past controlling his weight and was suspended for using a banned substance. He displays good control to go along with an effortless delivery. He projects as a fourth starter in a big league rotation. Conditioning will be key as he progresses.

ETA: 2017

Travis Blankenhorn, 3B

Blankenhorn was drafted 80th overall in the third round of the 2015 draft. Blankenhorn, a shortstop in high school, made the move to third base upon arriving in the professional ranks. He has good hands to go along with a strong throwing arm and decent athleticism which project him to stay at third. There have been talks of him possibly moving to a corner outfield spot, adding versatility to his resume. Blankenhorn hit .297 with nine home runs in rookie ball while being promoted to Single-A.

ETA: 2020

Wander Javier, SS

The Minnesota Twins were so high on Javier’s potential that they exceeded their international pool amount by giving him a four million dollar signing bonus in 2015. His five tool potential make him a player the Twins believe they can build around. While he’s young and extremely raw, he possesses good fielding ability, a strong throwing arm, and above average hitting ability. He is more than capable of squaring up the baseball on a consistent basis and looks to add strength to his thin frame. The Twins will not rush him along, but allow him to develop in the summer league before spring training.

ETA: 2021

J.T. Chargois, RHP

After missing two full seasons and eventually having Tommy John surgery, the Minnesota Twins weren’t sure what to expect from Chargois. The young, talented pitcher has the best fastball in the system. He consistently hits 100 MPH on the gun and complements it with a slider and an above average change-up. Command was an issue last year, but not enough to keep the Twins from adding him to the 40 man roster, and calling him up to the majors in June. Chargois provides the Twins with bullpen depth, and a possible closing spot is not out of reach.

ETA: 2017

Just Missed:

Kohl Stewart, RHP, 9-6 record, 3.03 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and 44 walks in Double-A in 2016.

Ben Rortvedt, catcher, .222 batting average, .306 OBP, and .253 slugging percentage in rookie level ball in 2016.

The Minnesota Twins finished the season 35.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central in 2016. They were the worst team in baseball, and do not seem to be much better for the 2017 season. With a couple of promising prospects ready for the majors in 2017, the Twins could be started on the right track toward a rebuild. That rebuild will be long for the organization and fans, but it will be necessary in order to return the Twins to the playoffs.