Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects Updated

Once known for having a strong pitching assembly line, the Twins organization now has a strong pipeline for hitters, while the pitching depth has diminished. The system also got stronger — with some pitching additions — at the trade deadline.

Click here for the pre-season Top 10

1. Royce Lewis | SS | A+ —> There is a lot of pressure and expectation that comes with being selected first overall in the draft. Lewis, though, has both the skill and the make-up to handle the assignment — as he’s shown to date. Just 19, he’s blown through the lower levels of the minors and looks ready for a double-A assignment to begin the 2019 season, which would put him in the majors later that year or in 2020 at the age of 21. He has a mature approach at the plate with great coverage and should hit for average, power and rack up lots of steals.

2. Alex Kirilloff | OF | A+ —> For a lot of prospects, a missed year of development would be a huge hurdle to overcome. For Kirilloff, well, he barely batted an eye. After missing the 2017 season, he’s come back from injury to hit .347 while showing plus power potential. He doesn’t walk a ton because he makes such good, hard contact so that’s perhaps his biggest opportunity with the bat but he also doesn’t strike out a lot for someone that projects to hit 20-30 homers. Just 20, he should open 2019 in double-A.

3. Brusdar Graterol | RHP | A+ —> Durability is a question with Graterol, who has already had Tommy John surgery in his past and isn’t the biggest guy but he can threaten triple digits with his fastball. Along with the heat, the right-hander has two potentially above-average breaking balls. He also does a nice job of inducing ground balls and keeping the ball in the park. Graterol has all the ingredients to be a successful starting pitcher but there are enough concerns over his ability to hold up over a full season to suggest his future will be in the bullpen.

4. Jorge Alcala | RHP | AA —> I haven’t been a huge fan of the Astros’ drafting over the past few years but the organization has been consistently strong in its efforts on the international market. Alcala is overpowering with his heater but the secondary stuff needs work. My gut says he’s going to end up in the bullpen, perhaps as a multi-inning reliever with high-leverage abilities.

5. Brent Rooker | OF | AA —> Rooker is another Twins prospect that has flown through the system. He shows above-average power potential but he might not hit as well in the majors unless he tightens up his approach at the plate. He has a lot of swing and miss to his game but he offsets it to a degree with a respectable number of free passes.

6. Trevor Larnach | OF | R —> The club’s first round pick in 2018, he’s another college product with a strong record of hitting. And he’s looked good so far in the minors — albeit in rookie ball. He’ll likely jump on the fast-track to the Majors like the majority of the Twins prospects that show the ability to hit. He has the ceiling of an average to above-average big leaguer.

7. Wander Javier | SS | INJ —> Javier will miss the entire 2018, which is always a strike against any prospect, but this talented middle infielder is still just 19 and has lots of opportunity to make up for lost time.

8. Stephen Gonsalves | LHP | AAA —> Gonsalves is polished and has the makings of three average-or-better offerings. He has a solid fastball for a lefty and gets strikeouts with his plus changeup. His control has fallen apart at the triple-A level but it’s often average or better. Once he gets a handle on that, he should be ready to settle into the majors as an innings-eating No. 4 starter.

9. Nick Gordon | MIF | AAA —> Gordon gets lost a little bit in a system with so many strong middle infielders but he has a chance to develop into a solid big leaguer. He’s not as toolsy or quick as his brother Dee Gordon but he should be an average big league hitter and a solid second baseman. His offensive potential is muted a bit by his aggressive nature and he could stand to see more pitches and take more free passes.

10. Jhoan Duran | RHP | A —> The 20-year-old Duran has a lot to like. He has a great pitchers frame (and perhaps with muscle yet to come), induces a ton of ground balls and misses bats. On the down side, his command is a work-in-progress and he continues to allow too many hits. He currently survives with a mid-90s fastball and a potentially-plus curve. The changeup continues to need polish. At worst, you have the ingredients for a high-leverage reliever at the big league level. He was recently acquired from the Diamondbacks.

Just Missed:

Lewis Thorpe | LHP | AA —> Injuries have slowed Thorpe’s development but almost ready to impact the organization at the big league level. The lefty has the potential for three average-or-better offerings. He just needs to tighten his command, which is currently behind his control.

Akil Baddoo | OF | A —> An incredibly toolsy teenager, Baddoo needs to tighten up the swing and miss to his game but he has the potential to develop into a 20-20 (homer-steals) threat.

Blayne Enlow | RHP | A —> This 19-year-old hurler has a promising fastball-curveball combination but he doesn’t miss as many bats as you’d expect. He has a big, strong frame to eventually chew up lots of big league innings if he sticks in the starting rotation.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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5 years ago

A very well-researched piece, thanks for this write up!