Today we begin our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects list, beginning with the Minnesota Twins. THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST.
IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.
THESE ARE PRE-SEASON GRADES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1) Byron Buxton, OF, Grade A/A-: Excellent in Triple-A (.336/.403/.603) but still scrambling to figure out the majors (.212/.253/.364). He's shown flashes lately and in my view they just need to keep running him out there. The minors won't teach him what he needs to know.
2) Jose Berrios, RHP, Grade A-/A: Strong in Triple-A (2.95, 85/30 K/BB in 83 IP, 57 hits) but hammered with 10.20 ERA in four major league starts. As with Buxton, the minors have little to teach him at this point and he's pitched quite well lately. Still an elite prospect.
3) Max Kepler, OF, Grade B+: Holding his own since promotion to majors, hitting .238/.318/.483 with eight homers, 17 walks, 38 strikeouts in 143 at-bats. Lower AVE/OBP but higher ISO/SLG than expected. Should continue to steadily improve.
4) Nick Gordon, SS, Grade B+/B: Hitting .296/.343/.411 with 15 walks, 53 strikeouts in 280 at-bats in High-A. Very much as expected, sharp on defense, hits for average, ISO ticking up, could use more patience. Still a fine prospect.
5) Tyler Jay, LHP, Grade B: 2.84 ERA with 68/21 K/BB in 70 innings in High-A; just promoted to Double-A. Conversion from college reliever to professional starter is going well, three solid pitches he throws for strikes. Stock steady.
6) Jorge Polanco, INF, Grade B-: Impressive in Triple-A, .282/.352/.476, 26 walks, 36 strikeouts in 233 at-bats. Hit .231/.344/.462 in 26 at-bats in the majors. Switch-hitter with steadily improving approach and good pop; still like him a lot.
7) Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Grade B-: 2.80 ERA in 14 starts between High-A and Double-A, combined 85/31 K/BB in 80 innings, 58 hits. Just making transition to upper minors now, age 22; still projects as number three or four starter if command and health hold.
8) Adam Brett Walker, OF, Grade B-/C+: Hitting .235/.308/.463 with 16 homers, 31 walks, 130 strikeouts in 285 at-bats (not a typo); still shows 70-grade power with some walks but a frighteningly high strikeout rate.
9) Kohl Stewart, RHP, Grade B-/C+: 3.27 ERA in 88 innings between High-A and Double-A; 66/32 K/BB, 83 hits; K/IP and hit rates have slipped since promotion; early season scouting reports were quite enthusiastic but inconsistent since moving up, which is not unusual. Still see him as more of a number four type than a future ace.
10) Nick Burdi, RHP, Grade B-/C+: On disabled list almost entire year, first with "sore forearm" then "bone bruise on right humerus."
11) Alex Meyer, RHP, Grade B-/C+: On disabled list most of the year with sore shoulder.
12) Jermaine Palacios, SS, Grade B-/C+: Hitting just .212/.262/.270 with 17 walks, 37 strikeouts in 247 at-bats in Low-A. Midwest League reports indicate lack of strength/pop is holding him back; may still improve at age 19, hit .370 last year in rookie ball. Aggressive ranking not working out so far.
13) Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Tommy John rehab.
14) Stuart Turner, C, Grade C+: Hitting .232/.329/.346 in Double-A; retains status as superior defensive catcher who won't hit much, or at least hasn't done so to this point.
15) J.T. Chargois, RHP, Grade C+: Futures Game player; 1.49 ERA in 36 innings with 47/10 K/BB; long injury history but has been healthy this year, throwing strikes, hitting 100 MPH; could be ready for big league trial soon.
16) Travis Harrison, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .250/.344/.382 with six homers, 35 walks, 75 strikeouts in 288 at-bats; good approach but power still hasn't blossomed; stock will continue to fade unless that changes.
17) Lewin Diaz, 1B, Grade C+: Just getting started in Appalachian League, hitting .263/.275/.632 in first 10 games; excellent power potential; age 19.
18) Ryan Eades, RHP, Grade C+: 4.56 ERA in 77 innings in Double-A, 54/29 K/BB; not terrible but not exciting either; consistent history of under-pitching compared to his apparent stuff.
19) Zach Jones, RHP, Grade C+: Rule 5 pick to Milwaukee Brewers after this list was initially published; recently returned to Twins system, has thrown just 9.2 innings this year due to injury; generic bullpen prospect at this point.
20) LaMonte Wade, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .289/.407/.401 between Low-A and High-A, recently promoted; 46 walks, just 31 strikeouts in 242 at-bats; University of Maryland product features line drive bat, excellent eye for the zone, good outfield defense but lacks big power.
OTHER GRADE C+: Michael Cederoth, RHP; Wander Javier, SS; Felix Jorge, RHP; Levi Michael, INF.
OTHERS OF NOTE: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B; Trey Cabbage, 3B; Logan Darnell, LHP; Mitch Garver, C; Yorman Landa, RHP; Amaurys Minier, 1B; Brandon Peterson, RHP; Jake Reed, RHP; Taylor Rogers, LHP; Engelb Vielma, INF; Lachlan Wells, LHP; Alex Wimmers, RHP
We'll discuss current season developments in the comments thread.