As long time readers know, I have been building my own farm system called the Shadow Twins since 1996, making my own picks in the amateur draft, while keeping to a realistic budget and drafting at whatever spot the real Twins are at that year. Starting in July 2012 this includes my own international signings as well. Before 2012 the Shadow Twins signed whoever the real Twins did internationally.
Sometimes the Shadow Twins are stronger than the Real Twins, and sometimes the Real Twins are stronger than the Shadow version. We last examined the state of the Shadow system back on February 15th, 2017, linked here. Let’s see how things turned out this year.
1) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Grade A: Age 22, first round pick in 2015 by Boston Red Sox from University of Arkansas; drafted by Shadow Twins instead of Tyler Jay. UPDATE: Hitting .278/.357/.434 for the Red Sox, a successful rookie season.
2) Clint Frazier, OF, Grade B+: Age 22, first round pick in 2013 instead of Kohl Stewart. UPDATE: Hitting .242/.275/.476 in 124 major league at-bats; showing expected power as well as contact issues but a decent opening.
3) Nick Gordon, SS, Grade B+: Age 21, first round pick in 2014, real Twins pick that I stayed with. UPDATE: Decent year in Double-A, .270/.341/.408. Still an elite prospect.
4) Jharel Cotton, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 24, 20th round pick by the Dodgers in 2012 from East Carolina University; Shadow Twins drafted him in 19th round that year instead of outfielder Jon Murphy. UPDATE: 23 starts for the Athletics with a 5.81 ERA, 99/52 K/BB in 124 innings. I still think he can improve.
5) Fernando Romero, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic by Real Twins in February 2012; I did not start doing my own international signings until July 2012. Up until then I just signed however the Real Twins signed on the international market. UPDATE: 3.53 ERA in 125 innings in Double-A, 120/45 K/BB, good year but finished on DL with shoulder problems.
6) Franklin Perez, RHP, Grade B/B+: Age 19; signed by Astros out of Venezuela in 2014 for $1,000,000; Shadow Twins signed him in 2014 for $1,100,000. UPDATE: Key prospect in Justin Verlander trade with the Tigers, posted 3.02 ERA in 86 innings 78/27 K/BB in High-A/Double-A.
7) Juan Soto, OF, Grade B: Age 18, signed by Nationals out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $1,500,000; Shadow Twins got him for $1,650,000. UPDATE: Missed much of season with injuries but excellent when healthy, hit .351/.415/.505 between Low-A and rookie ball rehab, 111 at-bats.
8) Jacob Nix, RHP, Grade B/B-: Age 21, third round pick by Padres in 2015 from IMG Academy; Shadow Twins drafted him with compensation pick instead of Kyle Cody who did not sign with Real Twins. UPDATE: 4.67 ERA in 94 innings between High-A and Double-A, 73/19 K/BB, 110 hits.
9) Eric Lauer, LHP, Grade B/B-: Age 21, first round pick out by Padres of Kent State in 2016, selected instead of Alex Kirilloff. UPDATE: 3.30 ERA in 128 innings between High-A and Double-A, 132/36 K/BB.
10) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 23, signed by Twins out of Taiwan in 2013; international signing that I stayed with. I did not trade him to the Rays. UPDATE: 3.06 ERA in 62 innings in Triple-A, 57/12 K/BB; pitched briefly in majors and did well with one earned run in eight innings so far.
11) Jesus Sanchez, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed by Rays out of Dominican Republic in 2014 for $400,000; I signed him for $440,000. UPDATE: Hit .305/.378/.478 in Low-A, excellent season.
12) Eric Skoglund, LHP, Grade B-: Age 24, third round pick by Royals in 2014 from University of Central Florida; Shadow Twins drafted him in third round instead of Michael Cederoth. UPDATE: Decent in Triple-A, 4.11 ERA in 101 innings, 102/29 K/BB; hit hard during major league trial with 9.53 in 17 innings so far.
13) Austin Gomber, LHP, Grade B-: Age 23, fourth round pick by Cardinals in 2014 from Florida Atlantic University; drafted by Shadow Twins in fourth round instead of Sam Clay. UPDATE: Good year in Double-A, 3.34 ERA in 134 innings, 140/51 K/BB.
14) Ben Lively, RHP, Grade B-: Age 24, fourth round pick by Reds in 2013 from Central Florida, drafted by Shadow Twins in fourth round instead of Steven Gonsalves. UPDATE: Decent major league debut with 3.94 ERA in 78 innings, 47/22 K/BB.
15) Nick Burdi, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, Second round pick from University of Louisville by Real Twins, this was a pick I stayed with for the Shadow team. UPDATE: Tommy John surgery.
16) Duane Underwood, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, second round pick by Cubs in 2012 from high school in Georgia; Shadow Twins picked him in second round instead of Mason Melotakis. UPDATE: 4.43 ERA in 138 innings in Double-A, 98/50 K/BB. I think they should move him to the bullpen.
17) Gregory Guerrero, SS, Grade C+/B-: Age 17, signed by Mets out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $1,500,000; nephew of Vladimir Guerrero; Shadow Twins signed him for $1,650,000. UPDATE: Hit just .217/.275/.252 in rookie ball; I should have signed Vlad Jr instead.
18) Fernando Tatis Jr, SS, Grade C+/B-: Age 18, signed by White Sox out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $700,000, son of Fernando Tatis; signed by Shadow Twins for $770,000 and I certainly did not trade him to the Padres. UPDATE: Breakout season with .278/.379/.498 between Low-A and Double-A at age 18, 22 homers, 32 steals, elite prospect.
19) LaMonte Wade, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, drafted in ninth round in 2015 from the University of Maryland by Real Twins; I stayed with this choice. UPDATE: Nice year in Double-A at .292/.397/.408, OBP guy.
20) Felix Jorge, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, signed by Twins from Dominican Republic in 2011; I did not start my own international class until the summer of 2012. UPDATE: 3.68 ERA in 149 innings in Double-A with 108/40 K/BB.
21) Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Grade C+: Age 22, fifth round pick by Cubs in 2015 from Arizona State; Shadow Twins selected him instead of real Twins lefty Alex Robinson in the fifth round. UPDATE: 5.12 ERA in 104 innings in High-A, 53/28 K/BB; I keep expecting a breakout and it keeps not happening, velocity has not picked up as I hoped it would.
22) Ben Rortvedt, C, Grade C+: Age 19, Real Twins second round pick in 2016 from high school in Wisconsin, a choice that I stayed with. UPDATE: Hit just .224/.284/.315 in Low-A; defense has been very solid.
23) Zack Granite, OF, Grade C+: Age 24, drafted in 14th round in 2013 out of Seton Hall by Real Twins, a choice that I stayed with. UPDATE: good year in Triple-A at .338/.392/.475; reached majors and hitting .225/.319/.250 in 80 at-bats; fourth outfielder.
24) Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Grade C+: Age 20, Australian lefty signed by Real Twins for $500,000 in 2012; I agreed with this choice and he was part of my first international class. UPDATE: Came back strong after missing two seasons with injuries, 2.93 ERA in 83 innings, 91/33 K/BB in High-A/Double-A.
25) Ricky Knapp, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, eighth round pick by Mets in 2013 from Florida Gulf Coast University; son of former MLB pitching coach Rick Knapp; drafted by Shadow Twins in eighth round instead of Dustin Demuth. UPDATE: Hit hard at Las Vegas, 5.97 ERA in 145 innings, 75/35 K/BB, 184 hits; went back to Double-A and was brilliant in four starts (2.00, 22/3 in 27 innings)
26) Isael Soto, OF, Grade C+: Age 20, signed by Marlins out of Dominican Republic in 2013 for $300,000; Shadow Twins signed him that year for $340,000. UPDATE: Missed year with injuries.
27) Connor Justus, SS, Grade C+: Age 22, fifth round pick by Angels out of Georgia Tech in ’16; chosen by Shadow Twins in fourth round instead of right-hander Tom Hackimer. UPDATE: Hit just .202/.319/.299 in High-A, did draw 61 walks and steal 15.
28) Christian Walker, 1B-OF, Grade C+: Age 25, fourth round pick in 2012 from University of South Carolina by Orioles; selected by Shadow Twins in fourth round instead of right-hander Zack Jones. UPDATE: Hit .309/.382/.597 in Triple-A in the Diamondbacks system.
29) Jose Trevino, C, Grade C+: Age 24, sixth round pick in 2014 by Rangers out of Oral Roberts; picked by Shadow Twins in sixth round instead of right-hander John Curtiss. UPDATE: Hit .241/.275/.323 in Double-A; defense continues to draw raves.
30) Edwin Rios, 1B-3B, Grade C+: Age 22, sixth round pick by Dodgers from Florida International University in 2015, picked by Shadow Twins in sixth round instead of outfielder Chris Paul. UPDATE: Hit .309/.362/.533 between Double-A and Triple-A, 24 homers.
31) Zac Gallen, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, third round pick in 2016 from University of North Carolina by Cardinals; selected by Shadow Twins in third round instead of right-hander Griffin Jax; UPDATE: 2.93 ERA between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A with 121/35 K/BB.
Overall I am very pleased with the state of the Shadow system right now. I have some good young pitching and the 2015 International Class headlined by Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr looks excellent so far.
I will put the draft and international classes in the comments section.