Shadow Twins Top Prospects for 2018
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 in more-or-less real time, 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, finalized on April 15th each year of the relevant signing period. 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. 2017 was a cool year, the Shadows graduating Andrew Benintendi, Jharel Cotton, Clint Frazier, Ben Lively, and Stuart Turner to the majors.
Here’s a look at how things stand entering 2018. Right now I am flush with outfielders and left-handed pitchers. I have some high ceiling right-handers but could use more, and am short of middle infielders as well as catchers.
The international classes of 2014 and 2015 look strong with blind squirrel/acorn hits on Tatis, Perez, Soto, and Sanchez, but 2017 will be interesting because I busted my budget in ’16 to sign Randy Arozarena and Ronald Bolanos, meaning I am limited to just $300,000 per player for the next two years, just like a real team.
1) Fernando Tatis, Jr, SS, Padres, Grade A: Age 19, signed by White Sox out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $700,000, son of Fernando Tatis; signed by Shadow Twins for $770,000 (the Shadow Twins have to exceed the Real Life bonus by 10% to simulate bidding for a player) and I certainly did not trade him to the Padres; Breakout season with .278/.379/.498 between Low-A and Double-A at age 18, 22 homers, 32 steals, elite prospect.
2) Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds, Grade A-: Age 18, first round pick in 2017 by the Cincinnati Reds, second overall, from high school in Sherman Oaks, California; Shadow Twins picked him first-overall instead of Royce Lewis; threw 4.1 innings in Pioneer League with 12.46 ERA, 6/1 K/BB, 8 hits allowed; small sample with spotty results but it did confirm velocity reports from high school with a 95-102 MPH fastball, and that velocity comes easy;
3) Franklin Perez, RHP, Tigers, Grade B+: Age 20; signed by Astros out of Venezuela in 2014 for $1,000,000; Shadow Twins signed him in 2014 for $1,100,000, traded to Detroit Tigers in Justin Verlander trade in real life; I didn’t do that either.
4) Juan Soto, OF, Nationals, Grade B+: Age 19, signed by Nationals out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $1,500,000; Shadow Twins got him for $1,650,000. missed much of season with injuries but excellent when healthy, hit .351/.415/.505 between Low-A and rookie ball rehab, 111 at-bats.
5) Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays, Grade B+: Age 20, signed by Rays out of Dominican Republic in 2014 for $400,000; I signed him for $440,000, hit .305/.378/.478 in Low-A, excellent season.
6) Nick Gordon, SS-2B, Twins, Grade B+: Age 22, first round pick in 2014, real Twins pick that I stayed with, hit 270/.341/.408.
7) Brent Rooker, OF-1B, Twins, Grade B/B+: Age 22, compensation pick, 35th overall, in 2017 from Mississippi State, real Twins pick I stayed with; outstanding senior season in college and kept hitting in pro ball, .281/.364/.566 with 18 homers in 228 at-bats between Appalachian and Florida State Leagues.
8) Fernando Romero, RHP, Twins, Grade B: Age 22, 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, 3.53 ERA in 125 innings in Double-A, 120/45 K/BB, good year but finished on DL with shoulder problems.
9) Randy Arozarena, OF, Cardinals, Grade B: Age 23, Cuban, signed by Cardinals for $1,250,000, my first foray into Cuban talent, signed by Shadow Twins for $1,500,000; solid debut with .259/.339/.424 mark between High-A and Double-A.
10) Eric Lauer, LHP, Padres, Grade B: Age 22, first round pick out by Padres of Kent State in 2016, Shadow Twins selected Lauer instead of Alex Kirilloff, 3.30 ERA in 128 innings between High-A and Double-A, 132/36 K/BB.
11) Austin Gomber, LHP, Cardinals, Grade B/B-: Age 24, fourth round pick by Cardinals in 2014 from Florida Atlantic University; drafted by Shadow Twins in fourth round instead of Sam Clay, good year in Double-A, 3.34 ERA in 134 innings, 140/51 K/BB.
12) Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Twins, Grade B-: Age 21, 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, came back strong after missing two seasons with injuries, 2.93 ERA in 83 innings, 91/33 K/BB in High-A/Double-A.
13) Zac Gallen, RHP, Marlins, Grade B- : Age 22, 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, I did not trade him to the Marlins as the Cardinals did in real life, 2.93 ERA between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A with 121/35 K/BB.
14) Akil Baddoo, OF, Twins, Grade B-: Age 19, compensation pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia; real Twins pick I stayed with, hit .323/.436/.527 in the Appalachian League, 36 walks against 31 strikeouts in 201 at-bats
15) Sam Carlson, RHP, Mariners, Grade B-: - Age 19, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Minnesota by the Seattle Mariners; I selected him in the second round instead of Landon Leach because Minnesota.
16) Jacob Nix, RHP, Padres, Grade B-: Age 22, third round pick by Padres in 2015 from IMG Academy; Shadow Twins drafted him with compensation pick instead of Kyle Cody, 4.67 ERA in 94 innings between High-A and Double-A, 73/19 K/BB, 110 hits.
17) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Rays, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, signed by Twins out of Taiwan in 2013; international signing that I stayed with. I did not trade him to the Rays, 3.06 ERA in 62 innings in Triple-A, 57/12 K/BB; pitched briefly in majors and did well
18) LaMonte Wade, OF, Twins, Grade B-/C+; Age 23, drafted in ninth round in 2015 from the University of Maryland by Real Twins; I stayed with this choice, .292/.397/.408 in Double-A, OBP guy.
19) Eric Skoglund, LHP, Royals, C+/B-: Age 25, third round pick by Royals in 2014 from University of Central Florida; Shadow Twins drafted him in third round instead of Michael Cederoth; 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.
20) Jake Thompson, RHP, Grade C+/B- Age 23, fourth round pick in 2017 by the Red Sox from Oregon State University; Shadow Twins drafted him instead of Charlie Barnes; on short pitch count in NY-P League but posted 3.18 ERA with 11/6 K/BB in 11 innings;
OTHER GRADE C+: Luis Arreaz, 2B; Twins; Ronald Bolanos, RHP, Padres; Adam Choplick, LHP, Rangers; Logan Farrar, OF, Athletics; Zack Granite, OF, Twins; Felix Jorge, RHP, Twins; Brian Keller, RHP, Yankees; Ben Meyer, RHP, Marlins; Emilio Ogando, LHP; James Reeves, LHP; Yankees; Edwin Rios, 1B, Dodgers; Ben Rortvedt, C; Twins; Dalton Sawyer, LHP, Athletics; Will Toffey, 3B, Athletics; Jose Trevino, C, Rangers; Duane Underwood, RHP, Cubs; Christian Walker, 1B, Diamondbacks; Lachlan Wells, LHP, Twins; Andy Young, INF, Cardinals
OTHERS OF NOTE: Dustin Beggs, RHP, Marlins; Joel Booker, OF, White Sox; Adam Bray, RHP, Dodgers; Gio Brusa, OF, Giants; Trey Cabbage, OF-3B, Twins; Chris Castellanos, LHP, Mariners; Ricky De La Torre, SS, Twins; Gregory Guerrero, SS, Mets; Kyle Hart, LHP, Red Sox; Will Hibbs, RHP, Phillies; Connor Justus, SS, Angels; Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Cubs; Colton Laws, RHP, Blue Jays; Corey Littrell, LHP, Cardinals; Bailey Ober, RHP, Twins; Jake Pearson, OF; Lenin Rodriguez, C, Phillies; Bryan Sammons, LHP, Twins; JP Sears, LHP, Yankees; Manuel Silva, LHP, Phillies; Isael Soto, OF, Marlins; Deon Stafford, Jr, C, Pirates; Malique Ziegler, OF, Giants
2017 Graduates: Andrew Benintendi, Jharel Cotton, Clint Frazier, Ben Lively, Stuart Turner
Top Real Twins Prospects that the Shadow Twins Don’t Have: Andrew Bechtold, 3B; Travis Blankenhorn, INF; John Curtiss, RHP; Lewin Diaz, 1B; Blayne Enlow, RHP; Mitch Garver, C; Stephen Gonsalves, LHP; Brusdar Graterol, RHP; Wander Javier, SS; Tyler Jay, LHP; Alex Kirilloff, OF; Royce Lewis, SS; Zack Littell, RHP; Jose Miranda, INF; Kohl Stewart, RHP; Tyler Watson, LHP