2014 off-season Minnesota Twins top 40 prospect countdown: 26-30

This is the third segment of the 2014 off-season Twins top 40 prospects, counting down prospects 31 to 35.  Prospects 36-40 are here, 31-35 here, and you can find all segments in reverse order here

The number 26 to 30 off-season 2014 Minnesota Twins prospects are:

 30. Danny Santana, SH, SS, DOB: 11/7/1990, 5'11", 160 lbs

Danny Santana was signed as a free agent by the Twins in December of 2007 out of the Dominican Republic and made his pro debut in the DSL the following summer as a 17 year old, hitting a career best .274/.343/.426 in 51 games.  Santana made stops at every level of the organization up to New Britain last season.  He is a steady hitter with mid .650s to low 700s OPS, which is above average for a middle infielder but not spectacular. 

He does have plus speed that he harvested in New Britain last season with career highs in SB (30), triples (10) and doubles (22).  He can occasionally hit the ball out of the park (has 25 career HRs in 6 seasons), but he is mostly a gap hitter.  He is still very young and has room to grow. In his age 22 season in New Britain, in addition to the aforementioned numbers, he hit .297/.333/.386 in 131 games (588 PAs) with a 24/94 BB/K ratio.   His fielding is a lot like Pedro Florimon's at shortstop:  He can make unbelievable plays, but he can also make errors in easy plays. He has steadily been improving with the glove especially on routine situations.

His presence on the Twins 40 man roster (added last off-season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft) is more of an indication of the system depth in middle infield in higher levels, than his major-league readiness at age 22.   Santana will likely begin his age 23 season as Rochester's starting SS, pending Jason Barlett's future with the Twins.  With work on plate discipline and pitch recognition and on making the easy plays on defense, Santana can be a starting MLB SS or at worse a utility player.

29. Josh Burris, RHSP, DOB: 11/28/1991, 5'10", 183 lbs.

Josh Burris was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round of the 2011 draft out of Lousiana State University at Eunice.  Burris made his pro debut in 2012 in Elizabethton where he went 7-0 with 1.75 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in 18 games (36 IP) in relief.  He struck out 40 and walked 21 batters.  Last season was a tale of two cities for Burris.  He started the season in Cedar Rapids' pen, where he pitched 10 innings in 8 games, could not find the strike zone (9/8 BB/K), could not strand anyone on the bases (46.5 LOB%) and had a miserable time in general.  He returned to Elizabethton, where he made the transition to a starter and that went much nicer.  In 12 games (8 GS) and 41.3 IP he had a 4-2 record, 3.70 ERA, 48 Ks and 32 BBs (26.0 K% and 1.5 K/BB.)  He has some shoulder issues in Spring Training and maybe those effected his performance in Cedar Rapids.

So why am I so high on a guy who looks like he can barely make a single A pen?  Because of his stuff, especially his curveball.   BA said that he has the best curveball in the Twins' system last season, but I would not be surprised, if it is one of the best curveballs in baseball right now.  A devastating plus plus pitch that he can throw in the zone for looking strikes or in the dirt for swinging strikes as needed.  The problem is with his fastball that is an average high 80s, low 90s pitch that he has trouble controlling on occasion and his change up that he is still learning.  Development of even an above average to plus FB and an average third pitch, can make him a MLB starter, his curveball is THAT good.

Depending on how Spring Training goes, he will likely spend the season in the Cedar Rapids rotation.

28. Stuart Turner, RH, C, DOB: 12/27/1991, 6'2", 220 lbs

Stuart Turner was drafted by the Twins in the third round of the 2013 draft from the University of Mississippi.   He spend all his season (but one game he filled in for the Rock Cats) for the Elizabethton Twins, where he played at 35 games (146 PAs) and hit .272/.345/.384 with 3 HRs and 19 RBI.  He walked 12 times, struck out 23 and hit by a pitch 4.  Turner has been always described as an excellent defensive catcher with a great feel for the game, but he made the transition to the wooden bat well, which means a great deal for his potential as a prospect. 

Turner has a large frame and projectable power that will come as he grows.  He will likely start his age 22 season in Cedar Rapids.  Potentially, he can be a combination of Drew Butera with the glove and Josmil Pinto with the bat, which would make a nice starting major league catcher, but bat development (even though there are good signs) is crucial. 

27. Niko Goodrum, SH, SS, DOB: 2/28/1992, 6'3", 170 lbs

Niko Goodrum was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2010 draft  from Fayette County (GA) High School.  "Potential" has always been the word to describe Goodrum, but he has yet to reach it or ever flash most of it consistently.  His career slash line in 4 years of pro ball through the GCL, Elizabethtown (twice) and Cedar Rapids has been .246/.340/.362 and other than his first season with a wooden bat at GCL (.161/.219/.195) has reflected each season's performance.  He has a lot of athletic ability and a compact swing that is projected to generate power in the future. He has decent plate discipline (128 BB/251 K career) and good speed that will translate to doubles, triples and stolen bases. 

A lot of his future will depend on his position and this is still very up for grabs.  He has been primarily a shortstop all his career and can field the position about average, which is an improvement from previous seasons.  While a projected OPS in the mid to high .700s will get him a middle infield or utility job in the majors, if he switches positions to the corner infield or even outfield, it will not.  He would need to develop power, which can happen since he is 6'3" and only 170 lbs.  Any sign of power development will be an excellent sign for Goodrum and will bump him up in prospect lists to the position where he was when he was drafted.

Goodrum will likely spend 2014 as the starting shortstop of the Fort Myers Miracle.

26. Tyler Duffey RHSP, DOB: 12/27/1990, 6'3", 225 lbs.

Tyler Duffey was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the 2012 draft from Rice University.  After he overpowered his rookie competition in Elizabethton last season (1.42 ERA, 1.36 FIP 19.1 IP, 27 K, 2 BB, 0.632 WHIP) he moved as a starter now to Cedar Rapids for the first half of 2013, and to Fort Myers for the second half.  He started 9 games at Cedar Rapids, pitching 58.3 innings, striking out 47 and walking just 6.  His ERA was 2.78 (3.06 FIP) and WHIP 0.943.  At Fort Myers in 15 games (9 starts) he pitched to a 4.45 ERA (but 3.42 FIP), striking out 44 and walking 17 in 62.7 IP.  His WHIP was 1.35, inflated by a .315 BABIP.  His K/BB ratio drop at A+ compared to A and Rookie is somewhat concerning, but could be a matter of fatigue in his first full professional season.   Also his K% dropped from a phenomenal 40.3% at Elizabethton's pen to 20.5% and 16.2% in the Kernels and Miracle Rotations respectively.

Duffey is another one of the class of 2012 hard throwing college relievers the Twins drafted to transform to starters.  Duffey's fastball (low to mid 90s) is not quite as electric as his draftmates', but his secondary stuff (an above average slider and plus change up) are much better.   He has excellent control with all his pitches.  Will likely start his age 23 2014 season in the Fort Myers rotation with a possible promotion to New Britain mid season, depending on performance.  Definite mid-rotation or late inning reliever ceiling depending on keeping the K% high as a starter.

Next: 21-25

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