2014 off-season Minnesota Twins top 40 prospect countdown: 11-15

This is the sixth segment of the 2014 off-season Twins top 40 prospects, counting down prospects 31 to 35.  Prospects 36-40 are here, 31-35 here, 26-30 here , 21-25 here, 16-20 here, and you can find all segments in reverse order here.

The number 11 to 15 off-season 2014 Minnesota Twins prospects are:

15. DJ Baxendale RHSP, DOB: 12/8/1990, 6'2", 190 lbs

DJ Baxendale was drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 draft by the Twins from University of Arkansas.  He finished that season between Elizabethton and Beloit where he pitched 18.7 innings in the pen with a 0.96 ERA and 0.804 WHIP, walking 2 and striking out 31.  If that does not spell "domination" I am not sure what it does maybe the fact that his ERA in six games in Elizabethton was 0 and he had a -0.58 FIP. Negative.  His FIP increased to 0.75 in Beloit, eventually.  Fast forward to next Spring (2013 Spring Training), Baxendale had the single most dominating pitching performance I have seen, and I have seen a lot, retiring all 9 batters he faced, striking out all but one, including Byron Buxton.

This is what I wrote then, and pretty much fit his 2013 path to a tee:

DJ Baxendale, who was the Twins' 10th round pick from the University of Arkansas last summer and has been stretched to be a starter this season retired all 9 A players he faced, striking out 8.  Only second baseman Aderlin Mejia was retired on a 3-1 ground out.  Not a small feat, because the Cedar Rapids' lineup started with Buxton, Polanco and Harrison.  Baxendale's stuff was absolutely filthy and his control was perfect (he had only one called ball the whole game).  Two seam sinker with a lot of motion, a sharp breaking ball and a change up that had a life of its own.   I will be very surprised if he does not move fast in the organization.   This was one of the single most dominating pitching performances I have ever seen at any level of play.  It was as if a major leaguer was pitching against Rookie league kids.  Definitely someone to follow this season in Fort Myers (even though I suspect that he might end the season in New Britain.)

and my next sentence was:

Speaking of, this Fort Myers squad will score some runs and will be a serious contender in the Florida State League. 

(they actually led the league in runs per game and had the best record in the FSL. Should had bought a lottery ticket that day...)

Back to Baxendale: He followed that Spring domination with the Fort Myers Miracle, where he begun the 2013 season, starting 9 games (57.3 IP) compiling a record of 7-0 with an 1.10 ERA, 0.785 WHIP, striking out 48 and walking 11.  He moved in New Britain where he returned to earth.  He started 16 games (92.7 IP) 5-7 record, 5.63 ERA (4.42 FIP), 1.42 WHIP (.317 BABIP), striking out 64 and walking 22.  If not for his half season in New Britain, he would have been on the top 10 in this list.  He jumped 4 levels of pro ball in two seasons and it is just his age 22 season.   He has four pitches that he controls impeccably: low 90s fastball with good sink and movement, which is a plus pitch, and above average curve, slider and plus changeup.  He has a good feel for the game and he can throw any pitch at any count for a strike. I believe that he will start 2014 in New Britain with a mid-season promotion to Rochester depending on performance.  Definitely a pitcher who can make a fast jump in the organization.

14. Amaurys Minier, SH, SS/3B, DOB: 1/30/1996 6'2", 190 lbs

Minier signed with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent ($1.4 million bonus) out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2012. Minier is still 17 years old (the youngest player in the list), skipped the DSL (he attended the Twins academy) and played his first professional season in the Gulf Coast League last summer.  He played 31 games, mostly at 3B, with 119 plate appearances.  He hit .214/.252/.455 with 6 HRs and 17 RBI, and a 6/29 K/BB ratio.  He still is very raw but most of his peers are playing high school ball, while he has a .241 IsoP at the GCL.  For comparison's sake, at the same age, Miguel Sano had a .175 IsoP at the GCL.  And Minier is a switch hitter.

Not that he is the same kind of prospect that Sano is, and the ranking reflects this.  He needs to develop his contact and plate discipline, starting to hit off-speed and breaking balls, and needs to find a position because SS is out of the question and 3B is likely taken.  But he is just seventeen.  Maybe he will end up as a corner outfielder depending on how he grows and how he develops. Will likely spend 2014 in extended Spring Training and in Elizabethton.

13. Travis Harrison, RH, 3B, DOB: 10/17/1992, 6'1", 215 lbs

Harrison was a supplemental first round (50 overall) pick of the Twins in the 2011 draft out of Turstin (CA) High School.  His first professional season was in Elizabethton in 2012, where he hit .301/.383/.461 with 5 HRs, 12 doubles, 4 triples, 24 BB and 51 K, as a 19 year old in 60 games.  Last season in Cedar Rapids, his first full season, he hit .253/.366/.416 with 15 HRs, 28 doubles, 68 BB and 125 K in 129 games.

Power has been touted as Harrison's best tool, and there have been flashes of it, and his IsoPs have been around .160, which is ok for a 20 year old in pro ball, but have to increase as he grows.  Harrison has some trouble with breaking balls, especially of the in-the-dirt variety, and that is reflected by his consistent so far about a strikeout a game rate.  He has to improve his pitch recognition and contact to go to the next level.  Position-wise he has played almost exclusively at 3B (just a single game at LF finishing the game) but he will be squeezed from Sano ahead of him and potentially Minier behind him who are both better fielders.   Moving across the diamond or at an OF might be an option, but he needs some reps at those spots soon, and first base might be spoken for for a while.

12. Felix Jorge, RHSP, DOB: 1/2/1994, 6'2", 170 lbs.

Oft confused with a former major league player or the Rangers farmhand with similar names, Felix De Jesus Jorge was signed by the Twins out of the Dominican in February of 2011 for $250,000.  He started his pro career at the DSL where he pitched in 9 games (5 starts) for 27 innings, walking 9 and striking out 26 (2.67 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.037 WHIP).   He move to the States and pitched 12 games (7 GS) in the GCL in 2012 with similar results (34.7 IP, 37 K, 12 BB, 2.34 ERA, 2.28 FIP, 1.212 WHIP, .303 BABIP) and moved up to Elizabethton as a 19 year old last season.   He started 12 games (61 IP) striking out 72 and walking 18, with a 2.95 ERA, 2.25 FIP and 1.213 WHIP (.338 BABIP.)

His high 20s K%, which improved every season and was up to 28.4% is very encouraging.  Jorge is also one of those rare pitchers who had 3 above average pitches when he signed at 16 and he has been improving them.  He has a low 90s fastball with decent movement, which will likely gain a few mph as he gets stronger.  Above average slurvy curveball and change up.  He commands all three pitches well, has good control and he mixes pitches well.  For 2014, his age 21 season, he will likely be in the Cedar Rapids rotation.

11. Ryan Eades, RHSP, DOB: 12/15/1991, 6'2", 178 lbs

Eades was the Twins second round pick in the 2013 draft.  After he signed he played 10 games in the Elizabethton pen pitching 15.7 innings striking out 13 and walking 12.  He had a 4.60 ERA (4.22 FIP) and 1.596 WHIP.  This is after pitching a career high 100 innings in college in 2013 and by no means can be used as an indication of his potential.  

Eades' potential is a mid to top of the rotation starter with four good pitches.  He has a plus fastball that sits at 93-95 mph and peaks at 97-98, which he commands really well.  He compliments it with three above average off-spead offerings: a high 80s slider, a high 70s curveball and a mid 80s changeup.  He needs work with commanding his off-speed pitches but this will be a matter of maturity.  Eades will likely start the 2014 season in the Cedar Rapids rotation, with the possibility of moving to Fort Myers mid-season.

Next: 6-10


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