I released my extensive off-season 2014 Minnesota Twins top 40 prospect list last winter. You can find the full off-season 1-40 list and links to individual reports on each prospect here. The 2014 draft is over, I have seen several Twins' prospects play for the first time last Spring, and the full season 2014 minor league seasons are close to mid-point, so it is time to revisit the Twins' prospects and release my mid-season top 40 list. This is a preliminary list, which means that there are not full reports about each player, as I do that during the off-season, and several players have not even appeared in a single game.
Housekeeping notes: in parenthesis there is the off-season prospect ranking. When a player was with the Twins but not ranked in the top 40, there is (---) and if a player was not with the Twins then, there is the (NEW) indication. Players who have played in the majors (Danny Santana, Logan Darnell and Mike Tonkin notably) are not included in this list. Also, as a reminder, my criteria are slightly different that others' (e.g I value actual results at a higher competition level more than most) and the Twins have such a deep system, that some players who are listed in other lists and/or have been drafted in early rounds recently or have received large international signing bonuses will be conspicuously absent from this list.
Without further ado, with some one-liner commentary about my thought process:
1. Miguel Sano 3B (1)
2. Byron Buxton OF (2)
I felt I should not punish these guys for getting hurt. On the other hand, having Tommy John surgery due to repetitive injury, and re-injuring you wrist sliding and being out because of it, are two different situations. I did think hard about dropping Buxton to number three because of injury prone-ness and lack of execution in the games he played so far, but I did not. However, the distance from Sano, which was not much before, is larger now because of those reasons.
3. Alex Meyer RHP (3)
The best arm in this list and in the organization
4. Trevor May RHP (9)
The second most MLB-ready pitcher in the list and the first starter. Made the jump up here because he finally broke through to the next level as a pitcher in AAA
5. Kennys Vargas 1B/DH (7)
The most MLB-ready bat in the list, Kennys will likely replace Kendrys as the full time DH in 2015 and his bat can play in the majors right now.
6. Jorge Polanco SS (6)
Playing full time shortstop and while there are some concerns about his sure-handedness with the glove, he has one of the best contact tools in the organization
7. Kohl Stewart EHP (5)
He dropped simply because of the strikeout rate decrease and because he has proven that he is touchable in Cedar Rapids. There is time to remedy that the rest of the season
8. Nick Gordon SS (NEW)
The 5th overall draft pick for the Twins in 2014. Good tool set. If he can stick at SS and show that he can make contact in the pros, he will stay a top prospect
9. Jose Berrios RHP (8)
If anything, Berrios has been better this season. Just there are others ahead of him in this deep organization at this point.
10. Eddie Rosario OF (4)
The drop is not as much about the suspension, it is mostly about the position change. A second baseman with his contact skill and speed is much more rare and valuable than an outfielder. So part on Rosario, bigger part on the Twins.
11. Amaurys Minier 1B/3B (14)
Fully expect that he will have a monster season coming up
12. Max Kepler OF/1B (16)
13. Adam Walker OF (17)
14. Nick Burdi RHP (NEW)
The Twins' 2014 second round pick, is ["upset"] that he was selected that low and he is the most MLB-ready pitcher in this list. With an 103 mph fastball and low to mid 90s slider he can probably be as effective (or more) as any RHP in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen today. If he harness his changeup, he will be a dominant closer for a long time. I should probably have ranked him higher in the list, and this might happen in the off-season.
15. Lewis Thorpe LHP (18)
Highest LHP in this ranking and in most Twins' prospect lists
16. Travis Harrison OF (13)
Change in position hurts his ranking
17. Mitch Garver C (---)
The Twins' 9th round pick in the 2013 draft was not much on the radar this off-season. Really impressed my this Spring Break with his bat, his athleticism and his ability to handle pitchers, and is the best position player in Cedar Rapids so far, thus he is my highest ranked catching prospect in the Twins' organization
18. Mike Cederoth RHP (NEW)
The Twins' 3rd round pick in 2014 is another triple digit FB/slider pitcher who has drawn comparisons to Stephen Strausberg. Unlike Burdi, he has the potential to be a starter, but his stuff is a tick lesser than Burdi's. Signability is an issue. If he signs and turns into a starter and develops a third pitch, he will jump up in this list
19. Ryan Eades RHP (11)
20. Stephen Gonsalves LHP (10)
These guys suffered a sizeable drop because they really did not show me much during Spring Training and Eades has not performed in the Midwest League as expected.
21. Engelb Vielma SS (---)
Another player who was flying under the radar last season who impressed me this Spring. Excellent speed and great instincts both with the glove and on the base paths. He can be a starting shortstop in the majors right now, but his bat will look like Florimon's, if not like Deduno's. He needs to cultivate his hitting ability. Young and very slim, he can fill in.
22. Nico Goodrum IF (27)
Starting as the every day third baseman for the Miracle, the former 2010 second round draft pick who has disappointed so far, might actually start to show his potential making solid contact and being fine with the glove.
23. Felix Jorge RHP (12)
Same situation as Eades. Disappointing season, but his spring was excellent. Might be a temperature issue.
24. Lewin Diaz 1B (NEW)
The seventeen year old who was signed as an international free agent last July has started his pro career in the DSL and it will be a good one. A lot like Minier with the bat
25. AJ Achter RHP (---)
Achter has been quietly turning into one of the best arms in the organization and might finish the season in Minnesota. Better pitcher than Mike Tonkin at this point.
26. Aaron Slegers RHP (---)
Another 2013 draftee (5th round) who impressed me last spring. Very tall pitcher with potential to add velocity if he works with his mechanics
27. Jose Abreu RHP (23)
28. Matthew Koch C (22)
These guys got caught into the numbers game
29. Zach Larson OF (36)
I think that my off-season prospect list was the only one that Zach was in, but I am sure that he has opened a few more eyes with his Midwest League performance.
30. Alexis Tapia RHP (21)
Might jump back up depending on E-town play
31. Zach Jones RHP (19)
Lost season, the emergence and draft of other relievers drop Zach, but the potential is there.
32. Sean Gilmartin LHP (NEW)
When the last list was made, Ryan Doumit was still a Twin
33. Brian Gilbert RHP (20)
Proven hitable in Fort Myers.
34. Argenis Silva RHP (---)
The 18 year old will finally show his ability injury free in his third DSL season
35. Sam Clay LHP (NEW)
The Twins' 4th round draft pick in 2014 projects as a starter, might end up as a long reliever.
36. Brandon Peterson RHP (---)
All the 13th round pick in 2013 does is strikes hitters out and does not allow runs to score. Moved 4 spots in 2 seasons, he is fast-tracked and ready to jump these rankings the off-season
37. DJ Baxendale (15)
One of the biggest drops in this list. He has not figured out AA or AA has figured him out. The 23 year old is back at Fort Myers for fine tuning. Needs to prove himself the second half, but hard to give up on him at this point, because I have seen him do amazing things
38. Levi Michael 2B (---)
Is the former first round draft pick figuring it out finally with the stick in his third FSL stint? He is leading the Miracle in Batting Average and OBP.
39. Fernardo Romero RHP (34)
40. Randy Rosario LHP (---)
Excellent skills have not translated in results in 3 games started at Cedar Rapids, but there is a lot of potential.
Danny Santana, Logan Darnell
DJ Hicks (24)
JD Williams (25)
Stuart Turner (28)
Josh Burris (29)
Mason Melotakis (31)
Deibinson Romero (32)
Mike Gonzales (33)
Logan Wade (37)
Tyler Grimes (38)
Tyler Grimes (38)
Tyler Jones (39)Alex Wimmers (40)