2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list: 21-25

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2015 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2015 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

You can find players 36-40 here, players 31-35 here and players 26-30 here.

25. Ryan Eades RHP (30)
DOB: 12/15/1991; Age: 24
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 200 lbs
Acquired: 2th Round Draft Pick 2013
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: A+ (2015)

Eades was drafted by the Twins from Louisiana State in the second round of the 2013 draft.  The Louisiana native has been a slow bloomer in the pros.  I wrote about him in last season's list:

His potential is a mid to top of the rotation starter with four good pitches.  He reported had a plus fastball that sits at 93-95 mph and peaks at 97-98, with good command.  However, the Eades I saw was a good 5 mph below those numbers and was pitching really tentatively. In his 2014 season he started 25 games in Cedar Rapids (133 IP).  He was at an average age with the list and finished with 5.14 ERA (4.44 FIP) 98 Strikeouts and 50 BBs.  His K% fell down to 16.6 %.  His loss in velocity and inability to strike out players his age, further dropped him to number 30 in these rankings. Will likely move to Fort Myers for 2015, but Eades really needs to regain his velocity and start missing bats, because pitching to contact with low 90 mph FB, will result to contact with bad consequences for his teams.

And what did Eades do this year?  He made a liar out of me and was much more effective.  His peripherals were practically the same (16.4% vs 16.6% K%, 7.8% vs 8.5% BB% and even 0.83 vs 0.79 GO:FO) he did have a considerable decrease in WHIP (1.239 vs 1.481) half of which could be accounted from a normalization of the BABIP (.291 vs .323).  However he translated that into results (3.11 ERA vs 5.14 and 3.48 FIP vs 4.44) beyond what a better defense behind him could bring.  Will be interesting to see whether the tentativeness went away and he started pounding the strike zone and/or whether his stuff improved.  Definitely someone to keep and eye on in 2016

Likely 2016 path: In the Chattanooga Rotation

ETA: 2017

24. Luis Arraez IF (40)
DOB: 4/9/1997; Age: 18
Positions: 2B/SS/3B/LF
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 5'10", Weight: 155 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 11/5/2013
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie GCL (2015)

Arraez who rounded out the prospect list last season was signed in the November of 2013 from Venezuela.  He made the jump from the Dominican and the DSL (where he had a phenomenal for the league .833 OPS) to the United States and GCL with ease.  He hit .309/.377/.391 with an impressive 19 to 10 BB:K ratio.  He stole 8 bases and was caught in another 8 times. He flashed signed of gap power hitting 15 doubles and 1 tripe in 233 PAs, but he is not a power hitter.  Plate discipline is one of the hardest skills to learn and Arraez has it, plus his contact tool is good.  This is a great combination for a middle infielder, and Arraez looks like he will settle at second base, where he is average to above average with the glove, turning 19 double plays last season.

Likely 2016 path: Extended Spring Training and at Elizabethton in June

ETA: 2019

23. Engelb Vielma ss (20)
DOB: 6/22/1994; Age: 21
Positions: SS
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 5'11", Weight: 150 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 9/4/2011
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A+ (2015)

Vielma is a very interesting player who could be ranked higher.  The Venezuelan signed by the Twins in 2011 and has been moving really quickly in the organization.  His glove is really great and he has excellent instinct for the game.  When I saw him play for the first time during the 2014 Spring Training, I wrote this for him: 

This is the single one most unknown superstar in the making in the Twins' organization.  He turned two unassisted double plays (one a line out/throw out the other a step on second throw at first) today and he made them seem so easy.  Like it is an everyday kind of thing.  Looks like his contact tool is getting better.  He has crazy nutty speed and as a cutoff guy, he almost threw a guy out at third on a easy triple. Very strong arm.  And he has room to grow.

And I still stand behind that assessment.  The one thing that bothers me about Vielma is not his bat (we will get to the bat in a second;)  it is his occasional lapses in concentration that result in silly mistakes on the field and on the base paths.  This is the single reason he is ranked that low in my list. I am still very high on Vielma and I think that he has the potential of an All-Star shortstop.  Let's not forget that this is the position that has a player with a career .666 OPS in the Hall of Fame.  Not that I am comparing Ozzie Smith's glove to Vielma's, but their bats are comparable.  Vielma hit .270/.321/.306 this season at Fort Myers which at first sight is about the same .266/.313/.323, if not worse, than he did in Cedar Rapids in 2014, until someone looks below the slash lines:  Vielma was the youngest position player at the Miracle team and the Miracle team slash line was .246/.319/.318, so he made better contact than the average. Power is not his strong suit, so looking at SLG% is misleading.  If you look at component numbers, like wRC+, he had 93 in 2015 vs 84 in 2014.   He is also maturing as a player taking advantage of his speed. He will not walk (7% BB%) or strikeout (14.2% K%) but will make contact and run.  He had 24 sacrifices last season, and most of them (18) on the ground. He stole a career high 35 bases (but was caught 12 times).  Definitely Vielma is on the right track, but I still need to see just a little bit more from him.  Playing at AA might tell us a lot about his maturity.

Likely 2016 path: Starting Shortstop at AA Chattanooga, on the 40 man roster in the post-season.

ETA: 2017

22. Jean Carlos Arias (--)
DOB: 1/14/1998; Age: 17
Positions: CF
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 5'11", Weight: 170 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 7/2/2014
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie DSL (2015)

Jean Carlos Arias was signed by the Twins as an International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic the summer of 2014.  In his first professional season in the DSL he hit .311/.378/.537 with 18 BB, 30 K, 13 2B, 9 3B and 2 HRs in 189 PAs.  He was 11/17 in stolen bases.  That .914 OPS is not quite at Miguel Sano level (Sano hit .344/.463/.547 at age 17 in the DSL), but cannot be ignored in a league where the average OPS is .680.  His wOBA was .425 and wRC+ 151, which are also on the ridiculous level.  Reports from the Dominican have the 17 year old Arias, who batted at the number 3 spot for the DSL Twins, is a true 5-tool Centerfielder, which would need to be cofirmed once he starts play in the US, but his numbers cannot be ignored.  One additional thing of note:  Arias destroyed RHPs at the rate of .330/.390/.568.

Likely 2016 path: Extended Spring Training and the starting Centerfielder at the GCL

ETA: 2020

21. Rainis Silva C (24)
DOB: 3/20/1996; Age: 19
Positions: C
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 7/9/2013
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: A (2015)

The Venezuelan Catcher was signed by the Twins as a 16 year old in 2012 for $175,000.  I have not seen enough of John Ryan Murphy or John Hicks yet, but other than those 2 potentially, Silva is the most polished receiver in the Twins' organization.  He could catch a major league staff today.  The problem is his bat.  He was fast tracked by the Twins moving from the DSL to A in just 3 seasons.  It is very encouraging to see that his bat has improved with every stop: .539 OPS in the DSL in 2013, .636 OPS in the GCL in 2014, .635 OPS in Elizabethton and .572 OPS in Cedar Rapids in 2015.  Improvement?  This looks pretty horrible.  Here are a couple of other numbers:  .367/.406/.533 in Elizabethton and .333/.333/.556 in Cedar Rapids.  Those are his slash lines last season against LHP.  He absolutely destroys left hand pitching and this is an improvement this season.  He hit lefties at a .217/.254/.267 pace in GCL and at a .222/.294/.244 pace in the DSL the previous 2 seasons, which means that he is learning and adjusting, an incredibly encouraging sign for an organization not that deep in future Catchers.   Why is he not ranked higher?  He has to prove that he is not a liability against RHP.  If his OPS against righties was closer to .700 than .500 (which is the case now,) his glove is good enough to propel him to top 10 prospect conversation.  Not there yet.

Likely 2016 path: Likely start the season at Cedar Rapids and, depending on his performance and the Twins' Draft, a move to Fort Myers by at least mid-season is a good bet.  I will not be surprised if the Twins have him start the season at Fort Myers.

ETA: 2018

No comments: