2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 36-40

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here, players 51-55 here, 46-50 here, 41-45 here, and all segments in the series here.

40. Levi Michael (11)
DOB: 2/9/1991; Age: 25
Positions: 2B
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 5'10", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 1st round in 2011
Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AA (2014, 2015, 2016)
ETA: 2017

Levi Michael was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2011 draft (30th overall) as a shortstop from the University of North Carolina. The Winston-Salem, NC native had a very frustrating 2016, losing the gains he made in the injury plagued but successful 2014 and 2015 seasons that put him back in the prospect spotlight.  2017 will be critical for Michael.  Michael was drafted as a potentially power hitting five tool shortstop player, but his peak might have been his age 19 sophomore season when in 60 games (214 AB) he hit .346/.484/.575 with 9 HR, 44 BB, 26 K and was 20/22 in SB.  In his junior season he hit .289/.434/.434 with 5 HR, 56 BB, 82 K and 15/16 SB with his isoP dropping from .229 the previous season to .145, and his BABIP from .355 to (a still respectable) .337.  He signed at the August 15 deadline after was drafted and started his pro career at high A Fort Myers the next season.  The transition to a professional was not smooth for Michael at both sides of the game.  He hit only .246/.339/.311 with only .065 isoP and his BABIP dropped to .295. He had only 2 HRs and stole 6 bases in 117 games (431 AB).  His defense at SS also proved inadequate starting playing mostly second base, a position that he has played exclusively from 2014 on.  He repeated Fort Myers the next season with similar results, but a slight increase in the power and speed numbers and a further decrease in his BABIP.  In 94 games (315 AB) he hit .229/.331/.340 with 4 HRs and 21/23 SB with an .111 isoP and .272 BABIP.  He also lost the first month of the season in the Disabled List. He also started the 2014 season at Fort Myers when he showed improvement.  In his first 45 games there (177 PA) he hit .305/.375/.395 with 1 HR, 6/10 SB, 0.090 isoP and .346 BABIP, before he spent 3 weeks in the disabled list.  He was then promoted to AA New Britain where in 15 games (53 AB) he hit .340/.444/.358 with minuscule power (0.019 isoP) but a big rebound in BABIP (.429).  This was enough for the Twins to invite him to the 2015 Spring Training.  He continued his success in a AA season at Chattanooga where, despite losing a month and a half early with a strained angle and two weeks late in the season due to illness, in 63 games (221 AB) hit .267/.369/.434 with 5 HRs, and 18/22 SB, increasing his power numbers to .167 isoP and his BABIP to .327.  At this point despite the plate discipline never reaching his college numbers (31 BB and 53 K in 2015) there was hope that Michael was the player the Twins have signed out of College and was invited to Spring Training against. 

2016 was supposed to be his breakout season that would make him a long term alternative for the team in second base, but Michael bottomed out.  In his first healthy season since 2012, he played in Chattanooga for 96 games and 316 AB.  He hit a career low .215/.293/.291 with 2 HR and 5/7 SB, isoP at 0.76 and BABIP at .286.  That was a different player than in the past 2 seasons.  Does Michael have any potential future with the Twins? I think that he still does, even though my confidence level (and his ranking) dropped from the previous off-season.  Micheal could always hit lefties.  Here are his splits against LHP the past 2 seasons: 2014 A+: .366/.449/.463, 2014 AA: .409/.500/.455, 2015 AA: .385/.448/.673.  This is more than respectable. In his horrible 2016 season against LHP, he hit and acceptable .277/.352/.426.  His glove now is average and slightly above average at second base.  If Michael returns to or improves upon his 2017 levels he might have a future with the Twins.  If not, I would not be surprised if 2017 is his last season with the team.

Likely 2017 Path: Starting the season at Rochester and potentially a cup of coffee (or more) with the Twins based on performance and whether Dozier is still a Twin.

39. Jaylin Davis (--)
DOB: 7/1/1994; Age: 22
Positions: OF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 24th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Jaylin Davis was drafted by the Twins in the 24th of the 2015 draft as an outfielder from Appalachian State University. The Greensboro, NC native missed almost all his junior season with a shoulder injury that was later diagnosed as a labrum tare and was operated upon.  Davis lost all of 2015 in the disabled list for that reason.  Last season he started in extended Spring Training and was assigned to Elibatheton.  His college numbers (career: .268/.337/.411    10 HR, 22/28 SB in 126 games and 482 PAs with .143 isoP and .331 BABIP) were solid but not close in predicting how Davis will do in his first pro season.  In 12 games (47 AB) in Elizabethton he hit .277/.346/.745 with 7 HR, and 2 SB, an unreal .468 isoP and a .353 BABIP. He walked 4 times and struck out 23 (for a scary 44.2 K%).  Hot streak or not, his stint with Elizabethton was enough for the Twins to promote the 22 year old to Cedar Rapids for the last 52 games of the season.  There at 192 AB, he hit .250/.339/.469 with 9 HRs and 3/3 SB.  His isoP was .219 and BABIP .328.  He walked 21 times and struck out 64 (29.4 %).  Davies has power, but that 6.7 AB/HR at Elizabethton was unsustainable and dropped to a 21.3 AB/HR in Cedar Rapids, which, even though respectable, is not elite. But this just one season removed from shoulder surgery, and, if anything, it is good news.

Likely 2017 path: Davis will likely start the 2017 season at Fort Myers

38. Aaron Slegers (--)
DOB: 9/4/1992; Age: 24
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'10", Weight: 245 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 5th round in 2013
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: AA (2015,2016)
ETA: 2018

Aaron Slegers was drafted by the Twins in the 5th of the 2013 draft as a starting pitcher from Indiana University. The Scottsdale, AZ native has been plagued with multiple injuries as an amateur both in College and High School with his Junior 2013 season being his only healthy season.  And it was a good season.  He started 18 games for 106 innings, walking just 17 (1.4 BB/9) and striking out 59 (5 K/9) with a 9-0 record, 2.04 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.  Later that season, after was drafted by the Twins he pitched for 9 games (19 IP) out of the Elizabethton pen walking just 2 (0.95 BB/9, 23.5 K-BB%) and striking out 18 (8.5 K/9, 26.5 K%) with a 0.47 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 0.95 WHIP (.340 BABIP).  The next 3 seasons he was used as a starter exclusively, starting at A Cedar Rapids in 2014 and finishing in A+ Fort Myers, Starting at high A Fort Myers in 2015 and finishing in AA Chattanooga and playing exclusively at AA Chattanooga last season.  Slegers started 25 games, pitched 145-1/3 innings, striking out 104 (6.4 K/9, 17.3 K%) and walking 46 (2.9 BB/9, 9.7 k-BB%).  He finished with a 3.41 ERA, 4.07 FIP, and 1.26 WHIP (.295 BABIP).  He also spent two weeks in late July, early August in the disabled list with biceps tendinitis.

Slegers is the archetypal Twins' pitch to contact starter:  He throws a high 80s, lows 90s (up to 92 mph) sinking fastball that induces a lot of grounders, an above average slider that coming from his 6-10 frame is deceptive and also a changeup.  He has good control and command of all his pitches and does not walk many (even though as his level of competition increased so did his walks).  Pitch to contact types with no exceptional stuff will get shelled in the majors, so Slegers is a borderline prospect.  There is definitely a potential as a reliever (something that the Twins have not yet attempted, other than his first pro season) because there is not much there as a starter, unfortunate comparisons to Brad Radke notwithstanding.  He was invited in the Twins' Spring Training for 2017

Likely 2017 path: Another season of starting at Chattanooga and then at Rochester, potentially as are reliever.

37. Travis Harrison (14)
DOB: 10/17/1992; Age: 24
Positions: RF/LF/1B
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 215 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the supplemental 1st round in 2012
Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AA (2015,2016)
ETA: 2018

Travis Harrison was drafted in the supplemental 1st round (50th overall) of the 2011 Draft out of Tustin (CA) High School.  Harrison was a big time power prospect at a third baseman, but has not lived up to his billing yet.  As a matter of fact his production has been declining annually after a very good first professional season in 2012 in Elizabethton where he hit .301/.383/.461 with 5 HRs in 60 games 219 AB walking 24 times and striking out 51. In 2013 at Cedar Rapids, his last season as a third baseman, he hit  .253/.366/.416 with 15 HR in 129 games (450 AB) while walking 68 times and striking out 125.  In 2014 he moved to left field at A+ Fort Myers where he hit .269/.361/.365 with only 3 HRs in 129 games (458 AB), walking 64 times and striking out 86.  In 2015 at AA Chattanooga, as a right fielder, he hit .240/.363/ .356 with 5 HRs in 115 games (396 AB) walking 65 and striking out 102.  Last season, also at Chattanooga was his career worst hitting .230/.338/.339 with 7 HRs in 120 games (434 AB) with 61 bases on balls and a career worst 126 strikeouts (24.8 K%).  To Harrison's credit, he started both of his AA seasons better than he ended.  In 2015 he started with a .268/.375/.403 line before he went to the DL with stomach inflammation and dropped after he returned and last season he started with a .264/.357/.377 line before he went to the DL with a concussion. His second half hit a pitiful .192/.317/.296, clearly bothered by the concussion.  He also hit lefties well the past two seasons, .257/.416/.443 in 2015 and .260/.390/.427 in 2016.  

This is a make or break season for the former first round draft pick.  His numbers are not great for even a middle infielder, much less for a corner outfielder.  There is hope that Harrison with rebound and even have a break through season, however the fact that he did have a concussion and had a hard time after he returned does not look very promising.

Likely 2017 Path: As a starting corner outfielder in Chattanooga.

36. Jean Carlos Arias (22)
DOB: 1/14/1998; Age: 19
Positions: CF
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 5'11", Weight: 170 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 7/2/2014
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: Rookie GSL (2016)
ETA: 2020

Jean Carlos Arias was signed by the Twins as an International Free Agent from  Santiago de los Caballeros, 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. Arias destroyed RHPs at the rate of .330/.390/.568. 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.  In 2016 he moved to the United States for Extended Spring Training and later to the GCL where he played an error-less OF in all 3 outfield positions and struggled with the bat hitting .202/.265/.266 with 10 BB and 28 K, stealing 7/10 bases and only 6 xBH / 25 H in 45 games (124 AB.)  Moving from the Dominican to the United States is definitely a period of adjustment and some players adjust faster and better than others.  Hopefully Arias' disappointing 2016 season was due to adjustment.  He is still very young (turned 19 a few days ago) and the potential with the bat is there, while his glove is plus even at this young age.  Will be interesting to see how he does in 2017

Likely 2017 path: Extended Spring Training and repeating GCL or to Elizabethton, depending on the Twins 2017 draft.

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