2018 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 11-15

This is the next segment in the 2018 Twins top 60 prospect list.  You can find the introductory segment that discusses qualifications to be on this list and presents the players who were on the 2017 list but are not in this list here.  You can find the list of the previous rankings here:  56-60, 55-51, 46-50 , 41-45, 36-40, 31-35, 26-30, 21-25, 16-20.  You can find all segments in this series here.

Here are players 11-15 in reverse order with their 2017 ranking in parenthesis. Players not in the 2017 top 60 list are indicated by (--)

15. Michael Montero (--)
DOB: 1/6/2000; Age: 18
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in July 2, 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: DSL (2017)
ETA: 2021

Montero was signed as an international free agent by the Twins in July 2, 2016 from Valencia Venezuela for a bonus of about $150,000.  2017 was his first professional season and he pitched in the DSL as a 17 year old.  He started 13 games (58-1/3 IP), struck out 64 (9.9 K/9, 27.7 K%), walked 12 (1.9 BB/9, 22.5 K-BB%) and finished with a 2.78 ERA, 2.61 FIP, and 0.96 WHIP (.279 BABIP).  He has three above average pitches: low 90s fastball, slider, and change up and he commands all three well. Has a projectable frame, already at 6-3 and 190 lbs, very good feel for the game and is not afraid to attack the strike zone.  Great composure on the mount. He should add 3-4 ticks to his fastball as he grows and sharpen the rest of his pitches.  Flashes of top of the rotation potential; a prospect worth following. 

Likely 2018 path: Extended Spring Training and then at the GCL rotation.

14. Luis Arraez IF (11), 2019
DOB: 4/9/1997; Age: 20
Positions: 2B
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 5'10", Weight: 155 lbs
Acquired:   International Free Agent signing 2013
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A+ (2017)
ETA: 2019

Luis Arraez was signed by the Twins as an international free agent from the Venezuela on November 3rd, 2013.  The San Felipe native opened some eyes in his first professional season in the DSL hitting  .348/.433/.400 (147 wRC+) in 31 games (135 PA).  The next season he moved to the GCL where he continued his success hitting .309/.377/.391 (133 wRC+) in 57 games (233 PA).  Last season he played for class A Cedar Rapids where he was the fifth youngest player in the Midwest League.  He hit .347/.386/.444 (146 wRC+) in 114 games (514 PA).  He continued the season in the Venezuelan Winter League where he hit .335/.382/.445 with 15 BB and 15 K this in 45 games (182 AB.)  He started 2017 at Fort Myers and he was on fire hitting .385/.385/.538 with a.418 wOB and 168 wRC+ in the first 3 games (13 PA) of the season before he tore his ACL after awkwardly tripping over first base, and spend the rest of the season recuperating from surgery.   

Other than Cedar Rapids where he was 31:51, Arraez has had at least equal strikeouts to walks, and his K% was never higher than 9.9%.  His splits last season was pretty equal for the lefty hitting Arraez: .333/.378/.422 vs LHP and .351/.388/.450 vs RHPs.  He finished the season with a .374/.398/.457    slash line the second half that included a very impressive .425/.444/.487 performance in August.  His swing is compact with great bat control and plus bat speed, quick wrists and the ability to hit the opposite way. His power has been improving (0.052 to 0.082 to 0.097 isoP), his contact has remained fairly high (.374, .323, and .382 BABIP) and he has decent speed but not good base stealing instincts (career 21/37 SB).  His play at second base has been improving every season and he was +13 DRS in Cedar Rapids.  Arraez is starting to look more and more like a two way player with All-Star bat potential, but he is still very young.  Speed has not been much of his game but the ACL tear might affect his future, thus the drop in the rankings.  Arraez has likely the best hit tool in the Twins' system.

Likely 2018 path: Starting 2B at Fort Myers or even Chattanooga depending on his Spring Training. 

13. Alex Kirilloff (8) OF, 2020
DOB: 11/9/1997; Age: 20
Positions: OF
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 6'2", Weight: 195 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 1st round in 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/Elizabethton (2016)
ETA: 2020

Alex Kirilloff was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round (15th overall) of the 2016 draft from Plum High School in the Pittsburgh area, where he played baseball while being homeschooled.  His father who used to be in the Pirates' organization as a scout and coach, is a professional hitting coach, offering both facilities and instruction to amateurs, including his son.  In High School Alex Kirilloff was a two way player.  As a pitcher he has a 89-92 mph fastball that was good enough to go 5-1 in limited competition, but was not going to get him to the next level.  Power and arm strength are Kirilloff's best tools and he projects as a rightfielder.  The transition to wood bat was seamless for him, hitting .306/.341/.454 in 55 games (232 PAs) in Elizabethton.  He has 9 2Bs, 1 3B, and 7 HRs, walking 11 (4.7%) and striking out 13.8%.  He was 0/1 in stolen bases.  He was named the Appalachian League’s player of the year.  Unfortunately, he had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow and missed all the 2017 season recovering.

There is definitely some power potential with his .148 isoP likely doubling at some point.  He has good judgement of the strike zone and makes contact that is successful (.328 BABIP.)   His swing is a bit complicated both with leg and shoulder action, but so far it works. It will be interesting to see how this will translate in the next levels when he will be looking at more off-speed and breaking balls. It might require some rework to quieten it up and shorten it.  The Tommy John surgery is not usually an issue for a position player, but Kirilloff's arm was not elite before it, and he might be relegated to left field or first base in the long run.

2018 Likely path:  Starting the season in single A Cedar Rapids

12. Tyler Jay (2)
DOB: 4/19/1994; Age: 23
Positions: LHP
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 6'1", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round in 2015
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: AA (2016,2017)
ETA: 2018

Tyler Jay was drafted by the Twins 6th overall in 2015 from University of Illinois.  The Lemont, IL native was mainly the closer in College appearing in 30 games (2 starts) in his Junior season pitching for 66.7 innings, walking 7 (0.9 BB/9) and striking out 77  (10.3 K/9) with a 1.08 ERA and 0.70 WHIP.  He moved on to the Fort Myers' bullpen with the Twins to appear in an additional 19 games (18.2 IP) where he walked 8 (3.9 BB/9, 17.3 K-BB%) and struck out 22 (10.8 K/9, 27.2 K%) for a 3.93 ERA (2.07 FIP) and 1.42 WHIP (.353 BABIP).  The Twins view Jay as a starter and he made the transition to the Miracle rotation this season where he started 13 games (69-2/3 IP) struck out 68 (8.8 K/9, 23.6 K%), walked 21 (2.7 BB/9, 16.3 K-BB%) and finished with a 2.84 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP (.311 BABIP).  He moved to Chattanooga in July, where he pitched in 5 games (2 starts) before ending his season on the disabled list because of a sore neck. He pitched only 14 innings (9 K, 5.8 K/9, 5 BB, 3.2 BB/9, 6.9 K-BB%, 5.79 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, .262 BABIP).  After the 2016 season the Twins Front Office decided to stop the Jay as a starter experiment and relegated him full time to the pen.  The 2017 season was practically lost for Jay due to injuries that limited him to 11-2/3 innings, including rehab.  Those injuries started with bicep tendonitis, right after spring day and a Left shoulder impingement on the beginning of July that ended his season.  It was thought that he might require Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, but he did not.  He pitched 9-2/3 innings at the Arizona Fall League.

When Jay is healthy, and in the pen, he has a plus to plus plus fastball that sits at 93-95 and peaks and 97-98 (not bad at all for a lefty) which he complements with a plus slider, an average curve ball and an average changeup that has flashed some potential.  As a reliever he is likely to be a fastball/slider pitcher with occasionally throwing his lesser offerings, unless the change up improves to plus quality, being useful against RHBs. He dropped several points from the number 2 ranking last season, because of his health issues and the move to the pen.  Jay, if healthy can help the Twins this season.  He was not invited to the major league camp this spring.

Likely 2018 path: Likely starting the season at  Rochester health allowing, and moving to the Twins' pen some time during the season.

11. Akil Baddoo (24) OF , 2020
DOB: 8/16/1992; Age: 19
Positions: OF
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 5'11", Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 2nd round in 2016
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: ELZ (2017)
ETA: 2020

Akil Baddoo was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft from Salem (GA) High School.  Baddoo did not turn 18 until after his first professional season at GLC.  He had a very hard time making the transition to a wooden bat (.178/.299/.271, 36 K for 28.3 K%, and 18 BB in 128 PA.)  His bat came alive in 2017, when he repeated the GCL (.267/.360/.440, .381 wOBA, 130 wRC+, 10.5 BB%, 15.1 K% in 20 games, 86 PA) and sizzled at Elizabethton (.357/.478/.579,.476 wOBA, 183 wRC+, 17.2 BB%, 12.1 K%, in 33 games, 157 PA)       

He flashed speed both on the bases (9/13 SB and 5 triples) and on the field where he is fast as a centerfielder, and this season he improved his routes considerably.  He has a quick bat and soft hands, and his eye at the plate has matured to a major asset.  He is a potential 5 tool player, with his throwing arm power arrived last season and home run power expected to arrive soon. He is still growing and has an impressive physique.  Makeup and workout ethic are off the charts.  If he does well against full season competition, expect a rise into the top 5 prospects, and national media recognition.

Likely 2018 path: Starting CF at Cedar Rapids.

Next: 6-10

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