Fixing the MLB Free Acency and CBA issues

It is very obvious with the way that this off-season has been as far as free agent signings, that there is something seriously broken with the was that the player compensation situation has been at the MLB.

Up until very recently the MLB players were compensated for what they did, vs. what they were expected to do in their future contracts.  This has led to monster 10 year contracts for 30+ year old players who were impossible to live to the expectations.  It has also led to poverty-level wages for a whole bunch of players, in the minor leagues, with no minimum minor league contract levels, a five- to six-year control of players as minor leaguers, and an additional 6 years of team control (the last through arbitration) at the major league level.  So a player who was drafted as a 21 year old in college, could be after 5 years of control in the minors making a pittance, and 3 years of control in the majors making the minimum (which is a pretty nice $600K or so), before hoping to increase that in his age 29 through 31 seasons via an arbitration, and then hitting it big via free agency.  

However, with the increase of analytically-based GMs and Front Offices, there is the realization that ages 32+ usually represent the declining seasons of a player (esp. post the steroid era) and teams do not want to play that much.  And nobody should blame them.  Players should be paid when they produce the most, which is a the peak of their careers.

The system is broken both ways.

I think that the following changes will help, come the new CBA, to create a more fair situation for everyone and for the fans to see a more competitive sport:

  • Establish a salary cap and a salary floor at 1.5x and .5x the previous season's MLB average.  Based on the opening day of 2017 that would be between  $207M and $69M in 2018.
  • Going over would mean forfeiting draft picks:  $10M  = 1st round, $5M = 2nd round, $2.5M = 3rd round for multiple seasons (i.e if you go over by $25M you would lose next seasons' top 3 rounds and the following round 1 picks)
  • Going under the floor will result to a. forfeit the league subsidies by the same amount of dollar a team is under, plus b.forfeiting draft picks at the same rate as going over.  So no more "tanking" for draft picks.
  • Establish a minimum salary of $15 (EST, Rk, ssA), $20 (A), $25 (A+), $30 (AA), $35 AAA per hour, for minor league players.  Based on 1500 hrs (9 months), those salaries become: $22.5K, $30K, $37.5K, $45K, and $52.5K a season at the different levels.
  • Unless extended, everyone hits free agency after his age 25 season, with the age based on player's age on opening day.
Holy cow!  This sounds like a player's dream. And so far it is; however: 
  • The concept of arbitration ceases to exist.  25 year old free agents who are entering their primes will be getting into contracts that will reward what they expected to gain during their primes.  
  • Maximum guaranteed contracts should be 5 years.  Options are allowed if the two parties agree.  "No trade" clauses go away (and they have been pretty much irrelevant recently.)
  • There will be no international free agents.  Everyone, including Asian and Cuban professional players will have to go through the draft, like in the NBA, with minimum age of signing 17 (the equivalent of a High School senior).  This will stop the Latin American children from taking advantage by "trainers" and sold to the highest bidder.  It will also stop teams from getting the best players from the Asian leagues or the Cuban league, just because they have more money.
  • The salary cap and floor will be based on all the $ spend by a team to players' salaries, both in the MLB and MiLB.  Most teams had about 300 minor and major leaguers last season.  The total minor league investment according to this proposal would have been about $10-11 million annually.   
  • Draft picks can be traded.  
  • The concepts of "International Allowance", "Qualifying offer", "Supplementary picks" etc cease to exist.
  • A first three round draft pick who is not willing to sign with the team that selected him, will not be eligible for the following years' draft.
The last few measures are more favorable to the owners.

I think that these measures will establish better competitive balance among teams, will pay the most to players who perform the best in their primes, pay the minor league players living wages, and stop unethical trainers from taking advantage of impoverished children.

What do you all think?


2018 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 46-50

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.  You can find all segments in this series here.

Here are players 46-50 in reverse order with their 2017 ranking in parenthesis. Players no in the 2017 top 60 list are indicated by (--)

50. Colton Burns (--)
DOB: 10/19/1995; Age: 22
Positions: OF
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 195 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 18th round in 2017
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: GCL (2017)
ETA: 2021

Colton Burns was drafted by the Twins in the 18th round of the 2017 draft as a Junior from the University of California Santa Barbara.  The Palmdale, CA native transferred there from the JuCo College of the Canyons.  As a junior he played the OF and filled in at second base because of injuries.  He hit .308/.422/.389 with 9/57 extra base hits and 5/10 SB.  His first season as a pro was at the GCL where he hit .282/.423/.385, .393 wOBA, 138 wRC+, and had 16.3 BB% and 23.5 K% and was 8/11 in SB.

Burns is very raw but has a true 70 speed and excellent plate discipline.  He had some issues with contract his first time around with wooden bat, but this will be a matter of adjustment.  He projects as a left fielder or centerfielder in the future.  He is a player with tools similar to current Twins' OF Zack Granite.

Likely 2018 Path: Extended Spring Training and then Elizabethton.

 49. Hector Lujan (--) 
DOB: 8/23/1994; Age: 23
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 220 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 35th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: A+ (2016)
ETA: 2020

Hector Lujan was drafted by the Twins in the 35th round of the 2015 draft from Westmont College as a junior.  The Corona, CA native went to University of California Santa Barbara as a freshman and sophomore but decided to transfer to get more opportunities to pitch.  In his Junior year he pitched 23 innings in 20 games out of the pen with a 4.30 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.8 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9.  A mechanical change in the pros reduced the walks (2.5/9 at GCL in 2015 and 2.6/9 in Elizabethton in 2016), but previously to last season, he was fairly ineffective:  in 2015 at GCL he pitched in 15 games (18 IP) with 16 K (8 K/9, 20.8 K%), 5 BB (2.5 BB/9, 14.3 K-BB%), with a 5.00 ERA, 2.70 FIP and 1.39 WHIP.  In 2016 he appeared in 19 games with Elizabethton pitching for 35-1/3 innings and had 30 K (7.6 K/9, 18.8 K%), 10 BB (2.6 BB/9, 12.5 K-BB) and a 5.35 ERA, 4.99 FIP and 1.39 WHIP.  That season he pitched a game for the Miracle (1 IP, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 K).  Last season a different Hector showed up in Cedar Rapids and dominated as the closer for most of the season.  He appeared in 42 games (54 IP), stuck out 54 (9 K/9, 26.5 K%) walked only 8 (1.3 BB/9, 22.5 K%) and finished with 1.33 ERA, 2.79 FIP and 0.91 WHIP (.277 BABIP).

Two things happened for Lujan that helped those results:  His fastball gained a couple of ticks to 96-97 mph and he learn how to command and control it better.  It has a lot of movement and it is a plus pitch at this point.  Add a hard slider with plus flashes but solidly at above average and an average to above average changeup and Lujan might be on the fast track if he starts producing at higher levels.

Likely 2018 Path: Closer at the Fort Myers Miracle.

 48. Kerby Camacho (--) C, 2021
DOB: 11/23/1997; Age: 20
Positions: C
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 5'10", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: GCL (2015, 2017)
ETA: 2023

The Twins drafted the Arecibo, PR native in the 11th round of the 2015 draft from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy.  His first professional season in the DSL was disappointing (.093/.169/.167, .176 wOBA, 9 wRC+.  He lost all of his second season to a 60 day suspension testing positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone.  He return to the GCL in 2017 where he was much improved: .246/.378/.328 slash line with a  .349 wOBA and a 111 wRC+ in 74 PA.

He projects to stay at Catcher where he is pretty good with the glove cutting down 29% of the would be base stealers. He is good at calling games and pretty sure-handed as a backstop making no errors last season.  He is a switch hitting catcher, which is not a small feat by itself.  Still pretty raw and still question marks, and not only because he is another steroid strike away from major consequences on his development, but he is one to keep your eye on.

Likely 2018 Path: Catching at Elizabethton.

47. Tom Hackimer (--) RHP
DOB: 6/28/1994; Age: 20
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 5'11", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round in 2016
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: A+ (2017)
ETA: 2019

The New Hyde Park, NY Native was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 4th round of the 2016 draft from St. John's University as a Senior.  He was a Physics majors with a 3.62 GPA and decided to go back to finish after being drafted by the Mets as a Junior.  In his senior year at the Big East conference he pitched in 28 games (53-2/3 IP) striking out 71 (11.9 K/9) and walking 19 (3.2 BB/9).  He finished with 8 saves, 1.17 ERA and 0.800 WHIP.  As a pro that season (2016) he was assigned to Cedar Rapids where he pitched in 21 games (26-1/3 IP), struck out 26 (8.9 K/9, 22.8 K%), walked 12 (4.1 BB/9, 12.3 K-BB%) and hit 7 batters.  He  had a 2.39 ERA, 4.16 FIP and 1.25 BABIP.  He repeated Cedar Rapids to start the 2017 season, pitching 16 games (24 IP), striking out 28 (10.5 K/9, 30.8 K%), walking 3 (1.1 BB/9, 27.5 K-BB%) and hitting 4 batters.  His ERA was 1.50, FIP 2.04 and WHIP 0.58 (.196 BABIP).  He moved up to Fort Myers where he pitched in 27 games (37-1/3 IP) stuck out 43 (10.4 K/9), walked 19 () and hit 7 batters.  He finished with a 1.93 ERA, 3.10 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP (.221 BABIP).  He followed with an appearance in the Arizona Fall League where he pitched 11-2/3 innings in 10 games with 7.7 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 2.31 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

Hackimer did not allow a HR this season.  He allowed 1 at Cedar Rapids in 2016 and none in 4 NCAA seasons.  He is an extreme ground ball pitcher, allowing 2-4 as many time ground balls as fly balls.  He is a submarine pitcher with a fastball that runs 89-92 and moves a lot (thus the walks and HBPs) and has a good Frisbee slider.  Control will make or break Hackimer, but he is fast tracked to the majors.

Likely 2018 Path: In the Fort Myers' pen with a move to Chattanooga mid-season.

46. Andrew Vasquez (52) LHP, 2019  
DOB: 9/14/1994; Age: 24
Positions: LHP
Bats: S, Throws: L
Height: 6'6", Weight: 228 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 32nd round in 2015
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: A+ (2017)
ETA: 2019

Andrew Vasquez was drafted by the Twins in the 32nd round of the 2015 draft from Westmont College where he transferred as a senior from University of California Santa Barbara where he pitched his first 3 collegiate seasons.  The California native was Highly recruited out of High School after finishing 5-1 with 1.54 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 52-1/3 IP and being a switch hitting first baseman.  His freshman season he started 15 games (88-2/3 IP) had 106 strikeouts (10.6 K/9) and 63 BB (6.4 BB/9) with a 1.93 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.  The next 2 seasons the wheels fell off and his ERA ballooned to mid 4s, before dropping to 3.06 after his transfer.  The problem?  Andrew Vasquez is an unusual pitcher.  One has to think of him as a knuckleballer, but unlike a knuckleballer, Vasquez bread and butter pitch is his curveball that he throws most of the time.  And it is a beautiful slow curveball that sits at the high 60s low 70s, which most of the time is a plus plus pitch that misses bats and induces very weak contact when it does.  He occasionally throws a mid 80s fastball that was just a step above a playground pitch at college but improving.  Missing bats is what Vasquez does, but when he misses the plate with his curveball and the hitters are sitting on his fastball, the results have been disastrous.  All of his collegiate career he was given more walks than hits. His strikeout numbers (13.1 K/9) and hits (4.8 hits per 9 innings) have been stellar his senior year, but walks were the problem (5.7 BB/9).  In his first pro-season with the Twins, Vasquez transitioned to the pen in the Gulf Coast League where the trent continued.  He pitched 12-1/3 innings in 12 games, striking out 22 (16.1 K/9) allowing 10 hits (7.3 H/9) but walking 15 (11 BB/9).  He started 2016 in extended spring training and looks like something clicked for Vasquez.  He moved to Elizabethton for 4 games, pitched 10 innings striking out 15 (13.5 K/9, 38.5 K%) allowing 6 hits (5.4 H/9) and walking only 4 hitters (3.6 BB/9, 28.2 K-BB%) ending up with an 0.90 ERA,  2.46 FIP, and 1.00 WHIP (.333 BABIP.)  He was promoted to Cedar Rapids where the success continued: He came of the pen in 13 games for 28-1/3 innings, with 36 K (11.4 K/9, 31.6% K%), 12 BB (3.8 BB/9, 21.1 K-BB%) and 13 H (4.1 H/9) translating into a 1.59 ERA, 2.63 FIP and 0.88 WHIP (.210 BABIP).   He begun last season at Cedar Rapids for 14 games (22-1/3 IP), striking out 33 (13.30 K/9, 36.7 K%) and walking 10 (4.0 BB/9, 25.6 K-BB%), with an 1.61 ERA, 2.02 FIP and 1.12 WHIP (.326 BABIP).  He moved up to Fort Myers, pitching in 23 games for 35-2/3 inning, striking out 52 (13.1 K/9, 34.4 K%) and walking 11 (2.8 BB/9, 27.2 K-BB%.) He finished with and 1.51 ERA, 1.82 FIP and 1.21 WHIP (.390 BABIP.)  He moved on to the Arizona Fall Leauge where he pitched in 11 Games, 12-2/3 IP, 1.38 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 1.11 WHIP.

It has to be mentioned that Vasquez has not allowed a home run as a pro player.  As mentioned earlier, even though a secondary pitch, his 88-90 mph fastball has improved this season and he has been also toying with a slurve that sits at high 70s to low 80s and has improved to above average.  He is lethal against LHBs. He is a very interesting prospect who will live and die with the control and command of his curveball and if that holds up in higher levels, he might be a fast riser.  The benefit he has as a reliever that he did not have as a starter is that he can reduce his exposure when his command and control is not there.

Likely 2018 Path: In the Fort Myers' pen with a move to Chattanooga mid-season; aggressively, could start the season in AA.

Next: 41-45


2018 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 51-55

This is the third 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.  You can find all segments in this series here.

Here are players 51-55 in reverse order with their 2017 ranking in parenthesis. Players no in the 2017 top 60 list are indicated by (--)

55 Carlos Suniaga, (--)
DOB: 5/26/1997; Age: 20
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 187 lbs
Acquired: Signed as international free agent by Twins on September 19, 2014
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: ELZ (2017)
ETA: 2022

Carlos Suniaga is a late bloomer pitcher from Margarita Venezuela.  He was signed by the Twins as a 17 year old, played his first professional season the the DSL as an 18 year old and other than having good control of his fastball things were tough for him: He appeared in 23 games, all out of the pen for 50 IP, struck out 35 (6.3 K/9, 15.6 K%) and walked only 6 (1.1 BB/9, 12.9 K-BB%), but had a 1.54 WHIP and ended up with a 6.48 ERA and 3.99 FIP.  He repeated the DSL as a 19 year old in 2016 with stellar results: 16 G, 6 GS, 57-2/3 IP, 58 K (9 K/9, 25 K%), 13 BB (2 BB/9, 19.4 K%), 1.01 WHIP, 2.03 ERA and 1.83 FIP.  In 2017 he came to the States and played in the GCL as a 20 year old (about half a year less than average age for the league) and his success continued: He appeared in 11 games, 6 starts for 48 IP, stuck out 38 (7.1 K/9, 19.4 K%), walked 12 (2.3 BB/9 and 13.3 K-BB%), with a 1.00 WHIP, 1.69 ERA and 3.51 FIP.  He pitched one game (3-1/3 innings) for the Elizabethton Twins where he allowed only one hit, no runs, and struck out 4 hitters.

Suniaga's best pitch is his change up that has plus flashes.  His sinker is heavy and has improved much this season to say that it is an above average pitch.  He throws it at 90-92 mph and has good control of it.  When it works, he generates about twice as many ground balls as fly balls.  He has been experimenting with a breaking ball, but at this point it is a work in progress.  He has an effortless 3/4 arm delivery and good mechanics that will allow him to get deep into games once he develops.

Likely 2018 path:  Extended Spring Training and in the Elizabethton rotation.

54 Ruben Santana, (--) 
DOB: 11/30/1997; Age: 20
Positions: IF
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 5'6", Weight: 160 lbs
Acquired: Signed as international free agent by Twins on September 15, 2015
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: DSL (2017)
ETA: 2023

Ruben Santa who is from Monte Plata, Dominican Republic was signed as a 17 year old in 2015.  His first professional season in 2016 he hit .248/.300/.297 with a .299 wOBA and 80 wRC+.  He repeated the DSL last season and he improved vastly hitting .340/.418/.453 with .427 wOBA and 154 wRC+. Additionally, he walked as many times as he struck out.

He played every single infield position last year, even though at 5'9", middle infield is probably his calling.  His arm is accurate enough to play shortstop.  The switch hitter has been hitting well from both sides of the plate, however he has more power from the left side, hitting against RHPs.  Yet another Latin American middle infielder in the footsteps of Louis Arraez and Jermaine Palacios.  It will be interesting to see how he performs Stateside.

Likely 2018 path
:  Extended Spring Training and all over the infield for the GCL Twins

53 Alex Robles, (--) 
DOB: 7/7/1995; Age: 22
Positions: OF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'0", Weight: 200 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 30th Round of the 2017 draft
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: GCL
ETA: 2022

Alex Robles was drafted by the Twins in the 30th round of Austin Peay State University.  The Senior from Tuscon, AZ, was a two way player thoughout his college career.  He pitched in 71 games (50 starts) and ended with a 28-19 record, 4.53 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.  As a hitter he hit .336/.410/.477    with his senior year being his best hitting .347/.414/.551 with a .204 IsoP and a sustainable .366 BABIP (his NCAA average BABIP was .368).  He walked 20 times, struck out 32 and hit 10 HR (22.5 AB/HR) and 11/14 SB. His pitching was the worst of his career as a Senior when he started only 10 of 23 games, had a 6.75 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.  He was drafted by the Twins as an outfielder and played 18 games at RF, 8 games at LF, 13 at 1B, 2 at 2B, and 8 at 3B.  He hit a very respectable .324/.369/.407 with 8 BB, 14 K, 3 HR, and 10/14 SB in 199 PA, the first time he played with a wood bat.  Actually it was the second time, since he went to the Cape Cod League as a pitcher in the summer of 2015. There he was hittless in 12 AB.

His arm is strong and his fielding at the corner OF positions and at 1B is acceptable.  Cannot see him ending up long term at 3B or 2B, because he lacks the instincts and range for those positions and tends to be erratic and uncomfortable.    His .082 isoP was the lowest of his career, but there is the wooden bat to blame here.  At this point his bat is ahead of his glove that will catch up once he is dedicated to fewer positions.  Very good contact tool, despite his longish swing, very good eye, and good instincts on the bases.

Likely 2018 path:  Extended Spring Training and 1B/OF at Elizabethton.

52 Jaylin Davis, (39) 
DOB: 7/1/1994; Age: 23
Positions: OF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired:  Drafted in the 24th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: A+ (2017)
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. Surprisingly he started the 2017 season at Cedar Rapids where he hit as well (.267/.316/.486, .357 wOBA, 123wRC+, 20.9 AB/HR) as his 2016 season.  However upon promotion to Fort Myers he frizzled (.237/.288/.335, .291wOBA, 81 wRC+, 71.7 AB/HR, 30.0 K%, 5.2 BB%)

Interestingly enough, his biggest problem was against opposite side pitchers.  He hit just .207/.250/    .293 against LHPs.  He did have a better August  (.310/.362/.425 overall) which means that Fort Myers might not be the end of the train for Davis, but he has to produce better than this from the corner OF position.  Davis can play all 3 OF positions, but RF is his best position.  He did have 17 assists there between Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers last season.   

Likely 2018 path: Davis will likely start the 2017 season at Fort Myers with a mid-season promotion to Chattanooga, if the numbers are there.

51 Cody Stashak  (55) 
DOB: 6/4/1994; Age: 23
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 169 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 13th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: AA (2017)
ETA: 2019

Cody Stashak was drafted by the Twins in the 13th round of the 2015 draft from St. Johns University.  The New Jersey native majored in Criminology and St. John's was his second College, transfering there in 2015 from Cumberland (NJ) County (Junior) College, where he was a two way player, starting pitcher and outfielder.  His pitching record was 16-5 with a 2.92 ERA, including 7 complete games and 130 Ks in 129-1/3 innings.  He was very good as a position player as well, hitting .359 with 23 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, and 91 RBI in 104 games, helping his team reach number 1 in national NJCAA Division III ranking and second in the 2014 NJCAA Division III World Series. In St. Johns he made 16 starts (85-2/3 IP), struck out 69 (7.3 K/9) and walked 24 (2.9 BB/9), ending up with a 3.57 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He begun his professional career at Elizabethton in 2015, where he started 10 games (44-2/3 IP), struck out 53 (10.7 K/9, 29% K%) and walked 11 (2.2 BB/9, 23 K-BB%) and finished with a 5-2 record, 3.43 ERA, 3.18 FIP, and 1.119 WHIP (.310 BABIP).  He begun last season at EST and moved up to A Midwest League Cedar Rapids where he appeared in 18 games (17 starts and a 4 IP relief appearance) pitching 105-1/3 innings, striking out 80 (6.8 K/9, 18.8 K%) walking 30 (2.6 BB/9, 11.8 K-BB%), finishing with a 3.16 ERA, 3.39 WHIP and 1.139 WHIP (.279 BABIP).  He was promoted to the A+ Florida State League Fort Myers in August where he pitched 3 games for 16-2/3 innings, with 10K and 3 BB, 0.54 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 0.960 WHIP (.260  BABIP), before going to the disable list with "shoulder discomfort" for the rest of the season.  His 2017 season was limited because of injuries and he lost the best part of 2 months (including a 3 game rehab stint at the GCL)  At Fort Myers he starte a total of 16 games (83-1/3 IP) striking out 72 (7.8 K/9, 21.4 K%) and walking 20 (2.16 K/9, 15.5 K-BB%), finishing with a 3.89 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 1.10 WHIP (.279 BABIP).  He pitched 3 scoreless games from the AA pen at the end of the season allowing 4 hits and striking out 10 in 6 innings.

Injuries aside, Stashak has been a very steady pitcher. The strikeout to walk ratio, other that his short Elizabethton stint in 2015, is a tad lower than optimal, allowing more contact than necessary, which combined with the fact that he is a fly ball pitcher (about 2 fly outs per ground out) make one worry whether Stashak will have success in higher levels of professional ball.  He throws an above average 88-92 mph fastball that he commands well complements with an above average curveball.  He has been also working on a changeup and a slider/cutter. Stashak is a player who can move though a system fast if a couple of his pitches develop to a plus level and his control improve.  His small sample size success at the Chattanooga pen at the end of last season, makes one wonder whether he can shine in the pen if his fastball gets a couple of ticks.

Likely 2018 Path: Starting the season in the Chattanooga rotation

Next: Prospects 46-50


A top Twins' prospect sporting Detroit Tigers' attire: A slap in the Twins' face

Here is it.  In all his glory.  G Cinco aka Nick Gordon:

2018 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 56-60

This is the second 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 all segments in this series here.

Here are players 56-60 in reverse order with their 2017 ranking in parenthesis. Players no in the 2017 top 60 list are indicated by (--)

60 Jesus Toledo (--)
DOB: 8/25/1999; Age: 18
Positions: LHP
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 5'11", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: Signed on July 8, 2016 from Venezuela
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: DSL (2017)
ETA: 2022

Jesus Toledo signed with the Twins as an International Amateur Free Agent on July 8th ot 2016 from San Juan de los Morros, Venezuela, but did not start his professional career until last season.  But when he started, it was quite a start.  He started the season without allowing a run in 20-2/3 IP (4 starts, 1 relief appearance) had 4 more decent starts in July (14 IP, 3.86 ERA) and ran out of steam in August (1 start, 4 relief appearances 10-2/3 IP).  His numbers for last season were: 14 G, 9 GS, 45-1/3 IP, 30 K (15.9 K%, 6.0 K/9), 17 BB (3.4 BB/9, 6.9 K-BB%), 1.26 WHIP (.293 BABIP), 2.38 ERA, 3.88 FIP.

The lefty Venezuelan, who is around 6 feet tall with a true sinker and above average change up, should not be overlooked, not only because you know who, but because his stuff is that good, even though his endurance may not be at this point, which is mainly a being in shape and consistent training issue.   He pitches to contact at this point allowing twice as many ground balls than fly balls, and only 2.5% of the later resulting in a home rum.  He is more evective against lefties, but not bad against righties.  Developing a breaking ball, improving his sinker and change and commanding his sinker better, will allow him to miss bats in the future.

Likely 2018 path: In the US for String Training, extended Spring Training and starting at the CGL

59 Carson Crites (--)
DOB: 1/18/1995; Age: 23
Positions: 2B
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'0", Weight: 195 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 25th round in 2017
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: ELZ (2017)
ETA: 2022

Crites who was born in Oklahoma City and went to High School in Amarillo, TX, was drafted as a senior in the 25th round of the 2017 draft from Southeastern Louisiana University.  He established himself as power-speed threat his Senior year with 14 HR and 15 SB in 59 games (231 AB) while hitting .299/.386/.554.  In his first season as a pro he hit .300/.349/.453 (.363 wOBA, 115 wRC+) in 38 games (166 PA).  He just hit 4 HRs and stole 4 bases (in 7 attempts,) but he hit 11 doubles and overall had 50% extra base hit to hit ratio for a .153 isoP, while walking 10 (6% BB%) and striking out 28 (16.9% K%) times, which indicates that home run power will come upon further adjustment to the wood bat.

Crites is a second baseman with a lot of grit.  He is a bit older than the league average but he was drafted as a Senior.  As a hitter, he utilizes the whole field and has about equal ground ball to fly ball ration. His .339 BABIP is similar to his .344 NCAA average (range .398-.304) so it seems sustainable.  He is a similar type player to the current Twins' second baseman Brian Dozier, before the latter became a pure pull ball hitter as a major league player.  At the same age and the same level, he is a bit more advanced than Dozier was as far as power (.153 vs .078 isoP) and speed (4.6 vs 4.0 fangraphs Speed) but not contact (.363 vs .392 wOBA).  However players develop differently and it will be interesting to see how Crites will develop as he gets accustomed to the wooden bat.   

Likely 2018 path: Starting the season in Cedar Rapids (A)

58 Ben Rodriguez (--) C/1B
DOB: 11/9/1994; Age: 23
Positions: C/1B
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'6", Weight: 235 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 38th round in 2017
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: GCL (2017)
ETA: 2022   

Ben Rodriguez was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round of the 2017 draft from Pepperdine University.  The Scottsdale, AZ native was named the number 1 catcher from AZ in his High School senior class and was in the top 100 catchers in the nation in that class; however he was not drafted and went to Pepperdine University.  He had a break through junior season (.289/.401/.533, 9HR, 21 BB, 48 K, in 135 PA) but a rough landing in his senior season (.230/.311/.378, 19 BB, 62 K, in 196 PA). He did rebound considerable at the GCL later last season (.290/.395/.457, 22 BB, 43 K, .404 wOBA, 144 wRC+ in 162 PA).  This 1.95 K/BB ratio was his career best so far.  Rodriguez played 5 games (out of 50) at catcher, but at 6'6" and 235, he has already likely outgrown the position and he appears to be a first baseman in the future.

Rodriguez has very intriguing power (easy 70 on the 80 grade scale) and mashes lefties (.431/.500/.707 in 58 AB in GCL), however his long swing is not effective against same size pitching (.212/.346/.317 in 104 AB in the GCL) and neutralized by breaking balls outside the zone. He is much older for his league (+2.6 years that the average player), however it was his first time as a pro and was drafted as a senior.  The power intrigue is there, and overall his transition to wood has proven positive.  Cutting down the strikeouts and finding a way to attack right hand pitching will go a long way towards his development. 

Likely 2018 path: Extended Spring Training and then Elizabethton (Rk) with potential trips to Cedar Rapids if the need appears.

57 Nelson Molina, (47) 
DOB: 4/30/1995; Age: 22
Positions: IF
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2013
Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AA (2017)
ETA: 2020

Nelson Molina was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft from the Antonio Luchetti High School in Arecibo, PR.  He has been developing slowly for the Twins, starting and repeating the GCL level his first two seasons, moving to Elizabethton in 2015 and to A level Cedar Rapids in 2016.  He was drafted as a SS, but has played every infield and the corner outfield positions, concentrating at third base before last season and moved to 2B primarily this season, while still playing 1B, 3B, SS, LF and RF.  Molina had good plate discipline, but had a hard time making contact.  Something clicked for him in 2016 at Cedar Rapids, hitting .300/.374/.381 overall (with only a 13.9 K% and 9.9 BB%) and .321/.383/.419 against RHPs.  However last season at Fort Myers  (he also had 11 AB in 3 games at Chattanooga) he regressed to a .243/.285/.342 slash line overall and .249/.285/.358 against RHPs.

He is tall and lanky with limited power, but the potential to establish it as he grows.  He has some speed, stealing 12 bases in Elizabethton, but this season he only had 6 attempts (and 5 SB.) He has been improving with the glove, esp. after being moved away from third base that is his worse position.  His bat used to be ahead of his glove, but caught up last season in the wrong direction.  The Twins like his versatility but the key to making it to the majors will be his bat.  There are early indications that his 2016 .755 OPS, .354 wOBA, 125 wRC+ season at Cedar Rapids might be the exception, since he could not repeat his BABIP (.349) which regressed last season to .275 that is a bit better than his .258 career average.  At 22 he is still young but next season will be his 6th as a professional and likely a make or break season.

Likely 2018 path:  On the Chattanooga roster as a utility player

56 Sandy Lugo, (--) RHP  
DOB: 3/26/1995; Age: 22
Positions: IF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'0", Weight: 170 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the minor league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 draft from Reds
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A+ (2017)
ETA: 2020

The Twins drafted Sandy Lugo in the minor league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 draft from the Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds signed the Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic native on May 14, 2014.  Lugo moved fairly quickly in their system playing in the DSL that season: 19 G, 2 GS, 49-2/3 IP, 61 K (11.1 K/9, 28.9 K%) 16 BB (2.9 BB/9, 21.3 K-BB%) 2.90 ERA, 1.91 FIP, 1.19 WHIP and 13 wild pitches.  The 2015 season Lugo came to the States cruising through their Arizona League Rookie squad in 4 games and moving up to high altitude Rookie Pioneer League Billings Mustangs where he appeared in 13 games with 17-2/3 IP, striking out 23 (11.7 K/9, 28.1 K%), walking 8 (4.1 BB/9, 18.3 K-BB%) with a 5.60 ERA, 4.54 FIP and 1.47 WHIP.  In 2016 he moved to the Midwest League (A) Dayton Dragons where he appeared in 30 games for 55 innings, striking out 77 (12.6 K/9, 34.4 K%) walking 13  (2.1 BB/9, 28.6 K-BB%) and throwing 8 wild pitches with a 2.45 ERA, 2.91 FIP and 1.07 WHIP.  Last season after 5 games in Dayton, he moved to High A Daytona (Florida State League) where he appeared in 42 games, pitched 64-1/3 innings, struck out 82 (11.5 K/9, 28.6 K%), walked 40 (5.6 BB/9, 14.6 K-BB%), threw 16 wild pitches hit 5 batters, and had a 5.32 ERA, 3.87 FIP, and 1.41 WHIP.

The twenty-two year old has a 91-94 mph fastball that on occasion touches a couple ticks more, but his best pitch is a true plus upper 70s curveball. His problem has been command and control of his fastball, which has abandoned him at times.  The Twins have probably seen enough of his the past 2 seasons in the Midwest and Florida State Leagues to think that they can help him command his fastball to go with his plus curveball.  The key for Lugo is to do exactly that and get ahead in the count.  Otherwise hitters who can recognize the spin of the ball will just ignore the curve and sit on his fastball.  Definitely a work in process but the potential is there

Likely 2018 path:  Repeating the FSL with the Miracle to start the season with a possible promotion to Chattannooga depending on command of the fastball.

Next: 55-51