Throughout the offseason there will be plenty of prospect lists released by a variety of media outlets. There are always differences between how people view the particular talent in an organization. Does a pitcher with more upside in the lower levels of the minors rate higher than someone at Double-A? Should a slugger with terrible defense rate higher than a light-hitting middle infielder?
Those questions and more are all things to consider compiling a list like the one you see below. At the beginning of last week, I released the first portion of my top 20 list so make sure and check those out.
2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle
2013 Stats: .334/.424/.520, 19-2B, 18-3B, 12 HR, 77 RBI, 55 SBThere were questions and doubts about Buxton as the season started. Could he consistently hit? Would he be able to generate enough power? How good was his defense? All of those doubts and more were taken care of in his first full professional season. He is widely regarded as the best prospect in the game and the sky seems like it's the limit for this young man. There are other hurdles to jump before he gets to Target Field but Twins fans have to be excited about his promise moving forward.
2. Miguel Sano- 3B
2013 Team(s): Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats2013 Stats: .280/.382/.610, 30-2B, 5-3B, 30 HR, 103 RBI, 11 SB
For the first time since the inception of this blog, Miguel Sano's name isn't at the top of my offseason top 20 prospects list. He didn't do anything negative to move down a spot but Buxton was just that good. Sano's defense continues to improve at third base and he might be the best power-hitting prospect in the minor leagues. Fans will likely see Sano at Target Field in the next year and the hope is that he can stay there for a long time.
3. Kohl Stewart- RHP
2013 Team(s): GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins2013 Stats: 0-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 4 BB, 24 K
Minnesota entered the 2013 Draft looking for a starting pitcher who could change the course of the franchise. This is a lot of pressure to toss on an 18-year old kid from Texas. There were some impressive signs from Stewart in his professional debut and there is a long road ahead for this young man. He has all the tools and ability to be the ace fans have craved since Johan Santana was traded away. The only question remaining could be, "How fast can he get up to Minnesota?"
4. Alex Meyer- RHP
2013 Team(s): New Britain Rock Cats, GCL Twins (Rehab)2013 Stats: 4-3, 2.99 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 78.1 IP, 32 BB, 100 K
When the Twins traded away two-thirds of their starting outfield last offseason, the acquisition of Meyer signaled a shift in the Twins system. The team needed talented arms to rebuild a franchise coming off of some terrible seasons. Meyer missed a little time in 2013 with a shoulder issue but he built up some innings in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely start the year in Rochester but this means he is one injury away from making his big league debut.
5. Eddie Rosario- 2B/OF
2013 Team(s): Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats
2013 Stats: .302/.350/.460, 32-2B, 8-3B, 10 HR, 73 RBI, 10 SBRosario has been in the news lately but for all the wrong reasons. He will be suspended 50 games at the start of next season for taking a painkiller while he was recovering from an injury. This is a tough blow for one of the best hitting prospects in the organization. Rosario was on pace to make his debut in 2014 but this could get pushed back because of his suspension. His defensive transition to second base continues to take form and the club will need to decide if Brian Dozier or Rosario is the future at that position.
6. Jose Berrios- RHP
2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels2013 Stats: 7-7, 3.99 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 103.2 IP, 40 BB, 100 K
The small stature of Berrios doesn't fit the normal profile of a starting pitcher but that doesn't take anything away from what he has done since being drafted by the Twins. He continues to prove he could team with Meyer and Stewart to form a formidable top of the rotation trio. Berrios will likely spend most of 2014 in Fort Myers and it will be interesting to see how he fares in a league that is considered tough for hitters.
7. Jorge Polanco- SS/2B
2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels2013 Stats: .308/.362/.452, 32-2B, 10-3B, 5 HR, 78 RBI
Minnesota is desperate to develop some middle infielders in the organization. Polanco fits this mold and he is slowly working his way into the organization's long-term thoughts. He continues to improve on the offensive side of the ball but there are still a few wrinkles to iron out defensively. This was one of the main reasons he continues to see time at both middle infield positions. His bat is for real and he was able to prove this in a full season league for the first time this year.
8. Josmil Pinto- C
2013 Team(s): New Britain Rock Cats, Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins
2013 MILB Stats: .309/.400/.482, 32-2B, 1-3B, 15 HR, 74 RBI
2013 MLB Stats: .342/.398/.566, 5-2B, 0-3B, 4 HR, 12 RBIThis is the name on the lips of many fans as the organization has decided to move Joe Mauer to first base. His outstanding offensive numbers in the month of September make it easy to get excited about his future. He put together some very good numbers in the minor leagues as well and this has helped him move up prospect lists. His defense continues to improve but the Twins will likely want him to get more seasoning at Rochester before they will hand over the starting catching spot.
9. Max Kepler- OF/1B
2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels2013 Stats: .237/.312/.424, 11-2B, 3-3B, 9 HR, 40 RBI
An arm injury cost Kepler part of this season but he still showed some promise in 61 games. His batting average wasn't the greatest but power is still part of his game. He was used primarily as an outfielder in his first three years in the organization but the club shifted him to spending more time at first base. Wirh a healthier 2014 and some graduations off the top of this list, he could see his stock rise in the coming years.
10. Adam Walker- OF
2013 Team(s): Cedar Rapids Kernels
2013 Stats: .278/.319/.526, 31-2B, 7-3B, 27 HR, 109 RBI, 10 SB
Walker burst onto the scene with a power-packed performance in 2013. He led the Midwest League in home runs and he made improvements to most other offensive areas. If he can continue to improve, Walker could turn out to be a steal as a third round pick. He'll jump to Fort Myers next year and the Florida State League will test his offensive chops.