One of the highlights of the off-season for a core of Twins fans is the release of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Seth Stohs has worked to put together this fantastic book for the last seven years. In 2012, he gave me my first taste of helping with the book. By 2013, I was writing an article for the annual and for the last three years I have been among a trio of writers that includes Jeremy Nygaard, Stohs, and myself.
I already released the first part of my top 30 list and there are some strong prospects making their way to Target Field.. I have some differences compared to the other authors but that's what makes this fun. To see their top 30's, you're going to have to go and pick up a copy for yourself.
11 – Lewis Thorpe – LHP – Cedar Rapids Kernels
2014 Stats: 3-2, 3.52 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 71.2 IP, 36 BB, 80 K
Thorpe exploded onto the prospect scene a year ago and seemed to be busting his way into Twins top 10 prospect lists across the country. A year removed from that explosion and things have come back down to earth. He held his own in the Midwest League while being four years younger than the other pitchers in the league. Thorpe will likely miss all of 2015 after spraining his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
12 – Max Kepler – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
2014 Stats: .264/.333/.493, 20-2B, 6-3B, 5 HR, 59 RBI
Kepler has been one of the most intriguing prospects in the Twins organization since they signed him as a teenager out of Europe. His batting average improved in each month of the season and he got on base over 33% of the time. He continues to be a strong defensive outfielder but his power numbers will need to improve to stick at a corner spot. Kepler did very well in 18 AFL games this season with an .806 OPS including four doubles and three triples.
13 – Stephen Gonsalves – LHP – Elizabethton Twins, Cedar Rapids Kernels
2014 Stats: 4-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 21 BB, 70 K
Behind Thorpe, Gonsalves is the second highest ranked left-handed pitcher in my top 30. He did well at Low-A even though he is only 20-years old. He has some room to grow into his body and he has shown the ability to throw strikes. If Gonsalves continues to make strides at High-A, he could be a top 10 prospect by next off-season.
14 – Travis Harrison – OF/3B – Ft. Myers Miracle
2014 Stats: .269/.361/.365, 33-2B, 1-3B, 3 HR, 59 RBI
I've liked Harrison a lot since he joined the Twins organization but I didn't like his dip in home runs this season. He was hitting in the tough FSL and he did collect 33 doubles. Some positives were his ability to hit to all fields and he cutback in the strikeout department. He's young and still has some untapped potential.
15 – Stuart Turner – C – Ft. Myers Miracle
2014 Stats: .249/.322/.375, 16-2B, 2-3B, 7 HR, 40 RBI
I've always liked catching prospects and Turner's defense is enough to carry him to the big leagues. His bat will be the question mark but all of his appearances came in the pitcher friendly FSL. As he moves up the ladder and pitching improves, it will be interesting to see if he can make the adjustments to stay relevant at the plate. I think he makes stress next year and finds himself just shy of the top 10.
16 – Adam Brett Walker – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
2014 Stats: .246/.307/.436, 19-2B, 1-3B, 25 HR, 94 RBI, 9 SB
Walker killed the ball in the pitcher friendly FSL. However there are still questions about his ability to make consistent contact and he strike out a lot since he has trouble recognizing off-speed offerings. It seems like he will have to make some offensive adjustments in the years to come or be relegated to a lesser role at the big league level.
17 – Felix Jorge – RHP – Elizabethton Twins, Cedar Rapids Kernels
2014 Stats: 6-7, 4.97 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 105.0 IP, 34 BB, 84 K
I'm higher on this guy than basically anyone else that does a Twins prospect list. He struggled mightily at Low-A but made some positive adjustments when he moved back to E-Town. Jorge lost a little mojo with his fastball this year and his off-speed offerings continue to improve. He still has a high ceiling and I'm higher than anyone else about him.
18 – Amaurys Minier – OF/1B – GCL Twins
2014 Stats: .292/.405/.520, 11-2B, 2-3B, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Minier made solid improvements in his second trip through the GCL. He's still a teenager and he will move up in the system in 2015. He has very good power from the left hand side of the plate but there are questions about how his approach will fare as he moves up. There are some holes in his defensive skills but he is one player that could breakout in 2015.
19 – Taylor Rogers – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
2014 Stats: 11-6, 3.29 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 145.0 IP, 37 BB, 113 K
After breaking out at both Low-A and High-A last season, Rogers was able to hold his own at Double-A for all of 2014. He's left-handed and he has a pulse so that puts him a little higher on this list than he might be if he was right-handed. His strikeout rate improved this season and he tossed the most innings of his career. He might not be a starter at the big leagues but he can definitely get lefties out.
20 – Tyler Duffey – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats, Rochester Red Wings
2014 Stats: 13-3, 3.67 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 149.2 IP, 30 BB, 113 K
In only his third year in the system, Duffey cruised his way to Triple-A. He started the year at Fort Myers and the majority of his innings were at Double-A. He was almost four years younger than the other pitchers in the International League. His fastball sits in the low-90s and his change-up was much improved this year. This could make him dangerous moving forward.