Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twins Breakout Prospect Candidates for '15

It's hard to argue with the breakout season Jose Berrios put together in 2014. He dominated the Florida State League and held his own in the Eastern League while being over four and a half years younger than the average age of the pitchers in that league. He was already a top ten prospect in the organization but he solidified himself as one of the top three pitchers in a loaded farm system.

Berrios was just one of the team's prospects to do well in 2014 as other prospects also put their name on the map. Adam Brett Walker smacked a ton of home runs in the tough Florida State League. Eddie Rosario missed time at the beginning of the season due to a drug suspension but he ended the season on a high note as one of the best hitters in the Arizona Fall League. There were many other prospects that had solid seasons in

Here are three of the Twins top prospects that I think could follow in the footsteps of Berrios and have a breakout season in 2015.
Stephen Gonsalves- LHP
2014 Team(s): Elizabethton Twins, Cedar Rapids Kernels
3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 70 K, 21 BB (14 Games)
Gonsalves, a 2013 fourth round pick, made it all the way to Low-A this season as a teenager. He continues to show the ability to strikeout batters. He can hit in the 90's with his fastball and he can counter with a good change-up. His other breaking pitch still needs some work but he will be able to develop that as he progresses through the system. In his first five outings at Low-A, he posted a 1.57 ERA over 23.0 innings with 21 strikeouts and only four walks. To put those numbers in prospective, he was three years younger than the other pitchers in the Midwest League.

Travis Harrison- OF/3B
2014 Team(s): Fort Myers Miracle
.269/.361/.365, 3 HR, 33 2B, 59 RBI, 80 R (129 Games)
The Florida State League can be tough on hitters and this could be one of the reasons Harrison's home run total dipped from 15 in '13 to 3 this past season. The former supplemental first round pick continues to get on base at a very high rate and he's shown the ability to take the ball to opposite field. His strikeout rate continues to drop and he played a new defensive position this season. He will be 22-years old for all of next season and he should be more comfortable playing his defensive spot. This could mean result in some big numbers for Harrison at Double-A.

Amaurys Minier- OF/1B
2014 Team(s): GCL Twins
.292/.405/.520, 8 HR, 11 2B, 33 RBI, 25 R (53 Games)
It can be tough to have a breakout season in the lower levels of the minor leagues but the Twins have seen players like Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano have huge seasons after coming out of extended spring training. Minier has big power from the left-side but there might be some holes in his swing as evident by his 52 strikeouts this season. If his approach can improve as he moves up the ladder and he makes some positive strides on the defensive side of the ball, he could be vaulting up Twins prospect lists during the next off-season.

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