Monday, March 6, 2017

Top 20 Twins Prospects: 6-10

Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson, Captive Photons
Last week I began running through my personal picks for the Twins top prospects. The players I have ranked 11-20 include multiple players who could impact the Twins roster during the 2017 campaign.

While the Twins have multiple players ready to debut, the back-end of my top-10 includes only one player who will play with the Twins next season. There are many players to be excited about but many of the players with higher upside are multiple years away from Target Field.

10. Felix Jorge, RHP
Age: 23/ Highest Level: Double-A
In Jorge's first taste of the FSL, he showed why he is considered one the Twins top pitching prospects. Through his first seven starts, he posted a 2.00 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 45.0 IP. From May 26-July 5, he reeled off seven straight victories while averaging over six innings per start. Jorge was promoted to Double-A in July and struggled through his first six starts (5.06 ERA). He ended the year strongly in his last five starts as he averaged over seven innings and posted a 3.16 ERA. He set career best totals in wins, innings pitched, and he struck out over 100 batters for the second consecutive season. Following the season, the Twins added Jorge to the 40-man roster. If he continues to pitch well, Jorge could be a September call-up in 2017.

9. Lewin Diaz, 1B
Age: 20/ Highest Level: Rookie
Diaz has been over a year younger than the competition at every stop in his professional career. During the 2016 season, he hit .321/.366/.585 against older pitchers and only faced younger pitchers in 15 at-bats. Diaz, a left-handed batter, had an OPS that was 19 points higher against righties. He ended the year by hitting .352/.387/.563 with eight extra-base hits in his last 19 games. He also limited his strikeouts to 35 in 174 at-bats (20% of his AB). Diaz committed four errors at first base in 318 chances for a .987 FLD% which is better than his career fielding percentage. Like other players on this list, Diaz won't be making his debut for multiple seasons.

8. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

Age: 23/ Highest Level: MLB

Mejia spent his first six minor league seasons in the Giants organization before joining the Twins in the Eduardo Nunez trade. He began the year at Double-A where he went 3-2 with a 1.94 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 65.0 IP. In June, he was promoted to Triple-A where he pitched six innings or more in five of his seven appearances. After joining the Red Wings, he allowed 10 earned runs over 19.1 innings with 20 strikeouts. Mejia made his big league debut on August 20 as he allowed two runs on five hits over 2.1 frames. His final start of the year came back in Rochester as he allowed one earned run over seven innings with five strikeouts. Lefties hit .205/.247/.301 against him with 42 strikeouts in 146 at-bats. Mejia will factor get multiple opportunities to stick at the big league level this season.
7. Wander Javier, SS
Age: 18/ Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
Javier made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. In nine games, he went 8-for-26 (.308 BA) with two home runs and three doubles. He was pulled from a game on July 1st with a hamstring injury and he wouldn't appear in another game the rest of the season. The injury wasn't considered serious but the Twins let him rest until fall instructional league play. He posted a 3 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio against right-handed pitchers while combining for a 1.234 OPS (29 plate appearances). All but one of his plate appearances came against older pitchers. He made eight starts at shortstop and was charged with one error in 25 chances. Javier is many years away from Target Field but he has plenty of upside.

6. Kohl Stewart, RHP
Age: 22/ Highest Level: Double-A
For the fourth consecutive season, Stewart was more than 2.5 years younger than the competition at his level. His first nine starts came in Fort Myers. In 51.2 innings, he posted a 2.61 ERA with a 44 to 19 strikeout to walk ratio. He held opponents to hitting .207/.286/.287. H was promoted to Double-A at the beginning of June. In three of his first seven appearances, he failed to get out of the fifth inning by allowing a combined 13 runs. In the other four starts during that stretch, he averaged 6.2 innings with a combined four earned runs allowed. From August through season’s end, he started to get in a rhythm at Double-A. Over his last six games (38.2 IP), he allowed 11 earned runs on 30 hits with 16 strikeouts and 21 walks. There's an outside chance he could debut this year but it seems likely for him to pitch most of the year between Double-A and Triple-A.

Who is too high? Is anyone too low? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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