In the aftermath this year's MLB Draft, it can be fun to reevaluate where an organization stacks up in the prospect department. For better or worse, franchises can make it or break it with their selections in the draft. It's also important for teams to be able to build from within to help manage the bottom line.
Minnesota's top prospect list is littered with players drafted highly over the last handful of years. Players like Nick Gordon, Tyler Jay, and Kohl Stewart have all been taken with first round picks. Ideally, these players will form the nucleus of Minnesota's next championship winning club.
The Twins took Royce Lewis with the first overall pick. Where will he fall in the team's top prospects?
10. Daniel Palka, OF, 25-- Current Level: Triple-A
Preseason Rank: 12
Palka hasn't been hitting for as much power as his first season in the Twins organization. However, he has lowered his Triple-A strikeout percentage from 38.6% last year to 24.6% in 2017. The Twins added him to the 40-man roster this off-season so he could have been a call away from making his big league debut. Unfortunately, he broke his left index finger at the end of April which will keep him on the DL for a chunk of this season. His potential continues to be high but he is going to have to come back strong from this injury and fight his way on to the 2017 Twins roster.
9. Felix Jorge, RHP, 23-- Current Level: Double-A
Preseason Rank: 10
Like Palka, Jorge was added to the Twins 40-man roster this past off-season. As a 23-year old, he is over a year younger than the competition in the Southern League. He's off to a tremendous start with an 8-1 record and the Lookouts have gone 12-1 in games he has started this season. Jorge isn't overpowering but he finds a way to get outs. Last year at Double-A, he posted a 3.9 SO/9 and he has improved that number to 6.2 in 2017. He's struck out over 100 batters in back-to-back seasons while being younger than the competition. Jorge might not be a front-line starter but he could settle into a very important pitching role on a future Twins roster.
8. Tyler Jay, LHP, 23-- Highest Level: Double-A
Preseason Rank: 5
One of the most disappointing stories out of spring training this year was the Twins deciding to move Tyler Jay to the bullpen. When the Twins took Jay with a top-10 pick, they were hoping to shift him from the bullpen to a starting pitcher. There were some ups and downs during his first two professional seasons and it sounds like both Jay and the new Twins front office felt like this was the best decision. He's only made a couple appearances this season as he has dealt with bicep tendinitis. Baseball bullpens are evolving with players no longer being limited to one inning or one batter. Jay could develop into a late inning weapon much like Cleveland's Andrew Miller.
7. Lewin Diaz, 1B, 20-- Highest Level: Low-A
Preseason Rank: 9
Diaz is making his mark during his first taste of full-season action. Even though he's over a year younger than the competition in the Midwest League, Diaz is hitting .271/.314/.446 with a career-high 21 doubles. Even though he is a power-hitter, he has been able to control his strikeout numbers with 45 strikeouts in 274 plate appearances. Defense will never be his calling card but he can make the plays he needs to make at first base. While there might be some defensive struggles, Diaz has the bat to impact the game. The Kernels clinched a first-half playoff spot on Sunday and Diaz was one of the main cogs leading them to the postseason.
6. Wander Javier, SS, 18- Highest Level: Dominican Summer League
Preseason Rank: 7
In July of 2015, Javier made a splash when the Twins signed him for $4 million dollars. He was limited to nine game during the 2016 season as he dealt with hamstring issues. This still didn't stop him from hitting .308/.400/.654 with five of his eight hits being for extra bases. With the addition of first overall pick Royce Lewis, it will be interesting to see how at-bats are handled to start the year in the GCL. Both Javier and Lewis will need repetitions but who will be able to standout above the crowd. All of the tools are there for Javier and he will need to showcase them this season as the Twins shortstop picture is starting to fill-up in the minor leagues.
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