John Sickels, the minor leagues writer for SB Nation and a notable prospect guru, posted on Tuesday his Twins Top 20 prospects list.
Big surprise: He has Bryon Buxton and Miguel Sano at the top of the charts, Grade A for both. (On Monday he posted this long comment on Buxton, which will be part of his annual Prospect Book this spring.)
The ranking that jumped out at me was Lewis Thorpe, a 17-year-old left-handed pitcher from Australia who dominated the Gulf Coast League (64 strikeouts and six walks in 44 innings). Sickles puts him at No. 7, one step above Josmil Pinto and one below Jose Berrios.
The GCL is an introductory league, a step below even the Appy League, and one is wise not to put a lot of emphasis on stats compiled in either of the Rookie Leagues. Such video-game numbers are not that uncommon at those levels.
Clearly Thorpe's talent opened some eyes this summer. He's grown since he signed (reportedly adding an inch and 55 pounds) and added velocity with the size. Still, ranking him above a catcher who hits as well as Pinto has in the upper minors, even if defensively flawed, strikes me as a reach.
Sickles puts Thorpe's ETA at 2017, and that seems rather fast-track. Let's see: Appy League in 2014, Midwest League (which would be his first full-season league) in 2015, and he's supposed to rise from Low-A to the majors within two years?
Maybe I'm overly skeptical, but I regard him as more a name to remember than somebody to get excited about right now.