Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Talking prospects

Tuesday's major league rainout coincided with the arrival of the dead tree edition of Baseball America and its top prospects lists for each minor league.

The list contains some familiar names from the Twins system, and a couple of  intriguing newcomers to prospect lists.

International League: RHP Jose Berrios, No 9. No surprise there. Berrios has clearly emerged as the best pitching prospect in the organization, and one of the offseason storylines figures to be if and how the Twins clear a path to get him into the major league rotation.

Southern League: 3B Miguel Sano (1), CF Byron Buxton (2), OF/1B Max Kepler (6), Berrios (9), MI Jorge Polanco (14). Chattanooga was loaded, especially early in the first half, before Sano, Buxton and Berrios were moved up. These are five guys who've dotted the organization's top ten lists for a while, and the four position players have all gotten at least a cup of coffee in the majors.

Florida State League: Nobody from the Miracle made the FSL top ten, but RHP Kohl Stewart (15), LHP Stephen Gonsalves (16) and SS Engelb Vielma cracked the second ten. Stewart, who was the No. 4 overall pick 2013, hasn't been as dominant in A ball as one might expect. Vielma is the one of those intriguing newcomers cited above; observers rave about his glove, and as was the case last year, he hit better as the year progressed. Hitting is going to be the key for him.

Midwest League: SS Nick Gordon (4), Gonsalves (18). No surprises there, although I would have thought RHP Felix Jorge might have gotten into the top 20.

Appy League: SS Jermaine Palacios (3), 3B Travis Blankenhorn (15), OF LaMonte Wade (17). If you;re going to remember a name from this list, it should be Palacios. Palacios got a bit of attention this summer from BA for his bat, and this write-up quotes an unnamed scout as saying Palacios is "right there with Nick Gordon," the No. 5 overall pick in 2014. A surplus of young quality shortstops is a definite positive, and a real rarity for the Twins.

Gulf Coast League: Palacios (17).

BA also gave writeups to a selection of players who didn't qualify for the league lists and included to a pair of left-handed pitchers in the Twins system, Tyler Jay (the Twins first-round pick in June) and Mat Batts. Jay didn't qualify for a lack of innings (only 16 after he was used hard in college). Batts didn't make the lists because of his lack of velocity, but his other skills are (BS's word) intriguing. He had dominating numbers in the FSL, but the league is very pitcher friendly. We'll see if his skill set passes muster in the higher levels next year.

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