Friday, November 11, 2016

BA's Top Ten Twins prospects

The dead tree edition of Baseball America that arrived at my house this week features the publication's Top Ten prospects lists for the five teams in the American League Central. The Twins portion is not yet online went online in limited form this morning (you need a subscription to see it all).

A few comments:

* The listing and commentary has a different byline this time around. Mike Bernardino of the Pioneer Press had done the Twins prospect list the past few years; this year BA staffer Michael Lananna gets the credit. As one who likes getting multiple perspectives on the Twins prospects, having BA be different than the PioPress is a positive.

* This list is necessarily much different from last winter's. Five of the 10 "graduated" to the majors (Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, Max Kepler, Byung Ho Park, Jorge Polanco). Another (Nick Burdi) missed almost the entire season with injury and dropped out of the Top Ten. There are four holdovers.

* Nick Gordon, Number One on the new BA list, struggled against left-handed pitching in the Florida State League and committed 24 errors. Lananna writes of Gordon:

 ....some scouts outside of the organization view him as more of a second baseman. The Twins believe he has the aptitude, instincts and short-area quickness to stick at short, but he'll need to continue to put in the time to learn hitters, properly position himself and refine his footwork.

It's my belief that almost every shortstop prospect, especially those who can hit, has his ability to stick at the position questioned. As I recall, some 30 years ago there was some notion that Greg Gagne was better suited to third base; Gagne turned out to be a pretty good major league shortstop.

* The BA list has six pitchers: Left-handers Stephen Gonsalves (No. 2), Tyler Jay (5) and Adalberto Mejia (6) and righties Fernando Romero (4), Kohl Stewart (7) and Felix Jorge (8). Only Mejia, acquired at the trading deadline from the San Francisco Giants for Eduardo Nunez, is likely to be a factor on the 2017 staff.

* There are red flags with each of the six. Gonsalves' fastball command is suspect. Romero just had his first injury-free season in three years. Jay's description paints him as more likely a high-floor reliever than a successful starter. Stewart's strikeout rates remain subpar. Jorge and Mejia project as back-of-the-rotation starters.

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