Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Predicting the Top Prospect Lists

I'll start off with the disclaimer that I know little about scouting and this almost entirely based off reading way too many box scores and what I see on sites like Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America and Twitter. I'm doing this purely for fun and it's complete speculation.

So what I'm going to do here is post what I predict the various Twins top prospect lists will look like before they come out. FanGraphs is already releasing theirs and BP and BA will roll out over the fall and winter months.

Kennys Vargas (who I would have ranked between Rogers and Thorpe), Danny Santana (between Meyer and Gordon), Josmil Pinto (between Polanco and May) exhausted their prospect eligibility this year. We'll get an idea for their standing on BP's list as they usually include players 25 and younger on a separate list (depending on the cutoff, Pinto may not be eligible). Trevor May will still be eligible unless he somehow pitches 11 innings in his next/last start.

1. Byron Buxton - Hard to move him down as he's still the biggest talent in the entire minor leagues. We'll get to learn more about how he's recovering in the Arizona Fall League but I don't see much of any chance he falls from the #1 prospect in this system.

2. Miguel Sano - Much the same story as Buxton, however, I think he could have been jumped by a very good year from one of the other guys. That said, nobody made that kind of statement this season, leaving Sano at #2.

3. Jose Berrios - Berrios had the best season of any Twins minor leaguer, jumping from Hi-A to starting in the playoffs in AAA. His total pitching line is 25 starts 140 IP 140K/38BB 2.76 ERA. Not bad for a 20 year old in the high minors. He'll likely spend most of next year in AAA Rochester building up his innings total.

4. Kohl Stewart - Stewart put up a 2.59 ERA in 87 innings in his full-season debut. And that's without the use of his best pitch (slider, which the Twins are limiting). He could be on the  Berrios path for 2015.

5. Alex Meyer - I struggled moving him below Stewart (Berrios seemed like an easy call), but his control regressed as he walked nearly a batter every 2 innings. We know he can dominate a lineup, but he beats himself far too often. I still have hope that he can be a frontline guy, but I'm thinking more and more that chance is shrinking.

6. Nick Gordon - The Twins' first round draft pick started off great in rookie ball, leading Elizabethton in hits en route to a .294/.333/.366 until he broke his finger. He was a top 5 draft pick and has looked good, but his ranking will all depend on how the scouts review defense and bat speed, the type of things we can't find in a box score. I, personally, would have him behind Polanco, but this being my prediction list, I'll slot him just ahead.

7. Jorge Polanco - Jorge is one of my favorite prospects on the Twins, anyone who follows us on Twitter knows that much. He's a 20 year old who's already hit well in AA and can play anywhere in the infield. He's got some pop for a middle infielder as well and could turn into the second baseman we hoped Eddie Rosario would be.

8. Trevor May - Don't think of this as an overreaction to his MLB starts this season. He's clearly nervous and it would be unfair to make too strong a judgement of his slow adjustment to the bigs. I still believe he could be a middle of the rotation guy, I just like the 1-7 guys more than him. He pitched plenty well in AAA to merit at least #8 ranking - which, remember, would be top 3 or 4 in most organizations.

9. Taylor Rogers - This is the biggest jump in the Twins system. Rogers added a few ticks to his fastball and crushed AA. Bits from scouts over the past six month have gushed about the Kentucky left-hander. I wouldn't be completely shocked if one of the lists from BP, BA or Fangraphs had him in their top 6 ahead of May and Polanco.

10. Lewis Thorpe - This is the lefty that everyone dreams on. Scouts have loved him since he signed in 2012 out of Australia. He started out slow in Cedar Rapids but finished as one of their top pitchers. He could also have some helium and move into the top 6 or so of some lists.

11. Stephen Gonsalves - I'm going to 11 just to include Gonsalves. He seems like the type of guy scouts might really love. He's a big, young lefty who struck out 44 in 36.2 IP in his full-season debut while walking just 11. It will be very interesting to see what the scouts who saw him over the year say about him.

A few others I considered: Eddie Rosario (perhaps I'm being too reactionary with Eddie, I wouldn't be shocked to see him in the 9-11 range), Travis Harrison, Adam Walker, Amaurys Minier, Nick Burdi and Zack Jones.

I would guess there are 7 top 100 prospects in all of baseball on the list, with the top 10 of these guys in consideration.

Also interesting to note that there are only four hitters on the whole list. Another reason the Twins don't really have to worry about paying for pitching this winter.

Let us know if we missed or under/overrated anyone @Pitchers_Duel on twitter!

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