Not just loaded to the gills with young talent, but the Twins’ farm system is nearing a boiling point of upper echelon prospects — Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart, Nick Gordon, Alex Meyer, and Jose Berrios. Arguably the best system in baseball.
For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE
1. Byron Buxton, CF, Age: 20
A lingering right wrist injury has limited Buxton, the game’s top prospect, to just 20 plate appearances this season. The injury – and subsequent setback on the development curve – likely pushes his big league debut to at least mid-2015, which is still on the optimistic side.
2. Miguel Sano, 3B, Age: 21
Proving that Tommy John surgeries aren’t just en vogue for pitchers, Sano underwent a successful operation on his right elbow in March. He’s still aiming to be back in August in the DH role. Like Buxton’s injury, this likely pushes back Sano’s MLB debut to some point after mid-2015.
3. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Age: 19
The power arsenal hasn’t quite resulted in the type of strikeout totals expected just yet, but Stewart is showing an advanced feel for pitching against the older Midwest League competition – reminiscent of a young(er) Zach Lee, though with much more upside.
4. Nick Gordon, SS, Age: 18
Already showing way more power than his older brother, Dee, the fifth overall pick is off to a scorching hot start through his first 10 professional games: .359/.381/.590. A lineup consisting of Buxton, Sano, and Gordon should make any Twins fan salivate.
5. Alex Meyer, RHP, Age: 24
Meyer owns the third highest strikeout rate (10.01 K/9) in Class AAA this season. He’s never going to win a control-based competition – his career walk rate is 3.5 BB/9 – but it should be serviceable enough to push him towards a good #3 ceiling.
6. Jose Berrios, RHP, Age: 20
Berrios, the 32nd pick two years ago, has been one of the minors’ top arms in 2014. Across his first 15 starts (90.1 IP), the young right-hander has struck out the fifth most batters in all of the minor leagues (105) while showing above-average control (2.19 BB/9) and an impeccable 2.40 FIP. Berrios, who could easily rank as the top prospect for a lot of clubs, slides in behind Meyer, though he’s going to shoot up once he gets through the dreaded injury nexus.
7. Kennys Vargas, 1B, Age: 23
I ranked Vargas as the #8 prospect two years ago and followed that by listing the slugging first baseman among the game’s biggest breakout prospects heading into this season in my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual. Vargas, by the way, has topped the Class AA average offensive production by 42% thus far, en route to hitting .307/.382/.504 with 13 doubles and 14 homeruns.
8. Trevor May, RHP, Age: 24
Further evidence that perhaps no other organization can improve a player’s control quicker than Minnesota, consider May’s walk rates pre- and post-trade: 4.63 BB/9 vs. 3.81 BB/9. Above-average or better ability to miss bats with even slightly below-average control will make the right-hander a good mid- to back-rotation starting pitcher.
9. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Age: 22
Finally back after serving a 50-game suspension for his second drug of abuse bust, Rosario has looked lost in his return to Class AA (.233/.283/.314).
10. Michael Cederoth, RHP, Age:21
I was highly, highly critical of the SDSU coaching staff for pushing Cederoth, who was the club’s top starting pitcher in 2013, back to the bullpen this season. I had the big right-hander as the 15th best collegiate prospect in the class – assuming the drafting organization would push him back into the rotation. For his full pre-draft analysis click HERE.