2014 Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects


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Two calendar years into his second stint as Twins general manager, Terry Ryan still is trying to right the ship.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Byron Buxton, of
2. Miguel Sano, 3b
3. Alex Meyer, rhp
4. Kohl Stewart, rhp
5. J.O. Berrios, rhp
6. Eddie Rosario, 2b/of
7. Lewis Thorpe, lhp
8. Trevor May, rhp
9. Danny Santana, ss/2b
10. Jorge Polanco, ss/2b
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Byron Buxton
Best Power Hitter Miguel Sano
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jorge Polanco
Fastest Baserunner Byron Buxton
Best Athlete Byron Buxton
Best Fastball Alex Meyer
Best Curveball Alex Meyer
Best Slider Kohl Stewart
Best Changeup Trevor May
Best Control Taylor Rogers
Best Defensive Catcher Stuart Turner
Best Defensive Infielder Danny Santana
Best Infield Arm Miguel Sano
Best Defensive Outfielder Byron Buxton
Best Outfield Arm Byron Buxton
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Byron Buxton, of (20) High Class A
2. Miguel Sano, 3b (20) Double-A
3. Alex Meyer, rhp (24) Double-A
4. Oswaldo Arcia, of (22) Majors
5. Kohl Stewart, rhp (19) Rookie
6. J.O. Berrios, rhp (19) Low Class A
7. Eddie Rosario, 2b/of (22) Double-A
8. Lewis Thorpe, lhp (18) Rookie
9. Trevor May, rhp (24) Double-A
10. Aaron Hicks, of (24) Majors
11. Danny Santana, ss/2b (23) Double-A
12. Jorge Polanco, ss/2b (20) High Class A
13. Max Kepler, of/1b (21) Low Class A
14. Fernando Romero, rhp (19) Rookie
15. Stephen Gonsalves, lhp (19) Rookie
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Joe Mauer, c Twins
2005 Joe Mauer, c Twins
2006 Francisco Liriano, lhp Pirates
2007 Matt Garza, rhp Rangers
2008 Nick Blackburn, rhp Twins
2009 Aaron Hicks, of Twins
2010 Aaron Hicks, of Twins
2011 Kyle Gibson, rhp Twins
2012 Miguel Sano, 3b Twins
2013 Miguel Sano, 3b Twins
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Trevor Plouffe, ss Twins
2005 Matt Garza, rhp Rangers
2006 Chris Parmelee, 1b/of Twins
2007 Ben Revere, of Phillies
2008 Aaron Hicks, of Twins
2009 Kyle Gibson, rhp Twins
2010 Alex Wimmers, rhp Twins
2011 Levi Michael, ss Twins
2012 Byron Buxton, of Twins
2013 Kohl Stewart, rhp Twins
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Byron Buxton, 2012 $6,000,000
Joe Mauer, 2001 $5,150,000
Kohl Stewart, 2013 $4,544,400
Miguel Sano, 2009 $3,150,000
B.J. Garbe, 1999 $2,750,000
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

He takes solace in the rapid turnarounds navigated in recent years by his counterparts in such places as Boston, Cleveland and Oakland, but the veteran executive also recognizes how much work remains.

3ds_twins79Having suffered 96 or more losses for the third time in as many years, the Twins easily could have blown things up in order to appease a frustrated fan base. Instead, CEO Jim Pohlad left the decision up to Ryan, and Ryan chose to retain longtime manager Ron Gardenhire on a two-year extension along with his entire coaching staff.

Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, often rumored as Gardenhire’s eventual replacement, joined the big league staff after spending close to the past decade as the organization’s minor league infield and baserunning coordinator. In that role Molitor worked closely with touted Twins prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.

Buxton, in his first go at full-season ball after being drafted second overall in 2012, lit up the sky at two Class A levels en route to BA Minor League Player of the Year honors. The center fielder’s big league ETA is probably Opening Day 2015, at the latest.

Sano, who had occupied the Twins’ top prospect role until Buxton’s breakthrough, saw his climb reach Double-A before an issue with his throwing elbow ended his Dominican League season after just two October games. Sano, 20, could push for a big league job by midseason.

Joining Buxton and Sano in the short-term push to help in Minnesota are righthanders Alex Meyer and Trevor May, power arms Ryan was able to acquire during the 2012 offseason in separate deals that cost the Twins center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere. Meyer missed two months at midseason with a shoulder issue, but he was able to rally after his return and was among the most impressive arms in the Arizona Fall League.

The Twins had other key developments on the power-arms front, such as drafting Texas prep fireballer Kohl Stewart fourth overall in June, and seeing 17-year-old Australian lefthander Lewis Thorpe rocket into their top 10 after dominating the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

After years of relying on command-oriented starters in the Brad Radke mold, the Twins have made a philosophical shift since Ryan’s return that has them scouring the landscape for power arms with the sort of strikeout potential regularly on display throughout the game.

Identifying talent has never been a problem for the Twins, still blessed with a deep group of experienced scouts. Bringing that talent on board, whether through trade or free agency, remains the challenge in an era when high-end pitching has never been more costly.

Throughout the minors, under the supervision of new farm director Brad Steil and field coordinator Joel Lepel, the Twins had one of their most successful seasons in 2013.Three of their top four affiliates reached the postseason, with only Double-A New Britain failing to qualify.

Twenty of the 33 players on the Twins’ September roster spent at least part of the year at Triple-A Rochester. That included late-blooming catching prospect Josmil Pinto, who impressed with the bat in his September callup. In fact, Pinto is the frontrunner to replace six-time all-star Joe Mauer now that the Twins’ franchise player has shifted full-time to first base in the wake of a concussion scare that wiped out his final 39 games of 2013.