Minnesota Twins 2019 Top 10 Prospects Chat

Image credit: Royce Lewis (Photo by Tom DiPace)


Mike Berardino: Good morning, rock fans! I’d like to thank Joe Mauer for giving us this opportunity to serve as his opening act. This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to the band and we couldn’t be more grateful. This is the first song on our new album. We hope you like it …

J.P. (Springfield, IL): 

    Thanks for chatting, Mike. How far off your list was Akil Baddoo, and what does he need to work on most going forward? What’s his upside?

Mike Berardino: For the second straight year, Akil didn’t miss by much. He missed time with a hamstring injury in the first half and that seemed to slow him down on the bases once he returned, but he showed improvement in the outfield and handled center better than expected for the Kernels. He’s a plus runner with a below average arm, but there’s a lot to like about the hit tool and his makeup is excellent. He figures to end up in left with the ability to play center in a pinch. You can also download his app for free. No, wait. Different spelling.

Frank (Indianapolis, IN): 

    While you may not get to vote on the BA top 100 list, how many of your top 10 do you believe are worthy of ranking on it?

Mike Berardino: All of them. They’re like my children.

Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): 

    I see Nick Gordon has fallen off the top 10 this year. Was this more a matter of others passing him, or has his stock dropped significantly for you?

Mike Berardino: Both.

Eric (Minneapolis): 

    No Gonsalves is somewhat surprising. Is his ceiling still that of a back-end SP, or do you see reliever in his future?

Mike Berardino: There’s still a lot to like about Gonsalves, especially the competitiveness and the pitchability. The command issues that nagged him this year were problematic, and scouts believe those were attributable to a decrease in velocity. Trying to be too fine, the lefty labored too often to keep his once-lofty spot on this list. There’s still plenty of time for him to figure things out.

Zac (NYC): 

    I was surprised to see Nick Gordon outside the top ten. Is this just an example of too many good prospects to fit or are you skeptical of his future in the bigs?

Mike Berardino: His value has been dinged due to widespread doubts about his ability to play shortstop. He also continues to struggle against lefties and has yet to fill out physically, which adds to the questions about his everyday ability. There’s still belief in the hit tool overall, but at this point I could see him turning into a super-utility type once he reaches the majors.

Lou (Baltimore): 

    What are your thoughts on Lewis Thorpe after his lost time off? Does he still have a high ceiling?

Mike Berardino: The All-Star Futures Game selection had a very nice year to get his career moving again after several lost seasons. The raw stuff isn’t what it once was, pre-TJ, and he has to watch his conditioning. But the pitch mix is good and he misses bats. He probably projects as a No. 3/4 starter at this point.

Eric (Puerto Rico): 

    what’s the ceiling of Jose Miranda?

Mike Berardino: Pretty high. He can really hit and he made noticeable strides at second base. He just missed the top 10.

ZP (Wyoming): 

    Do you have a big league comp for Trevor Larnach?

Mike Berardino: Not yet, but he could be Kirilloff’s cousin.

birdwatcher (Minneapolis): 

    Which statement is more accurate: 1) Duran and Severino gained in the rankings because of a more optimistic assessment of their ceilings. 2) Gordon and Gonsalves plummeted from the list because of a more pessimistic view about their ceilings.

Mike Berardino: 3) You’re hurting my head.

Dan (Down West): 

    Any Twins prospects in the AFL that you like? What’s up with Rooker? I notice AFL players like Rooker on rosters but not on the team??

Mike Berardino: Rooker tweaked his ankle at mini-camp in Fort Myers. Nothing serious. Luke Raley will make the top 30. He was shut down after just four games in Arizona with a strained left (throwing) shoulder. Griffin Jax is a fast-riser on this top 30 now that’s able to work around his Air Force obligation. Davis and Blankenhorn have their moments. Smeltzer has some funk from the left side. Lujan can touch 95 and doesn’t back down. Bray will be 26 next season but he made the most of his opportunity.

Rick Bryan (Michigan): 

    I haven’t seen your top 10 list, but am wondering about Kevin Marnon and Taylor Grzjelakowski? Thanks

Mike Berardino: That, my friend, was a noble spelling effort.

Ben (California): 

    Thanks for the chat. Does LaMonte Wade fit somewhere in the 11-15 range? Do you think he gets a shot to compete for a spot during Spring Training?

Mike Berardino: Wade has a lot of fans in the Twins org. Thought he might get his shot in September, but he’ll soon be added to the 40-man. He’s probably in that next wave after the range you mentioned. This is a deep system.

Jeff Schaefer (Duluth): 

    Hello Mike! Hope all is well. I thought your rankings last year were boldly aggressive with upside guys (Javier, Kiriloff, Graterol, Enlow) over track record/proximity guys like Gordon and Gonsalves. You have to feel good about how that turned out. Jhoan Duran is an example of a bold pick this year, I’d say. Were there any helium/high-ceiling types that merit following outside the top 10 this year? Any stuff monsters that you think might surprise us?

Mike Berardino: Appreciate that, Jeff. I’ve been doing these lists for 20 years, and my philosophy is what’s the point if your list looks like all the others? Good call on Duran. He’s sorta this year’s Graterol for me. Jordan Balazovic has a big arm. He’ll make the list. Quezada and Colina are two more who could pop after nice second halves, although I’m not sure they make the top 30.

Nic (AZ): 

    The scouting report on Yunior was quite encouraging, having the potential for both plus hit and plus power means he could be an offensive force that plays on the dirt. Do you think he has one of the higher ceilings in the system?

Mike Berardino: The bat got him on this list. There are still questions about his defense and athleticism in general, but youth is on his side.

Anthony (Boston): 

    How familiar are you with Charles Mack?

Mike Berardino: Clemson signee from Buffalo area who decided to start his pro career now as a sixth rounder. Raw talent who struggled in his pro debut, but he’s on the radar.

Anthony (Boston): 

    Does Ben Rortvedt still project as a potential regular? How different are he and Jeffers?

Mike Berardino: He’s still working to get that bat going, but Ben made strides at the plate in 2018. Twins still like the footwork/arm/leadership qualities, but he’s still playing catch-up in the pitch-framing department.

Jim (Duluth): 

    Of the Twins draft class are there any sleepers you feel like are better than maybe where they were drafted?

Mike Berardino: 2B Michael Helman, their 11th rounder out of Texas A&M, is going to make the top 30. He can really hit. RHP Josh Winder also impressed out of the seventh round. Good frame (6-5, 210) and pitch mix with a repeatable delivery.

Bill C (St. Paul): 

    How close is Kirilloff to topping Lewis as the team’s top prospect. Is there a case that could be made that he’s actually the team’s best prospect?

Mike Berardino: You could potentially make that case, yes. They’re almost 1 and 1a at this point. The two main separators are position and age. If Royce were to move off SS, then it’s practically a coin flip, but there’s no talk of that now.

Barry (Cleveland): 

    What went wrong for Zack Granite in 2018?

Mike Berardino: Messed up his shoulder diving for a ball in March and was never right. Needs to get healthy first.

Dave (Dallas): 

    Are you going to answer questions or just make fun of readers?

Mike Berardino: Ideally, both.

Mike Berardino: Thanks for all the questions, everybody. You’ve been a great audience. Be sure to buy the 2019 Prospect Handbook to find out who made the rest of the Twins’ loaded Top 30 list. Also, a reminder that T-shirts, CDs and mugs are for sale in the back of the club. Mauer! should take the stage in a few. Rock on!

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