Minnesota Twins 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Royce Lewis. Lakeland Flying Tigers v Fort Myers Miracle. Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Lakeland, FL. July 15, 2018. Photo by Tom Hagerty on Flickr (lakelandlocal)

We are now more than midway through the 2019 MiLB season, and one of the best minor league systems in the game still belongs to the Minnesota Twins. Up and down the farm, the Twins have stockpiled themselves with talented arms and bats. While there have been some ups and downs this year, they still find themselves ready for the future with a ton of potential. Let’s go through my updated Top 50 and see what’s been going on thus far.

The stats are listed as of games completed on July 30, 2019.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:
1. Royce Lewis, SS (Preseason #1)
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 leagues):10 HR, 37 RBI, 16 SB, .237/.288/.376
He struggled to start the 2019 season, but has come along nicely to adjust his swing and batting stance. Since then he has raised his batting significantly over the past month. He’s still highly regarded and justifiably so as a five-tool player. His speed and glove are the real deal. A recent call up to AA is one to monitor.

2. Alex Kirilloff, OF (Preseason #2)
Age: 21
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 4 HR, 23 RBI, 4 SB, .267/.331/.408
I’ve had a man crush on him for a year now, and it’s not going away. He came into the year with high expectations, and is now starting to live up to them. He’s missed some time time a wrist injury, but has really turned it on since returning from his second IL stint in late June, recording 34 hits in 29 games. Believe in the hype, he’;s going to be a beast and get a shot to start with the Twins in 2020.


Tier 2:

3. Trevor Larnach, OF (Preseason #5)
Age: 22
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 7 HR, 46 RBI, 4 SB, .306/.373/.442
I’m bumping Larnach up to #3 in my rankings for a particular reason I’ll get to later, but for now, just know that Larnach has been having a phenomenal year. Recently promoted to AA, he hasn’t missed a beat and added a HR to his overall season. He’s able to spread the ball to all fields, he can take walks and he’s got power with a bit of speed.

4. Brusdar Graterol, RHP (Preseason #3)
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 5-0, 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 46 SO, 19 BB, 47.2 IP
Here’s why I’m bumping Larnach up, and it’s because of the fact that Graterol’s shoulder impingement scares me. The fact is, every shoulder injury in pitchers frightens me, and this is no different. The good news is that when he did pitch, he looked incredibly dominant with a ton of potential. I’m keeping him at #4 with the possibility that he can move back up to #3, however, this injury stunts his growth within the system.

5. Jordan Balazovic, RHP (Preseason #35)
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 7-4, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 101 SO, 20 BB, 74.1 IP
First let me remind you all: he pitched a perfect game in his debut after being promoted to Class A Fort Myers! Since then, he’s not been perfect, but he’s been incredible, mowing down batter after batter. Since jumping to A+, his SO/9 has been above 11.0 and his BB/9 has been just under 3.0, both slight regressions from his previous level, but to be expected nonetheless. He’s already exceeded his maximum career innings pitched, so beings stretched out here is a good thing. Expect more greatness going forward.

6. Wander Javier, SS (Preseason #9)
Age: 20
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: A-
2019 stats: 6 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB, .166/.257/.294
This has a lot to do with the belief in the talents that he has, more than what he’s shown thus far in 2019. After missing all of 2018 with an injury, he’s taken time to adjust to the next level of minor league baseball. He does have quick hands and can spread the ball to all fields. His late ETA is the belief that the Twins will take their time with him as they want to make sure he reaches his full potential. I believe there is something special here, but only time will tell.

7. Brent Rooker, OF (Preseason #6)
Age: 24
ETA: 2019
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats: 14 HR, 47 RBI, 2 SB, .281/.398/.525
An older prospect in the system, it was almost a now-or-never mentality for Rooker in 2019. And while he struggled a bit to start the year, he’s picked up the pace immensely after a brief IL stint, mashing 8 HR and raising his batting average 60 points. He’s figured things out too with patience and adjusting to pitches. If he can keep some semblance of this up, there’s a good chance he gets the call to Minnesota come September.

8. Keoni Cavaco, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 18
ETA: 2024
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB, .179/.233/.483
Projecting draft picks is always a difficult thing to do because they are so new and raw within the system. This projection is based on talent he possesses alone. The Twins fell in love with him after some spectacular workouts as he has the potential to be another 5 tool player. He has good range at SS with his arm. He ran a 3.0 second sprint from home to first as a righty. If he can work on making more contact, he sounds a lot like Royce Lewis from a few years ago. Cavaco is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

9. Jhoan Duran, RHP (Preseason #23)
Age: 21
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 3-9, 3.04 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 98 SO, 32 BB, 83.0 IP
Equipped with tremendous velocity in the upper 90’s, Duran has really turned it on as of late, striking out 60+ batters since the end of June. If he can figure out how to better handle left handed batters, he could become even better, but, for now, he still remains one of the best prospects within the Twins’ system with a ton of potential.

10. Blayne Enlow, RHP (Preseason #12)
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 6-6, 4.16 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 78 SO, 28 BB, 88.2 IP
Enlow has looked good as of late, which resulted in a promotion to Fort Myers. Since then he has posted better numbers almost everywhere on the board and looks to be getting even better. Though he doesn’t have the flashy strikeout ability that other pitchers possess, he does have the ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. High swinging strike rates and high ground ball rates are the end resulting characteristics of Enlow’s pitching.

11. Nick Gordon, SS (Preseason #4)
Age: 23
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats: 4 HR, 39 RBI, 14 SB, .301/.343/.465
I still believe! Like I’ve said countless times, Gordon doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but he does do things well. In 2019 he’s improved on his ability to get on base, he’s upped his power and he’s more aggressive on the base paths. He’s still striking out a lot, but overall he’s made some nice adjustments after his horrific 2018 AAA debut. Is it enough for a call up this year? Probably not, as Luis Arraez (who recently graduated from this list) has done a phenomenal job and will probably compete for a 2B job next Spring Training. That being said, he could be a nice MI/Util type at some point next year.


Tier 3:

12. Lewis Thorpe, LHP (Preseason #10)
Age: 23
ETA: 2019
Highest Level: MLB
2019 minor league stats: 5-4, 5.02 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 102 SO, 25 BB, 84.1 IP
2019 major league stats: 1-1, 2.79 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 9 SO, 2 BB, 9.2 IP
Thorpe had a tough start to the season, but did well to earn himself a promotion to the bigs, where he struck out 7 batters in 5 innings at Chicago. His strength has always been to throw strikes and get batters to miss, and nothing has changed since 2018. He should continue to be an injury away from going to and from the Twins at any moment. Keep an eye on him.

13. Ryan Jeffers, C (Preseason #33)
Age: 22
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 11 HR, 42 RBI, 0 SB, .259/.330/.413
In a position that I thought was weak entering 2019, Jeffers has proved catcher to be a position of hope, as he has done well this season. With the bat, he’s been a nice spark for the Miracle down south. Better framing and defense behind the plate will only help solidify his future with the club. With Mitch Garver excelling in 2019, there’s no need to rush up this guy.

14. Ben Rortvedt, C (Preseason #19)
Age: 21
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 7 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB, .239/.332/.386
Speaking of catchers, of the two mentioned here, Rortvedt is the better defensive player and framer along with a better arm. He’s already topped his career high in HR, yet his plate discipline hasn’t suffered one bit. It’ll be interesting to see both he and Jeffers in a few years to see how well they’ve adjusted and transitioned and maybe even battle it out too.

15. Jorge Alcala, RHP (Preseason #11)
Age: 23
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 5-7. 6.22 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 98 SO, 35 BB, 94.0 IP
Don’t necessarily look at the numbers here just yet, as Alcala has been transitioning into a primary pitcher after an opener, and he has struggled mightily. I do like the strikeout potential here and think he could be a somewhat valuable bullpen piece down the road. If he can limit those base runners, even by a small bit, he’d become a much better talent overall.

16. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/OF (Preseason #18)
Age: 22
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 17 HR, 46 RBI, 8 SB, .294/.343/.503
Can you say breakout? Perhaps not the true definition of the word, but he’s improved a tremendous amount in 2019. Since the call up to AA, he’s shattered his career high in HR and is on pace to do so with RBI and XBH. He’s improved against lefties, he’s showing patience at the plate and he’s even started playing 3B. He’s a name to watch out for because if he can continue the way he’s going, there’s no telling what’s next.

17. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP (Preseason #7)
Age: 24
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: MLB (last season)
2019 stats: 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 2 SO, 5 BB, 2 IP
Gonsalves came into the year with promise, though a small dip in velocity was a bit of concern. Still, he was looked at as one of the pitchers to make his mark on the Minnesota Twins at some point this season, but, as you can see from his 2019 stats, none of that came true. He remains injured with a stress reaction his his elbow and forearm, though his UCL is uninjured. Rest is in order to ensure that nothing else happens to one of their best pitching prospects.

18. Akil Baddoo, OF (Preseason #8)
Age: 20
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats: 4 HR, 9 RBI, 6 SB, .214/.290/.393
Baddoo struggled when healthy this year to make consistent contact, though he is not new to the art of striking out. If he could somehow get on base more consistently, he could really improve his pedigree, as he’s got 20/20 potential. Unfortunately, more important than all of that, is the fact that he is injured for the rest of the season after Tommy john surgery and this will delay his progression.

19. Misael Urbina, OF (Preseason #38)
Age: 17
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 2 HR, 20 RBI, 17 SB, .297/.401/.901
There aren’t many other prospects here that could be fluctuated higher or lower on this list, and part of this is because he’s so young, but he’s got so much potential. Give him a full year and we’ll see where he goes on this list.

20. Zack Littell, RHP (Preseason #20)
Age: 24
ETA: 2019
Highest Level: MLB
2019 minor league stats: 3-3, 4.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 61 SO, 21 BB, 55.2 IP
2019 major league stats: 2-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 17 SO, 6 BB, 18.1 IP
Was called up to the Twins for some relief work and fared well, with an ERA just under 5, all while surrendering 8 earned runs in 4.1 innings in one appearance. He did sport a 3:1 SO/BB ratio and made some adjustments, but since has been brought back to AAA and continues to do well. He’s a bullpen arm with an outside shot at being thrown into the rotation. Just called back up to the majors on 8/3.

21. Jose Miranda, 3B (Preseason #29)
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats: 5 HR, 44 RBI, 0 SB, .239/.292/.346
Miranda came in with such promise after a positive 2018, but a new year has produced new results. He’s struggling to make hard contact and he’s striking out a lot while showing minimal patience at the plate. I still have him ranked this high because I believe a strong second half is in play for the young infielder.

22. Yunior Severino, 2B (Preseason #22)
Age: 19
ETA: 2024
Highest Level: A
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, .278/.350/.389
Please ignore the numbers above and come back at the end of the season. He has the talent to move up the rankings, but has been hampered by injury (broken thumb). He’s still fitting in with his new organization and should do well.

23. Luke Raley, OF (Preseason #17)
Age: 24
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats: 7 HR, 21 RBI, 4 SB, .302/.362/.516
He should get a chance to prove himself with the Twins next year, but he’ll need to improve at a faster pace this year. Ala Nick Gordon, he’s progressing through the minors at a slow pace, and the soon to be 25 year old prospect is running out of time to force his way into a promotion. That being said, he works hard, he has some power and a small amount of speed. The talent is there, but he needs to go above and beyond in my opinion.

24. Devin Smeltzer, RHP (Preseason #36)
Age: 23
ETA: 2019
Highest level: MLB
2019 minor league stats (over 2 levels): 4-4, 2.53 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 93 SO, 20 BB, 92.2 WHIP
2019 major league stats: 0-1, 2.91 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 17 SO, 4 BB, 21.2 IP
I’ll concentrate more on his major league stuff here, as his minor league numbers tell that story. He started his career with the Twins and pitched admirably against the Brewers in one of his two starts, and sports an ERA slightly under 3. Good control and a decent strikeout rate, thus far he’s done a nice job with the big league club and could fulfill a multiple innings role for Minnesota as the season goes on.

25. Randy Dobnak, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 24
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats (over 3 levels): 10-3, 2.04 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 100 SO, 23 BB, 119.0 IP
All I will say is this…..he started the year in A+ and is now pitching incredibly well in AAA for the Red Wings. He is quite the feel good story of 2019 for all prospects within this system and doesn’t look to be slowing down.


Tier 4:

26. Edwar Colina, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 22
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 6-2, 2.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP. 80 SO, 21 BB, 78.1 IP

27. Matt Canterino, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 6 SO, 1 BB, 5.0 IP

28. Griffin Jax, RHP (Preseason #37)
Age: 24
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats: 4-3, 2.34 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 70 SO, 21 BB, 96.0 IP

29. Gilberto Celestino, OF (Preseason #13)
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A
2019 stats: 7 HR, 41 RBI, 9 SB, .264/.336/.387

30. LaMonte Wade Jr, OF (Preseason #15)
Age: 25
ETA: 2019
Highest Level: MLB
2019 minor league stats: 5 HR, 24 RBI, 7 SB, .246/.392/.356
2019 major league stats: 0 HR 0 RBI, 0 SB, .000/.500/.000 (2 games, only 4 PA, 2 AB)

31. Chris Vallimont, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 22
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 6-7, 3.16 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 122 SO, 37 BB, 105.1 IP

32. Cole Sands, RHP (Preseason #42)
Age: 21
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 6-3, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 91 SO, 15 BB, 82.1 IP

33. Tyler Wells, RHP (Preseason #25)
Age: 24
ETA: 2022
Highest level: AA
2019 stats: Tommy John surgery recovery

34. Gabriel Maciel, OF (Preseason #16)
Age: 20
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 2 HR, 27 RBI, 20 SB, .296/.377/.364

35. Bailey Ober, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 23
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 5-0, 0.74 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 58 SO, 7 BB, 48.2 IP

36. Kohl Stewart, RHP (Preseason #27)
Age: 24
ETA: 2019
Highest Level: MLB
2019 minor league stats: 5-5, 6.28 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 58 SO, 33 BB, 61.2 IP
2019 major league stats: 2-2, 4.66 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6 SO, 6 BB, 19.1 IP

37. Sean Poppen, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 25
ETA: 2019
Highest level: MLB
2019 minor league stats (over 2 levels): 7-4, 3.98 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 101 SO, 42 BB, 86.0 IP
2019 major league stats: 0-0, 3.86 ERA, 6 SO, 5 BB, 7.0 IP

38. Zander Wiel, OF (Preseason NR)
Age: 26
ETA: 2019
Highest level: AAA
2019 stats: 18 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB, .248/.310/.496


Tier 5:
39. Miguel Rodriguez, RHP
(Preseason NR)
Age: 20
ETA: 2024
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 1-1, 1.20 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 17 SO, 6 BB, 15.0 IP

40. Tyler Benninghoff, RHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 2-2, 6.35 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 36 SO, 14 BB, 28.1 IP

41. Sam Clay, LHP (Preseason NR)
Age: 26
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats (over 2 leagues): 4-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 55 SO, 20 BB, 54.1 IP

42. Luis Rijo, RHP (Preseason #30)
Age: 20
ETA: 2021
Highest Level: A
2019 stats: 4-6, 2.55 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 69 SO, 21 BB, 77.2 IP

43. Spencer Steer, 3B/MI (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2024
Highest Level: A
2019 stats (over 2 leagues): 3 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB, .333/.434/.508

44. Randy Cesar, 3B (Preseason NR)
Age: 24
ETA: 2020
Highest Level: AAA
2019 stats (over 2 levels): 4 HR, 31 RBI, 0 SB, .246/.336/.372

45. Eduoard Julien, IF (Preseason NR)
Age: 20
ETA: 2025
Highest Level: NCAA
2019 stats: 8 HR, 45 RBI, 3 SB, .232/.367/.429 for Auburn (SEC)

46. Seth Gray, 3B (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2024
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 6 HR, 20 RBI, 3 SB, .209/.325/.388

47. Will Holland, SS (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB, .164/.282/.328

48. Anthony Prato, MI (Preseason NR)
Age: 21
ETA: 2023
Highest Level: Rookie
2019 stats: 1 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, .205/.330/.284

49. Albee Weiss, 1B/C (Preseason NR)
Age: 23
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: A+
2019 stats (over 3 leagues): 10 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, .229/.269/.507

50. Ryan Costello, CI (Preseason #45)
Age: 23
ETA: 2022
Highest Level: AA
2019 stats (over 2 leagues): 9 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, .210/.332/.367




About Dave Funnell 10 Articles
Dave Funnell covers the Minnesota Twins minor leagues for Prospects1500. Located just south of Toronto in the city of Hamilton, he's an hour away from Buffalo (and the Bisons). He's been a fan of baseball his entire life and doesn't have a favorite team, which hopefully gives way for objectivty in analysis. Dave is in multiple keeper fantasy baseball leagues and is active on Twitter at @sportz_nutt51.

8 Comments

  1. Great stuff! I do have a theory I’d like to run by you. Alex hasn’t seemed like the power hitter he was a year ago. Do you think his early injuries to start the year have played a part in this?

    He mentioned recently in an interview that he’s just trying to stay health and finish the season healthy.

    To sum it up, do you expect as I do with a healthy start next season we’ll see the power come back and the average?

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