Twins’ Prospects Q&A Session – February 2019

Picture of Twins baseball prospect Alex Kirilloff
Alex Kirilloff - photo credit David B. King: Flickr, Blogspot [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, I released my Twins Top 50 Prospects to the world, and it brought about a lot of great discussion and positive vibes my way. I had an absolute blast working on it, and learned a lot about not only the players involved, but also the ways in which to assess. That being said some of the questions that initiated the discussion were good ones, and, with only a few characters available on Twitter, and with an abundance of questions all at once, I may not have been able to expand on some of my thoughts. So with that in mind, I thought I would answer, in greater detail, the questions that were asked of me.

Before I begin, I want to say thank you to those who not only read the article, but also took the time to comment, ask questions, and reflect. If you haven’t already done so, you can follow me on Twitter @sportz_nutt51 and also follow @Prospects1500 as well for all of your prospect lists, discussion and humor as well.

Here we go:

Matty Bumppo‏ @DoctorDrMrMD Jan 12

Respectfully, I have to disagree with the sentiment that Kirilloff wont cost much to acquire right now.

Great point, because those in the know should have already heard of the name Alex Kirilloff. Like I said in my reply, the price NOW, before the 2019 season, will be cheaper than it is later this year. I partly based my statement on my two leagues: AL Only 5X5 and Points Keeper Lesague. In the AL Only League, he is a free agent (though to be fair, we can’t pick up minor leaguers during the season…..archaic owners who hate change), but I feel confident enough about not only picking him up, but bidding higher on him if need be because he’s a worthy stash and a potential game changer. I have Kirilloff on my points league team already and have no qualm about stashing him until 2020.

Jake Berry‏ @berrys_baseball Jan 12

Great list @sportz_nutt51! I’m rooting for Gordon, but I think at this point I’d take 5-8 above him. (I totally get why you have him at 4 though) The swing and plate approach scares me. I’ll probably get burned when he has a breakout season this year though haha great read!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t had the most flattering things to say about him in many of my posts, but I do think he’s a very solid prospect. And while I do think he could have been better, he hasn’t really disappointed people in taking the slow upward swing.
Now, he did not have a great start to his AAA career last season. His ISO was down below league average as was his wrc+ He did an awful job of not only creating runs, but he got absolutely no power on anything he hit. Either he wasn’t seeing the ball properly, or he was seeing new pitches or the AAA pitchers were doing things better and faster than he’s been used to seeing.
But since the time of the list being posted and seeing the negativity, I also some positives. He has since gone on record as saying that AAA is the level of ball where one can’t rely just on talent, but rather who is the smartest on the field. Since his arrival in Rochester, he has apparently been studying the game, breaking down pitches and at bats to understand what is being thrown, who is throwing those pitches, and coming up with an ideas as to what will be thrown next. It’s a mature approach that he has gone on record as saying made him humble and hungry for more. It sounds like he tried to do too much all at once and should have stuck with what he does best: doing a little bit of everything.

Matt Raby‏ @matt_raby2016 Jan 12

Where would Fernando Romero slot in?

Romero came up last season, and, outside of two bad starts, really produced well in the major leagues. In fact, if you take away that disastrous start at Kansas City (of all places) and vs Tampa Bay, his final stats look a heck of a lot better than they do now. That being said, he is an intriguing asset for the Twins going forward. Some say he should get a chance to start, but they already have Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez, and may not need him to over exert himself.
They also could slot him into close, but with so many other viable options, maybe they don’t want to put that much pressure on a young pitcher so soon. Where I would put him for now is in low pressure situations with the odd start here and there to give their arms a rest. His fastball is incredible (clocking in around 97mph) and and a slider that comes in at 90mph, making that a lethal 1-2 punch. He needs time to work on a third pitch to really make himself that much more of an all around pitcher, so make this an easier year where whenever he’s in a game, there’s minimal pressure to perform and more work on getting that changeup to where it needs to be.

Quebec Quails‏ @QQuails Jan 12

Yunior Severino will be in the Top 10 come this time next year.

My apologies for not addressing this sooner… must have slipped by me. Thanks for your patience. I agree that he will be there at some point. He’s spent extra time working on his swing and there is a ton of potential. Mike Radcliff has gone on record as saying that that swing of his stands out the same way another prospect of theirs did: Alex Kirilloff. See you near the top soon enough young man!

Matt Findlay‏ @mattfin20 Jan 12

Willians Astudillo didn’t make the top 50? I was trying to figure out whether he should be above or below Graterol 🙂

I saved this one for last, because, well, I may be in the minority here with Willians. I don’t like him at all as a prospect. I don’t think he translates well to the game, and I don’t see him making an impact. I think some people (not Matt) may be infatuated with his offseason homerun (amazing staredown after a massive bomb) and his hustle to run home during a game last summer.
Besides that, there are many reasons I didn’t put him here.

  1. Playing Time: Right now there are two other catchers fighting for a spot: Jason Castro and Mitch Garver, both of which I like better that Willians. Right now, Castro is making $8 million while Garver is making $550k. There’s no way they will be benched for any length of time if healthy. They also have Miguel Sano at 3rd, who they obviously believe in more.
  2. He’s a 27 year old prospect.
  3. He’s in his fourth organization, which means three other organizations have decided they were okay to part with him. I don’t normally trust prospects that travel to many organizations like this.
  4. The Twins recently signed 30 year old Wilin Rosario, former Rockies’ catcher who spent time in Asia, as another piece to either block, or compete for eventual time.
  5. His frame doesn’t seem to me that it’ll last long: 5’9” 225 pounds, seems stalky and unsustainable physically.

Now, there are some positives, in that he doesn’t strike out a lot and puts the bat to the ball. He makes contact and can hit. However, with too many pieces ahead of him, I think the path to playing time in this organization is minimal. That said, I’ve been wrong before, and, for a hard working, against the odds kind of guy like Astudillo, I hope I’m wrong about this too.

Thanks for reading. With Spring Training coming up soon, it’ll be an interesting time to see who makes the jump, who falls back and where the pieces will land. I can’t wait.

Featured Image credit:David B. King: Flickr, Blogspot [CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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