Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (3) | 2013 (10) | 2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [70-92] AL Central
AAA: [77-67] International League – Rochester
AA: [73-69] Eastern League – New Britain (2015 Chattanooga)
A+: [82-57] Florida State League – Fort Myers
A: [73-67] Midwest League – Cedar Rapids
After setting up a base camp with the Angels way back in November, we’re now getting close to the summit of the minor league previews with this well-stocked farm system in Minnesota. The Twins have two of my top 10 fantasy prospects overall. While both Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are looking to bounce back from injuries, they also both possess the tools to become future fantasy stars. The pair could see time in the majors later this season, joining sophomores Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas in the Twins’ young core. If the position players aren’t enough, Minnesota also boasts several qualilty arms that should contribute to the major league club sometime in the next two years.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Byron Buxton, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Buxton is ranked numero uno on my Top 50 fantasy prospects list, and it’s thanks to his ability to fill all five roto categories. He might be the closest thing we have in the minors right now to a first round fantasy talent with the power to hit 20 homers, the speed to swipe 30+ bags, and the ability to hit for a high average. Injuries limited him to 137 plate appearances in 2014, but that shouldn’t stop the 21-year-old from seeing the majors later this season. The ceiling is a perennial All-Star outfielder and a top ten fantasy player overall.
2. Miguel Sano, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Sano missed all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Despite the major bump in the road, he has developed into the player the Twins were hoping for when they signed him as a 16-year-old for just over $3 million back in 2009. Sano has elite power with the potential for 35-40 homers at the major league level. He’s right there with fellow third base prospects Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in that department. Sano most likely won’t hit for a high average, but his fantasy owners won’t mind if he’s launching 30+ bombs. I’d expect him to start the year in the upper minors with a mid or late season call-up a possibility.
3. Jose Berrios, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Berrios has a great starter’s arsenal with a plus fastball (sits mid-90s) and a plus curveball coupled with an above average slider and changeup. He’s also relatively close to the majors and could make his debut sometime in 2015 if the Twins feel he’s ready. The ceiling is a #3 starter with good ratios and decent strikeout totals. Most reports rave about his maturity and ability to make adjustments, which could give him a better shot at making it in a big league rotation. He’ll likely start 2015 back at Double-A after reaching that level earlier than expected last season.
4. Kohl Stewart, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Stewart has even better stuff than Berrios with two potential double-plus pitches (fastball, curveball) – he’s just a year behind developmentally. 2014 should have been Stewart’s first full season, but a shoulder issue limited him to just 87 innings in the Midwest League. The injury isn’t serious, and Stewart’s upside is still a #2 starter with the potential for big strikeout numbers. I prefer the closer arm in this case with Berrios, but you could make a case for slotting Stewart #3 based on upside alone. Pitching in the Florida State League this year should help his stock as well.
5. Alex Meyer, RHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2015
Pitching! Meyer is a big dude with a real big fastball that’s borderline elite. Pair that with his plus slider and he’s a potential strikeout machine in the bigs, something we could all use in our fantasy rotations. The bad news is that he could end up in a bullpen role if his changeup doesn’t develop into a weapon and/or his control doesn’t improve. The good news is that the bullpen role could be a solid closer, which still has fantasy value. Look for him to reach the majors later this year in some capacity.
6. Nick Gordon, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Gordon is the younger brother of Marlins infielder Dee Gordon and the Twins selected the shortstop 5th overall in the 2014 draft. Just out of high school, Gordon had a solid debut in his first taste of pro ball. He’s not nearly as fast as his big bro, but he has a better bat. Gordon is an average defender who’s likely to stick at short, but his fantasy upside is limited thanks to the mostly empty average. I’d still roll with him in the first round of first-year player drafts this winter, but he could end up being a “better in real life” type of prospect if he doesn’t develop at least average pop. The long wait also makes him less appealing in leagues with shallow farms.
7. Lewis Thorpe, LHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
The Twins signed Thorpe as an international free agent from Australia back in 2012, and while he has only logged around 150 total innings, he’s deserving of a spot in this strong top ten. Thorpe has #2 starter upside with three potentially plus pitches in his fastball, curveball, and changeup. There’s some nice strikeout upside for fantasy, with control being the biggest hurdle at this point. If he shows some improvement there and proves he can handle a bigger innings load, his stock could really take off this season. UPDATE: Thorpe recently experienced some elbow pain, and there is a non-zero chance he ends up having Tommy John surgery.
8. Jorge Polanco, 2B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Polanco offers a high batting average and 20-steal speed, which is basically what Nick Gordon could turn into three years from now. The 21-year-old Polanco got a handful of plate appearances in the majors last year, but don’t be fooled. He’ll most likely head back to the upper minors for most if not all of the 2015 season. Polanco’s solid approach from both sides of the plate will only carry him so far in fantasy if he doesn’t also develop double-digit power. Hes a better play in deeper dynasty leagues.
9. Eddie Rosario, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Rosario missed time early in 2014 with a drug suspension, but finished the year strong with a good showing in the Arizona Fall League. He finished second in the AFL in both average (.338) and stolen bases (10). Rosario could see some playing time in Minnesota this season as a left fielder, especially if he starts the year off well in the minors. He’s more of a gap hitter than a power guy, so he’s not going to make for a fantasy stud. Dynasty players who are looking for some close-to-the-majors depth should give him a look though.
10. Lewin Diaz, 1B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019
Diaz was a J2 signing in 2013, so there’s a long wait before we’ll see him contributing in the majors. The 18-year-old has double-plus power from the left side and performed well in the Dominican Summer League last year. Like a lot of the players his age, the questions surround his ability to make contact. Since he already has the raw power, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get more attention in fantasy circles with even some small gains in the Gulf Coast League this year.