Evaluating the Prospects: Minnesota Twins

Evaluating The Prospects: Texas RangersColorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks & Minnesota Twins

Scouting Explained: Introduction, Hitting Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 Pt 4 Pt 5 Pt 6

The Twins have both top-end talent and lots of depth in their system, which will likely rank their system among the best in the league when I get around to that later this off-season. It’s interesting to note that the Twins, known as a team that preferred to draft starters average fastballs and pitchability in the past, drafted almost all relievers with their early picks in 2014.

They drafted 8 pitchers in their first 10 picks last June with scouts projecting all of them to be relievers, though the Twins will develop some as starters for now.  Minnesota now has, by my count, 10 pitchers in the system that have recently hit 98 mph or higher, which is close to the most in baseball, if not the most. Twins execs say it was more situational that they drafted the pitchability type arms in the past, but that there has been a concerted effort to move more toward acquiring power arms, even if they project as relievers.

Here’s the primer for the series and a disclaimer about how we don’t really know anything.  See the links above for the ongoing series about how I evaluate, including a five-part on the ever-complicated hit tool.

Most of what you need to know for this list is at the above links, but I should add that the risk ratings are relative to their position, so average (3) risk for a pitcher is riskier than average risk (3) for a hitter, due injury/attrition being more common. I’d also take a 60 Future Value hitter over a 60 FV pitcher for the same reasons. Also, risk encompasses a dozen different things and I mention the important components of it for each player in the report.  The upside line for hitters is the realistic best-case scenario (in general, a notch better than the projected tools) and the Future Value encompasses this upside along with the risk rating for one overall rating number.

Below, I’ve included a quick ranking of the growth assets that Minnesota has in the majors that aren’t eligible for the list and Dave Cameron shares some general thoughts on the organization. Scroll further down to see Carson Cistulli’s fringe prospect favorite. The next team up in the series, working from the bottom of the standings on up, is the Houston Astros.

Big League Growth Assets
1. Oswaldo Arcia, RF, Age 23
2. Eduardo Escobar, SS, Age 25
3. Josmil Pinto, C/DH, Age 25
4. Kennys Vargas, 1B/DH, Age 24
5. Danny Santana, UT, Age 23
6. Aaron Hicks, CF, Age 24

Organizational Overview by Dave Cameron

The Twins are firmly in rebuilding mode, but in that awkward stage when their young talent hasn’t developed yet, so they find themselves filling roster spots with veterans who have no real future with the organization. These kinds of seasons give the team chances to find unexpected core pieces like Brian Dozier, but it also forces the team’s fan base to sit through way too much of Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey. They aren’t particularly close to contending, so expect a few more years of sifting until they finally try and put a contender on the field again.

50+ FV Prospects

1. Byron Buxton, CF
Current Level/Age: AA/20.8, 6’2/190, R/R
Drafted: 2nd overall (1st round) in 2012 out of Georgia HS by MIN for $6.0 million bonus
Hit: 30/60, Raw Power: 50/55, Game Power: 30/55, Run: 80/80, Field: 65/70, Throw: 65/65

Scouting Report: Buxton was seen as the consensus top prospect in the 2012 draft and it was easy to see with literally-off-the-charts speed, an easy plus arm, advanced feel to defend and a projectable frame to go with ridiculous athleticism, looseness and bat speed.  The concern was on the bat and his inconsistent hitting mechanics, which have been slowly corrected while his hitting performance has been better than even the Twins expected. Buxton was concussed in an ugly outfield collision shortly after being promoted to AA, but has been in instructs and will go to the Arizona Fall League for extra at bats to make up for lost time.  Buxton battled nagging injuries this season and seemed like his timing was off, with most scouts and Twins execs calling it a lost year that he’ll look to bounce back from with a clean bill of health in 2015.  The 70 grade on his defense may be a little light and he may end up closer to a 70 hitter if he can rebound next year from a tough 2015.

Summation: Buxton is still on the fast track and could hit his way to the the big leagues in 2015 with a regular spot in 2016, but we’ll know more after the AFL and his early performance in 2015 to know how much time he needs in the minors.

Upside: .290/.355/.470, plus-plus CF defense & baserunning value
FV/Risk: 70, Low (2 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA/MLB, 2016: MLB

 

2. Miguel Sano, 3B
Current Level/Age: AA/21.4, 6’4/235, R/R
Signed: International Free Agent, signed for $3.15 million out of Dominican on 10/9/09
Hit: 30/50, Raw Power: 80/80, Game Power: 55/70, Run: 45/40, Field: 40/45+, Throw: 60/60

Scouting Report: Sano missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery but is a participating in all phases of instructs right now, but is being held out of games to avoid any additional injuries. He had a very high profile signing process, complete with a documentary, accusations of falsifying his age, bone scans and a surprise late entrant scooping up the player. He was seen as a once-in-a-generation talent with 80 raw power and the ability to stay in the infield to go with advanced feel to hit.  That’s all still technically true, but, like a similar super-elite July 2nd prospect, Miguel Cabrera, Sano has put on a lot of weight but at an even younger age.

Sano has a plus arm and good hands, but his lack of first step quickness and arm accuracy holds back his ability to stick at the position.  Like Joey Gallo with the Rangers, the team will leave him at third as long as possible, but scouts speculate that right field or first base is where Sano will end up. There are also some concerns about Sano’s hitting ability; not that he’s can’t hit in the traditional sense, but that his size, power type and at times aggressive approach could lead to a .250 or .260 average and his walk rates may regress when big league pitchers can exploit his weaknesses.  None of this has happened yet as Sano is still more talented than everyone that he’s faced so far, but scouts are paid to project the future, so that’s something to watch going forward. The 70 game power grade converts to 30-35 homers, though that could end up being a little light in the end.

Summation: The contact and defensive issues will be important to watch next season, but I wouldn’t expect to see a full 100% Sano until the end of 2015. He should go straight to the upper levels of the minors for 2015 and may get a big league look depending on how well he performs, with 2016 a reasonable time to look for an extended big league audition.  There are some concerns that Sano isn’t as mentally mature as some other elite prospects, so it will be interesting to see what kind of shape he’s in for spring training following over a year of rehab.

Upside: .275/.360/.525, fringy 3B defense, negative baserunning value
FV/Risk: 60, Medium (3 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA, 2016: AAA/MLB, 2017: MLB

 


Video Credit to Reds Minor Leagues

3. Jose Berrios, RHP
Current Level/Age: AAA/20.3, 6’0/190, R/R
Drafted: 32nd overall (sandwich round) in 2012 out of Puerto Rico HS by MIN for $1.55 million bonus
Fastball: 60/65, Curveball: 55/60, Slider: 50/55, Changeup: 50/55, Command: 45/50

Scouting Report: Berrios may not be big at 6’0/190, but scouts rave about his athleticism, makeup and work ethic.  His velocity has slowly improved since high school in Puerto Rico (where they don’t play many games) and now sits at 93-96, hitting 98 mph.  There isn’t a ton of plane or life to the pitch, but his clean arm action and deceptively easy delivery helps the heater sneak up on hitters.  Berrios calls his breaking pitches a slow and fast curveball, but the fast one plays like a slider and both are above average; scouts will call one or the other plus depending on the day, but the slower curve gets the better grade more often.  His changeup is above average and may be plus one day, helping to keep hitters off his fastball.  One scout compared him to Javier Vazquez.

Summation: The stuff and command are both there but scouts and Twins execs are gravitating to the off-the-field attributes that have allowed Berrios to improve so quickly (High-A to Triple-A this season at age 19/20) to push for him to be ranked this high.  He could get a big league taste next season but more likely gets up and sticks in 2016.

FV/Role/Risk: 60, #3 starter, Low (2 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA, 2016: MLB

 

4. Nick Gordon, SS
Current Level/Age: SS/18.9, 6’1/175, L/R
Drafted: 5th overall (1st round) in 2014 out of Florida HS by MIN for $3.851 million bonus
Hit: 20/55, Raw Power: 45/50, Game Power: 20/50, Run: 50/50+, Field: 50/55, Throw: 60/60

Scouting Report: Nick is the son of Tom Gordon and the brother of Dee Gordon, so the bloodlines are good and when Nick was a high school sophomore, his senior teammates were first rounders Jesse Winker and Walker Weickel.  Combine that with the fact that Nick was noticeable as a top prospect in his class as early as his freshman year and he seemed to be at every major showcase or tournament his entire prep career and it’s easy to see why scout were comfortable with him by draft time.  Between October and January showcases, Gordon appeared to put on about 10 pounds and mature physically, turning him from a late first rounder into a top 10 pick.

Gordon has above average foot speed and bat speed to go with good size for a shortstop, but it’s his polish at a young age that helps him stand out. He has good feel for the bat head and the ability to hit ball with power to the opposite field, potentially hitting 15-18 homers per year at maturity. His first step is a little slow, so his timed game speed is closer to average and he relies on great instincts and positioning to give him the range to project as a shortstop, due in part to working with family friend Barry Larkin this year.  If his range is a bit ordinary, Gordon’s hands are above average and his arm is plus, sitting 91-94 and hitting 95 with an above average curveball when he pitches, which he stopped doing this year to focus on being a shortstop.

Summation: Gordon’s 2014 ended prematurely with a broken finger but he will be fine for 2015 and will go to Low-A. He could move quickly if he hits the ground running offensively.

Upside: .280/.350/.440, average SS defense
FV/Risk: 55, Medium (3 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: Low-A, 2016: High-A/AA, 2017: AA/AAA, 2018: AAA/MLB, 2019: MLB


Video Credit to Cubs Prospect Watch

5. Kohl Stewart, RHP
Current Level/Age: Low-A/20.0, 6’3/195, R/R
Drafted: 4th overall (1st round) in 2013 out of Texas HS by MIN for $4.544 million bonus
Fastball: 50/60, Curveball: 50/60, Slider: 45/50+, Changeup: 50/55, Command: 40/50

Scouting Report: Stewart ended his first full season with some shoulder inflammation and only 6.4 K/9, but there’s a lot more to like than those two pieces of mildly bad news. He worked on his fastball command this season and it’s expected to improve, as he’s a multi-sport kid with limited innings/experience and the athleticism and feel for pitching at a young age are good indicators.  He sits 91-94 and hits 95 mph often with a fluid, simple delivery and a short stride, though some scouts think he’ll settle with a 55 fastball at maturity (which is 91-93 mph).  Stewart’s velo dipped some late in the year when he was tired (somewhat expected), sitting 88-91 mph in his last instructs start, but he hit 97 mph in high school so scouts expect the zip to return to his fastball next year.

The curveball and changeup both made strides this year after Stewart threw a slider as his primary out-pitch in high school.  On the pessimistic side, some scouts don’t give Stewart a future 60 pitch and, while he’s a good athlete, don’t think he’ll have better than average command; I’ve split the difference here.  For those worried about the K rate, Pirates top-5 overall pick (also a Texas prep righty) Jameson Taillon had a similar issue when working on fastball command in his first full year in Low-A; his K rate jumped the next season in High-A.

Summation: The upside here is a #2/3 starter, but it’s still early to assume that will be what happens. He’ll have a lot of eyes on him next year, expecting flashy stuff and a flashy pedigree to manifest itself in flashy numbers in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.

FV/Role/Risk: 55, #3/4 starter, High (4 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: High-A, 2016: Double-A, 2017: AAA, 2018: MLB

 

6. Alex Meyer, RHP
Current Level/Age: AAA/24.7, 6’9/220, R/R
Drafted: 23rd overall (1st round) in 2013 out of Kentucky by WSH for $2.0 million bonus
Fastball: 70/80, Slider: 60/65, Changeup: 45/50+, Command: 40/45

Scouting Report: The 6’9/220 monster sat 98-100 mph for two innings in the above video from last year’s Arizona Fall League debut. He surprised some scouts by lasting the whole season in the rotation at Triple-A this year, throwing 130.1 innings with lesser but still elite stuff, sitting 93-98 with plus life and the knockout slider. Meyer’s changeup has improved and flashes solid-average while his huge frame and long limbs give him trouble commanding his pitches and repeating his delivery.  Most scouts think he ends up as a shutdown closer, but the Twins are trying to make him a starter and there’s still a chance Meyer gets there. If he can tone everything down to where it’s repeatable, the upside is probably a #3 starter but this seems destined for the bullpen at some point.

Summation: Meyer should get a real chance to stick in spring training, but likely goes back to Triple-A to try to improve his command until there are some injuries that make room for him on the big club.

FV/Role/Risk: 55, #3/4 starter or closer, Medium (3 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AAA/MLB, 2016: MLB

 


Video Credit to Christopher Blessing

7. Jorge Polanco, 2B
Current Level/Age: MLB/21.2, 5’11/175, B/R
Signed: International Free Agent, signed for $775,000 out of Dominican on 7/6/09
Hit: 40/55, Raw Power: 40/45+, Game Power: 30/40, Run: 50/50, Field: 50/55, Throw: 55/55

Scouting Report: Polanco is easy to like as you can project all five tools to be at least average, though his line drive hitting approach may not get to all his raw power.  He’s played a lot of shortstop in the minors and is good enough to stay there for now to see if he can stick long-term, but most scouts think he’s fringy at the position and his tools fit better at second base, where he could be above average. He’s only an average runner now and power isn’t a big part of his game, though he could grow into 12-15 homer power in time.  The calling card here is an advanced, smooth stroke from both sides.

Summation: Polanco will spend much of 2015 in the upper levels, but should get at least another cup of coffee in 2015 like he did at the end of 2014. Brian Dozier‘s emergence may push Polanco into more of a utility role or even an audition at shortstop if Escobar backs up.

Upside: .280/.350/.425, above average 2B defense
FV/Risk: 50, Low (2 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA/MLB, 2016: MLB

 

45 FV Prospects

8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP Video: The 6’2 Australian lefty has made a lot of progress since signing and, luckily, an arm scare late in the season turned out to just be an elbow strain, so he’s still on track. He sits in the low 90’s with an above average changeup as his best secondary pitch and a curveball that’s below average now but will be at least average. Scouts like him because he’s already showing advanced feel attributes at a young age with limited innings that could help him to take off when his off-speed stuff gets more consistent.

9. Trevor May, RHP Video: May was barely eligible for this list as he logged 45.2 innings in the big leagues as a starter down the stretch.  The finish to his delivery is a little stiff, the command can wander and the stuff can flatten out up in the zone, but May is 6’5/215 with the stuff to start.  He sits 90-94 and has a slider, curveball and changeup that are all at least average, with the changeup the best of the bunch and more often than not above average.

10. Nick Burdi, RHP Video: Burdi is big (6’5/215) and throws real hard (96-98, hitting 101 mph) with a plus slider and an aggressive approach, so it’s easy to see why he went in the 2nd round in June.  He has an average changeup that he rarely uses but the delivery is too high effort to start and the command is just good enough to let the fastball-slider combo play. Burdi needs another year in the minors but could be an option in 2016.

11. Stuart Turner, C Video: Turner isn’t the guy you get excited about at first glance, but he might turn into a big league starter behind the plate. He’s an advanced catch-and-throw guy that gives pitchers a big target, he calls his own games and has the plus arm to shut down the running game. Turner flashes fringe-average raw power in BP but is more of a short-to-the-ball line drive type in games.

12. J.T. Chargois, RHP Video: Chargois was a 2nd round pick in 2012 as a reliever out of Rice that was interesting as an athletic lefty hitter whose velocity jumped late in his college career.  His pro career has been very limited due to Tommy John surgery; Chargois made his first appearance on a mound in exactly two years earlier this month in instructional league.  When drafted, he sat 91-95 mph with an above average to plus slider and changeup then, after singing, the Twins cleaned up his delivery and he was 94-96 mph in 2012 instructs. Last week, he sat 97-100 mph, flashing the same crispness to his off-speed pitches.  As a reliever-only with very little track record and recent surgery, it’s risky to put Chargois this high (a month ago, a scout told me he assumed Chargois would never regain his pre-draft stuff), but his ceiling is arguably higher than Burdi’s.

13. Adam Walker, RF Video: Walker is a 6’4/225 physical specimen who looks like an NFL tight end; his dad also played for the Vikings. Walker shows plus raw power in BP. He has the arm for right but his accuracy and defense are lacking, so he may be moved to left field, but the real question is if he’ll make enough contact to get to his power in games. Walker has made some adjustments and picked better pitches to hit this season, but there’s still a ways to go.

14. Max Kepler, LF Video: Kepler signed for $800,000 in 2009 out of Germany, at the time the biggest bonus ever to a European prospect.  He’s an excellent athlete at 6’4/205, thanks to his parents who are both ballet dancers. Kepler has a fringy arm that limits him to left field in the big leaguers but the other four tools are average to above and he has experience playing first base and all three outfield positions.

 

40 FV Prospects

15. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP Video: The lean lefty is up to 6’5/205 and sits 88-92 touching 94 mph now, but could add a tick or two to that in time.  He should scrap the below average curveball and is developing a slider that could be average, to go with his above average changeup and advanced command for his age. There’s the plane and physical projection to dream that more is coming to fit as a back-end starter, but there’s still work to be done here.

16. Eddie Rosario, CF Video: Everyone I talked to about Rosario brought up 1) this guy can hit and 2) some version of concerns about makeup/attitude/maturity/drug suspension. The Twins acknowledge there have been some growing pains but that he’s moved past most or all of it now and has moved from second base to the outfield now with Brian Dozier‘s emergence in the big leagues. He has only 45 raw power so he needs to play up the middle to profile but he has enough instincts that his 50 speed could work in center field.

17. Michael Cederoth, RHP Video: Heavily hyped San Diego State righty hit 100 mph often as sophomore but was bumped to bullpen after one outing this spring, sliding him from a potential first rounder down to the third round.  The Twins will keep him as a starter as long as possible; he sits 93-96 and hits 97 mph in that role with four pitches led by a potential 55 curveball but the delivery/command still need lots of work to keep him from the bullpen. The org is only making small tweaks to his delivery and letting him do it his way, while some scouts think to stick as a starter, Cederoth may need a mechanical overhaul.

18. Travis Harrison, LF Video: Harrison has settled in left field after playing some third base the last few years and, while the tools aren’t huge, there’s fringe to average tools across the board with good makeup.  He shortened up his swing this year for more contact and less game power, so there’s still a balance to be struck with the offensive approach, but there’s enough here to see a platoon/bench big league role.

19. Mason Melotakis, LHP Video: The 2012 2nd rounder was sent out as a starter after signing, but moved to relief this season and the electric stuff from college came back. Melotakis sits 93-96 and hits 97 mph out of the pen with an above average power curveball with fringy command, but had to be pulled from an Arizona Fall League assignment due to a sore elbow.

20. Cameron Booser, LHP Video: Booser was a known prospect at an Arizona JC and an arm injury kept him off the mound most of his draft year, but solid post-draft outings prompted the Twins to scoop him up for $10,000 as an undrafted free agent.  In his second year in the system, the stuff exploded: he sat 89-93 in the middle of the summer, 92-94 hitting 96 mph late in the summer and then sat 95-96 and hit 99 mph in instructs this month.  The slider flashes above average to plus and he’s a 6’3/225 lefty, so there’s lots to like, despite the lack of track record (35 pro innings, all in short-season leagues) and advanced age (22).

21. Taylor Rogers, LHP Video: Surrounded on this list by power relievers, it’s hard to get excited about Rogers, but he has a chance to be a big league starter. He sits 90-93 and hits 94 mph with an average curveball and fringy change that needs to improve, though he has the command to make it work as a back-end starter.

22. Zach Jones, RHP Video: Jones has had some arm problems, including surgery for an aneurysm in his right shoulder that shelved him for much of this year, though as a 6’1 reliever with a busy delivery, you expect to encounter some health bumps.  In instructs this month, Jones was back to normal, sitting 96-98 and hitting 99 mph with life and a slider that was solid-average at times. The command and consistency still vary and there isn’t a knockout secondary pitch, but the velocity could help him move quickly.

23. Amaurys Minier, RF Video: He signed for $1.4 million in the 2012 July 2nd class and the carrying tools of raw power and arm strength are both above average to plus, but there’s still some concerns. Scouts have some reservations about his ability to make contact outside of rookie ball and while Minier’s arm fits in right field, he’s so rough in the outfield, some have suggested he might end up in left field or even as a DH if that doesn’t improve soon.

24. Huascar Ynoa, RHP Video: The 6’2/180 Dominican righty is the younger brother of A’s Michael Ynoa (who shattered the bonus record signing for $4.25 million in 2008) and hasn’t pitched since signing for $800,000 in this year’s July 2nd class.  At his best, the younger Ynoa looked like a mid-rotation type that pitched 90-92 and hit 93 mph with a curveball and changeup that flashed above average but, as July 2nd neared, his velo dipped into the high 80’s and his command backed up.

25. Fernando Romero, RHP Video: he went down after three starts this year with an elbow injury that led to TJ, he’s a slam-dunk reliever and he was still working out his command at the time of the injury. That said, there’s lots to like here as Romero sat 93-95 and hit 98 mph with a mid-80’s power slider that flashed above average to plus potential.

26. Sean Gilmartin. LHP Video: Gilmartin is the prototypical crafty lefty that probably fits best as a spot starter/swing man but the elements are here to start if the athletic lefty’s command plays up.  He normally sits 86-91 with some life, an average curveball and a plus changeup.

27. Aaron Slegers, RHP Video: 6’10/250 righty draws obvious Chris Young comparisons due to his frame, but also the easy delivery that will allow him to continue as a starter up the ladder. Slegers is surprisingly coordinated for his size and sits at 90-92 mph with an average three pitch mix that plays up due to his plane.

28. Jake Reed, RHP Video: 2014 5th rounder surprised the Twins with how quickly he succeeded after signing. At times for Oregon, Reed’s delivery was comically high effort/maintenance and with only small tweaks, the Twins have him consistently throwing lots of strikes with 93-95 mph fastball and average slider; he could move fast next year.

 

Cistulli’s Guy

Nate Roberts, OF (Posthumous Recognition)

Despite the club’s organizational depth — or perhaps because of it — there’s a dearth of proper fringe-type prospects within Minnesota’s high-ish minor-league levels. Levi Michael and Aderlin Mejia, both of whom McDaniel mentions below, are certainly candidates for that distinction, but the seemingly total absence of power in both cases puts an indecent amount of pressure on their plate discipline and contact skills. Right-hander Brandon Poulson (also invoked by McDaniel below) merits consideration, but is a substantial distance from the majors. Instead, the most notable of the Twins’ fringe types actually isn’t a Twin any longer, having been released by the club at the end of July after injuries conspired to allow him just 74 plate appearances between 2013 and -14 combined. When he did play, however, Roberts commanded the strike zone brilliantly, producing walk and strikeout rates of 11.9% and 14.5%, respectively — and a not entirely negligible 13 homers — over 862 minor-league plate appearances. Given his age and health concerns, though, this brief passage might amount merely to a posthumous recognition of his talents.

 

Others Of Note

The Twins have one of the deeper systems in the game, so while they have the longest list of ranked prospects I’ve done so far, there’s a few more guys that could be included depending on which scout you’re talking to.  SS Levi Michael is a former 1st rounder that some scouts think fits better at second base and he has above average speed, but the bat is fringy with below average power, so there’s only utility upside.  SS Aderlin Mejia played alongside Michael in High-A this year and has even less power and a similarly light bat, but has a better chance to stick at shortstop.  The other upper level infielder that some scouts have big leagues grades on is 3B Niko Goodrum; he’s 6’3, is a 55 runner and can play multiple positions, so scouts think the athlete will find a way to hit his way into a big league audition.

In the short season leagues, a couple bats show promise worth monitoring: C/RF Jorge Fernandez (bat-first prospect cleaned up his body and took a step forward this year, could fit at multiple positions), C Rainis Silva (advanced defensive catcher with easy plus arm and developing feel to hit), RF Roberto Gonzalez (Video 2014 prep draftee has flashed five above average tools but bat regressed this year and he was old for 2014 prep class) and 1B Lewin Diaz (Video got a $1.4 million bonus in last year’s July 2nd period due to plus lefty raw power but still some work to do making contact; will come to GCL next year).

As for the arms, there’s three righties in the upper levels that also just missed the list: Michael Tonkin (up/down type talent already has been in big leagues; 6’7/220 righty’s weapon is plus fastball), Jason Adam (recently acquired from Royals for Josh Willingham, stuff is solid-average with below average command for 6th/7th inning fit) and Matt Summers (stout righty sits 93-96 and hit 99 mph with average-ish slider but command is iffy and he ended year with shoulder tendonitis). Two former-SEC arms are notable but almost complete opposites: former Arkansas righty D.J. Baxendale (Video) has a fringy fastball/changeup and flashes above average curveball/command that could be enough to stick in a rotation while former LSU righty Ryan Eades (Video) still has above average stuff across the board, but the delivery/command are a real problem that Twins’ instructors are working to correct.

The rest of the arms worth mentioning are raw, low level arm strength righties: Yorman Landa (up to 98 with life before TJ but 6’0 at most and mostly just arm strength right now), C.K. Irby (relief arm is only 6’1 but is very good athlete with plus fastball and above average curve), John Curtiss (90-95 with tight slider but hit 97 mph before thoracic outlet syndrome at Texas), Randy LeBlanc (great frame and 90-95 mph heater, but tight curveball & command are work in progress), Chih-Wei Hu (sits 90-91 and hits 95 mph as starter with fringy to below average off-speed & command; projects for relief where the heater could play up) and Felix Jorge (up to 95 mph last year at age 19, now 87-90 with no clear explanation why). The lefty of the group is 2014 4th rounder Sam Clay (Video above average fastball/slider combo but stuff and command both vary a good bit) while the craziest story belongs to undrafted free agent righty Brandon Poulson (unknown 6’6/240 art school kid hit 100 mph with clean arm and good athleticism in small college summer league but is 24 and is all velo now) which is covered in more detail by Jeff Passan.  Finally, at the very lowest level, the two arms to watch from the DSL that will be coming to the GCL next year and have some upside are Jose Martinez and Moises Gomez.



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Kiley McDaniel has worked in the scouting departments of the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates and has written for ESPN, among other outlets. Follow him on twitter for real-time thoughts on the players he’s seeing and hacky attempts at humor.


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