The Twins have some young talent in the Majors that they’ll be counting on this season to help them dig out of the hole of 103 losses. If young guys like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and J.O. Berrios can take the baton and run with it, the Twins will be in much better shape than they were a year ago.
And yet, that young group’s arrival in the big leagues means that Minnesota won’t be ranking at the top of those prospect lists you’ve seen over the past few years. Boasting multiple top-end prospects like Buxton and Sano meant the Twins always could hang their hat on being perceived as one of the best farm systems in baseball. Heck, even Kepler probably would have received more pub if he didn’t belong to an organization with those other top two guys.
So even though many believe that group will be the core of the Twins for the next handful of years, the current crop of top prospects isn’t earning the same top billing.
Here’s how MLB.com ranks Minnesota’s Top-10 prospects:
LHP Tyler Jay
SS Nick Gordon
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
OF Alex Kirilloff
RHP Kohl Stewart
RHP Fernando Romero
RHP J.T. Chargois
C Ben Rortvedt
LHP Adalberto Mejia
RHP Nick Burdi
This time around, Baseball America only ranked two Twins prospects among their top-100 around the game. Shortstop Nick Gordon (No. 60) and pitcher Stephen Gonsalves (No. 99) made the list.
FanGraphs was even more down on the Twins top prospects. Gordon (No. 66) was the only one to crack that top-100 list. Although the author did say he considered Gonsalves, Jay and Kirilloff for the list.
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Minnesota’s overall farm system No. 11 this winter after he ranked them No. 3 at the same time last year.
It’s not certain when Gordon will make it to the big leagues. An eduacated guess would be 2018 or 2019.
If Berrios doesn’t develop into a top-of-the-rotation ace, I’d guess that either Jay or Romero has the best chance to pull that trick.
Kirilloff is out for the year after Tommy John surgery.
Gonsalves posted great minor league numbers last season and remains a guy to watch this year. He was cut from Major League camp this week and likely will open the year in the minors.
Mejia has impressed in spring training and has a nonzero chance to open the season in the starting rotation.
Chargois and his upper-90’s fastball is a candidate to make the Twins bullpen this spring.
We’ll be following prospects this season at 1500ESPN.com, with the help of our columnist friend Jake Depue. After spending a few years as one of the most talent-rich minor league systems in the game, the Twins have graduated some of the biggest names and as a result they’ve taken a step back on the lists.
If that group – Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Berrios, et al – thrives in the big leagues this year, you might not be as worried about where some of the top prospects rank in the immediate future.