Top 10 Prospects (2017): Minnesota Twins: Is Nick Gordon An Overrated Prospect & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The name that arguably draws the most attention in Minnesota’s system, Nick Gordon, is hardly the team’s best prospect.  In fact he’s even a borderline Top 5 option, as a trio of unheralded pitching prospects lead the way.  Who are they?  How good could they be?  Let’s take a look at those three as well as the rest of the Top 10 prospects in the Twins’ system:

 

1) Fernando Romero – Right-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2018/2019

After missing part of 2014 and all of 2015 it was easy to forget about Romero entering the 2016 season.  What he did once taking the mound, though, has got to catch your attention:

  • Single-A – 28.0 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8.04 K/9, 1.61 BB/9
  • High-A – 62.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.39 K/9, 1.44 BB/9

Seeing that type of control, after missing so much time, says a lot, as does his 1.54 GO/AO.  A hard thrower, the biggest question may be his size (6’0”) and if he is going to be able to hold up to a full workload.  He likely will be brought along slowly, which could ultimately delay his arrival, but he’s a pitcher who you need to keep a close eye on.

 

2) Tyler Jay – Left-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

It wasn’t many innings (14.0), but his 5.79 ERA for the 2015 first round pick has to give us a little concern…  OK, not really.  That’s especially true after he posted an 8.78 K/9, 2.71 BB/9 and 1.34 GO/AO over 69.2 IP at High-A.  A college closer, you know he’s going to be a little bit of a work in progress until he proves capable of holding up to a full workload on a regular basis.  Of course even if he stumbles he could transition into a closer of the future type, though the Twins are going to give him an opportunity to stick in the rotation and see if he can thrive.

 

3) Stephen Gonsalves – Left-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2017

If you simply looked at his High-A numbers you’d be highly impressed with the performance, but there are a few things that should give you a little bit of pause even though he still put up sparkling marks at Double-A:

  • High-A – 65.2 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
  • Double-A – 74.1 IP, 1.82 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

His control wavered upon his promotion (2.74 BB/9 vs. 4.48), and it’s something that needs to be monitored (3.5 for his career).  He also hasn’t generated many groundballs (0.82 GO/AO in ’16, 0.75 for his career).  That said he’s a 6’5” southpaw with a career 9.7 K/9 with reports that his secondary offerings are vastly improved.  The upside is there, as long as he can keep the walks down.

 

4) Alex Kirilloff – Outfielder
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2019/2020

The Twins’ first round pick in 2016 got off to a strong start, showing both power (7 HR, 17 total extra base hits, in 216 AB) and a surprising ability to make contact for a player his age (13.8% strikeout rate).  It all led to a .306/.341/.454 slash and there obviously is ample time for him to continue developing as he just turned 19-years old.  He does need to draw a few more walks (4.7%), but there’s a lot to like.  We’ll have to be patient, but he has the potential to be a fixture at a corner outfield spot before long.

 

5) Nick Gordon – Shortstop
Current Grade – B
ETA – 2018

The fifth overall selection in 2014 will likely be consistently compared to his brother, Dee, though he’s not the same player as he doesn’t have the same type of speed.  In fact, at High-A he swiped 19 bases in 32 attempts, a success rate that’s highly concerning.  He also showed little power (3 HR) and no ability to draw a walk (4.7%).

He owns a minor league career .285 average, but without much power (5 career HR over 1,282 PA) and the speed a bit of a question that’s hardly never.  In other words, there’s still an awful lot to prove.  Generally thought of as a top notch prospect, the name may carry more value than anything at the moment (though the potential is still there).

 

The Rest:

6) Adalberto Mejia – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)

7) Kohl Stewart – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)

8) Ben Rortvedt – Catcher (Grade – B-)

9) Travis Blankenhorn – Second Baseman (Grade – B-)

10) Wander Javier – Shortstop (Grade – B-)
Note: Hamstring injuries limited him to 26 AB in ’16 and he’s just 17-years old, but the upside is there after being signed for $4 million in ’15.  Keep a close eye on him.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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