Top 5 Minnesota Twins Pitching Prospects Post-Draft
Top 5 Minnesota Twins Pitching Prospects Post-Draft
Following the excitement that was the MLB Draft these last few days, and although there is still one day left, the Minnesota Twins went out and got themselves a potential ace when they drafted high-school pitcher Kohl Stewart fourth overall. Stanford’s Mark Appel, San Diego’s Kris Bryant and Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray went first, second and third overall respectively in the draft leaving the Twins with the player they wanted all along at number four. Whether or not Stewart will materialize into the ace the Twins are hoping for will take years to determine, but people around the organization sure are excited for what lies ahead for the talented right-hander. Assuming that Stewart signs with the Twins—which most experts assume that he will—the Twins will now have the makings of a very competitive rotation in the upcoming future. It will certainly be at least three to five years—possibly even more—before Stewart is knocking on the door of the majors, but he certainly projects to be a very dominant pitcher if he stays on his projected path. The question I will now turn to—which is the focus of this article—is where Stewart ranks among the Twins’ minor-league pitchers. The Twins have a couple pitchers that they believe can develop into front-of-the-rotation type of starters and now Stewart can join that elite group. Still, there are many other talented pitchers in the minors that have helped the Twins achieve a number two overall rating for farm systems in all of baseball. Where does Stewart rank among the Twins’ pitching prospect elite? Read on to find out.
5. Kyle Gibson
Gibson has shown that he can be a very effective pitcher at the minor leagues, but Tommy John surgery has severely limited his arrival time to the majors. He is currently pitching in Triple-A and has had some very dominating appearances this year and some “so-so’ appearances as well. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has been questioned often about when Gibson will finally be promoted to the majors—based on the poor performance of the starting pitching staff—and Ryan remains stable on his position that he needs to see more consistency with Gibson before he promotes him. Gibson currently is 5-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 12 starts over 72.2 innings and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Gibson up in the majors with the Twins by July 1 of this year. As for now, Gibson projects as a middle of the rotation starter long-term for the team and that is why he is ranked number five on this list. Had this list been made prior to Gibson’s surgery, it may have been different.
4. Trevor May
May was acquired as part of the Ben Revere trade this off-season and has had an up-and-down year so far for the Twins at Double-A. Currently, May is sporting a 5-2 record with a 3.94 ERA in 12 starts over 64.1 innings pitched. According to scoutingbook.com, May features a fastball that reaches 92-94 mph with heavy sink and his secondary pitches (a hammer curve and a straight change) are almost ready for more advanced hitters. May has the tools to project as a middle to top-of-the-rotation type of pitcher and currently has better stuff—in my opinion—than Gibson does. Although May is older for a prospect at age 23, he still makes the number for spot on this last based off of the trajectory of his career and a gut feeling.
3. Kohl Stewart
It would be easy to put Stewart anywhere in the top three based off his projections; but since he is only a high school pitcher and he is still very raw, I cannot place him above the two others that I have listed ahead of him on this list. Make no mistake about it, Stewart has the potential and stuff to quickly become the number one pitching prospect for the Twins; but currently as we sit here today, Stewart is comfortably in the third spot and he hasn’t even pitched a game in the minors yet. Stewart displays a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider that has “plus pitch” written all over it. He’s been working on developing a low-80s curveball and a change-up as well, but both pitches are considered works in progress as of now. A year from now, Stewart may be at the top of this list; for now, he is third.
2. J.O. Berrios
Berrios is a very talented young-pitcher from Puerto Rico and after pitching for the Puerto Rico national team at the World Baseball Classic, the 19 year old quickly shot up the board among Twins’ top pitchers. This season, Berrios has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.61 ERA , 50 strikeouts, 12 walks and a 1.394 WHIP over 42.1 innings in eight starts. Berrios is said to have a fastball that can hit 96 mph consistently and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus pitch for the future. Combine those factors with the fact that Berrios is only 19 and Berrios has future top-of-the-rotation written all over him if he can remain healthy.
1. Alex Meyer
As I have written before, Meyer’s frame at 6’9 and 220 lbs. fits the mold of a power pitcher with a strong fastball and high strikeout ratio. Fortunately for the Twins’, Meyer not only fits his frame, he still has room for growth. Meyer throws from a three-quarters arm slot and according to Mike Rosenbaum—the MLB Prospects Lead Writer for the Los Angeles Times—Meyer’s fastball reaches 93-97 mph throughout the course of a game. Early in games and in short stints, however, he’ll occasionally flirt with triple-digits on his fastball. Meyer’s slider gives him a second “plus pitch” and is a true “swing-and-miss pitch” that reaches the mid-to-high-80s with late, diving break. The right-hander also made progress with his changeup last season and it could emerge as a dominant complementary pitch as Meyer’s career develops. When you combine those three pitches together, Meyer possesses the tools needed to be a high strikeout and dominant pitcher at the top of the Twins’ rotation—barring injury—for many years to come. At this time, only Stewart has the kind of potential and upside that Meyer offers and right now Meyer is ahead of Stewart in development; hence, Meyer takes home the number one spot on this list.