Top Baseball Prospects for 2016 and Beyond
Now updated for 2016's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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Top Twins Prospects for 2016
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
A lukewarm cup of coffee in 2015 has some observer's down on Twin phenom Byron Buxton, but things like plus base-stealing ability and plus-plus defense are not skills that deteriorate. While it might take a bit longer than hoped, Buxton remains a future star. At the plate, he's a line-drive hitter with a little pop, and more power expected in the years to come. Minnesota is well-known for cooking their prospects until they're well-done, and he has a scary wrist injury to come back from in 2015, so don't expect him to light up scoreboards right away, but don't forget about him, either. He'll be around for a long time.
More Scouting Book Info on Byron Buxton
SB 5 BA 2 SC 4 BP 2 SN ES 2 ML 2
Drafted as a teenager from Puerto Rico to open 2012's compensation round, Jose Orlando (J-O) Berrios is a smallish righthander with good arm strength that springs a compact but strong frame. His short delivery suggests mechanical soundness, even if it's a bit jerky, with a fastball that can pop at 96mph and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus offering. A top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value, there are few more certain things in the iffy business of pitching prospects: those last four starts he made at AAA in 2015 (32 strikeouts, 4 walks) made every last scout sit up and take notice.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Berrios
SB 30 BA 28 SC 17 BP 17 SN ES 26 ML 19
A disciplined, determined hitter, outfield prospect Max Kepler is a very fast-rising star. While his play in 2015 was limited and sometimes impaired by a shoulder injury, Kepler looked dominant when he was healthy, manhandling AA pitching and announcing his arrival with authority. While his defense in the outfield isn't spectacular, it's probably good enough to keep him on the field, and as long as he's on the field, he can produce.
More Scouting Book Info on Max Kepler
SB 42 BA 30 SC 86 BP 60 SN ES 33 ML 44
If you believe in bloodlines, you have to be a fan of Nick Gordon, brother of Dee Gordon, second-born son of Tom Gordon, and natural-born heir to the kingdoms of men. At least, those kingdoms that are bounded by Target Field.
Signed by the Twins after being selected fifth overall in 2014, Gordon could have followed in his father's footsteps (as a pitcher he brings easy low-90's heat and a solid curveball from the right side), but the Twins selected him as an everyday player and are developing him as such. A smooth, strong swing from the left side pairs up perfectly with plus wheels, and the 25 steals he tacked onto a .302/.347/.416 second-half slash line in the Midwest League sure looks good on paper. With a good natural grace in the field and a strong arm, he'll continue to be groomed as a shortstop until and unless he proves he can't perform at the position. Given his lineage and what coaches describe as a tireless work ethic, one probably shouldn't bet against him.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Gordon
SB 71 BA 53 SC 73 BP 62 SN ES 98 ML 91
A Korean Star who the Twins quietly scooped up in the offseason following 2015, Byung-Ho Park is expected to bring at least some of that Pacific Rim power to the Majors in 2016. While it's even harder to translate numbers from Korea to MLB, most scouts agree that his mix of patience, a good batting eye and good bat control will keep him from being an all-or-nothing gamble at the plate. In the field he's shown soft hands and at least average ability around the bag, so there are few worries there. He's a sleeper candidate for 2016, though one with a high risk level.
More Scouting Book Info on Byung-Ho Park
SB 75 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A first round draft pick from those sneaky Twins in 2015, Tyler Jay is a smart, well-rounded pitcher who projects to be a well-oiled part of the Minnesota pitching machine in the years to come. Jay has precocious command off a plus fastball and slider, which is all he ever needed as a college closer. Of course, the Twins would like to see if they can grow him into a rotation anchor first, so he'll need to keep working on his curve and change, both of which have potential.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Jay
SB 94 BA 80 SC 51 BP SN ES 61 ML 60
An advanced prospect who's ready to step into MLB right now, Jorge Polanco is a strong middle infielder competent who looks best at second base but is also competent at shortstop. A switch hitter with a short powerful swing and very quick hands, he's added strength and power in the years since the team signed him out of the Dominican Republic. Polanco slashed .288/.339/.386 (with 19 steals) in a season split between AA and AAA. With Brian Dozier blocking him for the forseeable future at second base, the Twins plan to keep developing Polanco as a shortstop, where he still needs practice. He's very ready to go, but will probably spend most of 2016 the same way he spent the last two seasons: idling in the minors, waiting for an opportunity.
More Scouting Book Info on Jorge Polanco
SB 108 BA 99 SC BP SN ES 66 ML 97
A late-blooming pitcher in the Twins system, ex-quarterback Kohl Stewart is a sturdy righthander who leans heavily on a low-90's sinker to induce a high percentage of ground balls. No strikeout pitcher, his curve and slider are also of the weak-contact variety. He's still learning how to pitch, especially when facing batters for the third or fourth time in a game, and he really needs to refine that changeup if he's going to get lefthanded hitters out, but the Twins are good at this stuff. We expect he'll start the year in the AA Lookouts rotation, and he could be rewarded for a strong season with a late-season callup.
More Scouting Book Info on Kohl Stewart
SB 132 BA SC BP SN ES 53 ML
A two-time draftee who the Twins signed the second time around, Louisville pitcher Nick Burdi is a wild flamethrower who most project as a reliever and likely closer candidate sometime in the near future. His high-90's fastball is nasty, but it's the slurvy slider that gets hitters to look bad, especially now that he's learned to sneak it in for backdoor strikes, not just swing-and-miss dirtballs. His changeup isn't much, but probably won't have to be. With the Twins a bit light in the bullpen, he could be fast-tracked to Minnesota this year.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Burdi
SB 155 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school All American who fell to the Twins in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB draft following a suspension for off-field issues, Stephen Gonsalves is a fast-rising prospect in the minor leagues. A loose, easy-going pitcher who reminds some coaches of Barry Zito, Gonsalves showed very good command of a low-90's fastball during his tests at low and high-A last season, locating it on both sides of the plate very well. He mixes in some unusual breaking balls: a hammer curve, a split-fingered change and a slurvy slider, none of which looks like a plus offering but all of which look passable. He'll keep working on those secondary pitches in 2016 while also building up stamina. He could reach AA this year, but even with good progress, he's a couple of years away from anyone's projected MLB rotation.
More Scouting Book Info on Stephen Gonsalves
SB 182 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A college standout at Rice, JT Chargois is a strong righthander with a three digit fastball but dodgy command. In order to mitigate the damage from his injurious career, the Twins have been developing Chargois as a reliever, and that seems to be his life from here on out. AA Chattanooga's closer for much of 2015, Chargois struck out 34 in 33 innings of work, but also walked 20. He should challenge Nick Burdi for back-end bullpen work in Minnesota in the very near future.
More Scouting Book Info on JT Chargois
SB 231 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A very raw slugger in the Twins system, Adam Brett Walker has one of the most powerful bats in the minors, though he has the high strikeout rate and low average to along with that. He'll be working on increasing his contact rate in 2016, and if he can do that while maintaining most of his thunderous strength, he'll be mashing balls out of Target Field very soon. He turns 25 this year, which means it's time for him to step up... or start to fade away.
More Scouting Book Info on Adam Walker
SB 264 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An sturdy Australian lefthander with a big fastball, Lewis Thorpe has always been a bit of a dark horse in the Twins system, under-regarded until he gained significant size and strength in 2013, adding several miles per hour to an already-plus fastball while somehow also refining his changeup substantially. Thorpe is recovering from TJ surgery and won't spend much time on the mound until the second half of the year. It'll be 2017 before we know whether he's really back or not, but if that fastball-change combo returns, he'll be a top-shelf prospect once again.
More Scouting Book Info on Lewis Thorpe
SB 346 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A plus defensive catcher who hasn't shown much with the bat, Stuart Turner possesses a great all-around backstop game that should propel him to MLB even if he never outperforms the .223/.322/.306 he slashed at AA last season.
More Scouting Book Info on Stuart Turner
SB 459 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Twins prospect Lewin Diaz is raw but shows good potential, with the ability to hit for both power and average from the left side of the plate. He looked good in Rookie ball last year and will push into the A-levels. There are a lot of rough spots to work out, but a 2019-2020 arrival seems about right.
More Scouting Book Info on Lewin Diaz
SB 505 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A rotation anchor at LSU, the slowly-brewing Ryan Eades stepped up from a weak 2014 by putting up a much stronger 2015 for high-A Fort Myers. Eades dropped his walks per nine rate under 3, posting a 3.11 ERA and striking out 80 in 119 innings of work. He's an innings eater more than an ace, but as his all-around game keeps improving, he could push his way into the back end of the Twins rotation soon enough. Next year, most likely.
More Scouting Book Info on Ryan Eades
SB 555 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A flamethrowing righthander in the Twins system, Zach Jones is a high-90's artist who lost most of 2015 recovering from nerve surgery in his shoulder. It shouldn't affect him going forward, but he's a fair way down the pecking order for future Minnesota bullpen roles. If he puts up crazy strikeout numbers this year, as he's done off-and-on in the past, he could be a trade candidate.
More Scouting Book Info on Zach Jones
SB 590 BA SC BP SN ES ML