Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2015 Twins offseason top 40 prospects list: 31-35

Today is the second installment in the top 40 Twins' Off-season prospects countdown.  You can find all installments here in reverse chronological order.  This is the 31-35 rankings. Previous rankings: 36-40.

35. Mat Batts LHP (--), LHSP, DOB: 7/6/1991, 5'11", 190 lbs.

The Twins drafted Harrison Mathis Batts in the 17th round of the 2014 draft from the University of North Calorina Wilmington.  The Lefty breezed through 3 levels in the organization from the Gulf Coast to Elizabethton to Cedar Rapids and finished the season with an impressive 1.78 ERA, 67 K and 7 BB in 60.7 Innigns Pitched.  His WHIP was 0.775, his FIP 2.34, his K% 29.5%, 10 K/9 and an impressive 9.6 K/BB.  Adding these numbers to his 2014 College numbers (2.68 ERA, 103.7 IP, 105 K, 18 BB, 1.05 WHIP), tells a very impressive story for the 23 year old who pitched 164 innings last season. 

Why isn't Batts ranked any higher?  Well... his pitching style is what described as a "Crafty Lefty".  His fastball tops in the high 80s but has a plus curve and a plus change.  Those are great pitches to fool lower level competition.  Batts might shoot through the organization, but his real test with be at AA.  Likely will start for Cedar Rapids or even Fort Myers next season.

34. Todd Van Steensen RHP (--), RHRP, DOB: 1/14/1991, 6'1", 190 lbs.

2014 was the second tour of duty for Todd in the Twins' organization after being released in 2011 in the heels of a 5.68 ERA, 1.351 WHIP season in Elizabethton as a starter.  Meanwhile, between then and 2014, he mimicked Glen Perkins:  Found a mid 90s fastball and re-invented himself as a reliever.   Started in Cedar Rapids as the closer and moved to Fort Myers (he is age average for high A) in the middle of the season.  He finished 2014 with 1.39 ERA (but 3.22 FIP), 1.063 WHIP, 71 Ks and 24 BBs in 58.3 IP.   His control was an issue mainly at Fort Myers, which, since he has been out of baseball, save for Aussie leagues, for a while, might be a conditioning issue.   Will likely start 2015 for the Miracle again.


33. Zach Larson OF (29) RH, OF, DOB: 10/8/1993.  6'2", 185 lbs

Zach was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round of the 2012 draft out of Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton FL.  He played only in 15 GCL games in 2012 and his transition to the wooden bat was unremarkable (.250/.318/.325)  However, 2013 was a great season for him.  He started the season repeating the Gulf Coast League where he hit .317/.382/.467 in 137 plate appearances and moved up to Elizabethton without slowing down (.301/.407/.438 in 86 PA).  He declined severely in his 2014 season, thus the drop in the rankings.  In a season marred with injury he hit .265/.325/.358 in Cedar Rapids and had a 3.5:1 K:BB ratio.   Potentially his performance was injury-related.  2015 will be a very important year for Zach, in an organization loaded with corner OFs.  He will likely start 2015 again in Cedar Rapids, where we would be just young for the league.

32. Randy Rosario LHP (40), LHSP, DOB: 5/18/1994, 6'1", 160 lbs

The 20 year old Dominican was one of the Twins' Tommy John surgery victims this season, yet his stocked rose in these listings.  Why? First of all I am discounting his 11.7 injury innings in Cedar Rapids this season and his stuff is really good.  Rosario had a mid 90s fastball with lots of movement that complements with an above average slider and a plus change up.  His only issue has been the command of his fastball.  Based on what I have seen last Spring Training, his command was much more improved.   The question mark that dropped him to 40 was his health and how he will come back from the surgery, but at this ranking I am discount those concerns.   I feel that with correct development, he has the ability to be the top lefty in the Twins' organization.  A couple of years of development and tests in Fort Myers and Chattanooga will tell.  Will likely repeat Cedar Rapids in 2015, depending on elbow health. 

31. Aaron Slegers RHP (26), RHSP, DOB: 9/4/1992, 6'10", 245 lbs

Slegers was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2013 draft from Indiana University. His first pro campaign was for 19 relief inning in E-town later that season where he baffled younger hitters at the rate of 0.47 ERA, 18 K and 2 BB and 0.947 WHIP.  Last season he moved into a full time starter job starting at Cedar Rapids and promoted to Fort Myers for 3 starts.  Slegers finished the season (132.3 IP - 23 Starts) with a 4.35 ERA (3.82 FIP), 102 K and 24 BB and 1.179 WHIP.  His strikeout rates are of concern, dropping from 26.5% at Elizabethon to 19% at Cedar Rapids and 16% at Fort Myers.  He has a plus Fastball (helps being that tall) that sits in the low 90s and touches 95 or so and a plus change.  He is working on breaking ball.  Depending on development of a third pitch and the ability to miss bats at higher levels, he projects from a mid-rotation pitcher to a middle reliever.  Because of his size, injuries had been a problem previously, so he has to stay healthy.






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