Vaunted industry publication Baseball America released its Top-100 prospects list on Friday night. Unlike recent years, the Minnesota Twins did not have much of a presence near the top — or at all, for that matter — with just two players placing on the entire list.
Here’s the top-five for those who may be prospect gurus:
- Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox
- Yoan Moncada, IF, Chicago White Sox
- Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves
- Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
- Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees
Dodgers prospect 1B/OF Cody Bellinger — a potential target for the Twins in the Brian Dozier trade talks — checked in at No. 7.
Shortstop Nick Gordon appeared at No. 60 on the list. Gordon spent the entire year at High-A Fort Myers in 2016, and hit .291/.335/.386 while solidifying himself as the finest middle infield prospect in the system. Baseball America graded his future tools as follows (on the 20-80 scouting scale):
- Hit – 50
- Power – 45
- Speed – 50
- Fielding – 50
- Arm – 60
- ETA: 2018
What that amounts to is a player who projects to be an above-average regular and has a game “more predicated on fundamentals than flash.” No pun intended, as his father is former MLB pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon. Nick will have to improve against left-handed pitching (.530 OPS against LHP in 2016) and like most young middle infielders will have to clean up the errors as he moves up the ladder. “Gordon’s plus arm strength is his greatest asset,” the report states. “Though he did have throwing issues at times in 2016, contributing to his error total (24), which was ranked fourth among Florida State League shortstops.”
Left-handed starting pitcher Stephen Gonsalves checks in at No. 99 on the list, just ahead of New York Mets righty Jason Dunn, who rounds out the Top-100. The 6-foot-5 lefty is coming off a magnificent season between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga, between which he totaled 140 innings with a 2.06 ERA and 155-57 K/BB ratio.
Gonsalves was especially good in August, when he won Southern League Pitcher of the Month honors. Opposing batters hit just .125/.227/.144 against Gonsalves in August, as he posted a 0.28 ERA in 32.2 innings (one earned run) with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Here’s how the Baseball America evaluators grade Gonsalves’ tools:
- Fastball – 50
- Changeup – 60
- Curveball – 45
- Control – 45
- ETA: 2018
Gonsalves has a “loose arm and easy delivery,” which allows his fastball, which sits in the low-90s but can reach 94-95, to play up because he gets such good extension out of his long, lanky frame. The changeup helps him fend off right-handed hitters — the bane of most lefties — and has distinct sinking action, according to BA, though he’ll have to work on his command for all of these things to work together. “The Twins had him throw more curveballs in 2016,” the report noted. “But it’s a pitch Gonsalves still needs to mix in more.”
One more note on right-handed hitters: Gonsalves held them to just a .511 OPS in 2016 against a .582 mark to lefties. That’s an encouraging sign for any young lefty, who also didn’t fare poorly against older competition (.537 OPS against from older batters) despite moving quickly through the system. Younger batters didn’t fare well against Gonsalves either, hitting just .172/.224/.263.