Mining the minors three top prospects impressing in cedar rapids – 1500 espn twin cities symptoms of a concussion in a baby

Typically, this column focuses on high-minors prospects who have a chance to contribute to the big club this year. This week, we’ll take a bit of a detour and examine how some of the top prospects in the lower levels of the Twins’ system are performing. Before we dive into that, though, a brief update on the five players we’ve been tracking here this year:

Nick Gordon continues to rake, as well. He’s slashing .333/.384/.516 for the Lookouts. In a recent interview, Thad Levine said Gordon’s bat is “borderline major league ready right now.” My guess is Gordon will be in Rochester before the end of the month, though you could make a case for him being in the big leagues now, as Sano’s injury issues continue to drag on.

Zack Littell has now pitched 16 innings in Triple-A since being promoted from Double-A, and has a 1.69 ERA.

Between Double-A and Triple-A, he has 49 strikeouts in 39 innings. Littell continues to be an undervalued prospect, in my view, who could be knocking on the door of the big leagues by mid-summer.

Lewis, last year’s No. 1 overall pick and the top prospect in the organization, hasn’t disappointed thus far for Single-A Cedar Rapids. In 117 plate appearances, Lewis is slashing .310/.370/.371 with four doubles and a home run. Lewis is also showing impressive base stealing ability. Already, he’s swiped 12 bags, while being caught just once.

Going into the draft, Lewis was seen as a candidate to stick at short as he makes his way to the big leagues. As is the case with all middle infielders, the ability to play a solid shortstop would significantly increase Lewis’ value. Two levels above him, Nick Gordon is trying to prove he has the glove to remain at short, and Jorge Polanco still has work to do to show the Twins he can be an MLB-average shortstop defensively once he returns. If Lewis develops into an MLB-caliber defensive shortstop, the sky’s the limit for the uber-talented prospect. Already, he’s demonstrating that the bat is legit in his first full season in the Minors.

On a recent episode of The Scoop podcast with 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson, Twins Assistant G.M. Rob Antony suggested it will be a few weeks before the Twins move Lewis to High-A Fort Myers. Antony said Minnesota may wait until after the All-Star break, though that’s not set in stone. Either way, his quick progression through the system—he won’t turn 19 until next month–is an encouraging sign. As he nears one year in the organization, he’s seemingly done everything possible to validate his selection in last year’s draft. Brusdar Graterol

It’s been a fantastic start to the season for the 19-year-old Venezuelan. Outside of Fernando Romero, Graterol has perhaps the highest ceiling of any starting pitching prospect in the organization. With a fastball that sits in the upper 90s, wipeout slider, curveball, and changeup, he has the stuff to overwhelm low-minors hitters, and that’s exactly what he’s done. In 14.1 innings with Cedar Rapids, he has a 0.63 ERA, very high 37.3% strikeout rate, and miniscule 1.8% walk rate, while reportedly touching 100 on his fastball.

Graterol has never pitched more than 40 innings in a season, so the Twins will surely be careful with their prized arm. If he gets a promotion to Fort Myers, though, it will be interesting to see whether he can replicate his dominance at a higher level. He’s still likely a couple of years away from the big leagues, but he’s an intriguing prospect Twins fans should keep an eye on. Alex Kirilloff

After Tommy John surgery shut him down for the 2017 season, the talented outfielder is picking up right where he left off in 2016, when he had a .794 OPS in rookie ball. Kirilloff is slashing .319/.362/.582 for Cedar Rapids this season, and recently had a stretch in which he had an extra base hit in 13 consecutive games.

Kirilloff was the Twins’ first round pick in 2016, but he’s been a little under-the-radar to this point, primarily due to the injury that wiped out last season. He’s demonstrating now, though, that the bat clearly plays in Single-A. He should be promoted soon, given that he’s already 20 and would likely be in High-A if not for the injury.