Bleacher Report REALLY Loves the Minnesota Twins Farm System

Brooks Lee, Minnesota Twins
Dave Nelson-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins‘ rollercoaster season has been like the Wild Thing, featuring several climactic ups and downs throughout the year. From Pablo Lopez’s struggles, Alex Kirilloff’s inability to communicate his injuries, to Royce Lewis turning into the second coming of Shohei Ohtani (as a hitter), there have been several low points, but also some bright spots too.

Right now, the Twins are on track to make the playoffs if the season ended today. But that’s just not the way baseball works. The summer’s just getting started.

Some fans are getting restless, wanting to see the Derek Falvey, Thad Levine-led front office make a bold move ahead of the July 30 MLB trade deadline. If the Twins do want to take a swing at improving the roster via trade, they have plenty of ammo to work with.

Minnesota Twins are on a meteoric rise in MLB’s farm system rankings

But don’t take it from me, take it from Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter, who is very high on the Twins’ farm system.

In his latest update for June, Reuter graded all 30 teams based on the talent pool in their minor leagues. Some might expect the Twins to rank poorly since their pre-season rankings had the Twins 15th, but that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, they came in ranked third-best, with only the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles ranked higher.

So, what’s with the major discrepancy from April to now? One of the biggest factors has simply been due to the Twins’ top prospects getting healthier, finally getting a chance to show what they’re capable of.

But that’s not all. One player who’s come on extremely strongly this season is 2023 second-round pick Luke Keaschall, who’s already climbed to the Double-A level of play. That’s pretty much exactly what Reuter described in his reasoning for why the Twins are ranked so highly, along with the sudden dominance from starting pitcher Zebby Matthews.

“The emergence of Keaschall and Matthews this season is a big reason why the Twins were the biggest climbers in this update to our farm system rankings. Keaschall is hitting .332/.443/.517 with 18 doubles, eight home runs and 17 steals in 65 games between High-A and Double-A, while Matthews has a 1.70 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and a ridiculous 70-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 58.1 innings across those same two minor league stops.”

Joel Reuter on Minnesota Twins’ top prospects

Here’s how Reuter ranks the Twins’ top 10 prospects right now, including their ‘tier’ rating to separate the elite talents from the prospects with a lower ceiling. (11:30 mark below)

  1. OF Walker Jenkins (Tier 1)
  2. SS Brooks Lee (Tier 1)
  3. OF Emmanuel Rodriguez (Tier 1)
  4. OF Gabriel Gonzalez (Tier 1)
  5. RHP David Festa (Tier 1) (was tier 2 in Apr.)
  6. 2B/OF Luke Keaschall (Tier 1) (Unranked in Apr.)
  7. RHP Marco Raya (Tier 2) (Ranked 8th in Apr.)
  8. RHP Zebby Matthews (Tier 2) (Unranked in Apr.)
  9. C/OF Ricardo Olivar (Tier 3) (Unranked in Apr.)
  10. RHP Andrew Morris (Tier 3) (Unranked in Apr.)

By now, all Twins fans who pay close attention to the team’s top prospects should know Walker Jenkins is the next projected superstar to rise out of the ranks. Brooks Lee isn’t far behind, and he’s actually a strong bet to make his MLB debut later this season, if not in the next few weeks.

Emmanuel Rodriguez has been not-so-quietly developing since the Twins prioritized him as an international free agent signing in 2019. The 21-year-old is now in Double-A, where he’s done his best Royce Lewis impression, holding steady with a ridiculous 1.100 OPS in 37 games.

Gabriel Gonzalez was the headline piece in the Jorge Polanco trade since none of the other big-league talents have provided anything for the Twins.

David Festa is pretty much ready for his MLB debut, as he’s been mowing down hitters in Triple-A to the tune of an 87/24 K/BB walk ratio. The 24-year-old 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher is also now a top-100 prospect.

We already covered Matthews’s and Keaschall’s rapid ascension above, and the rest are MLB-hopeful prospects, but you’re probably sick of reading about players who are stuck in the minor leagues.

Still, there is a lot of near-pro-ready talent waiting in the wings. Whether the Twins decide to package a few for a star talent or continue developing them in the hopes of bouncing back in a big way in the future remains to be seen. But at least we’re not the Kansas City Royals, who ranked 29th.

Related: Minnesota Twins Pitching Coach Puts Struggling Pablo Lopez on Blast a Little Bit

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