Different Minnesota Twins Top Prospect Flies Up ESPN Rankings in Latest Update

Emmanuel Rodriguez, Minnesota Twins
Landon Bost/Naples Daily News/USA TODAY Network-Florida / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Landon Bost/Naples Daily News/USA TODAY Network-Florida / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Twins don’t have a top tier farm system as things stand presently, but they do have a handful of very, very promising players. Walker Jenkins and Brooks Lee are seen as the top two names in the Twins’ organization, that’s been pretty much unquestioned for months.

But on Wednesday, Kiley McDaniel (ESPN) released a top 50 MLB prospects update and one major surprise joined Jenkins and Lee near the top of his list. Well, he actually jumped the latter.

No. 9 MLB Prospect – OF Walker Jenkins | Minnesota Twins – A (Fort Myers)

First, let’s touch on Walker Jenkins. Since he was drafted last summer Walker Jenkins has been a consensus top-15 prospect across all of baseball. Taken out of high school, the corner outfielder has an exceptional hit tool, and can flash plenty of power.

“Jenkins might have the best pure hit/power/approach combination in the minor leagues, but he is probably a corner outfielder and has played only 27 pro games.”

Kiley McDaniel – ESPN+

He’s athletic defensively and should be someone considered as a franchise cornerstone for years to come. McDaniel’s new prospect rankings have him 9th, with a 60 future value grade. None of that should be surprising.

No. 10 MLB Prospect – OF Emmanuel Rodriguez | Minnesota Twins – A (Fort Myers)

MLB: Minnesota Twins-Media Day
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The shocker is that it isn’t Brooks Lee following him in the list. At 10th, Emmanuel Rodriguez appears. Often considered the Twins third best prospect, Rodriguez is a capable defender in centerfield, and he has serious power at the dish.

The on-base skills have remained incredible as he has moved up the system, and currently at Double-A, he should see Triple-A St. Paul at some point this year. McDaniel’s thoughts on Rodriguez are positive as well, even if he doesn’t stick in centerfield.

“Rodriguez has the best combination of power, patience and defense in the minor leagues, but has some barrel accuracy issues (like Carson Williams above), and his build and injury history suggest his defense might regress.”

Kiley McDaniel – ESPN+

No. 27 MLB Prospect – IF Brooks Lee | Minnesota Twins – AAA (St. Paul)

You have to look a bit further down the list to find Lee, who checks in at 27th. Lee’s projection has him at a 55 future value, and it does seem right that the ceiling may be higher for Rodriguez. Lee is among the most safe floor prospects I have ever covered for the Twins.

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He should be expected to hit anywhere he goes, and while he might not have the ceiling that Jenkins or Rodriguez have, his potential is close behind and he’s all but a sure fire hit at the big league level. Not to mention, we should see him with the Twins sooner than any of the other two prospects on McDaniel’s list.

“(Lee) is a passable shortstop who fits better at second or third base. He really gets the most out of his solid average hitting tools.”

Kiley McDaniel – ESPN+

Not surprisingly, that’s where the Twins inclusions on his list end. The next men up would be some combination of David Festa, Marco Raya, and Gabriel Gonzalez. Each of them are worthy of back-end top 100 consideration.

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Festa is the closest to making a debut, and he could head across town from Triple-A St. Paul the next time Rocco Baldelli has a rotation opening.

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