LOS ANGELES -- The Twins placed four players in MLBPipeline.com's midseason Top 100 Prospects list, including shortstop Royce Lewis, who was taken by Minnesota with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's Draft.Lewis is the highest-ranking Twins prospect on the list, checking in at No. 31 overall. He is
LOS ANGELES -- The Twins placed four players in MLBPipeline.com's midseason Top 100 Prospects list, including shortstop Royce Lewis, who was taken by Minnesota with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's Draft.
Lewis is the highest-ranking Twins prospect on the list, checking in at No. 31 overall. He is joined by fellow shortstop Nick Gordon (No. 34), left-hander Stephen Gonsalves (No. 76) and right-hander Fernando Romero (No. 84). Outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who was ranked No. 98 before the season, fell off the list after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. Gordon jumped from No. 50 in the preseason rankings, Gonsalves moved up from No. 92, while Lewis and Romero joined the list for the first time.
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Lewis, 18, has been impressive so far in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .301/.389/.506 with three homers, six doubles and six stolen bases in 22 games. The Twins had planned to keep him there all season, but with his success, he could be moved up to Rookie-level Elizabethton. The Twins believe he can stick at shortstop, but with his athleticism, he could also handle center field.
Gordon, 21, is enjoying a breakout season at Double-A Chattanooga, batting .294/.362/.449 with seven homers, 23 doubles, six triples and 11 stolen bases in 86 games. He represented the Twins in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Miami, and could become a fixture in Minnesota's lineup as early as next year. He's not as athletic as his brother, Dee, but the Twins feel he has the tools to remain at short.
Gonsalves, 23, is close to being Major League ready and has been solid at Chattanooga, posting a 3.01 ERA in 12 starts with 82 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings. He's had shoulder issues in the past, but there's a chance he could join the rotation as early as this season.
Romero, 22, is right behind Gonsalves as far as starting pitchers who are close to impacting Minnesota's rotation. The hard-throwing right-hander has put up a 2.68 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings at Chattanooga. There was talk he could be moved to relief, but with his continued success as a starter, he's expected to remain a rotation candidate going forward.
Lewis, Gordon, Gonsalves and Romero make up the organization's top four prospects, while Kirilloff is ranked No. 6. Shortstop Wander Javier moved up from the club's No. 17 prospect to No. 5. Right-hander Felix Jorge, left-hander Tyler Jay, right-hander Kohl Stewart and first baseman Lewin Diaz round out the Top 10.
The ranking of baseball's top prospects is done by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.