Jenkins tops Twins' new-look Top 30 Prospects list

August 13th, 2023

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Twins scouting director Sean Johnson sure wasn’t kidding when he said before the 2023 MLB Draft that this was one of the deeper classes he’d seen.

It sure helped a lot that the Twins made the biggest jump up the selection order thanks to the initial Draft lottery, which netted them their newest No. 1 prospect and fifth overall selection, Walker Jenkins, who has already made a big first impression in Rookie ball at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

But the deep Draft class also did plenty to replenish the top of a farm system depleted in recent years by a swath of trades meant to improve the current Major League roster. Five of the newest members of the organization immediately jumped into the Top 15 of the Twins’ prospect rankings, including two of the first five.

The end result is a strong, balanced top of the rankings that features not only three top-60 overall talents in Jenkins, Brooks Leeand Emmanuel Rodriguez, but also a good mix of top infield, outfield and pitching talent at all levels of the organization, from guys who could impact the 2024 team like Lee and David Festa,to high-upside youngsters several years away.

Let’s take a look at the newest updates to MLB Pipeline’s rankings for the Twins’ system, including how the newest Draftees slot in, who’s trending up and who’s trending down.

Here’s a look at the Twins’ top prospects:

1. Jenkins, OF (MLB No. 16)
2. Lee, SS (MLB No. 18)
3. Rodriguez, OF (MLB No. 52)
4. Marco Raya, RHP
5. Charlee Soto, RHP

Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Cory Lewis, RHP (Preseason: NR | Midseason: 13)

Lewis will garner plenty of headlines as he continues to climb through the system because he wields a knuckleball in an era during which the pitch has all but disappeared -- but the reality is that he’s a darn good conventional pitcher who also uses a knuckler as a secondary pitch.

The ninth-round selection from the 2022 Draft has impressed across both levels of A-ball this season and has quickly turned into someone to watch as another possible Twins pitching success story from the mid to late rounds of the Draft.

Fall: Bryan Acuña, SS (Preseason: 18 | Midseason: NR)

Acuña certainly has the looks and pedigree as the younger brother of Atlanta Braves superstar outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., but his acclimation to playing stateside hasn’t gone well. He’s very much struggled to drive the ball in a disappointing start to the Rookie-level season in the Florida Complex League. There’s still plenty of development to go since he’s only 17, but he’s lost some prospect steam.

Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:

1. Jenkins, OF (Draft)
5. Soto, RHP (Draft)
8. Brandon Winokur, OF (Draft)
11. Luke Keaschall, 2B (Draft)
15. Tanner Hall, RHP (Draft)

IMPACT CALLUP: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 16)

It’s true SWR wasn’t very good in his one big league outing this year and his Triple-A numbers (5.93 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .279 BAA) don’t scream big league callup, but he has been much better of late. His 2.96 ERA and .207 BAA in five July outings point to him potentially finding his footing again. It’s not "wow" stuff, but given the Twins didn’t acquire any pitching help at the Deadline, they’ll have to look within for assistance. -- Jonathan Mayo

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools: 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 65 -- Lee
Power: 60 -- Jenkins (Rodriguez)
Run: 60 -- Winokur (Salas, Ben Ross, Byron Chourio)
Arm: 60 -- Jenkins (Rodriguez, Yasser Mercedes, Noah Cardenas)
Defense: 60 -- Cardenas
Fastball: 60 -- Raya (Soto, Connor Prielipp, Festa)
Curveball: 50 -- Woods Richardson (Raya, Lewis, Matt Canterino
Slider: 70 -- Prielipp
Changeup: 60 -- Hall (Woods Richardson)
Knuckleball: 50 -- Lewis
Control: 60 -- Zebby Matthews