Legends On Deck

Minnesota Twins Prospects – First Base

Earlier in the week we took a look at the catching prospects for the Minnesota Twins.  One position that hasn’t really been a concern is first base.  For several years, the Twins had some guy by the name of Justin Morneau manning the position.  He took it over full-time in 2005 and only relinquished it in 2013 when he was traded to the Pittsburgh.  The Twins didn’t wait too long to find Morneau’s replacement as they shifted Joe Mauer over from catcher.

The other option that the Twins have to play first is Byung Ho Park who they purchased from the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization.  They won the negotiating rights and signed him to a 4-year $12MM contract in December of 2015.  He has some pop in his bat hitting 12 home runs in 2016 in 62 games.  He split time playing a little less than half of the games he played in at first base.

With both Mauer and Park in the fold, the Twins aren’t in any real hurry to rush any of their prospects along.

Twins Prospect Zander Wiel/ Photo by MiLB.com

Twins Prospect Zander Wiel/ Photo by MiLB.com

FIRST BASE

1. Lewin Diaz (Elizabethton, Rookie)
2016 Statistics (Rookie) – .310 AVG, .928 OPS, 15 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 37 RBI, .987 FLD%

Diaz was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-yo back in 2013.  He has spent time over the last three seasons in the Twins rookie levels of the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League.  2016 was his most successful season so far in his professional career in all offensive categories.  The Twins can take their time developing Diaz since he is only 20 years old, but it would be beneficial to his progress letting him play out a full season in higher A-ball.  Wouldn’t be a stretch to see him playing for the Fort Myers Miracle when the 2017 season finally rolls around.

2. Amaurys Minier (Elizabethton, Rookie)
2016 Statistics (Rookie) – .222 AVG, .767 OPS, 8 2B, 10 HR, 32 RBI, .977 FLD%

Just like Diaz, Minier was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.4MM as a 16-yo.  He was showing signs of power early on hitting eight home runs in 53 games with an average of .292 back in 2014.  Since then, his power has stayed decent but his average has dipped.  He did hit 10 home runs in 2016 in just 48 games so that is promising.  Minier would benefit from playing a decent portion of 2017 in Cedar Rapids before maybe making the jump to Fort Myers depending on how it all goes.

3. Zander Wiel (Cedar Rapids, Class-A)
2016 Statistics (Class-A) – .259 AVG, .792 OPS, 27 2B, 8 3B, 19 HR, 86 RBI, .985 FLD%

Wiel was the Minnesota Twins 12th round selection in the 2015 MLB draft out of Vanderbilt.  He spent three seasons playing in college with his best year coming during his draft year as a junior.  He was assigned to Elizabethton after he signed and finished 2015 there.  He was promoted in 2016 to Cedar Rapids and had a decent season adjusting to life in baseball.  His 19 home runs lead the team by almost double, and was one shy of the league lead.  Wiel did lead the Midwest League driving in 86 runs, but he did strikeout quite a bit.  He is big kid and should see time in Double-A playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Here is a look back at the other prospects by position:

[Catcher]

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com