June 14, 2024

Prospect lists have evolved, especially in an era with more data flowing from the minor leagues. In the past, national outlets would reassess their lists annually and release them during the offseason. Now, there are opportunities and platforms to update lists regularly. Some players get injured or underperform, while others graduate from prospect eligibility. At Twins Daily, writers and readers vote on the team’s top prospects, and the site’s list reflects how a player’s stock has risen or fallen, with the latest update occurring earlier this week.

Entering the 2024 season, the Twins had a consensus trio at the top of their organizational rankings. Walker Jenkins was the team’s number-one prospect, with three national outlets placing him in the top 16. Twins Daily ranked Brooks Lee second, and MLB.com included him in their top 20. Emmanuel Rodriguez was a consensus top-65 prospect according to the three national outlets, though he still had flaws to address as he progressed through the organization. Much has changed in the early months of the season, so how have these three players’ rankings shifted?

Walker Jenkins, OF
Level: Low-A

Jenkins, selected as the fifth overall pick in the highly competitive 2023 MLB Draft, delivered an impressive performance in his professional debut. Across 26 games, he boasted a batting average of .362, an on-base percentage of .417, and a slugging percentage of .571, showcasing his prowess with 12 extra-base hits. His strikeout rate stood at 13.3%, accompanied by a commendable walk rate of 8.6%. Despite his promising start, Jenkins faced a setback when he strained his left hamstring while fielding during the Opening Day of the Florida State League, where he had finished the previous season. However, he has recently commenced a rehabilitation assignment, signaling his imminent return to active duty in Low-A action. Overall, his performance has elevated his prospect status significantly, drawing comparisons to talents like Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton. Barring the injury, there have been minimal factors affecting his prospect ranking, leading Twins Daily and other national outlets to maintain his position as the team’s top prospect.

Brooks Lee, IF
Level: Triple-A

Similar to Jenkins, Lee’s progress in the 2024 season has been hindered by an injury, although both players embarked on their rehabilitation assignments simultaneously. Lee sustained a back injury towards the conclusion of spring training, which was later diagnosed as a herniated disc. Otherwise, he might have already debuted in the MLB, especially considering the injuries plaguing the big-league roster this season. In the previous year, he boasted a batting line of .275/.347/.461, accumulating 39 doubles and 16 home runs across 125 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. Although his OPS saw a decline of 110 points upon promotion to the Saints, it’s worth noting that he was considerably younger than the average age of competitors in the International League. Lee stands as the player closest to making an impact in the big leagues, thus presenting less variability in his potential outcomes.

Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF
Level: Double-A

Rodríguez stands out as one of the organization’s most promising prospects, and his impressive performance at Double-A will be hard for scouts to overlook. Across 32 games, he boasts a slash line of .262/.463/.561, accompanied by 18 extra-base hits. As the third-youngest position player in the Texas League, he has yet to face a pitcher younger than himself. Despite maintaining an exceptionally high walk rate (26.5%), Rodríguez also grapples with a notable strikeout rate (28.6%), raising concerns about his passivity at the plate as he approaches the big leagues. Balancing patience with seizing opportunities to attack pitches will be crucial for him. Additionally, Rodríguez has demonstrated his prowess in center field and on the bases, recording nine steals in 11 attempts. With his considerable potential, his ceiling may be the highest among all Twins prospects.

When assessing prospects, considering both their ceiling and floor is paramount. In this trio, their ranking by highest ceiling would be 1. Jenkins, 2. Rodríguez, and 3. Lee. Conversely, for the highest floor, the order would be reversed. While Jenkins has the potential to become a future superstar, his journey to the big leagues is not guaranteed. On the other hand, Lee is almost certain to debut in the majors, although his overall skill set may not match up to the other two prospects. Rodríguez has displayed five-tool talent, even when challenged at the upper levels of the minors at a young age.

As of June, here’s my ranking of the team’s top three prospects:

1. Jenkins
2. Rodríguez
3. Lee

 

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