Top 50 Twins Prospects: Part 2 (21-35)

21 Oct

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On Monday, I posted my choices for Twins Prospects 36-50. Today, I’m back with my choices for Twins prospects 21-35. I welcome your comments. I hope you enjoy this and again, please feel free to comment.

 (For a reminder of #s 36-50, and for much more detail on 21-35, please go to  

#35 – David Winfree – OF – 24 (8/5/85)


#34 – Andrei Lobanov – LHP – 19 (1/25/90)


#33 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – 20 (11/19/89) 

#32 – Santos Arias – RHP – 22 (3/17/87)


#31 – Steve Tolleson – IF/OF – 26 (11/1/83)


#30 – Billy Bullock – RH RP – 21 (2/27/88)


#29 – Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – 21 (9/26/88)

#28 – Max Kepler-Rozycki – C/OF – 16 (2/10/93)


#27 – Brian Dinkelman – 2B – 26 (11/10/83)


#26 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – 18 (5/1/91)


#25 – Josmil Pinto – C/DH – 20 (3/31/89)


#24 – Michael McCardell – RHP – 24 (4/13/85)


#23 – Steve Singleton – 2B – 24 (9/12/85)

#22 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – 22 (9/22/86)

#21 – Anthony Slama – RH RP – 25 (1/6/84)

So there you have it, my selections for Twins prospects 21-35. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my choices for #11-20, and later in the week, you will also get my Top 10. If you have any feedback, comments, opinions or suggestions, please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.


40 Responses to “ Top 50 Twins Prospects: Part 2 (21-35)”

  1. pc October 21, 2009 at 1:23 am #

    Seth, you have #23 Steve Singleton projected as a reliever.

  2. roger October 21, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    Great list Seth. Can certainly understand your dilema with players like Kepler-Rozycki. Whereas the 16 years olds coming out of the D.R. have players from there over the past decades that they can be compared to…really very few players have come out of Europe. Should be exciting seeing how all these kids do this summer. By the way, have you heard anything about Polanco and Wander Guillen being scheduled for the GCL Twins next summer? I know LaVelle reported that Sono was scheduled to be there.

    Would love to be a little birdy in the room when they make decisions on the 40-man roster. I don’t see where they are going to get the spots for 6 or 7 guys.

  3. Bill in Sarasota October 21, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    The Twin’s farm system has definitely gotten better the past two years. I have Slama and Gutierrez slightly higher but not a big difference.

  4. Han Joelo October 21, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    Weird to think some of these guys are older than Young, Delmon, and Gomez. And Casilla. Would be nice to see Singleton make a jump to the Twins next year. Can Tolleson play third? Dinky-Singy-Tolly-Morny Infield next year!

    Would you expect Lobanov to get some starts? Or even Bulluck?

    Did the Twins quietly beef up/increase financing to their latin american scouting a couple-three years ago? Seems like a great bunch right now, topped with Ramos, Morales in the middle, and guys like Pinto and Arcia just getting going.

    Almost like ownership wanted to see the scouts hit on a few position prospects, and now the scouts have the ‘cred’ to go out and take a chance on top guys like Sano.

  5. TT October 21, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    I think you are WAY underestimating Guttierez. He is certainly better than Slama. We’ll have to wait to see who else you have ranked higher, but he is a top ten prospect or close to it.

    I think you overestimate Dinkelman. You have him listed at second base, but I don’t think he plays there in the major leagues. As an outfielder his bat is nothing special. He is a career minor league player. Tolleson, by comparison, has some chance as a offensive oriented utility guy.

    I would also move Winfree up. He reached AAA last year at a young age – he was 23 most of the season – and held his own. I think his power will develop as he gets older, much like Mauer’s.

    I think there will be some surprises on the 40 player roster. They need to look beyond this year. Guys like Tolleson, Hughes and Romero might not be taken as Rule 5 players. But they already have roster spots and probably won’t clear waivers if the Twins try to remove them. That problem could get worse next year if they aren’t careful with their choices this fall.

    • sam October 21, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      do you think winfree can play RF in the major leagues and do you think he is as good as hughes romero tolleson dinkelman 23 in AAA better number then all the players SETH has at 34 thur 1??

    • roger October 21, 2009 at 11:48 am #

      TT, I have Dinkelman ranked as having the 5th best year of any position player in the organization this year. The EL agrees that he had a great year as he was one of a few Rock Cats to make the all-star team. Had Tolleson ranked #16 and Winfree at #8.

  6. Seth October 21, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    pc – that’s why sleep is good. thanks for the catch! I’ve made the change!

    I haven’t heard as much about Polanco, but the Twins gave him about $750,000 too, so he must not be a slouch! I know you’re a big Wander Guillen fan, and just a quick review of the DSL players shows that he’s clearly the top prospect there. Will be interesting to see where he ends up.

    I too would love to be a fly on the wall at the team’s organizational meeting and hear that 40 man roster discussion. In the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, I wrote 4-5 pages on the topic, who I would take off the 40 man roster and how I would replace them. There will be a quality prospect or three left unprotected, to be sure, so how they decide that will be interesting.

  7. TT October 21, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    “Morales in the middle”

    I am not sure which “Morales” you are referring to, but both Jose Morales and Angel Morales were taken in the draft. As I recall – second round for each.

    “Weird to think some of these guys are older than Young, Delmon, and Gomez.”

    I think people way underestimate age as a determining factor in who is a prospect.

  8. Seth October 21, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    Han Joelo – I don’t think they have any intention of moving Bullock to starter. But I think there is a chance Lobanov gets a shot at some point. he’s so young and so raw yet. They can and should be cautious.

    I think that the Twins have been more willing to spend on scouting, especially internationally, the last few years. I think revenue sharing can be credited for that, at least to some degree. But it’s also about that relationship and trust building down there.

    TT – I could very easily be wrong on Gutierrez or Dinkelman or any of these guys. With Gutierrez, I’m not certain yet if his role is starter or reliever long-term, and fair or not, that does affect my thinking. I’m also a little concerned about the walks and lack of strikeouts. I hope I’m wrong!

    On Dinkelman, he’s got such a good approach at the plate, and I do think that he could contribute even now to the big league club. Good plate approach and disclipline, tons of doubles. Defense a definite question mark.

    Tolleson was a little disappointing this year for me, but he and Dinkelman, offensively are very similar, I think. Defensively, neither will win gold gloves in the infield and have actually been getting more time in the OF to see if that’s an optio nfor them. The other “Problem” (from a prospect standpoint) is that they are also 26 already. In reality, that’s not a big deal. If they come up at age 26 or 27, the Twins have them until they’re 32-33 years old, their best years.

    I am a big Winfree guy. I’d love to see more walks, but he had a very good year. I just wonder if he’ll be back next year. Defense also is not good, but good arm, works hard and is very young and could improve.

    Thanks everyone for the great questions and discussion. That is the purpose of these types of lists. And to recognize a bunch of Twins minor leaguers. So, keep ’em coming!

    • sam October 21, 2009 at 9:55 am #

      do you think wifree is a 40 man guy? or will he be gone or will the twins try to sign him ?

  9. Han Joelo October 21, 2009 at 9:07 am #


    I was thinking of Angel Morales. However, he is Puerto Rican, is he not, and thus would have been drafted? At any rate, whether it is just a cyclical thing, luck, or some change, it does seem to me that the Twins have more viable Latin American prospects then they did a few years ago. (Is the Dominican Republic considered Latin America?)

    As far as age goes, I guess my thought was that in a different universe, it is unlikely that Young or Gomez would’ve even made it to the majors yet.

    • roger October 21, 2009 at 11:54 am #

      Morales is from Puerto Rico, was drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft. The big number for him is 19…he won’t turn 20 until later next month.

  10. doofus October 21, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    Seth, when you finish your list can you do a side by side comparison of last years list?

  11. TT October 21, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    “As far as age goes, I guess my thought was that in a different universe, it is unlikely that Young or Gomez would’ve even made it to the majors yet.”

    Most superstar players get to the major leagues at a young age – like Mauer and Morneau. Even their unpolished tools are good enough to compete at that level. But it is not unusual for it to take a while for them to fully develop. Players whose tools need to be polished just to compete at AAA are probably not ever going to play in the big leagues. So when a guy is just reaching AAA at 25, his chances of making the jump to the big leagues are not very good. And if he does, he probably isn’t going to be a really good major league player.

    That doesn’t mean Young, Gomez and Casilla are going to turn into stars. But all three had the tools to compete in the big leagues before they had fully developed. Guys like Valencia, Dinkelman and Slama are way behind the age curve for successful big league players.

    • roger October 21, 2009 at 11:58 am #

      Whereas it is true that many Mauer type superstars are in the big leagues by the time they are 20-22, it is also important to look at where the players came from. A player drafted out of college will be 21-22 when they begin professional ball following that season’s draft. Spending even a couple years in the minors (we need to remember the Twins don’t push most prospects) puts them at 23-25. We just need to keep that in mind when comparing kids coming out of Latin America at 16 or high school picks at 18.

  12. mike wants wins October 21, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    TT’s comment (number 11) is quite true. The peak years for MLB production are “younger” now, because teams call up players sooner than the 70’s. So, the belief that the peak years are 28-31 or so just isn’t true anymore. guys in their 25+ age that have not sniffed the majors yet are questionable (though they can certainly succeed) when considering their likely ceiling for contribution.

    gomez, young and casilla may be young compared to some of the Twins’ minor leaguers, but I think that says as much, or more, about those minor leaguers than it does about those three….

  13. TT October 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    “A player drafted out of college will be 21-22 when they begin professional ball following that season’s draft.”

    I don’t think that matters very much. Guys who have the tools like Knoblauch and Garza (or even Jones, Walker, Crain and Baker), moved pretty quickly through the system. There aren’t many college kids who make it to the big leagues by starting their careers in low A ball and moving up one year at a time. And very few of those that do have long major league careers.

    By the time a player is 25, he isn’t going to get much more physically or emotionally mature. Certainly not the way a 21 or 22 year old will.

    “So, the belief that the peak years are 28-31 or so just isn’t true anymore”

    Its as true as its ever been. Those are “peak years” because the average player is fully developed by 27 and doesn’t start to decline until 31.

    Gomez, Young and Casilla are still young by major league standards. Last year people were complaining because Joe Mauer didn’t have any power. This year he hit close to 30 home runs. Those guys are 2 or three years behind him.

  14. John October 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Dinkelman is overrated- he’s a Brian Buscher-type at best. I guess you could make an argument towards the bottom of the top 50, but I would exclude him entirely. Pinto is too high also… he has no position, isn’t very big, and has yet to play full season ball. I’ve never been a McCardell fan but he did well enough in AA to merit top 50 consideration- #24 is too high though.

    Winfree and Gutierrez are the most underrated. Defense is an issue for Winfree but he has serious power from the right-side. I agree there are questions about Gutierrez- can he start, can he develop his offspeed pitches, etc, that hurt his stock a bit. His fastball is something you can’t teach though, and I’d put him 10-15.

  15. mike wants wins October 21, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    I’m just going by what I’ve read on ESPN and BA – that peak years are not as late as the early thirties any more. They could certainly be wrong, but I’ve read it on both places.

  16. sam October 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    is winfree defense that bad ? if you look at the twins OF prospects like tosoni tolleson martin pridie. look at young in LF… winfree defense # are just as good and his arm is better. best of luck to all of the twins prospects……

  17. TT October 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    “I’m just going by what I’ve read on ESPN and BA”

    This is almost always a bad idea …

    As I recall, someone did the analysis and found it just wasn’t true. They aren’t getting to the big leagues earlier, the average player age isn’t significantly different and the average per bat/inning pitched is no different. At least not in the post Curt Flood era.

    What Bill James found back in the 80’s was that the median age for players’ best year was before age 28. At that time, a lot of people expected someone who was 28 to have their best years ahead of them. This is one of those “different than expected” items.

  18. Jeremy October 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm #


    I was interested to read that you have Kepler listed as a C/OF. I had not heard before that he could project as a catcher. From what I’ve seen he doesn’t look like a catcher… but I guess #7 isn’t your prototypical backstop either. Maybe the Twins are on to something… or is it a typo?

  19. TT October 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    “Tolleson was a little disappointing this year for me, but he and Dinkelman, offensively are very similar, I think. Defensively, neither will win gold gloves in the infield”

    Seth –

    My understanding was that you are talking about two entirely different degrees of problem. That Dinkelman simply doesn’t have the range to play the middle infield or the arm for third base. He is a DH with a middle-infield bat. Tolleson is not a good fielder, but he can at least play all the infield positions.

  20. Seth October 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    doofus – I want to put together a big comprehensive list from all of my Top 50s to see if I find anything, but certainly can compare it to 1.) last year’s and 2.) June’s.

    As far as the age thing… I think both sides could be right. for the super star types, they’ll be called up generally earlier, but not always… the average big leaguers probably are called up between 24-26. I agree that a college guy typically isn’t going to be promoted until they’re 24-25, but the Twins certainly have promoted some guys quickly, as was mentioned. I think it all goes back to the most important thing to remember about prospects and prospect lists… there is no one way, nothing can be assumed, and in the end, no one knows until 10 years from now.

    I’ve seen Kepler mentioned as catcher, but obviously we all know so little about him at this point.

    A guy like Uggla or Jeff Kent have played 2B poorly with little range or arm and been alright in the league. I’m not quite as worried about defense at 2B as I am around the rest of the infield. Not necessarily sure why. But TT makes a good point… if he’s a DH with a middle infield bat, that isn’t terribly exciting. But his doubles and BB/K and some of that stuff make him appropriate (in my opinion) for a mid-20s ranking…

  21. mike wants wins October 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    I agree with the “no one way” statement Seth. Everyone is different. Thanks for doing all this work, it’s great for the rest of us.

  22. Funkytown October 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    Are you going to rate Sano? If so, based on being “16” or a different age? 🙂

  23. Jim H October 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    I don’t think that Winfree is underrated. Although he is young, he hasn’t hit for average since low A. His power numbers aren’t much better than Plouffe whom many are always disappointed with. I would be much higher on Winfree if he were a better hitter. Power can come for big guys who make good contact. If you don’t make contact in the minors you are probably Buck Buchanon or Mike Restovich.

    I also wonder if Singleton is a better prospect than he is given credit for. He seems to be moving through the system pretty quickly with good numbers. He seems to be considered a good fielder as well.

    Overall, I think the Twins system is pretty good right now, with as many as 5 guys within 2 years of pushing for a starting position job in the majors, a bunch of utility types who could be useful and a large numbers of good arms.

    Unless Ramos can stay healthy and realizes his potential, most high impact possibilities are probably farther away than 2 years but at least there seems to be some in the system.

    • sam October 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

      273avg in aaa is not bad at the age of 23… plouffe is a very good player but is # are not the same in 680 games to winfree 653 games this is career # avg 256 to 270. ab 2562 to2460 2b 145 to 139 . 3 b 19 to 20 . hr 49 to 82 facts are facts

  24. Bullafrog October 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    Unless Loek Van Mil will appear in the top 20 (which I doubt), I consider this whole list a joke. This guy has had a great season, and will outlast a lot of players mentioned here. When will you people see that he’s a legit prospect, not a PR gimmick.

    • sam October 21, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

      lets see your top 50. and how many players have you seen play….but alot of this pr..

  25. Seth October 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    I can’t put Van Mil on the Top 50 prospects. Too many walks, not enough strikeouts. But if you checked out the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, you can see that I think that he will and should be added to the 40 man roster… that said, although he pitched well, he walked too many and didn’t strike many out. But I also fully believe that the angle he will get, the fact that he throws 94-95 is impressive. He needs a second pitch consistently. He’s good. I think he’ll be OK, but I also think they need to add him to the 40 man roster, or he will be lost… and if they do add him, they should be ready to use all three option years.

    • Bullafrog October 21, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

      Too many walks, not enough strikeouts huh? Even a trainwreck like Shooter Hunt made it on your list, so that’s a terrible defense…

  26. Seth October 21, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    Not much of a comeback to that one. Ha!

  27. TT October 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    Seth –

    Can you explain how you rate people? Your description of Van Mil leaves me confused. You say he is a guy other teams would claim in the rule 5 draft and keep on their major league roster for a year. But he isn’t one of the Twins top 50 prospects? Most of the players in the top 50 will never even get an invite to a major league spring training camp. How can they be better prospects than a guy you think will be there next spring?

    Sam –

    I agree that Winfree did alright at AAA, but the comparison to Plouffe is a bit wild. One is a corner outfielder, the other is a shortstop. Plouffe is a much better prospect if they both have the same offense and he is a year younger than Winfree.

    • sam October 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

      plouffe will not be a SS in the bigs…but a very good player.

      • TT October 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

        Where does Plouffe play?

  28. Seth October 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    TT – agree on the Plouffe/Winfree distinction. That’s positional.

    My ranking – I look at a bunch of things. I look some at stats. For hitters, I’ll look at power, but I also really like doubles. I like walk/K numbers. I consider speed and defense report, arm. For pitchers, I like strikeouts, and love lack of walks. Age to level of competition. I try to get reports from people far closer to the players and the specifics than I am. I consider injuries, position, and in the end, that all turns into an opinion. I try to be fair in looking between high ceiling and likelhood to get to that ceiling. Some of that is level. Some of that is org. need. I certainly don’t have a specific formula at all… it’s just my opinion. I don’t claim to be overly scientific.

  29. Joel Thingvall October 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Pinto. Keep him atching. If nothing else, a more valuable Morales with power, who might always handle a reserve first-baseman’s glove. Makes Morales more expendable once Ramos sepnds some time in AAA.

    Bullock and Guiterrez look like fast movers thru the system Bullpen or rotation is the question.

    For a team that is so weak on the leftside of the infield, the Twins have Punto, and a bunch of clones that they have to make 40-man decisions on — Tolbert, Harris, Tolleson, Dinkelman, Singleton. Throw in Toby Gardenhire and you have a mess. None shine as a potential long-term starter. All bring about the same enthusiasm and average to the plate. One is old (Tolbert), one expensive (Harris), one more minors experience (Tolleson), two that can fill in. Whew. Who to keep. And couple it with the mess of Plouffe, Valencia, Casilla…and do you protect Debinson Romero, still….the pain is that when you 40-man a guy, to remove him he passes thru waivers and can be claimed that way, major and minor league Rule 5 draft/free agency be damned.

    I would keep Winfree of, say, Pridie…especially if the Gomez/Young situation goes into 2010.

  30. Kyle B October 23, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    About Kepler – I believed he played catcher in Europe. The C/OF description is more projecting the OF part than the Cather part. With parents like his, he may be coordinated enough to stay at C. There is a great article about him I read a few months ago that I’m sure someone remember where it is and can post it for those who are wondering about Kepler’s Catching status.

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