Preliminary Twins Top 30 Prospects

8 Nov

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Happy Monday! Monday marks Day 3 of a three day weekend, so today’s blog will be shorter, and yet, hopefully it will create a ton of discussion. With the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook now available, my attention is turning quickly to my third annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. If you’re interested in the 2009 version or the 2010 version, they are still available! In fact, if you would like to buy a copy of the 2009 version, I have about ten of them at home, ready to send out. If you’re interested, e-mail me for details.

Anyway, one of the big parts of has been a Top 50 Prospect List. Last year, I came out with my top 50, and then did a ton of research for the book, and in the book, my top 30 looks a little bit different. When I write the book, I do find it fun to make a projected Top 30 prospect list to see what I think based on following box scores daily, reading some reports on players and general knowledge. Then as you would hope, I learn a ton more about each player while researching and writing the book, so it shouldn’t look identical.

So today, I am going to share with you my current Top 30 Twins Prospect list. Please remember that it is a preliminary list, but what I would love would be for you to post your thoughts in the Comments section. Who is ranked too high? Too low? Why? And of course, I would love for you to post your top 10 list as well. Twins Preliminary Top 30 Prospects

  1. 1.      Kyle Gibson
  2. 2.      Aaron Hicks
  3. 3.      Miguel Sano
  4. 4.      Joe Benson
  5. 5.      Alex Wimmers
  6. 6.      Angel Morales
  7. 7.      Ben Revere
  8. 8.      David Bromberg
  9. 9.      Oswaldo Arcia

10.  Liam Hendriks

11.  Adrian Salcedo

12.  Chris Parmelee

13.  Eddie Rosario

14.  Max Kepler

15.  Manuel Soliman

16.  Danny Ortiz

17.  BJ Hermsen

18.  Trevor Plouffe

19.  Niko Goodrum

20.  Carlos Gutierrez

21.  Martire Garcia

22.  Pat Dean

23.  Rene Tosoni

24.  Billy Bullock

25.  Tom Stuifbergen

26.  Bruce Pugh

27.  Miguel Munoz

28.  Steve Singleton

29.  Danny Rams

30.  Michael Tonkin

General Thoughts:

  • The #1 spot is still up in the air for me. Do you take the guy who could be a very good #2 starter as early as the middle of next season, or do you want the guy in Low A ball with no fewer than six great tools, several of which have not developed into skills yet. Or, do you take the 17 year old Dominican infielder for whom the sky is the limit?
  • Ben Revere is a tough one for me too. The guy can flat out hit singles. He’s incredibly fast. He is improving defensively in CF, but he has no arm. He has shown know extra base power at all, but his short, compact, strong swing tells me that he should be able to hit a lot of doubles and triples, and how many of his singles can be turned into doubles thanks to a stolen base?
  • And while we’re talking about outfielders, we know that Joe Benson put up serious power numbers in 2010, but how do we evaluate the monster Appy League season of Oswaldo Arcia and try to determine what it means going forward? How about the impressive return to the field for Danny Ortiz after missing all of 2009 with a knee injury? What about the 2010 debut in the GCL for OF Eddie Rosario? And, the guy that gets forgotten way too often is Angel Morales, who despite a lack of home runs, showed steady improvement in areas he needed to.
  • I don’t rank relief pitchers terribly high traditionally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the importance of a bullpen to a team. I have two relievers here in the top 30 that I believe can be very good for the Twins. But that isn’t to take anything away from Anthony Slama, Rob Delaney, Kyle Waldrop, Dakota Watts or other relief pitchers.
  • Rene Tosoni is one that should probably be ranked higher. He was right around nine or ten last year at this time in my rankings. He returned to AA New Britain and was putting up similar offensive numbers despite playing with a bad shoulder that finally had to be operated on. He’ll be 24 through most of the 2010 season, and he has a chance to be very good.
  • It is also always interesting to see how I end up ranking upside versus likelihood of contributing to the Twins. For instance, if Max Kepler meets his potential, he could be a perennial All-Star. David Bromberg’s big-league upside is likely a #4 starter. But I believe that Bromberg will soon make the big leagues and get that opportunity  after holding his own for a couple of months in Rochester. Meanwhile, Kepler has to be promoted six times to reach the big leagues.

So, what do you think? Help me choose. Give me any stats or notes that you may have to help me make the right choices. Finally, feel free to post your Top 10 Twins Prospects as well. You can e-mail me if you would like,, or you can leave Comments here.


48 Responses to “Preliminary Twins Top 30 Prospects”

  1. Dwade November 8, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    How much does Gutierrez’s position change if he’s a full-time reliever instead of being an occasional starter?

  2. Seth November 8, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    My ranking for Gutierrez is under the assumption that he has made the transition to the bullpen already.

  3. Ned November 8, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    What about Deolis Guerra and Tyler Robertson?

  4. roger November 8, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Seth, I agree that Tosoni is to low. His April last year was huge before wearing down playing thru the injury. To my knowledge, the injury wasn’t the type that should affect his future…but until he comes back one never knows. Still, wouldn’t drop him as far as you have.

    Also, am terribly torn by Hicks. On the surface, would like to see him do more in a repeat year at low A…like dominate the league. With that said, I had his year ranked as the third best in the organization. So I am terribly torn by him. 2011 will be a telling year for Hicks. At some point he has to start putting up superstar numbers if he is to be one.

  5. Fanatic Jack November 8, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Ben Revere is playing great in the AFL and is much higher than #7. I have him #2 on my list. Not sure why everybody is so down on this kid. He is only 22 and does everthing well except hit for power. He hits for average, great speed, very good fielder, and has a great attitude. More importantly he showed mental toughness something that seems to lack on the current roster. He was hit in the face with a pitch and came back strong after being out. We could use more players like him in our system.

  6. Jeff P November 8, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    I like your top 10 a lot, and agree with Gibson at 1. I think if Hicks would have had a better year at Beloit, I would feel differently but at some point he needs to produce in order to be considered a top prospect.

    I think you have Hermsen too high, based on somewhat limited upside given that his fastball is in the 86-88 range. I also agree that Tosoni should be a bit higher, but overall the list looks good to me.

    It sure seems like we have a lot more guys in our system that have high potential that a few years ago and it will be fun to follow them over the next couple of years.

  7. JimCrikket November 8, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    I’m glad to see Gibson at the top of your list, rather than Hicks or Sano, because it runs counter to an observation I’ve made about most of the prospect rankings I read… that they tend to favor guys in the lower levels and then, as they move up, their rankings drop to the point where, by the time they reach AAA or even knock on the Twins’ clubhouse door, their rankings have receded several spots.

    I guess that goes to your final bullet point. Often, prospects are ranked based on “ceiling” as much as anything else and that’s fine, but it does mean that those of us who primarily pay attention to the Major League club should expect to see the guys well down on your list (say, Steve Singleton, for example) in Minnesota long before we see even a glimpse of some of those at the top.

  8. mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Until Hicks hits, I don’t think you can have him this high. He has great upside, but it didn’t manifest last year. That said, once he and Benson figure out how to hit the balls they swing at, they’ll be much better than Cuddeyer ever dreamed of being.

    Revere is tough. His OBP was a lot lower this year (I think I remember that righ). IF he can continue to walk and put the ball in play, he’s probably a 4th OF or a starting OF. But, if I’m a MLB pitcher, I throw him strikes and make him get lucky on the batted ball, as there is no reason to fear him hitting it out of the park. Frankly, if they rolled the dice on trading Span and Kubel for a real 2B and gave CF to Revere, I’d be ok with that risk right now. AFL stats are largely meaningless, as the consistency of talent is so diverse as to make stats misleading.

    Given that i think Luke Hughes is one MLB injury from being the utility OF/IF for this roster (or maybe on another MLB roster), I think he has to be on the list. While he doesn’t have the upside of most of these guys, I think he’ll have a 4-6 year MLB career with near certainty (assuming he’s healthy), while many of these other guys won’t make the MLB at all. I feel the same way about Tosoni actually.

    Gibson is the clear number 1 for me. I think he’s “certain” (hahahaha, no prospece is certain) to be at least a number 3 SP, and more likely to be a number 2 type. That low likelihood of failure, and high likelihood of value, makes him clearly number 1 in my book (if I wrote a book).

    It is waaaaaay too early to comment/judge some the teenagers at this point. They haven’t played at a real level of competition.

    • gobbledy November 8, 2010 at 10:29 am #

      you look at what cuddy and young did in there 18-20 years in the minors and hicks doesn’t match up so good. given that he has speed and defense they don’t but agreed until his bat starts to produce he has a long way to go. it might soon be time to move him back to the mound.
      i still wonder what span does that revere can’t do?
      there are some who want to trade revere for crisp, which i think isn’t smart. how about span and perkins or (fill the blank) for gio gonzalez and crisp? span and gonzalez value out fairly close, crisp plays center until revere is ready and we make the top end of our rotation stronger.

      • Seth November 8, 2010 at 10:40 am #

        My opinion on what Span does better than Hicks…
        he’s a more natural outfielder, has a better arm. Much more patient at the plate, much more power.

        What Revere does better than Span…
        He could probably hit for a higher BA. He’s faster (which helps him defensively) and a better base stealer.

    • steve November 8, 2010 at 11:39 am #

      Hicks hit 279/401/428 last year. While not elite theres nothing wrong with that line. He took a ton of walks. I dont think its fair to pretend he didnt produce at all last year. He was beloits best player. Revere had a 731 ops last year with puny iso stats and people really think its a smart idea to trade away span?

      • mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 11:51 am #

        I admit that Revere makes me nervous due to his lack of power. Smart to trade Span, maybe not? But, if you can replace Span with a better player at 2B by trading him and another player, and put Revere in center, that’s a better combination than Span and Casilla, as I have zero confidence in Casilla’s ability to produce consistently.

      • gobbledy November 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

        and span had an ops under .700 last year. problem is if you make a trade you have to give up something to get something back. like i asked what does span do that revere shouldn’t beable to do as well? with the payroll problems we have the only way to improve this team may be by trade, so what do we have to trade? kubel won’t bring much for a 1 year rental coming off a down yr. so you have span, young, baker, slowey and blackburn left plus prospects which we are short on. i don’t know if it’s smart to trade him or not but we don’t have a lot of options. if you trade young how do you replace his rh bat and rbi? maybe you can trade hardy but i’m not sure what he’d bring back.

      • steve November 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

        Span does a lot better than revere. More discipline, more power, better defense, better arm. Span had a disappointing year last year but had a very good year and a half before that. If Span returns to his 09 form i dont think revere has the capacity to be that good. Theres also no reason to believe that revere is major league ready right now. I admittedly dont love span as a prospect because i think hes got 2 tools. Reports of his defense are bad and he hits for no power. As hes moved up in the organization hes gone from a poor mans kenny lofton, to a rich mans juan pierre, to a poor mans juan pierre. Counting on revere next year is a bad idea.

  9. Seth November 8, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    The Hicks comments are interesting, and it’s hard to explain. Did he put up dominant numbers? Not really. But he was 30% better than the average player in the Midwest League despite being a year younger than the average player. The Midwest League isn’t exactly a hitter’s league. Is Hicks Mike Trout? Nope! But is he still a very good prospect, capable of getting much better? Absolutely.

    To answer other questions: Deolis Guerra and Tyler Robertson were both considered. But Robertson is now a reliever, and I just couldn’t justify putting Guerra in the top 30 at this time.

    I do believe that Revere is difficult to rank. I could maybe flip-flop him and Morales. I just can’t see him being top 5, and I don’t think that’s a knock on him at all. No questioning his toughness, for sure.

    JC – you’re exactly right… It’s hard to determine what is appropriate criteria for a list. What makes a prosect? Is it about ceiling or certainty? what’s the right combination of the two. Roger’s got a great list that is performance-based with some other criteria. That’s why I think that making the lists are so fun because there is no right answer. We really can’t judge our lists for at least 5, maybe even 10, years after they are made.

    • JimCrikket November 8, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      Fair enough, Seth, so here’s a thought… I’m not sure how long you and others have been doing these lists, but I’d be interested in seeing how your lists from 5 or so years ago turned out. If I had the knowledge (or balls) to do these sorts of lists over that kind of timeframe, I know that looking back to see where my hits and misses were would be a lot of fun (unless, as would likely be the case for me, there would be few hits and mostly misses).

      • Seth November 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

        also, if you look at the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook, I included my top 30s for the last several years.

      • JimCrikket November 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

        Damn… I’ll have to dig that back out! I thought I was through with it for the year while I wait for the 2011 version! 🙂

  10. mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I forgot to add, this is my favorite part of your work, here, Seth. It is interesting, and people don’t yell at each other as much, and it is fun (as, like you say, it is so unknowable). Plus, the whole ceiling vs certainty part.

    So, thanks again, for this site.

    As for Hicks, he has tremendous upside, I’m just in “show me” mode with him right now.

    Oh, and I wish a certain catcher was still in that list…..

  11. John November 8, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    It’s very hard to be a good MLB hitter with zero power. Revere has some skills but he’s not a great prospect. The thing to keep in mind with Hicks and Morales is that, while neither have lit up A-ball, both have good raw power. The Twins’ minor league affiliates are mostly extreme pitchers’ environments, which limits the offensive numbers of their hitters. Hicks’ tools and plate discipline is a very interesting combination and he could still be a pretty special player.

  12. down on the farm November 8, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Wimmers is the best pitching prospect the Twins have. Don’t let those folks who have not seen him pitch fool you. They will use lines like “pitch to contact”..or soft tosser…etc

    Wimmers has the best change up in the entire organization. He has control that is close to matching Slowey, but is NOT in any way, shape or form, a Slowey clone. His change of speeds and ability to fool hitters with his change up is some much superior to Slowey.

    Tosoni, if properly used, will be a very valuable asset. He is very much like Kubel. He does extremely well against right handed pitching. He cannot hit lefties. But he has the potential to produce an .800 plus OPS against right handed pitchers, while playing a very solid outfield. I don’t know where you rank a player like that, but I would certainly place him in the top ten.

    • mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 11:53 am #

      If Wimmers is better than Gibson, then they better not sign a big time FA pitcher this year, as one/both will be ready by the middle of the year, and both by next year. They really need to fix 2B, RF and maybe CF (and possibly 1B).

  13. Jeff P November 8, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    JimCrikket, if you go to the bottom of the page at the site, there is a link for “archives”. You can scroll through the history fairly quickly and it is interesting to see the hits and misses.

    Most of Seth’s lists hold up well over time but for me it is more about the overall talent level of the organization than seeing how good of a job Seth did. i.e. compare the top 10 list from July 2004 vs. the end of 2007. Sure we have the benefit of hindsight but it was obvious that the talent level was down a few years ago and now it has come back a bit (but still not to the unbelievable level it was in 2004)

  14. Bill in Sarasota November 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Biggest point is the depth is much better than three years ago.

    I believe you’re hoping Ortiz and Goodrum can justify the high ranking.

    In my opinion, Tosoni should be 8-10 spots higher, Lanigan and Nate Roberts need to be in the top 30. Lanigan was excellent in the first half with Fort Meyers and Roberts hit 336 at Eliz after being drafted.

    • Joel November 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      I agree on Nate Roberts and was surprised he wasn’t there.

      • Seth November 9, 2010 at 9:03 am #

        Fair point, but I’ve seen so many college hitters go to E-Town and hit great and then fade in Beloit or Ft. Myers, so I’m a little leery. That said, it certainly makes him one that I will watch in 2011 to see how he does.

  15. mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Go get Dan Uggla. Now. RH. 2B. Power. OBP. Ya, his D is suspect, but look at that O!

  16. mike wants wins November 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Span, Kubel, prospect for uggla. Sign him to an extension that kicks in next year (when Cuddy’s conatract is off the books). You have your RH power and RH OBP. You have an adequate 2B. And, you have it for the next few years. Revere, Thome, and Uggla, or Span, Kubel, Casilla?

  17. down on the farm November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Hicks is better than his stats. Sounds odd, but true. He is unique in that he is very polished from the right side. He easily projects as the Twins best right handed hitting prospect. By a large margin..and that includes Benson.

    But as a left handed hitter, he is less confident, more patient (he attacks the ball as a RH). He is coming along as a left handed hitter. And that will make all the difference. Nobody needs to worry about his hitting from the right side…he is an elite level prospect there. From the left side, he is more like…Span.

  18. Tim November 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    I think you could put any of the top 3 as #1 and there is an argument for them being there. I think Arcia should be higher (7) with Revere at 6 and Morales and Bromberg dropped down a spot or two. Also think Gutierrez should be a bit higher. I think he has the opportunity to be a lights out closer.

    Also, someone please help me out…who was the young pitcher we had (I believe in the Domincan) that was striking almost everyone out, numbers were just ridiculous.

  19. JA November 8, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi Seth, I do respect your opinion, but come on, Carlos Gutierrez is definaltly a top 10 guy on this list.
    1. Gibson
    2. Hicks
    3. Wimmers
    4. Sano
    5. Revere
    6. Guteirrez
    7. Benson
    8. Kepler
    9. Hendricks
    10. Bromberg

  20. Keli November 9, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Hi Seth,
    I am surprised at the lack of love for Jorge Polanco. You ranked Niko Goodrum at 19, but left Polanco off the list all together!

    Now, I am not talking about Polanco deserving a top 10 prospect, but to not have him in the top 30? He showed excellent contact skills (he was THE toughest person to strike out in the GCL), and was only one of a hand full of players who had more walks than strikeouts. And the reports on his defense were excellent. What more could you ask from someone who just turned 17 (17 months younger than Goodrum). Sounds to me like someone who should be ranked 15-20.

    • Seth November 9, 2010 at 9:05 am #

      Another fair point and a guy to consider. If he hadn’t signed for $750,000 would anyone know who he is right now? James Beresford signed for about that as well, and he’s been named the MVP at Beloit the last two years and plays tremendous defense and puts the ball in play very well too. So, I couldn’t justify putting Polanco in there without Beresford… who I very, very much considered.

      • Keli November 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

        Isn’t that a little bit of a circular argument, though? If Niko Goodrum hadn’t been a second-round pick… would we know who he is right now?

      • steve November 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

        Exactly, and goodrum had an awful year and i havent read many reports that are glowing about anything he does but run.

  21. Bill in Sarasota November 9, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Keli – Good catch on Polanco.

    Carlos Gutierrez is a reliever who hopefully becomes Slama. Again you’re hoping Gutierrez becomes something much better than what he’s shown.

    fyi – Gutierrez is older than Slama

    • Seth November 9, 2010 at 9:06 am #

      Gutierrez is NOT older than Slama.

      And yes, my hope is that now that he will be fully in the bullpen, where we all knew he would be eventually, he’ll post better numbers in 2011.

      • Bill in Sarasota November 9, 2010 at 11:10 am #

        Baseball Cube has the wrong DOB for Gutierrez – my bad.

    • steve November 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

      Hopefully gut is better than slama because slama throws little league caliber pitches. And how did you think gut could be older than slama? He was drafted 2 years ago, hed have had to have been like 26 when they drafted him for that to be true.

  22. Bill in Sarasota November 9, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    From Keith Law of ESPN

    Twins reliever Carlos Gutierrez threw probably the best slider I’ve seen from him, even missing some bats with it, while sitting 92-93 with plus sink and tail. He gets groundballs but couldn’t generate swings and misses as a starter for the Twins, while he fanned 34 in 36.2 innings once they moved him to the bullpen in the middle of 2010. I’m not sure if he has closer potential, as his low slot gives left-handed hitters a great look at the ball (and they hit .313/.402/.430 off him in Double-A this year), but if he can back-foot that slider consistently he’s got a chance to be a very good setup guy.

    • mike wants wins November 9, 2010 at 9:41 am #

      A first round pick no a guy who’s upside is very good setup guy. That’s one reason this team doesn’t have the talent in the minors it needs…..

  23. Donkey Desires VICTORIES November 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    LOL every first rd pick should be a HOFer

    • mike wants wins November 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

      Did I say that? I never said that, ever.

  24. steve November 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    First round picks are like 50/50 to make it to the majors and most arent impact players. While reliever isnt ideal, for a late first round picks its not awful. The guys chosen before guttierez, was drafted as a fast track power reliever/closer of the future for the mariners and hes stuck in AA because he cant throw strikes. Miss in the late first round are very common.

    • mike wants wins November 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

      At least he’s better than Shooter Hunt, taken just a few picks later.

  25. Mike Muldoon November 10, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    What about Kane Holbrooks and Nate Roberts?

  26. DH in Philly November 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    What’s the rule of thumb on strikeouts. Joe Benson has struck out about 30% of his at bats consistently (maybe it rises as he progresses) over his MiLB career. Is not striking out a learned skill? Or does it usually get worse as one faces better pitchers? Any thoughts or stats on this?

  27. TT November 11, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    “Is not striking out a learned skill? Or does it usually get worse as one faces better pitchers? Any thoughts or stats on this?”

    I don’t have any stats, but I don’t know of any players in the big leagues that had Benson’s lack of contact at AA.

    In general, hitters strike out more as they face better pitching. But, of course, if they strike out too much they never have the opportunity to face better pitching.

    What Benson has going for him is that he has good defensive tools and is young for the level he is playing at. If he is a plus defensive major league center fielder, his hitting is secondary. I don’t think his defense is really that good, but others here seem to think it is.

    I think the central issue is if Benson changes his approach, will he strike out less and make contact more often while still showing his power. But its possible that the problem isn’t his approach. Its that his success depends on pitchers giving in and feeding him fastballs over the meat of the plate. He may be feasting off pitches he will rarely see at the major league level.

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