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Twins Organizational Depth Chart: The Outfielders

1 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 – Now Available as an e-book for $6.99 by clicking here. You can, of course, still get the print version for $13.99 by clicking here

At this point, we have reviewed the infielders and catchers throughout the Twins organization. Today, we will jump to the outfield. This information, of course, could be completely altered by an unexpected free agent signing or a trade. This exercise is not so much an attempt to perfectly predict where all of these players will wind up. In reality, there will be changes. Several players will be released. Some will be placed a level higher (or lower) than I would guess. This is just giving readers a reminder of who remains in the Twins system from last year, and who are the new players brought in this year. That said, I try to think about where these guys will

I need to reiterate that these are my thoughts. I have no insider information to know where players will be playing for certain in 2012. Obviously after spring training, some of these players will be let go. There will be Disabled List players, extended spring training and more.

Minnesota Twins  

Ben Revere (LF), Denard Span (CF), Josh Willingham (RF), Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit

A lot of people seem to wonder why Willingham would be the right fielder. To me, that’s an easy choice. At Target Field, left field, centerfield and the gaps are pretty huge. I want Span and Revere covering the ground. Willingham isn’t a good left fielder. As far as playing the strange bounces off of the right field wall, anyone can have difficulties and will have to adjust to hit. Willingham will walk a lot and hit a bunch of home runs. I was chatting with Jamie Ogden at Twins Fest, and the comment that we agreed upon was the he will have the ability to take advantage of a pitcher’s mistakes and hit them a long way. It’s nice to have a guy like that in the middle of the lineup. As for Revere, I think it’s much better for him to play 3B. Simply, the throw from LF to 3B is much shorter than it is from CF. Also, the throw to home from CF is longer. Span doesn’t have a rocket for an arm, but he can throw. Span, when healthy, is a good on-base guy with speed and some extra base pop. Revere should be much improved, at least in terms of OBP, in 2012. He said that his goal is to steal 100 bases on 2012. He dropped that number to 80, but he plans on going whenever he gets a chance. Even though he didn’t play great in 2011, he made the Twins fun to watch and he made things happen. Imagine what he can make happen when he actually gets on base at a good clip! Trevor Plouffe should get plenty of time in left field, but he could also DH. He can hit lefties, and it will be interesting to see how he does in left field now that he doesn’t have the infielder’s glove. Ryan Doumit could get some time in right field as well.

Rochester Red Wings

Wilkin Ramirez (LF), Joe Benson (CF), Matt Carson (RF), Rene Tosoni, Mark Dolenc, Dustin Martin

Ramirez and Carson were minor league free agents brought in by the Twins. Carson is a power hitter. Ramirez is an all-around player who was a top prospect with the Tigers just a couple of years ago. Joe Benson has spent the past two years at New Britain, so he is ready for the challenges of AAA. He could move up to the Twins as necessary throughout the year, at least after the June Super 2 timeline. The same can be said of Rene Tosoni who will likely play nearly every day between the three outfield spots as well as DHing.  Benson could be a star if everything comes together. He could be a 30/30 guy with plus-defense in time. Tosoni is a guy who I think could fill a role as a platoon player and bench bat and occasional DH. He showed at times the power the he possesses. Dolenc has spent the past two years in New Britain and will likely need to advance to Rochester in 2012. He has averaged 439 plate appearances over the past four years and had a career-high 467 plate appearances in 2011. He has terrific tools, can play all three positions, gets on base, has very good speed, and plays really good defense with a strong arm. Dustin Martin put together his best year at Rochester (in his third season there).

New Britain Rock Cats

Angel Morales (LF), Aaron Hicks (CF), Evan Bigley (RF), Steve Liddle, Michael Hollimon

Aaron Hicks had a frustrating and inconsistent season in 2011 in Ft. Myers. He was tremendous in June and then struggled for a couple of months. He definitely represented himself well in the Arizona Fall League. His defense and arm are certainly ready for advancement. It is a big year for Hicks. He will be added to the 40 man roster following the season, but he will have to continue to show improvement on the field, in his approach at the plate and show consistency. What he does in 2012 may determine whether he remains a switch-hitter as well. Evan Bigley spent all of 2011 in New Britain and showed that he could be a candidate for a midseason promotion. Angel Morales is younger than Hicks (something many seem to forget). 2011 was a lost year for him. He missed three months with his elbow injury. He had arthroscopic surgery and came back at the end of the season. He has good speed and a vastly improved approach at the plate. Although he hasn’t hit as many home runs the last couple of seasons, no one seems to be worried about his power. Liddle really struggled last season in Ft. Myers, and he had shoulder surgery following the year. The Vanderbilt product is the nephew of Twins 3B coach Steve Liddle. Hollimon can play all around the infield and can also play around the outfield. He could be the guy to go back and forth between New Britain and Rochester regardless of where the need is.   

Ft. Myers Miracle

Lance Ray (LF), Nate Roberts (CF), Oswaldo Arcia (RF), Wang-Wei Lin, Danny Rams, Dan Rohlfing

I was surprised when the Twins sent Arcia to Ft. Myers following rehab of his elbow. I would be surprised if he jumps up to New Britain to start the season, but not completely. If he has one thing to work on, it is cutting down on the strikeouts. I think he can end the year with the Rock Cats. Lance Ray can hit, even if his 2011 Beloit numbers didn’t strongly indicate that. He has a very fluid swing and good power. Nate Roberts was the 5th round pick a couple of years ago. He missed a lot of time on the DL with a knee injury. He is an on-base machine, taking walks and always willing to get hit. Wang-Wei Lin has steadily improved over his time, and after two years in Beloit, he will need to play in Ft. Myers. He has a good, line drive swing but the Taiwan native still has plenty to improve. Dan Rohlfing impressed behind the plate and will go to big league spring training in that role, but he can also play the outfield. At Instructs, Rams was moved to the outfield, although he will continue to catch some. The goal is to let him really focus on his swing and his bat.  

Beloit Snappers

Danny Ortiz (LF), JD Williams (CF), Tyler Koelling (RF), Drew Leachman, Matej Hejma, Jhonatan Goncalves

Ortiz was my choice for player of the month last April in Beloit, but it was a struggle through most of his season. He could start with the Snappers and spend a couple of months there (he already played in the Midwest League All-Star game last year). Tyler Koelling and Drew Leachman are two college outfielders who should advance to Beloit. JD Williams had an incredible season in Elizabethton in 2011, yet it went almost unnoticed thanks to Rosario and Sano. Baseball America just called him the fastest player in the Twins farm system, and he has the ability to bunt for hits from both sides of the plate. He played RF usually for the E-Twins because Eddie Rosario was in center. Matej Hejma is from the Czech Republic. Although he didn’t play a lot, or that well, in Elizabethton, he has to move up to Beloit because he has already played three seasons in the short season leagues. Goncalves is an interesting case. He has played most of the past two seasons in Ft. Myers, but he ended last year in Beloit which is probably where he should have been all along.  

Extended Spring Training/Short-Season

Max Kepler (CF), Candido Pimentel, Romy Jimenez, Kelvin Mention, Kelvin Ortiz, Dereck Rodriguez

Like Niko Goodrum, I suspect that Kepler will begin the season at Extended Spring Training. Like Goodrum, I suspect that Kepler will not return to Elizabethton but will instead advance to Beloit before the short season begins. He has so much talent but is still very raw. Pimentel is similar to Otis Nixon, very thin and very fast. Romy Jimenez (formerly known as Romy Trinidad) missed most of last year with an injury in his first year in the States. Kelvin Mention did miss all of 2011 with injury. Kelvin Ortiz came to the States and really struggled. He should go back to the GCL. And Dereck Rodriguez (the son of Ivan Rodriguez) will certainly spend another season in the GCL.  

TOP THREE (OR SO…) PROSPECTS

1.)    Oswaldo Arcia, 2.) Aaron Hicks, 3.) Joe Benson, 4.) Angel Morales, 5.) Max Kepler, 6.) JD Williams, 7.) Lance Ray, 8.) Danny Ortiz

SUMMARY

Barring injury, the Twins starting outfield should be solid despite the losses of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel (And to a lesser extent, Jason Repko). Benson and Tosoni are fairly close to being ready to contribute on a regular basis. Beyond that, there is a lot of talent but a lot of question marks. Can Aaron Hicks take that next step? Will Angel Morales return in 2012 with some added power? How quickly will the Twins advance Oswaldo Arcia? The ceilings of JD Williams and Max Kepler are very high, and there are so college draft picks (Roberts, Ray, etc.) who could advance fairly quickly. Of course, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano also remain in the future outfield situation as well which provide even more depth over time. Outfield is a position of strength for the Twins system. 2012 will be a big year for many of them! 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at sethspeaksnet@hotmail.com or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

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Analyzing the Twins Top 20 Prospects

20 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 is now available through LuLu.com. If you order quickly, you could have it in time for Twins Fest! 22 players that are scheduled to be at Twins Fest are profiled in this book. If you are interested in order, you can Order Here.

In my very-recently released Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, I unveiled my 2012 Twins Top 30 Prospects. I thought it would be fun to analyze the Top 20 prospects to see if any interesting notes, or even trends, emerge. I found a few, but maybe you’ll find even more. A reminder, these are my Top 20 Twins prospects. If you make a prospect list of your own, yours will likely look a little different, but most of the players will be the same with some variance.

Here is my Top Top Twins Prospect List:

Ranking Name How Acquired From (Country/State)
1 Miguel Sano Free Agent Dominican Republic
2 Eddie Rosario Drafted – 3rd Round 2010 Puerto Rico
3 Oswaldo Arcia Free Agent Venezuela
4 Aaron Hicks Drafted – 1st Round 2008 US – California
5 Joe Benson Drafted – 2nd Round 2006 US – Illinois
6 Liam Hendriks Free Agent Australia
7 Kyle Gibson Drafted – 1st Round 2009 US – Missouri
8 Adrian Salcedo Free Agent Dominican Republic
9 Alex Wimmers Drafted – 1st Round 2010 US – Ohio
10 Chris Parmelee Drafted – 1st Round 2006 US – California
11 Brian Dozier Drafted – 8th Round 2009 US – Mississippi
12 Travis Harrison Drafted – supp 1st Round 2011 US – California
13 Tom Stuifbergen Free Agent Netherlands
14 Angel Morales Drafted – 3rd Round 2007 Puerto Rico
15 Chris Herrmann Drafted – 6th Round 2009 US – Texas
16 Manuel Soliman Free Agent Dominican Republic
17 Levi Michael Drafted – 1st Round 2011 US – North Carolina
18 Max Kepler Free Agent Germany
19 Niko Goodrum Drafted – 2nd Round 2010 US – Georgia
20 Hudson Boyd Drafted – supp 1st Round 2011 US – Florida

 Some Notes:

  • Nine of my Top 20 Twins prospects were 1st or 2nd round draft picks. There are two 1st round picks and two supplemental 1st round picks since 2006 that are not on this list. 2007 top pick Ben Revere is no longer a “prospect” since he has spent so much time in the big leagues. Matt Bashore was the Twins supplemental first round pick in 2009 from Indiana. He’s had a couple of arm surgeries and returned to limited action in 2011. Reports indicate that by the end of last season, he had regained most of his velocity and he may have the opportunity to move up prospect lists quickly next season.
  • Following the 2007 season, Torii Hunter chose to sign with the Angels instead of the Twins. Because of that, the Twins received the Angels first round pick in 2008 and the first supplemental first round pick of that draft. With the 27th overall pick, the Twins chose Carlos Gutierrez who does not appear on my Top 20 prospect list, but he is a good relief pitching option who throws really hard with a good sinker but needs to throw more strikes. With the 31st overall pick, the Twins chose a hard-throwing right-hander out of Tulane University names Shooter Hunt who fought Steve Blass Disease since the 2008 season. This past December, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
  • The Twins have a strong scouting presence all around the world, and that is shown in their top prospect list. Three players are from the Dominican Republic, and there is one player from Venezuela, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. The Twins also have prospects from Cuba, South Africa, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan and the Czech Republic.
  • Of these top 20 prospects, 13 were drafted by the Twins. Of those, seven are high school hitters. The Twins have had great success drafting hitters out of high school (see Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere).Aside from Revere and Mauer, most of these players took five or six years to make their big league debuts and more importantly make a big impression in the big leagues. Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee are also examples of this. Drafted in 2006, they made their big league debuts in September of 2011. Each will likely start making a bigger impression on the Twins in 2012. That’s why I always find it funny when people are so disappointed that we haven’t seen Aaron Hicks dominate at the upper levels of the minor leagues yet. Or, although he was drafted a year earlier, Angel Morales is younger than Hicks. Niko Goodrum is one of the best athletes in the organization as well and played very well in Elizabethton last year. Travis Harrison was one of the top power hitting prospects from the high school ranks in the 2011 draft.
  • Although not drafted, Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia and Max Kepler were all signed as 16 year olds and certainly fit into the high-upside young hitter mold!!
  • The other thing that the Twins have done is draft college pitchers in the first rounds of the draft. Just two college-drafted pitchers appear on this list, and each of them has some question marks. Kyle Gibson was the team’s top prospect one year ago, and pitched very well the first two months of 2011. Unfortunately, as we all know, he had to have Tommy John surgery in September and will miss most, if not all, of the 2012 season. Alex Wimmers was the two-time Big 10 Pitcher of the Year at Ohio State. He was a control pitcher that draft experts said was closest to the big leagues. Unfortunately, he had a hamstring injury in spring training last year and it led to some very disturbing control issues. However, he seemed to be a rare example of someone overcoming Steve Blass Disease as he came back late in the season and pitched much better. He ended his season by throwing a 7-inning no-hitter for Ft. Myers. I would expect to see both make starts for the Twins in 2013.
  • The Twins did have three pitchers pitch at three levels in 2011. Reliever Matt Hauser (San Diego State) is my top ranked Twins reliever prospect (#28). Pat Dean (#30) was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2010 from Boston College. Lefty Logan Darnell (#25), the 6th round pick in 2010, was the third. All three pitched briefly with Beloit before spending most of their season in Ft. Myers. Darnell spent the most time in Double-A New Britain. The Twins have a history of being willing to promote college pitchers quickly through the minors. The following players have pitched at three levels in one season with the Twins: Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, and Jesse Crain. Matt Garza actually pitched at four levels, including the Twins, in 2006.
  • The Twins hadn’t drafted a high school pitcher in the first round since 2004 when they drafted Kyle Waldrop with the 25th overall pick (Anthony Swarzak was taken in the 2nd round). The Twins used their second supplemental first round pick in 2011 on Hudson Boyd, who not only has shown good control, but he has touched 97 mph on the radar gun. He could move up quickly.
  • Here is a quick look at where these twenty players ended the season playing: Three Did Not Play (2011 draft picks), Four ended the season in Elizabethton, Two in Beloit, Four in Ft. Myers, Two in New Britain, two in Rochester and three with the Twins. You often hear that the Twins prospects are all at the lower levels of the farm system. However, Benson, Parmelee and Hendriks are all top ten prospects who made their big league debuts on September 6. Each figures into the Twins long-term future. Brian Dozier and Chris Herrmann were the high-risers among prospects and both will likely debut with the Twins in 2012 after strong seasons in New Britain and strong showings in the Arizona Fall League.
  • When Baseball America releases its Top 100 Prospects list, Miguel Sano will likely rank in the Top 25-30. It is possible that Rosario, Arcia, Benson and maybe even Gibson will appear in the Top 100 lists.
  • If you listen to Baseball America’s most recent podcast, they discussed their Top 10 rankings for AL Central teams. They clearly had the Royals as the best farm system in the division. They ranked the Twins with the second-best prospects in the division (and middle of the pack overall). They ranked the White Sox and Indians as having the two worst farm systems in all of baseball, with the Tigers very close to the bottom.  

Any other comments on these twenty prospects of the Twins farm system in general? I’ll be happy to answer them in the Comments.  

Here are some other thoughts and links:

 

  • On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins Caravan came to The Shed in Warroad. Ron Gardenhire, Joe Vavra, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins were in attendance, along with TC Bear. TwinsBaseball.com’s Rhett Bollinger was there as well. It was a nice event, and very informal. The Twins contingency seemed to really appreciate and enjoy it. It was great to be up close with the players, talk to them and, as a couple of people told me, see them as regular people. I think we (many fans) forget that at times. I have been to several Twins Caravan events over the past five years. I definitely recommend going if you’ve got one in your area. It’s just a great opportunity to meet players, get autographs if you want, and start getting excited for a new Twins season.
  • Speaking of great events, Twins Fest is next weekend. I just got my tickets in the mail yesterday. I plan to be there on Friday night and Satuurday throughout the day. I don’t get the autographs, but I enjoy talking to people, players and fans alike. SO, if you’ll be there, be sure to say hi!
  • Baseball America will be posting its Top 20 Twins Prospect list on its website today, so be sure to check there this afternoon.

I want to welcome any questions or comments that you might have. Feel free to e-mail me or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

2nd Preliminary Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

20 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Hopefully in the very near future, the Twins Prospect Handbook will be available. My goal will be to have it available so that people can bring it to Twins Fest and get it signed by Twins prospects. We shall see. The recent struggles have certainly hurt the timeline, but I’m getting some great help and will try my best. Two months ago, I put together a preliminary Top 50 Prospect list. Since then, I’ve been getting more and more scouting reports, looking a little deeper at numbers and trying to learn as much as I can about each of the Twins prospects. With that, I’ll give you a second preliminary prospect list. There is some serious talent at the top of the list, but there are some players throughout this top 50 and a little beyond that, if things go right for them, you could see in a role with the Twins at some point in the future. Who knows, but definitely feel free to comment and discuss these rankings. Definitely let me know who I missed, who should be higher or lower, etc.

With that, here is my 2nd preliminary Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospect ranking:

  1. Miguel Sano – 3B – Elizabethton Twins
  2. Eddie Rosario – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  3. Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  4. Joe Benson – OF – Minnesota Twins
  5. Aaron Hicks – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  6. Liam Hendriks – RHP – Minnesota Twins
  7. Kyle Gibson – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  8. Alex Wimmers – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle
  9. Chris Parmelee – 1B – Minnesota Twins
  10. Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Beloit Snappers
  11. Brian Dozier – SS – New Britain Rock Cats  
  12. Travis Harrison – 3B – Did Not Play
  13. Tom Stuifbergen – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  14. Angel Morales – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle
  15. Chris Herrmann – C – New Britain Rock Cats
  16. Manuel Soliman – RHP – Beloit Snappers  
  17. Levi Michael – SS – Did Not Play
  18. Max Kepler – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  19. Niko Goodrum – SS – Elizabethton Twins
  20. Hudson Boyd – RHP – Did Not Play
  21. BJ Hermsen – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle
  22. Danny Santana – SS – Beloit Snappers
  23. Madison Boer – RHP – Beloit Snappers
  24. Logan Darnell – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  25. David Bromberg – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  26. JD Williams – OF – Elizabethton Twins
  27. Terry Doyle – RHP – White Sox organization, Twins Rule 5 pick
  28. Jairo Perez – 3B – Beloit Snappers
  29. Matt Hauser – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  30. Pat Dean – LHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  31. Matt Summers – RHP – Elizabethton Twins
  32. Danny Rams – C – Ft. Myers Miracle
  33. Scott Diamond – LHP – Minnesota Twins  
  34. Angel Mata – RHP – GCL Twins
  35. Corey Williams – LHP – Elizabethton Twins  
  36. Danny Ortiz – OF – Beloit Snappers
  37. Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – Rochester Red Wings
  38. Nate Roberts – OF – Beloit Snappers
  39. Lance Ray – OF/1B – Beloit Snappers
  40. Deolis Guerra – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  41. Michael Gonzales – 1B – Beloit Snappers
  42. Lester Oliveros – RHP – Minnesota Twins
  43. Ryan O’Rourke – LHP – Beloit Snappers
  44. Hung-Yi Chen – RHP – GCL Twins
  45. James Beresford – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle
  46. Bobby Lanigan – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats
  47. Tyler Grimes – IF – Beloit Snappers
  48. Anderson Hidalgo – 3B – Ft. Myers Miracle
  49. Tim Shibuya – RHP – Elizabethton Twins
  50. Pedro Guerra – RHP – Beloit Snappers

JUST MISSED – Adam Bryant, Nick Lockwood, Rory Rhodes, Matt Bashore, Evan Bigley, Derek Christensen, Steven Gruver, Kuo-hua Lo.

I’m sure I missed others. Let’s discuss. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments. Final stages of the book development, so help me out!!

Twins Winter League Report

4 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, be sure to do so! We hope that many of you will develop your own blueprint of and e-mail it to twinscentric@gmail.com to be entered into a random drawing where one winner will receive a copy of the TwinsCentric 2012 Twins Annual next spring. 

Just a quick update today on the goings on throughout the Winter Leagues as the Australian Baseball League got started and tonight the Puerto Rico League gets going as well.

Arizona Fall League

We’ll start down in Arizona, where Mesa got a 8-7 win. Cole DeVries dropped his ERA to 2.70 with three no-hit innings. He walked two and struck out two. Brett Jacobson came in later and threw 1.2 no-hit, no-walk innings. The big hit for the Solar Sox came off the bat of Twins OF Aaron Hicks. He cleared the bases with his third triple of the Fall League to give the team a lead they would hold on to. He went 1-3 with a walk. Brian Dozier was 0-4 and played 2B.

Venezuela Winter League

Yangervis Solarte made his first appearance for Aragua this season. He batted second, played 2B and went 0-4. Joe Benson came in as a defensive replacement after starting the team’s ten previous games.

For Magallenes, Deolis Guerra got all five batters he faced out.

Australian Baseball League

Sydney topped Melbourne 3-2 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. For Sydney, 17-year-old Jacob Younis went 0-2 with a walk. He played 2B and batted ninth. For Melbourne, Josh Hendricks played RF and batted ninth. He went 0-3.

Canberra beat Brisbane 6-0. For Brisbane, Rory Rhodes batted clean up and went 1-2 with two walks and a double. He played Left Field.

Any thoughts?

Kyle Gibson Update: SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins Podcast

19 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

On tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast, Twins RHP Kyle Gibson said that his “arm feels good.” Wednesday marks six weeks since his Tommy John surgery, and he sounded in good spirits after a checkup in New York with Dr. Altcheck. If you would like to listen to the entire podcast, click here.

Gibson, the Twins top draft pick in 2009 out of the University of Missouri, came into the 2011 season as the Twins top pitching prospect. He impressed manager Ron Gardenhire in big league spring training. He was sent to Triple-A Rochester where he was 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA through his first ten starts. In 55 innings pitched, he had walked just 11 and struck out 59. He struggled in June and then pitched in the Futures Game. He was skipped in a couple of starts, and struggled in his final start. He went to Minneapolis and they found the partial tear of his UCL. Although the team prescribed rest and rehab, a month later when re-evaluated, Tommy John surgery was announced. He had the surgery in early September and has been working on rehabbing every since.

The initial thought is that the rehab would primarily be arm/elbow related, but remember that a tendon from another body part is used to replace the ligament in the elbow.

“(My) leg is actually starting to feel like it’s not a pull hamstring anymore because they had to take part on my hamstring to reconstruct the UCL, and it’s feeling really good.”

It’s way too early to know an exact timeline. The assumption by many is that Gibson will miss the entire 2012 season. However, Gibson acknowledged that he knows the Steven Strasburg timeline. He knows that Strasburg had his Tommy John surgery on September 3, 2010, and made his return to the Nationals on September 7th. That is obviously the best case scenario that Gibson is striving for. But each Tommy John situation is different. There are many steps that Gibson will need to work through. In a couple of months, the right-hander will start throwing again. He’ll throw on flat land, gradually adding distance, and eventually throw off of a mound. At that point, he will work some simulated games before getting on the mound against real hitters.

Gibson, who will turn 24 on Sunday, said that it is “good to see the progress I’ve been making.” And really, at this stage, that is what it is all about. It will be a tough year for Gibson, to be sure, but he’s mentally strong and will handle it well.

“It’s going real good.”

Any thoughts?

AFL on Tuesday – Aaron Hicks went 3-5 with a triple and his first AFL home run. Brian Dozier was 0-3 with two walks. Chris Herrmann was 1-4 with a walk. Dakota Watts gave up a hit and a walk but got the final two outs without being charged with a run.

SethSpeaks.net June Twins Minor League Hitters of the Month

3 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It is hard to believe that the third month of the season is now complete and it is already July. It is again time to take a look at June and determine the SethSpeaks.net June Minor League Hitter and Pitchers of the Month. As always, there are some really good options which is why I do a Top 5 for hitters and starting pitchers and the top three relievers.

Today, I’ll be posting my choice for the June Hitter of the Month. In April, the winner was Danny Ortiz of the Beloit Snappers. Last month, the selection was Ft. Myers shortstop Brian Dozier. Soon after the calendar changed from May to June, Dozier was promoted to Double-A New Britain where he got off to a fast start before being hit in the face with a pitch. He returned to action after missing less than two weeks and has been playing even better. He missed too much time to qualify for the June player of the month, but check out these number. He went 16-48, and hit .333/.418/.500 with four doubles and two triples.

Also, the Twins short-season affiliates started late in June. There were some quick starts, but with less than 45 at bats, none of the players had enough playing time to get considered for more than mention.

Before getting to the Top 5, here are some guys who just missed the subjective list:

  • New Britain – Chris Parmelee (32-99) .278/.388/.412 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBI.
  • Ft. Myers – Anderson Hidalgo (24-81) .296/.345/.457 with nine doubles, two homers and 9 RBI.
  • Beloit – Lance Ray (25-81) .309/.398/.407 with eight doubles, and eight RBI
  • Elizabethton – Eddie Rosario (.357/.421/.720) with two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 13 RBI.

Number 5 – Beloit – Michael Gonzales – 1B (33-101) .327/.361/.525 with 6 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 19 RBI.

Gonzales gets the #5 spot for the second straight month. He had a nearly identical OPS as he did in May, however, he went about it a different way. In May, he was a walk-machine. In June, he didn’t walk as much, but he had a terrific slugging percentage. Gonzales started in the Midwest League All Star Game. At 6-6, Gonzales had a ton of power potential, but a long, slow swing in 2010. He lost 30 pounds in the offseason and has a much quicker swing and the numbers are showing. I can’t help but wonder if he should be promoted to Ft. Myers, but we forget that the 23-year-old spent just one year in junior college before the Twins drafted him in the 9th round of the 2008 draft. It will be good to see if he can continue to put up numbers throughout the second half.   

Number 4 – Rochester – Dustin Martin – OF (34-105) .324/.408/.533 with eight doubles, a triple, four homers and 14 RBI.

In 2009, Martin posted a .670 OPS in his first season in Rochester. Last year, he improved that number to .733. Through half of 2011, the 27-year-old is posting a .780 OPS for the Red Wings. Martin was the 26th round pick of the New York Mets in 2006. A year later, he and Drew Butera came to the Twins in exchange for Luis Castillo. After hitting .195 in May, Martin was a force in the middle of the Red Wings lineup in June.   

Number 3 – Beloit – Jairo Perez – IF (27-68) .397/.475/.618 with three doubles, four homers and 16 RBI.

Perez signed with the Twins way back in 2006, but it would not be surprising if most Twins fans had never heard of him until this month. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League, and then hit .217 in 2009 in the GCL. Then, he missed all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery. His rehab contributed to him missing the first two months of the 2011 season. He was promoted to Beloit and debuted with a 2-4 effort on June 8th. He has continued to rake ever since. He had multi-hit games in eight of his 20 games played. He walked a lot, hit for power and drove in a ton of runs. He has a .414 BABIP to this point, so it may not be maintainable, but he certain started out well for his new team.

Number 2 – Rochester – Trevor Plouffe – IF/OF (22-71) .310/.388/.648 with five doubles, two triples, five home runs and 13 RBI.

Of course, when Trevor Plouffe was Jairo Perez’s age, he was in his second season in Triple-A Rochester. Unfortunately, the 25 year old is still in Rochester. When Plouffe was sent down (And bashed by the organization) early in June, he could have sulked. Especially when he had to miss a week of games with a bad finger. Instead, he just continued to do what he had done all year, and that is destroy the baseball. He leads the organization with 15 total home runs this season. Plouffe is now playing all around the field for the Red Wings in an attempt to make him more of a utility player, a role many in the organization envisioned for him the last few years.

The SethSpeaks Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month of June is…

Ft. Myers OF Aaron Hicks (23-83) .337/.466/.530 with eleven doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBI.

The team’s #1 prospect is also the choice for the team’s #1 minor league hitter of the month in June. Hicks has been playing very well now for the last two months, showing that he is taking his incredible tools, and they are now becoming skills. One of the reasons that he has been so highly touted, by me and others, is his ability at such a young age to take walks. He walked 20 times in June alone. In June, he knocked a lot of doubles. A perfect illustration of the type of player he is and hopefully will become was the extra innings game this month in which he went 3-3 with three walks and three doubles. Will the home run power come? I think so. He is very strong. His defense is already there. He has recorded many outfield assists this month because of his great arm. Now the key for Hicks, and for many top prospects, will be to become more and more consistent. In his first month in Hi-A Ft. Myers, he posted a .593 OPS. In May, he increased that number to .830. In June, his OPS was 996. Like his OPS, Hicks’ prospect stock continues to rise.

June was another difficult month for most hitters in the Twins system, but there were many that do deserve recognition for great play, many beyond the above list. Wait until tomorrow I post my choices for the June Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Month. There are a lot of very strong options and many were considered!

Please feel free to discuss and ask questions.

SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

29 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Normally I like to post my Top 50 Twins prospect lists before the draft and then following the minor league season in September. I then have updated my top 30 or 40 for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. Life, writing, kid, work and other things have been crazier this year than ever before. No surprise, but it definitely has affected blogging. Of course, I do encourage people to listen to the four half-hour podcasts that I’m involved in each week to get the most recent information if I don’t blog it.

Typically I have done a four or five part announcement of my Top 50 prospect list, but due to time, here it is today, in one installment. It also has a little different look. The below chart provides the ranking, position, age, team(s) and then some brief comments on the players.

Summary – to be honest, this is the most difficult time I have had putting together a prospect ranking for the Twins. This year, it was pretty easy to rank the top eight to ten, but beyond that, it was quite difficult. I think that the top of the Twins prospect list is very good, with some future all-stars and several big-league regulars. Beyond that, there are a bunch of prospects that I can see coming up and being back-of-the-rotation starters, bullpen types, solid big leaguers who can help the team. However, overall, I don’t think that this top 50 is necessarily as strong as it has been in year’s past.

Here are a couple of quick notes before we get started. First, Ben Revere (probably would rank 7th) and Luke Hughes (probably would be in the late teens) are now beyond rookie status (130 at bats), so they not in this list. I also did not include any of the 2011 draft picks. 2nd round pick Madison Boer is the highest selection to sign. Their three first-round picks have not signed yet. I know the question will come up, so I will answer it now. Where would I rank top pick Levi Michael on this list? Sadly, I would probably rank him somewhere between 13 and 17 on this list. Travis Harrison would probably be in the high-20s, and Hudson Boyd would be in the low-20s. I would probably rank Madison Boer in the mid-30s.

The purpose of these lists is really twofold. First, I think that minor leaguers deserve to be recognized for the work they’re doing without notoriety for the most part. Second, for discussion on these prospects.

Yes, I did flip-flop at the top again. With what Aaron Hicks has done over the last two weeks, I am again really excited about his future. He’s always been about the tools, but having seen him work in person for a few days and to see the numbers, I hope that we are seeing those tools turn into skills. It is in no way a knock on Kyle Gibson who continues to be a great prospect who will certainly contribute to the Twins for years. I’ve been touting Liam Hendriks as a top prospect considerable as well, and I will stand by that. I think he can be a Twins starter for years as well. Miguel Sano has a ton of talent and the comparisons to the likes of A-Rod and Miguel Cabrera are exciting. I don’t question the bat, I’m just curious about a few things. Will he be able to play defense adequately anywhere? Can he cut down the strikeouts? That’s why I now have Oswaldo Arcia up at #3. I think that he can be very solid defensively, but he can also hit for average and power. I am intrigued by his promotion to Ft. Myers after his elbow surgery and am very interested in how he does.

My  Twins Minor League Weekly co-host, Travis Aune posted his Top 50 Twins prospects the other day, and I definitely encourage everyone to check that out as well. He and I both love following the Twins minor league system and see most of the same information. We then generate our own thoughts on the players and you will notice that there are many similarities and many differences. Some of the differing opinions mean a big difference in where we rank the players. The reality is neither of us know for sure what these minor leaguers’ careers will amount to. No one does. And that’s the fun of these lists. We can all have different opinions on the various prospects, generate our own opinions, and then over the next several years, we’ll see how it goes.

With all that introduction, I present to you, the SethSpeaks.net Top 50 Twins Prospects for mid-season 2011. I definitely welcome any questions, comments or opinions on my rankings. I also encourage you to post your Top 5, 10, 20 prospect list as well. Feel free to post any comments here. (Note – See www.SethSpeaks.net for the Comments)

Rank

Player

Pos

Age

Team Comments

1

Aaron Hicks

OF

22

Ft. Myers Hicks is now turning his tools into skills. Future All-Star.

2

Kyle Gibson

RHP

23

Rochester Great K rate, GB rate, K:BB rate, so ignore that 3-7 W-L, Future All-Star.

3

Oswaldo Arcia

OF

20

Bel/FM Missed a month and still promoted, impressive bat!

4

Liam Hendriks

RHP

22

New Britain pushed to AA, has been terrific. 7-2, 2.81 ERA. Good K rate.

5

Miguel Sano

IF

18

Elizabethton No question about the bat potential. Bad D, need to be patient.

6

Joe Benson

OF

23

New Britain Streaky hitter, but great D, arm, speed, power, competitive

7

Trevor Plouffe

IF

25

Roch/Minnesota How is his bat not in the big leagues right now??

8

Adrian Salcedo

RHP

20

Beloit Long and lanky, and pitching well for Beloit!

9

Angel Morales

OF

21

Has Not Played Hasn’t played this year, still ranks in top 10. Good power/speed.

10

Rene Tosoni

OF

24

Roch/Minnesota Kubel-Lite has been pushed too fast this year, but terrific talent.

11

Chris Parmelee

1B

23

New Britain Solid all-around hitter, improving 1B. Needs to keep improving.

12

Eddie Rosario

OF

19

Elizabethton Complete package, line drives, HR power, great glove and arm.

13

Carlos Gutierrez

RHP

24

Rochester throws 97, good ERA, too many walks, not enough Ks.

14

David Bromberg

RHP

23

New Britain broken ulna cost him time, but he’s young and has the pitches

15

Danny Ortiz

OF

21

Beloit April Hitter of Month, small guy, but huge power, good D

16

Tom Stuifbergen

RHP

22

Ft. Myers 4 ER in last 43+ IP. Touching 94, great changeup, good SL & CB

17

Pat Dean

LHP

22

Bel/FM missed first six weeks, 7 Beloit starts, now to Ft. Myers.

18

Manuel Soliman

RHP

21

Beloit Still learning to pitch, but he can get some strikeouts. Throws hard!

19

Bobby Lanigan

RHP

24

New Britain Overshadowed in New Britain rotation. Has a great slider!

20

Niko Goodrum

SS

19

Elizabethton Still very raw, but immensely talented, strong, fast.

21

Max Kepler

OF

18

Elizabethton Still very raw, but immensely talented, strong, fast.

22

BJ Hermsen

RHP

21

Beloit has improved since the beginning of season.

23

Brian Dozier

SS

24

FM/NB Overlooked by me, he is a very steady, solid hitter and fielder.

24

Chris Herrmann

C/OF

23

FM/NB Great approach at plate, catcher versatility, very good outfielder.

25

Yangervis Solarte

IF/OF

23

New Britain Hit .350 most of year with pop, would like to see more walks.

26

Steve Singleton

IF

25

NB/Rochester lots of doubles again this season, would like to see more walks.

27

Nate Roberts

OF

22

Beloit On-Base machine. Little power, but a very good, line drive hitter.

28

Danny Rams

C

22

Ft. Myers Approach at plate has improved, still lots of Ks and power potential.

29

Rory Rhodes

3B

19

Elizabethton 6-7 Australian will put up big numbers in E-Town, all-around hitter.

30

Logan Darnell

LHP

22

Bel/FM Lefty with great stuff has pitched well at two levels.

31

Bruce Pugh

RHP

22

FM/NB Rough 1st outing in NB, dominant since. Big fastball!

32

Anderson Hidalgo

3B

22

Ft. Myers Just hits .300 everywhere, probably overlooked prospect.

33

Deolis Guerra

RHP

22

New Britain Terrible as a starter, but so far, so good in the BP! Still young!

34

Lance Ray

OF

21

Beloit Horrible April, steadily improve since. Good all-around  bat.

35

Nick Lockwood

2B

20

Elizabethton Line Drive after line drive. Good 2B, will hit for gap power too.

36

Evan Bigley

OF

24

New Britain Another overlooked prospect, very good all-around.

37

Alex Wimmers

RHP

22

Ft. Myers 1 outing, 6 batters, 6 walks… shut down. We can hope!

38

Scott Diamond

LHP

24

Rochester After being tremendous in ATL system, pretty bad with Red Wings

39

Dakota Watts

RHP

23

Ft. Myers Throws really, really hard.

40

Miguel Munoz

RHP

22

Ft. Myers 1 start, rehabbing elbow since. He has good stuff. Hope for health!

41

Michael Gonzales

1B

23

Beloit Repeating Beloit, lost weight, quicker bat, great power, good AVG

42

James Beresford

IF

22

Ft. Myers 2-time Beloit MVP hit well early. Struggled of late. Great glove!

43

Ryan O’Rourke

LHP

23

Beloit Lefty has pitched well out of BP and now as a starter too!

44

Anthony Slama

RHP

27

Roch/Minnesota Can’t do any more in minors, needs a chance, with someone!

45

Angel Mata

RHP

18

GCL Very young, very talented Dominican.

46

Danny Santana

SS

20

Beloit Speed. Swings hard for little guy. Lots of Es. Did I mention Speed?

47

Brett Jacobson

RHP

24

New Britain When he throws strikes, he can be really good. Not enough strikes.

48

Steve Hirschfeld

RHP

25

New Britain My April and May Twins Min. Lg Pitcher of the Month!

49

Dan Rohlfing

C

22

FM/NB Keeps getting pushed, much improved behind plate and at bat!

50

Matt Bashore

LHP

23

Elizabethton He’s now healthy and can begin the slow trek up the system.

Any other thoughts or questions on the Twins minor leaguers? Feel free to comment here.