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Twins Organizational Depth Chart: Starting Pitchers

6 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.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve pointed out the organizational depth charts for the Twins hitters. We’ve looked at catchers, 3B, 1B, Middle Infielders and Outfielders. Today, I’ll take a look at the starting pitchers. Now, especially as I move to the lower levels, I won’t pretend to know which players will move to the bullpen. Often, due to innings limits, some ‘starters’ will begin the season in the bullpen. Others will begin the season as starters and get moved to the bullpen later due to innings. Frankly, most of the pitchers in the lowest levels have been starters their whole lives and some will be given at least some opportunity. As we saw with Carlos Gutierrez, even guys destined for the bullpen can be given an opportunity to start to work on pitches and gain arm strength.  

That’s OK, though, because the biggest purpose of this was to provide the organization’s depth. I need to reiterate that these are just 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  

Carl Pavano (RHP), Francisco Liriano (LHP), Scott Baker (RHP), Jason Marquis (RHP), Nick Blackburn (RHP)

Gardy has announced Pavano as his Opening Day starter, an obvious choice based on last season. He’s been solid in his 2 ½ seasons with the Twins, most important he has provided a ton of innings despite an alarmingly low strikeout rate. There’s no question that Francisco Liriano has the best stuff of anyone on the staff, but if he can’t find control of his fastball, it will be another frustrating season. It is a contract season for Liriano, so the goal has to be for him to have a strong season. In 2011, Scott Baker was easily the Twins top starting pitcher. He was pitching the best he had in his career, until elbow problems curtailed his season. Nick Blackburn averaged 200 innings pitched his first two seasons while posting solid ERAs. He’s been pretty bad ever since getting the long-term contract. Unfortunately, the contract has given him many opportunities and likely will continue to do so. He misses very few bats, so we can just hope that a lot of baseballs get hit right at a defender. Many Twins fans are down on the Jason Marquis signing, and although I’m not a bit fan of the contract, he has actually had a pretty solid big league career.

Rochester Red Wings

Liam Hendriks (RHP), Scott Diamond (LHP), Aaron Thompson (LHP), Jeff Manship (RHP), Deinys Suarez (RHP)

We saw Hendriks and Diamond late in the 2011 season. Hendriks was the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year and likely needs another half-season. Diamond had his moments, but overall 2011 was the first year in his career that he really struggled. He says he has made some adjustments, so we’ll see how it goes. Manship came up with the Twins and his first major league victory came on the final weekend of the 2009 season, when the Twins needed to sweep the Royals. He was supposed to be in the Twins bullpen last season, but he was hurt the entire season. He likely will pitch in the Twins bullpen, but they may have him start in Rochester first. Aaron Thompson is intriguing, at least. He will turn 25 years old later this month. He debuted with the Pirates last season, but in 7.2 innings, he gave up 13 hits, walked six and struck out just one. He has just six AAA games under his belt, and his AA career numbers are 15-37 with a 5.03 ERA in 96 games (80 starts). Deinys Suarez signed with the Twins last spring. The Cuban defector split time between New Britain and Rochester, not pitching particularly well either place.

New Britain Rock Cats

David Bromberg (RHP), Logan Darnell (LHP), Tom Stuifbergen (RHP), Marty Popham (RHP), Dan Osterbrock (LHP), Bobby Lanigan (RHP)

Bromberg’s 2011 season was unfortunately a lost season. He began the season in Twins spring training, but he went back to New Britain, had a line drive break his arm, spent a lot of time rehabbing, came back too quickly, shut it down, worked hard and then found out the Twins had removed him from the 40 man roster. However, he will be just 24 years old throughout the 2012 season, so don’t forget about him. Logan Darnell was a 2010 draft pick who started last year in Beloit and got all the way to New Britain. Stuifbergen had a solid season in Ft. Myers, had a terrific one-start showing in Rochester, and then was the pitcher of the year in the World Cup tournament that his Netherlands team won. He was then knighted in his homeland. Sir Tom Stuifbergen should spent this season with the Rock Cats. Dan Osterbrock missed most of last season with shoulder problems which was unfortunate because he was coming off of a very good season in 2010. Bobby Lanigan was in the Rock Cats rotation all throughout the 2011 season. Some think his stuff (specifically his slider) will play very well out of the bullpen, and we may see some of that this year too. Marty Popham was selected by the Twins in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. He has pitched in Hi-A, AA and AAA each of the past two seasons. He should spend this season in AA.

Ft. Myers Miracle

BJ Hermsen (RHP), Pat Dean (LHP), Adrian Salcedo (RHP), Alex Wimmers (RHP), Manuel Soliman (RHP), Ryan O’Rourke (LHP), AJ Achter (RHP)

This is certainly an intriguing group of pitching prospects. If not for Liam Hendriks’ terrific 2011 season, my starting pitcher of the year choice would have been BJ Hermsen who pitched very well in Beloit and followed it up with a solid performance in Ft. Myers (minus a rough final start). Alex Wimmers had a rough 2011 season too in Ft. Myers, but it ended with the seven inning no hitter. Assuming he has his control issues under control, he could move quickly. Adrian Salcedo has long been a top ten Twins prospect, and he’ll move up to the Miracle. Manuel Soliman was the innings-eater for the Snappers last year despite only having pitched now for three years. He is an intriguing prospect, but for him to remain a starter, he will need to improve his secondary pitches. Pat Dean is definitely a solid prospect  but like so many others, he missed a lot of time with injury in 2011. His season started about six weeks late, but he still pitched for three teams (including a late-season spot start in New Britain). Ryan O’Rourke is a tough, competitive left-hander with a nasty slider. When I saw him pitch in Beloit last summer, my comment was that I didn’t think big league left-handed hitters could hit that slider. He was successful as a starter, but he could also become a very good relief pitcher, so it will be interesting to see how his career progresses. The game I saw AJ Achter start last year, he was tremendous. He touches 90-91 with the fastball, but he has a terrific changeup and a curveball that had good bite.

Beloit Snappers

Tim Shibuya (RHP), Madison Boer (RHP), Matt Summers (LHP), Matt Bashore (LHP), Tim Atherton (RHP), Matt Tomshaw (LHP), Derek Christensen (RHP) 

Tim Shibuya was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year and threw seven innings of a no-hitter for the E-Twins. A smart pitcher with a full mix of pitches, he should adapt well to the Midwest League. Madison Boer and Matt Summers both began their pro careers in the E-Town bullpen. Each unsurprisingly dominated. Boer struggled upon his promotion to Beloit. It is likely the Twins will have each start. I believe Boer will move to the bullpen, but I think Summers can stick as a starter. Matt Bashore was a first-round pick in 2009 and has pitched very little since. However, reports indicate that in Instructs last fall, he was looking really good and throwing as high as 93 mph again. He could be one to watch in 2012. Matt Tomshaw was the Twins 43rd round pick just last year. Like many, he was given a shot with the Ft. Myers Miracle after a couple appearances with the GCL Twins. Like few, he was very successful for the Miracle. My guess, however, is that he will step back to Beloit and start. Derek Christensen had a terrific season as a starter with the E-Twins. The side-winder may eventually move to the bullpen but his combination of deception, fastball and slider make him a very intriguing prospect. Tim Atherton was with the Twins organization a few years ago as an infielder. The team let him go, but he came back in 2011 as a pitcher, and he pitched very well. He has all the pitches, but all will need to further develop.

Elizabethton Twins

Tyler Jones (RHP), Corey Kimes (LHP), Brett Lee (LHP), Chris Mazza (RHP), Angel Mata (RHP), Hung-yi Chen (RHP)

There are plenty of pitchers from the 2011 draft and from last year’s GCL team that will not be heading to Beloit to start the season. Tyler Jones was the 11th round pick a year ago out of LSU. He’s got great upside, throws hard, good breaking pitches. Kimes is a four year college guy who should probably be up in Beloit due to age, but he got hurt last year shortly after signing. Brett Lee and Chris Mazza both signed very near the deadline and didn’t pitch in 2011. Angel Mata and Hung-yi Chen were the two most intriguing pitching prospects from last year’s GCL team. Both have good stuff and are young.

GCL Twins

Hudson Boyd (RHP), Trent Higginbotham (RHP), Kuo-hua Lo (RHP), Austin Malinowski (LHP)

Boyd and Higginbotham are two very high ceiling high school picks from last year. The Twins had to go over-slot to sign their second supplemental first round pick from Ft. Myers. He touched 96-97 at times last year. Higginbotham was a late-round pick but the Twins went way over slot to sign him as well. He touches 94-95, and some believe he can be a top of the rotation starter or a dominant closer. Time will tell for both of them. Lo signed last year from Taiwan, and he’s fairly advanced for his very young age. He also has hit 94 mph on a radar gun. He debuted in Instructional League last year, and will likely be with the GCL Twins in 2012. Malinowski was the Twins 16th round pick out of Centennial High School (MN). He gave up a scholarship to Arizona to sign at the last minute with the Twins.   

TOP THREE (OR SO…) PROSPECTS 

1.)    Liam Hendriks, 2.) Kyle Gibson, 3.) Alex Wimmers, 4.) Adrian Salcedo, 5.) Tom Stuifbergen, 6.) Manuel Soliman, 7.) Hudson Boyd, 8.) BJ Hermsen, 9.) Pat Dean, 10.) Matt Summers 

SUMMARY  

The Twins starting pitching was really bad last year. That was a combination of struggles, injury and poor defense. For the Twins to be successful, Carl Pavano needs to throw 220 innings with a league-average ERA and WHIP. Francisco Liriano will have to pull his regain control of his fastball and show a little bit of self-confidence. Scott Baker needs to pitch like he did the six weeks before he got hurt. All three need to stay healthy. I personally think Jason Marquis will be just fine. He’s not going to post a sub-3 or sub-4 ERA, but I think he can do what Pavano did in 2011. Blackburn needs to pitch like he did his first two seasons… or so badly that Liam Hendriks gets called up. Frankly, there’s not much else waiting in the wings, ready to contribute right away as a starter. Manship can be solid, but I think the team has moved him to the bullpen in their minds. Diamond will have had to improved quite a bit to say he’s ready (which is possible).

That doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare though. There are some solid pitching prospects throughout the minors. Kyle Gibson should be back in 2013 (if not late in 2012). Alex Wimmers could move very quickly as well. There are several pitchers that have the potential to be a decent #3 pitcher, if all goes well on the way up. The Twins have been successful with “Twins-like” pitchers. Guys like Hermsen, Salcedo, Stuifbergen and Shibuya fit that mold. The Twins have added some power arms in the last draft or two, especially in 2011’s draft with Boyd, Higginbotham, Jones, Boer, Summers, Corey Williams and others. It will be interesting to see how they develop. 

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 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year

5 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Note – Be sure to listen at 10:00 tonight to the final episode of Twins Minor League Weekly where Travis Aune and I will be talking about everything throughout the Twins minor league season. We’ll discuss our choices as top players for each team and in the organization, how each team did, and many of the players that will be back next year. Check it out here at 10!

As games finished on Labor Day in the Twins minor league system, the Twins minor league season came to an end. New Britain had an opportunity to make the playoffs had Reading lost and the Rock Cats won. Unfortunately, the R-Phillies won their game. The Elizabethton Twins were the lone playoff team in the organization, although they lost in the first round. It was a disappointing season in the Twins farm system. However, there are a lot of guys who had very good seasons. Today, I’ll present for you my choices for the Twins Minor League Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year in three separate blog entries. We will start with the Relief Pitchers. Feel free to debate them, or ask any questions you may have in the Comments section:

Starting Pitcher of the Year

#3 – Adrian Salcedo – Beloit Snappers (6-6, 2.93 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 135 IP, 131 H, 27 BB, 92 K)

The 20 year old Top 10 Twins prospect had a very good 2011 season. He made 20 starts and pitched well, although his final start pushed his ERA above three. He had reached his innings limit and moved to the bullpen where he gave up just one earned run in 13.2 innings. Salcedo is young and very talented. Like that kicker from The Replacements, he “wiry.” He will be a good one!

#2 – BJ Hermsen – Beloit Snappers/Ft. Myers Miracle (13-8, 3.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 151.1 IP, 165 H, 37 BB, 101 K)

Hermsen was the Twins 6th round pick in 2008 out of Masonville, Iowa, where he was a four-sport star in high school. At 6-5, Hermsen certainly has room to grow, but he works hard and that work really paid off this year. As Salcedo reached his innings limit, Hermsen was at his finest and earned his promotion to the Ft. Myers Miracle (11-7, 3.10 ERA with Snappers). He made five starts for the Miracle and in the middle three, he gave up a total of three earned runs in 18 innings. His first and last starts of the season were rough, but doesn’t take away from a tremendous 2011 season for Hermsen.

Starting Pitcher of the Year – Liam Hendriks – New Britain Rock Cats/Rochester Red Wings (12-6, 3.36 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 139.1 IP, 137 H, 21 BB, 111 K)

For the second straight year, Liam Hendriks is my choice for the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Note – if you read the comments, I was told I was an idiot. I’m used to that.). I talk a lot about having seen Angels’ OF Mike Trout in Beloit last year (playing for Cedar Rapids). Hendriks began his 2010 season with the Snappers (Low A). After six starts (1.32 ERA), he moved up to Ft. Myers where he was their top pitcher 1.93 ERA). In 2010, he was 8-4 with a 1.74 ERA. In 108.2 innings, he gave up just 79 hits, walked just 12 and struck out 105! He began the 2011 season with New Britain. He went 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA before pitching in both the Futures Game and the Eastern League All Star game. He then moved up to AAA Rochester where he has gone 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA in nine starts. In AAA, he has three walks and 30 strikeouts. A tremendous control pitcher, Hendriks is also very competitive. The 22 year old Australia native missed the entire 2008 season with a spinal cord injury, but he has been terrific since then. He has a tough delivery that has been described to me as “It’s just Liam, there is no comparison.” That is why I am excited to see him make his Major League Debut on Tuesday night at Target Field against the White Sox.   

Feel free to discuss in the Comments section.

SethSpeaks.net June Twins Minor League Pitchers of the Month

4 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Yesterday, we looked at some of the top hitters in the Twins minor league system in June and named Aaron Hicks of the Ft. Myers Miracle as the hitter of the month. Today, I want to share with you some of the top pitchers in the Twins minor league system in the month of June. We have a new name at the top of the list this month. Steve Hirschfeld was my choice for Twins minor league pitcher of the month in both April and May. He had a very solid June too, but was just honorable mention. There are a couple of the same names in the Top 5 again, but the top three are new names.

I’ll name the top 3 relievers and the top 5 pitchers, but I’ll start with just a few honorable mentions:

  • New Britain – Steve Hirschfeld – 5 GS, 2-2, 3.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 30.0 IP, 32 H, 10 BB, 16 K
  • Ft. Myers – Logan Darnell – 5 GS, 2-1, 2.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 30.2 IP, 33 H, 7 BB, 8 K
  • Beloit – BJ Hermsen – 4 G, 3 GS, 3-0, 2.42 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 22.1 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 15 K
  • Ft. Myers – Matt Tone – 9 G, 1-1, 1 save, 1.20 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 15 IP, 9 H, 12 BB, 17 K

Let’s start with the Top 3 Relief Pitchers:

Number 3 – Rochester – Anthony Slama – 10 G, 1-1, 1 save, 1.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 K

For the second straight month, Slama is the #3 reliever in the organization. He actually spent about a week with the Twins and pitched on the last day of May and June 4. Combined, he threw 2.1 scoreless innings for the Twins. He returned to Rochester and was again very good. Although one of the two runs (and three of the five walks) he gave up came on the final day or June, he has been pitching very well. In his previous four outings, he struckout 13 in 5.2 innings. Anthony Slama deserves to be in the big leagues, for someone.

Number 2 – Beloit – Clinton Dempster – 8 G, 1-0, 2 saves, 0.77 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 14 K

Dempster was the #2 choice for reliever of the month in May too. It was another tremendous month for him. The lefty gave up just one run in the entire month. He was incredibly dominant. The 16th round pick in 2010 continues to beg the question, Why is he still in Beloit? However, pitching has been the story for the 2011 Snappers, and with such strong starting pitching, it has been great to have someone so dominant at the backend of games.  

And the SethSpeaks.net Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month of June is:

Rochester Red Wings – Andrew Albers – 9 G, 1-0, 1 saves, 1.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 18 H, 2 BB, 19 K

Albers asked for an received a tryout, and it is fair to say it went well as he signed with the Twins shortly before spring training. Although he began the year at Extended Spring Training, the already-25-year-old lefty first pitched for the Miracle on April 13. Since then, he has really been terrific. On the year, he is 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA and seven walks and 41 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. Albers was the 10th round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2008. He missed all of 2009 with injury, was released, and last year pitched in 40 games for Quebec in the independent Can Am League. The Canadian, who went to college at Kentucky, is definitely taking advantage of this new opportunity.

With that, let’s jump to the starting pitchers. Here are the Top 5 Starting Pitchers for June:

Number 5 – Beloit – Adrian Salcedo – 4 GS, 1-0, 2.30 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 27.1 IP, 20 H, 4 BB, 24 K

Salcedo is just 20 years old, but he has been terrific for the Snappers in 2011. He is 5-3 with a 2.88 ERA. He was even better in June. In fact, his worst outing may have been his 0.2 inning stint in the Midwest League All-Star game in which he gave up two runs. Typically, Salcedo doesn’t walk many, but it was also good to see him get more strikeouts in June. He was #4 on this list last month. Although he falls to #5, he actually pitched much better.

Number 4 – New Britain – Liam Hendriks – 5 GS, 3-0, 2.03 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 31 IP, 36 H, 4 BB, 23 K

Hendriks is in the Top 5 for the third straight month. The 22-year-old Australian continues to get better with each start. With a win on July 3, he is now 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA on the season. Like most on this list, Hendriks does not hurt himself with walks. He will give up some hits, but he is able to work out of situations. He began June with seven shutout innings. He had a hiccup and gave up four runs in five innings in mid-June. He gave up one earned run in his other three starts in the month. He jumped from 5 to 4 on this list since last month. In my Top Twins prospects list, he jumped from #6 to #4 since the beginning of the season.  

Number 3 – Beloit – Pat Dean – 4 GS, 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 17 H, 4 BB, 27 K

Dean was my choice during the offseason as the breakout pitching prospect for 2011 in the Twins minor league system. Unfortunately, his season did not start on time due to some shoulder concerns. He made his 2011 debut with the Snappers on May 15th. He was at full strength for June and to no surprise, he was very good. So good, in fact, that his final start of June was supposed to be with the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, he did make one last start in Beloit knowing he would be promoted following the game. On June 11, Dean threw 6.2 scoreless innings, walking two and striking out nine. He was removed from the game having not allowed a hit. In his start before that, he threw six shutout innings and gave up six hits, a walk and struck out nine. It was a great month for Dean.

Number 2 – Beloit – Ryan O’Rourke – 7 G, 4 GS, 2-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 22.2 IP, 16 H, 2 BB, 29 K

Last month, O’Rourke was an honorable mention selection as a relief pitcher. He began June with two relief outings, then made two starts. Then he made one more relief appearance before the All Star break. He came back from the break as the second-half opening night starter for the Snappers. As you can see, he has transitioned to the rotation well. The key stat from his June stat line has to be the two walks and 29 strikeouts. The left was the Twins 12th round pick a year ago. By the way, be sure to check out his blog, The Daily ScoreBored.

And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:

Ft. Myers – Tom Stuifbergen – 5 GS, 3-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 25 H, 7 BB, 16 K 

I mentioned several times that Stuifbergen ended June having allowed just four earned runs over his previous 43+ innings. Obviously that streak began in mid-May when he was back at full strength from a sore shoulder. Stuifbergen has taken large strides forward in 2011. His fastball velocity has increased from the 88-91 range to the 90-93 range and has even touched 95 at times. He has one of the best changeups in the organization. He has a slider and continues to work on a curve ball. Although his first July start did not go as he would hope, Stuifbergen is definitely making a name for himself.

Congratulations to the three choices for players of the month, all from the Ft. Myers Miracle, OF Aaron Hicks, LHP Andrew Albers and RHP Tom Stuifbergen. But Congratulations to all of those players mentioned in these two articles on a great month of June. We saw many transactions in June, and I would anticipate a few more in July.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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.

Twins Top Ten Prospect Review

14 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Before we start, a final reminder. It is the last day to enter the below contest:

World Series Contest

I am going to be holding some contests here and on Twitter and Facebook over the next week or two thanks to A&E who has now come out with “A&E Minnesota Twins Vintage World Series Films DVD.”  It includes both the 1987 and 1991 teams! The ’87 team beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games. The ’91 World Series was the first that had two worst-to-first teams as the Twins and the Atlanta Braves played one of the greatest seven-game series ever, including Jack Morris’s amazing Game 7. So be sure to look here and other places for some contests for a free copy.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at my pre-season Top 30 Twins prospect list and see how they are doing through just over two months of the season. Some have impressed. Some have disappointed. And, seemingly to keep up with the big league club, there have been a bunch of injuries. This list was compiled and presented in the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook -2011, after looking at a ton of stats and reading a bunch of scouting reports. It is a great example of how, with prospects, you just never know. Let’s get started:

  1. Kyle Gibson – RHP – Last night, Gibson gave up two runs in six innings, but fell to 3-6. However, he has a 3.79 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. In 71.1 innings, he has given up 71 hits, 17 walks and struck out 74. Many fans want the 23 year old to be pitching in the big leagues today. Honestly, I believe that if the Twins really needed a starting pitcher today, he could come up and fill in adequately. It’s exciting to see him striking out more than a batter per inning while still exhibiting tremendous control. He will likely be with the Twins this year, maybe even around the All Star break.
  2. Miguel Sano – 3B – Sano has been in Ft. Myers working out with the Extended Spring Training. He will likely soon be reporting to Elizabethton. After hitting .291/.338/.446 with the GCL Twins. Sano recently turned 18 years old. He is listed at 6-3 and 195 pounds, but he is bigger than that. He has huge legs and a hand shake that I have to assume rivals that of Adrian Peterson. Again, I know a lot of people want this Dominican Bonus Baby to be playing at a higher level, but there is no rush. Last year in the GCL, he struck out 43 times in 148 at bats with just 10 walks. This guy’s ceiling is up there with the likes of Miguel Cabrera, but let’s have some patience and let that power develop.
  3. Aaron Hicks – OF –  To look at Aaron Hicks’ .268 batting average this season in Ft. Myers only tells a small part of the story. Since May 1st, he is hitting .305 with 11 doubles and two homers. His season on base percentage is an impressive .375. Aaron Hicks has amazing tools. He has made some great catches in centerfield for the Ft. Myers Miracle this season, and has several assists due to a very strong and accurate arm. While he continues to walk, his strikeout rate has dropped some as well. To understand fully how much talent and athleticism he has requires actually seeing him practice and play. He is going to be a very good big leaguer. Keep the faith, and keep the patience.
  4. Joe Benson – OF – Benson got off to a very fast start this year in New Britain and then struggled from late April until mid-May. At that time, Benson went on a run that saw him hit .484/.556/.774 between May 24 and June 2. And then Twins doctors found something in his knee, so he had it scoped and will likely miss three weeks of action. Benson is ready defensively. He is a very good outfielder with great range and a big arm. In terms of speed, only Ben Revere is probably faster than him in the organization. Although he is not on pace to match his 27 home runs from 2010, his slugging percentage is better. Strikeouts continue to be what he needs to watch. After striking out every third plate appearance a year ago, he is striking out in one of four plate appearances so far this year.
  5. Alex Wimmers – RHP – After signing with the Twins last year in August, the two-time Big 10 Pitcher of the Year went 2-0 with a 0-57 ERA in 15.2 innings for the Miracle. He gave up just six hits, walked five and struck out 23. He returned to the Miracle to start this season, and it took him just five batters to walk as many as he walked last year, and a sixth batter to surpass it. And he hasn’t pitched for the Miracle since. The team immediately sent him to Extended Spring Training where he continues to work. He entered spring training with a hamstring injury. My hope is that the leg injury affected his mechanics and that he can get it back. That was two months ago, and he still isn’t back. So, hopefully he can get it back soon.
  6. Liam Hendriks – RHP – I wrote last week that Hendriks is now in the discussion, for me, of top Twins prospects. Still just 22 years old and with only 12 starts last year in Ft. Myers, the Twins decided that Hendriks was ready for Double-A. He has responded so far by going 6-2 with a 2.63 ERA. In 65 innings, he has allowed 58 hits, walked 14 and struck out 61. The Australian has thrown a Quality Start in eight of his last nine starts. In his last three outings, he has given up just two runs in 20 innings. He is a very smart pitcher, very competitive and I think has a chance to be very good.
  7. Angel Morales – OF – The Twins drafted Morales in the 3rd round in the 2007 draft out of high school in Puerto Rico, and he is still just 21 years old. Last year between Beloit and Ft. Myers, he hit .280/.362/.405 with 24 doubles, ten triples and five home runs. He also stole 29 bases. He is a very good outfielder with a strong arm. However, it is his arm that has caused him to miss all of the 2011 season. He fought elbow pain in spring, and they shut him down and had him rehab. He had a setback two weeks ago, and there was thought that he would need Tommy John surgery. When he got to the surgery, it was determined that they would just clean his elbow with arthroscopic surgery. This is obviously great news. I talked to GCL Twins coach and former big leaguer Milt Cuyler this spring training. We were watching Morales stand in the batter’s box against some bullpen pitching. He raved about Morales’s balance and approach. No one in the organization questions his power. Hopefully he can rehab and play some winter league ball in preparation for spring training.
  8. Ben Revere – OF – Twins fans have definitely already seen the best of Ben Revere. He can be a catalyst at the top of the lineup. He can hit a ton of singles and steal second at will. His range in centerfield is tremendous and he has shown the glove to play all three outfield spots. In 81 big league at bats, he his hit .272 and has just a .306 batting average with a .284 slugging percentage. In 132 at bats in AAA Rochester, he hit .303/.338/.364 with five extra base hits. We’ve also seen proof of the arm that we’ve heard so much about. We have seen the value and the excitement that the speed of Ben Revere brings to the table. We have also seen signs of why I may not have been crazy to have him as the Twins 8th prospect (many thought it was too low).
  9. Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Seeing Adrian Salcedo throw in the  bullpen, it is easy to see why scouts would be excited about his potential. He is long (6-4) and lean (175… if that). He has long arms and tremendous delivery. He is a terrific athlete as well, having seen him basically sprint the mile run. Still just 20 years old, Salcedo has been the Snappers most consistent start this season. Overall, he is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA. In 72.2 innings, he has given up 68 hits, walked 18 and struck out 51. He has work to do, to be sure, but he is a very exciting prospect.
  10. Oswaldo Arcia – OF – You always have to be a little cautious of the numbers that hitters put up when they play at Elizabethton. In 2010, Arcia was the Appalachian League Player of the Year after he hit .375/.424/.672 with 21 doubles, seven triples and 14 home runs for the E-Twins. He moved up to Beloit this spring and put on an offensive display in April. He hit .352/.420/.704 with eight doubles and five home runs in just 71 at bats. However, he went on the Disabled List on May 1 with a sore elbow. A week later, he had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow and is expected to miss two months. To watch him take batting practice in spring training was impressive. Everything he hit was solid. Line drives and home runs to all parts of the field. Of course, every time he came out of the cage, he would grab his left elbow. Arcia is compactly built and very strong. Hopefully he can get back to the Snappers and continue to mash.

To see my choices for 11-50, check out SethSpeaks.net, and for much, much more on these prospects and over 100 more Twins prospects, pick up a copy of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2011.

Here are a couple more minor league notes:

  • LHP Pat Dean, the team’s 3rd round pick a year ago out of Boston College, missed the first six weeks of the season. He was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week last week. On June 6, he threw six shutout innings. Then on June 11, he left the game with two outs in the 7th inning, having not yet allowed a hit in the game. He had issued two walks and struck out nine. So, for that week, he went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. In 12.2 innings, he gave up six hits, walked three and struck out 18. Not too shabby.
  • There are several Minnesotan in the Twins minor leagues including 25thround pick last week, AJ Petterson, the former Gopher SS. Here are the others:
    • Derek McCallum hit just .196/.276/.262 in 107 at bats in Beloit, but he was recently promoted to Ft. Myers. There, he has hit .241 in 29 at bats.
    • Nate Hanson was hitting .267/.327/.383 with 12 doubles and four home runs in Ft. Myers. Last week, he was promoted to AA New Britain where he has just one hit in 10 at bats. The hit was a double.
    • Matt Schuld is from Plymouth and pitched at St. Thomas. He is now 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA in 59.1 innings for the Ft. Myers Miracle.
    • Schuld’s former college teammate, 3B Roy Larson, is working in Extended Spring Training this season and will most likely report to Elizabethton.
    • Mark Dolenc went to Minnesota State- Mankato. He is in his second year at Double-A new Britain. He is hitting .257/.313/.337 with seven doubles, two triples and a home run in 175 at bats. He also has nine stolen bases.
    • Cole DeVries had a rough 2010 season between New Britain and Rochester. He began this season in New Britain where he went 0-0 with nine saves and a 2.28 ERA. In 27.2 innings, he gave up just 17 hits, walked five and struck out 33. He was promoted to Rochester where he has continued to pitch well. In six games (9.1 innings), he has give up just eight hits, walked four and struck out 12.
    • Andy Baldwin is 28 years old and spent the last three seasons with Tacoma, the Mariners’ AAA affiliate. The Duluth native has made ten starts for the Rochester Red Wings and is 3-5 with a 4.97 ERA. In 58 innings, he has 13 walks and 44 strikeouts.
  • The Twins signed 27 year old Cuban defector Dennis Suarez. He made an appearance in an Extended Spring Training game. Now he is starting for the New Britain Rock Cats. In his two starts, he has gone 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA. In his most recent start, he took the loss despite allowing just one run in seven innings. It will be interesting to see how he responds to Double-A and if he gets pushed forward.
  • A year ago, 2B Steve Singleton led the Twins organization with 43 doubles, all in New Britain. He began this season with the Rock Cats again and has had two stints with the Rochester Red Wings. He has 17 AA doubles, and now has seven more AAA doubles meaning he is currently on pace to eclipse 50 doubles this year.
  • Brian Dozier was my choice for Twins minor league hitter of the month of May. He was remarkably consistent through the first two months and in early June was finally summoned to play in Double-A New Britain. He went 3-8 in his first three games with the Rock Cats. Unfortunately in that third game, he was also hit in the face with a pitch. He had a fractured sinus bone. After seeing a specialist, it was determined that surgery was not needed. The doctor said that he could play as soon as the swelling goes down. He hopes within the next week.
  • Tom Stuifbergen first made a name for himself when he threw four shutout innings for Team Netherlands in the WBC a couple years ago. He is currently 2-4 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts with the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, after coming back slowly from some shoulder discomfort, Stuifbergen has been terrific. In his past four starts, he has given up two runs in 24.2 innings. He is now consistently hitting 92 and 93 mph with his fastball, touching 94-95 at times. He has a four-pitch mix, but his changeup is tremendous.
  • Be sure to check out last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly for much more on the Twins minor league system.  

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