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Twins Organizational Depth Chart: Starting Pitchers

6 Feb

also available at –  

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.   


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 


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 or leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!

Analyzing the Twins Top 20 Prospects

20 Jan

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The Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2012 is now available through 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.’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!

Twins Top Moments of 2011

27 Dec

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99 losses. Confusing injuries and rehabilitation stories. Players traded, and players lost via free agency. 2011 was a really tough season for the Twins organization. However, there were a few positive moments during the season as well.

Blyleven to the Hall of Fame

  • Early in January, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Bert Blyleven was finally to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The Twins had some special nights for him, and in August he was inducted.

20 Year Anniversary of the 1991 World Series

  • Also in August, the Twins celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the greatest World Series of all-time, that 1991 thriller against the Atlanta Braves. Many of the Twins players from that roster were in attendance for the reunion. It’s always great to see so many of those players coming back.


  • On May 4 in Chicago, Francisco Liriano was wild, and yet he completed a no-hitter against the White Sox. The final out came on a line drive to Matt Tolbert off the bat of Adam Dunn. Liriano was pitching to stay in the rotation at the time, and despite all the walks, the no-hitter continued to show how good his stuff can be.
  • On July 6, Jeff Manship made his first start for the Rochester Red Wings. Due to injury, it was his first appearance in seven weeks. Manship threw four no-hit innings. He was followed by Jake Stevens who threw three no-hit innings. Kyle Waldrop gave up no hits in the 8th innings, and Jim Hoey finished the job with no hits in the 9th inning.
  • On July 16, Tim Shibuya, the Twins 23rd round pick a month earlier, started for the Elizabethton Twins. The right-hander threw seven no-hit innings. He was followed by 31st round pick, RHP Garrett Jewell, who threw a no-hit 8th inning. 7th round pick, lefty Steven Gruver, struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the no-hitter.
  • September 3, Alex Wimmers tossed a seven-inning no hitter for the Ft. Myers Miracle. His season started with a six batter faced, six walk outing. He was shut down for a couple of months and brought back slowly. But to end the season in such fashion was a nice way to end a rough season.

Major League Debuts

  • April 1 – Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 1-4 on Opening Day against the Blue Jays.
  • April 28 – Rene Tosoni went 2-4 with an RBI in his debut against the Rays.
  • June 4 – Brian Dinkelman went 1-3 with a walk. In his first plate appearance, he was hit by a pitch. His walk was intentional. The Twins beat the Royals 7-2.
  • July 18 – Scott Diamond was called up for a spot start in the second game of a double header against Cleveland. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings.
  • September 5 – Kyle Waldrop gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 1.2 innings against the White Sox. The first inning he pitched was scoreless.
  • September 6 – Joe Benson led off for the Twins and went 0-3 after walking in his first plate appearance in a 3-0 loss to the White Sox.
  • September 6 – Chris Parmelee batted fifth and went 2-4 in the same game.
  • September 6 – Liam Hendriks made the start for the Twins in this game. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks in seven innings.

The Killebrew Tribute

  • Obviously one of the saddest moments during the 2011 season was the death of legendary Twins great Harmon Killebrew. However, listening and reading the stories of what a great man he was made us almost forget what a great baseball player he was. The Twins had a tribute for Killebrew on May 26. It was great to see so many former players there. Mudcat Grant was again amazing with his rendition of What a Wonderful World. However, the highlight had to be the speech of Nita Killebrew. Her poise and strength in that moment were amazing. Her words were inspirational. It was a great tribute to a great man.

Nathan Sets Twins Saves Mark

  • On August 10, Joe Nathan set the Twins all-time saves record by recording his 255th save. He surpassed Rick Aguilera’s mark of 254.

Thome Hits 600th Home Run

  • On August 15, the Twins traded Delmon Young to the Tigers in the afternoon. That was fairly big news that day, but fortunately, there was much bigger news coming later that night. Through his first two at bats, Jim Thome was 1-2 with a single. In the 6th inning, he hit home run #599 against the Tigers in Detroit. For many, it takes awhile to hit that 600th home run. Thome’s came just one inning later with two runners on against lefty Daniel Schlereth.

Draft Picks Sign

  • Within the final hour before the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks, the Twins signed all three of their first round picks. Levi Michael was the 30th overall pick and signed for $1.175 million (about $86,000 over slot). Supplemental first-rounder, Hudson Boyd, the 55th overall pick, signed for a $1 million bonus (about $350,000 over slot). Travis Harrison, the 50th overall pick in the draft, signed for $1.05 million (about $350,000 over slot). The Twins signed several other players with big potential on that final day, including Minnesota’s top high school player in 2011, LHP Austin Malinowski (the team’s 16th round pick).

Award Winners

  • Brian Dozier and Liam Hendriks were named the Twins minor league hitter and pitcher of the year, respectively.
  • Eddie Rosario was named the player of the year in the Appalachian League after putting up monstrous numbers including 21 home runs, one better than teammate Miguel Sano. Teammate Tim Shibuya was the pitcher of the year in the Appalachian League.

Terry Ryan Reclaims the GM Role

  • On November 7, the Twins announced the Bill Smith was being relieved of his duties as GM of the Twins and that former GM Terry Ryan would resume the duties in an interim role. The question is how long “interim” might be.

It was a tough year, and when trying to come up with positives from 2011, it was quite difficult to make it even this lengthy. I’m certain I missed some things. Were there any other positives from the 2011 Twins season that you can think of? Help me out here!!

TwinsCentric Notes

2nd Preliminary Top 50 Minnesota Twins Prospects

20 Dec

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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!!

Wimmers Tosses Miracle No-Hitter

3 Sep

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It has been a rough year for the Twins, but it has also been a rough year for the Twins minor league system. However, once in a while, there is a story that just feels right. Alex Wimmers throwing a seven-inning no-hitter to give the Ft. Myers Miracle a 1-0 win in Game 2 of a double-header is one of those stories.

The Twins used their first-round pick in 2010 to take the two-time reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Alex Wimmers, out of Ohio State. The right-hander waited until early August to sign, but he got a little bit of pro experience pitching in the Florida State League for the Ft. Myers Miracle. In four starts, he went 15.2 innings. He gave up just one run on six hits, he walked five and struck out 23. He was 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA. Most scouts said that Wimmers was the pitcher from the 2010 draft closest to the big leagues due to his control, his change up and his mental game.

This spring, he reported to camp and had a hamstring injury early. It affected his camp, but it wasn’t long before he developed an inability to throw strikes. Late in spring training, I heard that he had developed the yips. Then he was named the 5th starter for the Miracle, which surprised a lot of people. Until he made his first start, and it didn’t go so well. He faced six batters, and walked all six of them. Most of the pitches were nowhere near the plate. It was a complete surprise. The Twins wisely immediately shut him down, got him healthy, and then had him work with a sports psychologist. That first start came April 11. He did not return to the Miracle until the middle of July.

Since then, he has had hit moments. Good and bad. He has still walked some, almost one every other inning, but he also has 33 strikeouts in 36.2 innings and opponents are hitting just .194 against him. In other words, he is getting there.

The Ft. Myers Miracle won the first game of today’s double header today against Jupiter. Edgar Ibarra went seven shutout innings and gave up just five hits and one walk. Angel Morales hit his third home run and drove in two runs. Danny Rams hit his 7th home run and drove in four runs in the 7-0 win.

Wimmers got one run of support in Game 2. Aaron Hicks’ fifth triple drove in Nick Romero for the game’s only run. Wimmers did the rest. The right-hander gave up no runs on no hits. He walked two and struck out five.

I thought that Wimmers might head to the Arizona Fall League to make up some innings. This might be the perfect way for Wimmers to go into an offseason. This should help his confidence going into the offseason, looking to a 2012 season in which he could make a push for a big league spot as soon as late in the season.

Congratulations to Alex Wimmers, and his catcher tonight, Danny Rams, on a great game!

Any thoughts?

Minor League Scoreboard (Perez, Benson, Wimmers and More)

27 Jul

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Here are the scores and highlights from the last two days of Twins minor league baseball:

Rochester Red Wings

On Tuesday, the Red Wings topped the Louisville Bats 11-3. Liam Hendriks started and gave up all three runs (on 5 hits) in the first inning. On the game, he went six innings and gave up just those three runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. Brian Dinkelman went 3-5 with his 20th double. Aaron Bates was 2-4 with a walk and his 15th double. Rene Rivera and Dustin Martin were each 2-5 with a double.

On Wednesday, it was a pitcher’s duel between the Red Wings and the Bats. Andy Baldwin started and threw five shutout innings. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out one. Jake Stevens threw two scoreless innings. Kyle Waldrop got the final eight outs for the win. Denard Span went 2-5 with a double and a stolen base. He played nine innings. Aaron Bates went 2-4 with his 16th double. Chase Lambin went 2-5.  

New Britain Rock Cats

Tuesday night, the Rock Cats lost 5-4. Dennys Suarez started and gave up five runs on seven hits. In seven innings, he walked four and struck out six. Brett Jacobson threw two scoreless innings. Deibinson Romero was 2-4 with his 17th and 18th doubles. Joe Benson was 2-4. Michael Hollimon hit his 11th homer.

The Rock Cats had a double header on Wednesday. In the first game, the teams needed 11 innings to decide a winner. The Rock Cats won 7-6 when Chris Parmelee singled in Deibinson Romero with the game-winner. Joe Benson went 4-5 with a walk, his 21st double, 8th home run and three RBI. Chris Herrmann went 2-4 with two walks and his fifth home run. Brian Dozier, Nate Hanson and Deibinson Romero went 2-5 on the day. Romero hit his 19th double. Andrew Albers started and gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk in 4.1 innings. He struck out five. Dakota Watts then gave up two run on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings. He struck out four. Deolis Guerra struck out three in three scoreless innings. Tyler Robertson struck out two in a perfect innings.

The second game did not go well for the Rock Cats. They lost 17-3 to New Hampshire. Bobby Lanigan gave up 11 runs (6 earned) on 14 hits in 2.2 innings. Spencer Steedley gave up just one hit over the next 2.1 innings. Infielder Chris Cates threw the final two innings. He gave up six runs on four hits and four walks. He did strike out two. Brian Dozier went 3-4. Joe Benson was 2-3. Michael Hollimon hit his 12th home run.

Following the games, Albers was sent back to Ft. Myers. David Bromberg was activated from the Disabled List.

Mark Dolenc Report – On Monday, Dolenc went 4-5 with a double, triple and the game-winning hit in the Rock Cats big extra inning win over New Hampshire. In the three games since then, he is 0-7. On the season, he is now hitting .279/.333/.357 with ten doubles, four triples and two homers. He has 16 stolen bases as well.

Ft. Myers Miracle

On Tuesday, the Miracle lost a 2-1, 11 inning game to Tampa. They managed just six hits, and Aaron Hicks had two of them. Jhon Garcia started and gave up just one run on six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out five. Matt Hauser threw three scoreless innings before allowing the winning run in the 11th inning.

Angel Morales was activated, and Ramon Santana was released.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Miracle lost 6-1 to Tampa. Miguel Munoz came off of the Disabled List and made his first start since April. Unfortunately, he left after recording just one out and giving up five runs on five hits and a walk. He left the game injured. He had been rehabbing an elbow injury, so obviously best wishes to him as he finds out what’s going on and needs to be done. Edgar Ibarra went 4.2 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out three. Alex Wimmers threw the final four innings. He gave up one run on four hits. He walked none and struck out two. James Beresford went 2-3 with a walk. Oswaldo Arcia, Josmil Pinto and Nick Romero each doubled.

Aaron Hicks is in a bit of a slump. He is now 2-31 in his last eight games.

Beloit Snappers

The Snappers had the day off on Tuesday. The day off did wonders for their bats as the Snappers won 21-8 over Burlington. Jairo Perez was the star in this one. He went 4-5 with a walk, his 11th double, 10th and 11th home runs and eight RBI. Not a bad week’s worth in one game. Michael Gonzales went 3-4 with his 19th double. Wang-Wei Lin went 2-3 with a walk and his fourth homer. Reggie Williams went 2-6 with his second double and second home run. Danny Santana went 2-5 with a walk and his 22nd stolen base. Andy Leer was 2-6. Ryan O’Rourke started and gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out five. Blayne Weller struck out two in two scoreless innings. Nelvin Fuentes pitched a 1-2-3 inning and hit a double. Ben Tootle pitched the final inning and gave up four runs on four hits and a walk.

Elizabethton Twins

The E-Twins beat Burlington 6-4 on Tuesday. Tim Shibuya gave up two runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings. He didn’t walk any and struck out five. Steven Evans got one out (and walked one). Matt Summers got the final out of the 7th. Then Madison Boer gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out two in his two innings. Max Kepler was 2-3 with his first triple. Eddie Rosario was 2-5 with his 5th triple. Miguel Sano went 2-4.

The E-Twins had a day off on Wednesday.

GCL Twins

The team was postponed by rain on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the team lost 5-2 to the Rays. They managed just six hits. Candido Pimentel and Dereck Rodriguez each went 2-5. Hein Robb went the first four innings and gave up only an unearned run on five hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out three. Kyle Wahl gave up an unearned run in his two innings. Markus Solbach then gave up just one hit in two scoreless innings. Luis Nunez struck out two in two scoreless innings. Marcus Limon gave up three runs (2 earned) on two hits and a walk in two innings.

Any other questions on the Twins minor leagues? E-mail me, or leave some Comments.

Twins Top Ten Prospect Review

14 Jun

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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, 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.

Twins Minor League Report

13 May

also available at

Here are some minor league notes for those of you who are interested:

  • LaVelle E. Neal posted a blog yesterday in which he announced the Oswaldo Arcia had elbow surgery. It wasn’t Tommy John surgery, but they cleaned up some bone chips. He will likely miss two months. Obviously this is too bad for Arcia who was off to a tremendous start for the Snappers, showing that his Appy League numbers a year ago were not a fluke. But this is the right thing to do. Arcia is just 20 years old, too only be a DH, and that is what he had been doing. He is a good outfielder as well.
  • People have been asking a lot about Alex Wimmers. LaVelle also mentioned that Wimmers was going to make his first start at Extended Spring Training yesterday afternoon. I learned last night that he gave up a leadoff home run and then struckout the next two batters. In all, he threw 82 pitches in three innings. He walked five and struck out four. I don’t have all of the specifics, but obviously there is still work to be done, but that happens by getting back on the mound.
  • The Twins minor leaguers garnering the most questions is Kyle Gibson. Many want the Twins to call him up. My response is, who would he replace? Francisco Liriano is the difference-maker and has to be better. Carl Pavano was great the last two years, got some more money for the next two years and has to be better. Those two aren’t coming out of the rotation. And, after yesterday’s outing, Gibson has a 4.13 ERA in Rochester. Meanwhile, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn each have ERAs for the Twins below four. And, Kevin Slowey remains in the picture as a possible starter. I know most people think that the primary reason that Gibson is not with the Twins is financial, to keep him from Super-2 status. However, as Kyle would admit, there are still things that he needs to work on. He is doing what he needs to be doing. He is getting a lot of ground balls, he isn’t walking batters, and he is getting a strikeout every inning. Could he contribute for the Twins now? Probably. But is there a real reason to promote him today? Not really. He will get to the Twins, and he will be very good, but we all need to be patient.
  • For a ton of Twins minor league topics and information, but sure to listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly. The 45 minute show talks about each of the four affiliates. You can find out there how each team is doing in the standings.
  • Yesterday, I was on the Paul Allen Show at 10:20. Right after me, PA was joined by Twins prospect and Minnesotan Mark Dolenc. It was a great interview. To check out both of those segments, click here.
  • Alex Margulies and Bryce Zimmerman do an excellent job calling Ft. Myers Miracle games which you can always hear at or on their terrific mobile app. They also have been doing bi-weekly episodes of the Miracle Insider Show. I highly recommend it for those of you interested in the Twins minor leagues. Episode 2 had great stories and information on Aaron Hicks and Bruce Pugh. Episode 3 was just made available online yesterday online. It contains stories on “Skittles”, er, Nate Hanson (is he a grinder, an intimidator or a scorer?), the Miracles’ “Needs Camp” (an amazing story), and some great bloopers.

If you have any questions or comments about the Twins minor league system, please feel free to e-mail me, ask me in the comments, or on Twitter.

Minor League Notes

Thursday Minor League Hitter of the DayMichael Gonzales, Beloit Snappers 

Thursday Minor League Pitcher of the DayBJ Hermsen, Beloit Snappers

Red Wings Ramblings

Thursday – Red Wings 2, Louisville 5 – Kyle Gibson got the start in the mid-day series finale against Louisville. He gave up four runs on six hits (including two home runs) in five innings. He walked two and struck out four. Anthony Slama came in and gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in two innings. He struck out three. Chuck James threw two more shutout innings. He gave up two hits and a walk and struck out three. The Red Wings managed just five hits.  

Rock Cats Report

Thursday – Rock Cats 10, Portland 9 – For the second straight night, New Britain scored ten runs. They needed each of them in this game. Dan Osterbrock started and gave up seven runs (6 earned) on nine hits and three walks in three innings. The Rock Cats scored two in the first, three in the second; one in the third, two in the fourth, two more in the fifth and had a 10-7 lead going into the 6thframe. The bullpen came through for the team. Spencer Steedley threw 2.1 hitless innings. He walked four and struck out one. Brett Jacobson came in and got the final two outs of the sixth inning, although he walked another. Mike Tarsi gave up two hits, but no runs as his ERA dropped to 1.69. Cole DeVries is proving human his last couple of outings. In this one, he gave up two runs on five hit and a walk in his two innings, but he held on for his eighth save. Chris Parmelee was 3-3 with a walk and his 10th double. After going 4-6 the night before, Chris Herrmann went 3-5. Mark Dolenc and Joe Benson were each 2-5.  

Miracle Matters

Thursday – Miracle, Dunedin – Rained out.

Snappers Bites

Thursday – Snappers 10, Kane County 3 – A ten run outing for the Snappers is exciting. Michael Gonzales went 4-5 and his now hitting .298. Nate Roberts was 3-5 with his third double. Tobias Streich went 3-5 with a triple. Jamaal Hawkins was 2-4 with a walk and his fourth double. Lance Ray was 2-3 with two walks. BJ Hermsen was the recipient of the terrific run support. He recorded his third win. He gave up three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings. He walked three and struck out five. Clinton Dempster got the next four outs. Matt Hauser got the final three outs, two of them via the strikeout.  

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

Roster Projection: Ft. Myers Miracle

31 Mar

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  • Step 1: Finalize 2011 Minnesota Twins roster – Check.
  • Step 2: Find a way to keep Scott Diamond in the organization – Check.
  • Step 3: Configure the 2011 Triple-A Rochester Red Wings 24-man roster – In progress.
  • Step 4: Configure the 2011 Double-A New Britain Rock Cats 24-man roster – In progress.
  • Step 5: Configure the 2011 Hi-A Ft. Myers Miracle 25-man roster – In progress.

It may have been easier to project these rosters if I would have done them a week ago. By waiting until now, I am getting reports of which players are going where, so my projections continue to be updated. I can’t verify, but I have been told that Brian Dozier will start the season at New Britain. I hadn’t included him yesterday, and now I won’t include him today, which is why I needed to write about it. Not only does that confuse my Ft. Myers projection, but now consider the infield options in New Britain. Between the three positions, Deibinson Romero, Estarlin de Los Santos, Brian Dozier, Steve Singleton, Ray Chang and Chris Cates, not to mention Toby Gardenhire. I continue to hear about some minor injuries that either mean a season will be started on the Disabled List or at a lower level to work back.

With all that in mind, I present to you my thoughts on a projected roster for the Twins High-A affiliate, the Ft. Myers Miracle. (the below roster is my opinion and my guesses, and nothing official.)

Catchers: Danny Rams (40 man – No) – Dan Rohlfing (40 man – No) 

Danny Rams made a strong impression on the Twins this spring. After two years in Beloit, he will move up to the Miracle. He continues to be a work in progress behind the plate, but he does continue to improve. He will also get time at DH and at 1B. Rohlfing skipped Beloit last year and held his own until a couple of freak injuries cost him much of the second half to his season. There was some talk that he would go to Beloit to start the season so he could get even more playing time. Also, don’t forget that Chris Herrmann was a non-roster invitee to big league spring training as a catcher and he will get plenty of time behind the plate.  

Infielders: 1B – Nate Hanson (40 man – No), 2B – Nick Romero (40 man – No), 3B – Anderson Hidalgo (40 man – No), SS – James Beresford (40 man – No), Utility – Paul Kelly (40 man – No),

Nate Hanson had a very good 2010 season with the Miracle. However, assuming Chris Parmelee returns to New Britain (as he will), he won’t be platooned, so Hanson will likely return to Ft. Myers. Anderson Hidalgo missed time last year and it wouldn’t surprise me if he drops back to Beloit, but I will put him here. Nick Romero, James Beresford and Paul Kelly will be the three players to man the middle infield spots, and Romero and Kelly can also play 3B while Beresford is a solid 2B.  

Outfielders: LF – Chris Herrmann (40 man – No), CF – Aaron Hicks (40 man – No), RF – Lance Ray (40 man – No), 4th outfielder – Jonathan Goncalves (40 man – No), 1B/OF/DH – Steven Liddle (40 man – No), DL – Angel Morales (40 man – No)

Angel Morales is fighting some elbow soreness and will likely start the season on the Disabled List. He told me last night that it is feeling better, so it should not cost him too much time. Aaron Hicks tweeted the other day that he will play for the Miracle this season which likely surprises no one. Chris Herrmann was called the best defensive left fielder in the Florida State League, but he will also get time behind the plate. Steve Liddle will get time in left field, first base and DH. Jonathan Goncalves will likely return to the Miracle outfield where he did a nice job last year, especially defensively. Finally, at least while Morales is out, Ray will get a lot of playing time with the Miracle. One person told me that Ray is the team’s best pure hitter right now.  

Starting Pitchers: RHP Kane Holbrooks (40 man – No), RHP Tom Stuifbergen (40 man – No), RHP Alex Wimmers (40 man – No), Miguel Munoz (40 man – No), Brad Stillings (40 man – No)

Holbrooks is scheduled to make the Opening Day start for the Miracle. He was terrific at Beloit, in the bullpen the first half of last year, and did a very good job for the Miracle as a starter. He ended the season with one start in New Britain. Alex Wimmers signed late and impressed in 15 innings with the Miracle in August. It will be interesting to see if he stays with the Miracle through the season’s first half. Stuifbergen and his changeup have people in Ft. Myers talking. He is a smart, young pitcher with very good stuff who just needs to stay healthy. Brad Stillings has a terrific changeup and has pitched in the bullpen and rotation in his two seasons with the organization. Miguel Munoz throws hard, but sometimes he thinks too much on the mound. He does have really good stuff though.  

Bullpen: RHP Bruce Pugh (40 man – No), RHP Shooter Hunt (40 man – No), RHP Jhon Garcia (40 man – No), LHP Blake Martin (40 man – No), RHP Brad Tippett (40 man – No), RHP Edgar Ibarra (40 man – No), LHP Tony Davis (40 man – No), LHP Nelvin Fuentes (40 man – No)

Bruce Pugh ended last season with a couple of starts in New Britain. He has been experiencing some back problems this spring, so the hard thrower will return to the Miracle and work out of the bullpen to start the season. It was surprising to hear that, after spending the 2nd half of 2010 in New Britain, Tony Davis returns to the Miracle. Hopefully he will find his control. Speaking of, Shooter Hunt returns to the Miracle in hopes of improving up his 2010 season. Brad Tippett has been a terrific pitcher for the Twins, whatever role he finds himself in, but last year was a wasted year thanks to some arm injuries. He is throwing well this spring though. Jhon Garcia actually got better and better as the season went along, and e pitched quite well in the Miracle bullpen at the end of 2010. Edgar Ibarra impressed me in a start I watched last year in Beloit. He has four pitches and is left-handed and throws hard. He and lefty Nelvin Fuentes will really make it difficult for left-handed hitters.  

Overall: Hicks is obviously the biggest name on this roster, but he is not alone. Alex Wimmers and Tom Stuifbergen are exciting pitchers. Angel Morales has tremendous upside. Danny Rams, Anderson Hidalgo, James Beresford and Miguel Munoz are all solid prospects who will try to improve in their jump to the Miracle. And, if Twins fans are looking for someone to cheer loudly for this year in the Twins farm system, look no further than Paul Kelly. Pat Dean will start the season in Extended Spring with some shoulder discomfort, but he could move up quickly to the Miracle. Matt Bashore and Ben Tootle will also be starting at EST, but could be moved up to the Miracle, if not first in Beloit.

Later today, I will post my roster projection for the Low-A Beloit Snappers.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment or ask.


  • TWINS MINOR LEAGUE WEEKLY PODCAST TONIGHT – If you are interested in the Twins minor league system, Twins Minor League Weekly podcast will begin on Thursday night at 10:00. Travis Aune and Seth will host the 10:00 p.m. podcast each Thursday throughout the season. We will talk about what’s going on with each Twins affiliate, how the teams are doing, who is hot, who is not, transactions, and much more. Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

14 Jan

also available at

Jim Thome is coming back, and that is a good thing. Joe Christensen is doing a great job covering it, so be sure to read his work and comment there (or scroll down to my quick thoughts on Thome’s return). But here today, we are going to talk Twins prospects, and hopefully it’ll create some good discussion on Twins minor leaguers. I’ll certainly try to answer your questions if you have any in the comments.

Alright, if you missed prospects 26-50ish, click here or if you missed 11-25, click here, or scroll down, but it is time for the Top Ten Twins Prospects.  

At, I have been posting Top 50 Prospect lists twice a year (and sometimes more frequently) since 2004. I’ve been right on a few surprises, and way wrong on many more. That’s the fun thing about prospects and prospect lists. There are few sure things. You never know. And everyone can have their own rankings that could be just as accurate in the end (ten years down the line?) as anyone, even the experts. There is no science behind this, but I tried to make my list this time around a little bit more scientific. I am just putting the final touches on the Minnesota Twins 2011 Prospect Handbook (more information coming soon), so I have been looking at stats and scouting reports and more for a few months on all of these guys. Before getting to my Top 50 Twins Prospects, here is some detail on how I approached this ranking: 

I did something a little bit different in compiling my Top 50 list. I took the entire list of Twins minor league prospects from the GCL through Rochester, and in an Excel spreadsheet, I put each name in the first column and each name in the first row. Then I went through and compared every prospect to every other prospect, picking which of the two I thought was the better prospect. My ‘vote’ on each was based on a ton of research, stats, scouting reports and more. I considered which of the two players I would trade if a team said that I could pick which prospect to send in a potential deal. I compared Aaron Hicks to Kyle Gibson and Miguel Sano, and also against Matt Schuld and Matt Trau. I compared Manuel Soliman to Dan Osterbrock, Joe Benson and Dallas Gallant. After doing that for every player (which took WAY too long), I added up the total number of times I selected each player. The player that I chose above all players obviously ended up with the most points at the end of the day. The one with the second most votes would be the #2 prospect. And so on. Of course, there were ties, sometimes three-way ties, which I broke by my head-to-head results, so to speak. The results were interesting, at least in the middle of the list, but really throughout. Today I will post my choices for Twins Prospects #26 through 50 with a brief description. As you would expect, there was a tie at 50, so in fact, here are prospects 26-51. As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome.

#10 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Elizabethton

                When you hit .375/.424/.672 with 21 doubles, seven triples, 14 homers and 51 RBI, you get noticed, no matter what level it’s at. He led the Appalachian League in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. He led the league in hits (by 16) and RBI. He finished second in home runs and triples. He was third in doubles and runs scored. Oh, and he’s pretty solid defensively too.  

#9 – Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Ft. Myers

                Salcedo will be 19 years old when the 2011 season begins. Overall, his 2010 numbers don’t stand out, but that’s in part due to jumping up to Ft. Myers for six starts. He held his own against much older, more experienced competition. In E-town, he won four games and posted a 3.16 ERA as a starter. The Twins were cautious with his arm and put him in the bullpen at the end of the season. Salcedo throws hard and his stuff is described as “filthy.”

#8 – Ben Revere – OF – Minnesota

                Another year, another .300+ batting average for Ben Revere. He jumped up to Double-A New Britain and hit .305/.371/.363. He showed his toughness too, returning less than a month after breaking two orbital bones when hit in the face by a fastball. He came back, played well, and earned a September promotion to the Twins. There is no rush to bring him up. He can still improve his defense, throwing and base running, things that will do him well over time. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt for him to spend another half-season in New Britain.  

#7 – Angel Morales – OF – Ft. Myers

                Morales will spend the entire 2011 season at age 21, and yet it will be his fifth minor league season after the Twins drafted him out of high school in 2007. Although the strikeouts are still high, his approach at the plate is terrific, especially after he was moved to the leadoff spot in the Ft. Myers lineup after a promotion from Beloit. No one questions his power potential. He also stole 29 bases in 2010, second only to Revere’s 36. He’s a good outfielder defensively as well. He’s got a ways to go, but he’s full of potential.  

#6 – Liam Hendriks – RHP – Ft. Myers

                Hendriks made opposing batters look silly all year in 2010. His 8-4 record with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 108.2 innings between Beloit and Ft. Myers were impressive. His 12 walk to 105 strikeout ratio was also impressive. The only thing that stopped him was an emergency appendectomy that cost him 4-5 weeks, and an opportunity to represent the Twins and Australia in the Futures game in Anaheim.

#5 – Alex Wimmers – RHP – Ft. Myers

                Wimmers was the Twins 1st round pick in 2010 out of THE Ohio State where he had won the past two Big Ten Pitcher of the Year awards. He’s a very polished starter with three good pitches. He made four starts for the Miracle after signing, so we shouldn’t make too much of his 15.2 professional innings in which he went 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA, a 0.70 WHIP and five walks to go with 23 strikeouts. Like their 2010 top pick, Wimmers could advance quickly in 2011.  

#4 – Joe Benson – OF – New Britain

                2010 was an interesting year for the Twins 2nd round pick from 2006. He started out slow in Double-A, was sent back to Ft. Myers for a month, and when he came back, he was very good. In all, he hit .259/.343/.538 with 31 doubles, eight triples, 27 home runs and 19 stolen bases. He’s got a ton of real, raw power when he makes contact, and he is nearly as fast as Ben Revere. He was the Twins 2010 Sherry Robertson Award recipient as the Twins top minor league hitter. He was added to the 40 man roster and should return to New Britain to start the 2011 season.  

#3 – Aaron Hicks – OF – Beloit

                I so frequently read Twins talk about how disappointing Hicks was in 2010. He hit .279/.401/.428 with 27 doubles, six triples, and eight home runs. He was a year younger than the average Midwest League player and performed over 20% better than average. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement. He wasn’t as consistent as you’d like, he struggled from the left-side of the plate, and he’s still got work to do in the field and on the bases. But there is still no question that Hicks has all the talent in the world, and he can be a very good all-around player at the big league level. He just needs time and patience. Comparisons are never fair, or easy, but I think the comparison to Carlos Beltran is fair for what Hicks’ ceiling could be. A future #2 or #3 hitter, who can hit .280-.300, get on base 38-40% of the time, hit a lot of doubles, hit 20-25 home runs, steal some bases, drive in and score runs while playing terrific defense in centerfield or right field.  

#2 – Miguel Sano – 3B/SS – GCL Twins

                The Twins shocked a lot of people late in the 2009 season when the signed Sano to a $3.15 million signing bonus. The early returns from the 17-year-old in the GCL in 2010 were impressive. He hit .291/.338/.466 with 14 doubles and four home runs. He also hit very well in his time in the Dominican Summer League early in the season. So, why is he ahead of Hicks? First, because it’s my list, and you can certainly disagree. But second, this guy has amazing power potential. He’s big, strong and has incredibly quick hands and bat speed. Yes, he has a long way to go. He’ll have to cut down on his strikeouts. But when talking about ceiling, Sano’s is as high as it gets. Miguel Cabrera comes to mind. What position will Sano end up at? He actually primarily played 3B in 2010. Many think he could be a corner outfielder, and in Baseball America’s prospect content, John Manuel had him as the Twins 1B by 2015. It is going to be fun tracking his minor league progress.

#1 – Kyle Gibson – RHP – Rochester

                If ceiling was the only factor that went into prospect rankings, then Gibson would probably be fourth on this list (behind at least Hicks and Sano, and maybe even Benson), but Gibson has a very good likelihood of becoming a terrific major league pitcher. And that likely will happen sometime in 2011. The Twins top pick in 2009 didn’t sign until late, so he made his official professional debut this year, and he was very good. Between Ft. Myers, New Britain and three starts in Rochester, he went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. In 152 innings, he walked just 39 and struck out 126. A ground ball machine when he is on, Gibson has four big league caliber pitches and the confidence to use them at any time. He is also a great competitor. I think Gibson will be promoted in June, and I think he could have a strong impact on the 2011 AL Central race.  

So, now you’ve seen it, my Top 50 Twins prospects. What do you think about it? Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here. I also posted my Top 50 list at the TwinsCentric blog, so you can follow the comments and questions there.