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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!

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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!!

Minnesota Twins Top Prospects (Part 2: 11-25)

13 Jan

available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Alright, if you missed prospects 26-50ish, click here or scroll down, but for now, it is time to take a brief look at my choices for Twins prospects 11 through 25. If you missed it earlier, I also did an interview with Bullpen Banter, talking about the 2011 Twins and Twins prospects. Check it out here.

SethSpeaks.net Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects List 2011

As you know, I have been working on the 2011 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook for months. After of research and writing, a conclusion is finally in sight. In the next week, I will provide more information on the book, and how you can order or pre-order.

One thing that the book includes is my Top 30 prospects and a reminder of my previous Top 30s, going back to 2005. The book will include top 10 lists from many of your favorite bloggers.

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.

#25 – Bruce Pugh – RHP – New Britain

                Hard-throwing young right-hander pitched very well in Ft. Myers until an injury. Returned and pitched well enough to get in a couple games with the Rock Cats.

#24 – Deolis Guerra – RHP – Rochester

                Guerra may be one of the more polarizing prospects in the Twins system. He is still young, has a tremendous changeup and he’s got great makeup. Unfortunately the numbers tell a different story. 2011 is a big year for him as it is his final option season.

#23 – Billy Bullock – RHP – New Britain

                Bullock throws very hard and has an improving slider. He’s succeeded as a closer and gets plenty of strikeouts. The only concern is how quickly his walk rate has raised at each level the past two years. No rush though. He doesn’t need to be added to the 40 man roster until after the 2012 season.

#22 – Pat Dean – LHP – Elizabethton

                My choice for breakout pitching prospect in 2011, the Twins 3rd round pick in 2011 walked one and struck out 34 in his 25 innings between GCL and E-Twins. The lefty could move up quickly next year.

#21 – Trevor Plouffe – SS – Minnesota

                Plouffe was promoted to the Twins three times in 2010. He struggled making contact in limited time, but he did hit two home runs. He had a career-high in home runs in 2011. His batting average was actually around .300 for Rochester most of the year, until he went on a horrible slump to end the season.

#20 – Bobby Lanigan – RHP – New Britain

                Lanigan had an incredible, dominant month of April, but then he was hurt and missed about two months. When he came back, he did alright and ended the season by making a few starts in AA.

#19 – Daniel Ortiz – OF – Elizabethton

                My choice for breakout hitter of the 2011 Twins minor league season. Ortiz impressed in the GCL after being drafted in 2008. He missed all of 2009 with a knee injury. After a slow start in 2010, he had a great month of August, hitting over .300 with eight home runs.

#18 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – Beloit

                Hermsen started the season in Extended Spring Training, but he was soon promoted to Beloit where he held his own. The highlight was a one-hit complete game shutout in Cedar Rapids, less than an hour from his hometown, in which he had a no-hitter into the 9th inning. Struggled a lot late and then pitched well in Elizabethton.

#17 – Max Kepler – OF – GCL Twins

                I didn’t know what to expect from “the greatest prospect ever from Europe.” However, the 17-year-old more than held his own in the GCL. He’s a five-tool talent, and most important, he improved over the course of the season. Long ways to go, but huge upside.

#16 – Eddie Rosario – OF – GCL Twins

                The Twins took Rosario in the 2010 4th round out of his high school in Puerto Rico. He came to the GCL and immediately performed well, all-around. Good defense and arm. Hit for average and got on base and extra base hits. Also stole 22 bases.

#15 – Tsuyoshi Nishioka – SS/2B – Chiba Lotte

                You all know about Nishioka. He’d probably be higher if he weren’t 26. Can he be a very good big league player? Average big leaguer? We will certainly find out. But I think he will be solid all-around.

#14 – Carlos Gutierrez – RHP – Rochester

                On a podcast a few weeks ago, Gutierrez said he much prefers to pitch out of the bullpen. He saw great value in his time starting, working on secondary pitches. But anyone with a sinking, 97 mph fastball who thrives in the bullpen can be very effective. I think he will be in the big leagues in June, if not sooner.

#13 – Manuel Soliman – RHP – Elizabethton

                Two years ago, he was a 3B prospect struggling in the DSL. He was moved to pitcher the last two seasons, and he throws hard with adequate second pitches. At Elizabethton, he threw one seven inning no-hitter and carried a second into the 7th. Still improving.

#12 – Chris Parmelee – 1B – New Britain

                April in New Britain was bad for Parmelee. He was sent back to Ft. Myers in May and made some adjustments. He was back in AA in a month and didn’t stop hitting. In fact, he led the Arizona Fall League in hits. Cut down strikeouts and hit for average in 2010, but the power is still there. Will be fun to see what he is capable of in 2011.

#11 – David Bromberg – RHP – Rochester

                Bromberg had moved up one level each year. He began the 2010 season in New Britain, but he made several starts for AAA Rochester. And he held his own. Ceiling is probably mid-to-back-of-the-rotation starter, but he’s got good stuff and knows how to pitch.

So there you have it, my choices for Twins Prospects 11-25. What do you think? Were there any surprises? Still to come is my top ten Twins prospect list, which I will post on Friday morning. Check back when you are able to. Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.

Twins Sign Dominican Shortstop

30 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Twins have signed Dominican shortstop Javier Pimentel to a $575,000 signing bonus. In July, the 17 year old was ranked as the #10 prospect to come out of the Dominican Republic this year. The Twins continued their trend of spending internationally. Last week, they ‘won’ the rights to negotiate with Japanese middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka by posting a bid of $5.3 million. Last year, they signed the #1 prospect from the Dominican Republic, Miguel Sano, to a $3.15 million signing bonus. They also signed Dominican shortstop Jorge Polanco for approximately $750,000. They also signed Max Kepler, believed to be the best prospect ever to come out of Europe, for about $750,000.

Last year, Twins GM Bill Smith told John Bonnes of TwinsCentric (in the 2009/10 Offseason GM Handbook) that the Twins have spent the past decade focusing on the international scouting and now in the last year, they are really seeing the benefits of those efforts. It takes time to penetrate a new market. The Twins clearly have a much better name now in the Dominican Republic. They now have a name in Japan and the Far East. They have been strong in Australia.

What do I know about Javier Pimentel? Pretty much nothing other than what Blake Bentley wrote at MLB Trade Rumors in early July which was, “A wide-shouldered shortstop with a solid bat and plenty of room for improvement.” Sounds like a very talented kid, with power potential, who is very raw and has a long way to go. He may be in the GCL next year, or the Twins may have him spend the summer in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the States.

It’s exciting to be a Twins fan thanks to Target Field. I mean, it’s always exciting for me to be a Twins fan, but the opportunities that are open to the Twins now that were not options just two or three years ago can’t be ignored!   

Any thoughts?  Please feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.

Preliminary Twins Top 30 Prospects

8 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –

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

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

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

SethSpeaks.net Twins Preliminary Top 30 Prospects

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

10.  Liam Hendriks

11.  Adrian Salcedo

12.  Chris Parmelee

13.  Eddie Rosario

14.  Max Kepler

15.  Manuel Soliman

16.  Danny Ortiz

17.  BJ Hermsen

18.  Trevor Plouffe

19.  Niko Goodrum

20.  Carlos Gutierrez

21.  Martire Garcia

22.  Pat Dean

23.  Rene Tosoni

24.  Billy Bullock

25.  Tom Stuifbergen

26.  Bruce Pugh

27.  Miguel Munoz

28.  Steve Singleton

29.  Danny Rams

30.  Michael Tonkin

General Thoughts:

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

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

Thursday Notes

5 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

On Thursday at 9:20 a.m., I’ll again be joining Paul Allen on KFAN, its affiliates and www.KFAN.com. Talking Twins is always fun! Also, check out my newest TwinsCentric blog at StarTribune.com. It takes a look ahead at the Twins 40 man roster decisions.

The Twins won an ugly 2-1 game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 13 innings last night, and if you listen to some Twins fans, you would think it means nothing. There were some missed opportunities. Delmon Young and Denard Span took turns looking really bad defensively. Span and Michael Cuddyer each went 0-6 in the game. There were several situations with a runner on third base and less than two outs where all you need is a medium deep fly ball and the team didn’t come through. Matt Capps blew a save. 

If you want to think all negative after a game like that, that’s your prerogative… you can do what you want to do. 

But here is how I choose to look at it. The Twins played an imperfect game, on the road, against (arguably, but in my opinion) the best team in baseball, without Justin Morneau and Orlando Hudson, with Joe Mauer only able to DH, against one of the best, young left-handed pitchers in baseball (meaning no Jason Kubel or Jim Thome too) and they still were able to win.

Most important to note is the impressive pitching performance by Scott Baker. Following two, two-run losses to the Rays, the Twins needed a big game from Baker, and he came through. He has not looked that good all year. The fastball was popping a little, and moving a lot. The curveball was as sharp as I’ve seen it. He had good control, and was very impressive. Eight innings. He gave up just three hits and one walk against a good Rays lineup. Despite a couple of bad plays (or non-plays) behind him, he was able to pick up his defense and make big pitches and get big outs. He deserved a “Win” even if I don’t care about that statistic for a starting pitcher in today’s game.

Matt Capps blew the save, so a lot of people thought the sky was falling down. But in reality, if Delmon Young catches that first lazy fly ball, Capps likely saves a 1-0 win for the Twins. But, that didn’t happen. Again, I am not a big fan of Capps, but he did not look bad last night. He does make the 2010 Twins bullpen better, regardless of a blown save. So, we really should not make too much out of that. Also, yes, Young should have caught that ball. No question about that. But in reviewing the tape, he did start out playing very deep. Teams always do that to (ironically) take away doubles. Young hesitated briefly, but not much, and he went a long way to get to that ball. It hit off the tip of his glove, and really, it just looked rather awkward. Should have been caught, but not as easy a play as many are thinking.

But the beauty of baseball is that there is a new game every day, and each at bat and appearance are new. Players and tames have the opportunity to redeem themselves quickly. Young had the play in the 9th inning, and he was 0-5 when he came to the plate with runners on 1st and 3rd in the 13th. He came through with what proved to be the game-winning hit.

On Tuesday night, Matt Guerrier played the role of goat after an awful performance in which he walked two before throwing BJ Upton a 2-0 fastball right down the middle that I think I could have hit out of the park! On Wednesday night, he pitched the 12th and 13th innings and was tremendous.

When asked before this series what I thought the Twins needed to do in this four game series against Tampa, I thought they needed to win one game, and that two wins would have been terrific. Anything more than that would have been pie in the sky. This morning (11 a.m. start time), the Twins can earn a split of the four game series.

Here is a quick glance at what happened on Wednesday in the Twins minor league system:

Red Wings Report   

No game scheduled for the Red Wings on Wednesday.

New Britain Notes

The Rockcats beat Erie 13-6. Bobby Lanigan improved to 2-0. The righty gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He walked one and struck out five. Mike McCardell came out of the bullpen and gave up two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings. He did not issue a walk and struck out four. Cole DeVries gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Juan Portes went 4-5 with his third triple and fifth home run. Erik Lis went 4-5 with his 12th double. Jeff Howell went 3-4 with a walk and his first Rockcats double and home run. Joe Benson was 2-5 with his 17th double. Estarlin de Los Santos went 2-5 with his first triple. It was announced as well that Ben Revere will miss the rest of the season after being hit in the eye, and breaking his eye socket, on Tuesday night.

Miracle Matters

The Ft. Myers Miracle lost 5-2 to Clearwater. Nick Romero went 2-3. Santos Arias gave up one run on five hits and three walks in five innings. Jhon Garcia gave up one run on two hits in three innings.

Snappers Snippets

Tom Stuifbergen improved to 5-0 in the Snappers 7-2 win over Burlington. The Dutch right-hander gave up two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings. He walked none, hit two batters and struck out five. Andrei Lobanov struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings. Michael Gonzales has been on fire of late. In this game, he was 2-3 with a walk, his 20th double and his 12th home run. Danny Rams was 3-4 with his fourth triple. Reggie Williams went 2-4.

Brad Stillings, Anderson Hidalgo and Peter Kennelly were put on the Disabled List. Who will replace them?  Check out the E-Twins Talkers for my thoughts.

E-Twins Talkers

Elizabethton did not play on Wednesday. So, who will be heading up to Beloit? I would say that it would make a lot of sense for the Twins to promote Adrian Salcedo, Martire Garcia and Oswaldo Arcia. All three have performed great for the E-Twins and are likely very ready for a promotion. But I don’t think that is what will actually happen. The E-Twins are going to win their division and advance to the league’s playoffs where they have a strong opportunity to win another Appalachian League title. Those three players will be a big part of that. So, I expect that the Twins will not send their primary players to the Snappers. I could be wrong, but I think they will let the Elizabethton team and fans win again. It is likely that all three will end the season at Beloit, following their playoff run for a few games. According to LaVelle, Pat Dean has been promoted to Elizabethton. It will be interesting to see if he starts, or just continues to throw an inning at a time in the bullpen.

GCL Twins Topics

It was a long day for the Twins Gulf Coast League team. They were able to drive north to Tampa (St. Petersburg) to watch the Twins and the Rays. They got to see 13 innings of that game.  They played early in the day and worked a little overtime to beat the Orioles team 6-4 in 11 innings. Max Kepler went 3-4. Matej Hejman was 2-5 with his third double, first home run and three RBI. Eddie Rosario went 2-5 with his ninth double. Justin Parker gave up four runs (just 1 earned) on four hits and a walk in five innings. Derek Christensen threw two scoreless innings. Matt Schuld struck out four in three scoreless innings. Nick Alloway got his second save with a scoreless inning.

On his way to Tampa, LaVelle E. Neal made a quick stop in Ft. Myers and observed the GCL Twins. Here are his notes on several of the players.

Any thoughts on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

Twins Minor League Weekly

4 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

I appreciate everyone’s patience with me as I transition after my move north. Soon I will be back to normal around here with updates daily and several other projects. For today, I’ll ask that you check out last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly podcast. I was joined by Alex Margulies, the voice of the Ft. Myers Miracle. Alex does a tremendous job and you can listen to all of the Miracle games at the Miracle’s web site. He also does some highlight packages, updates a blog, is on Twitter (and you should follow him!), and does much more. It was a good conversation about several of the Miracle players. The rest of the show involved discussion of each of the Twins six US affiliates. There was an excellent phone call about Miguel Munoz. Lots of talk about the great Oswaldo Arcia, or at least the incredible season that he has had at Elizabethton.

Here a few highlights from last night’s games:

  • David Bromberg gave up five runs but just one of them was earned in his 5.1 innings for Rochester.
  • Brendan Harris went 3-4 with a walk, his 8th double and 3rd home run.
  • D’Angelo Jimenez hit his fourth and fifth home runs and drove in six runs for the Red Wings.
  • Brock Peterson hit his 16th home run.
  • Kyle Waldrop had another rough outing. He gave up five earned runs on five hits (including a grand slam) and a walk.
  • Pat Neshek improved to 4-0 by getting the final two outs of the 7th inning.
  • Rob Delaney threw two scoreless innings for his third save since Anthony Slama’s promotion.
  • At New Britain, things started ominously. Ben Revere led off the game by being hit in the head with a pitch and left the game.
  • Mark Dolenc replaced Revere and went 2-3 with his third home run.
  • Estarlin de Los Santos hit his first AA homer.
  • Joe Benson just missed his 22nd homer of the year, but he turned it into his 7th triple. He also hit his 16th double.
  • Kyle Gibson gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out seven.
  • Billy Bullock got the final out to record his 8th save.
  • Angel Morales hit his first home run for the Ft. Myers Miracle. Margulies called it an absolute blast. He has moved into the leadoff spot and he has shown great plate discipline and patience.
  • Evan Bigley went 2-4 with his 23rd double.
  • Jonathan Goncalves was 2-3.
  • Josmil Pinto led the Snappers to a 14-2 win over Burlington. He was 3-4 with his seventh home run.
  • Lance Ray went 2-3 with two walks and his third home run in a short time with the Snappers. He was a 2010 draft pick, 8th round out of Kentucky. He played 1B in college but has been playing in the Beloit OF.
  • Danny Rams hit his 22nd and 23rd doubles.
  • Michael Gonzales was 2-4 with two walks, his 19th double and 11th home run.
  • Edgar Ibarra went seven innings and gave up one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out seven.
  • Oswaldo Arcia drove in three runs, including a game-winning, 8th inning home run that gave the E-Twins a 3-2 win over Kingsport. Arcia went 3-5 with his 13th and 14th home runs on the year.
  • Daniel Santana went 2-5.
  • Martire Garcia improved to 6-0. The lefty gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
  • David Gutierrez picked up his third save with four strikeouts in two perfect innings.
  • Eddie Rosario went 3-4 with a walk.
  • Max Kepler went 3-4 with his fourth and fifth doubles.
  • Miguel Sano was 1-4. Not noteworthy, but he struck out three. On the short-season, he has three walks to go with 26 strikeouts.

Any thoughts on the Twins or their minor league system, comment here.