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Article: Can Rule 5 Pick J.R. Graham Stick?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:45 PM
Minnesota Twins camp came to life over the weekend with the familiar sound of baseballs smacking mitts, as pitchers and catchers reported...
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Wetmore: Milone Confident He'll Make Rotation, If...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:42 PM
Derek Wetmore wrote about Tommy Milone and his confidence that he will make the starting rotation... if he gets back to being "the pitche...
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Mason: Mauer hopes to reap rewards of healthy offseason

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:34 PM
FSN's Tyler Mason made his way to Ft. Myers and today wrote an article on Joe Mauer having a healthy offseason this year. Obviously, he i...
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Article: Hunter And Garnett: The Marketing Angle

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:22 PM
After a lengthy absence, Kevin Garnett made his triumphant return to Target Center on Wednesday night, helping lead the Timberwolves to a...
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Colby Rasmus seemed unliked in Toronto

Other Baseball Today, 11:50 AM
http://sports.yahoo....-111335222.html   Interesting story.  Obviously, some people like Rasmus as a bounceback candidate this...
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4 days and 23 hours remaining until the Twins' first Spring Training game

Minor Leagues


15

Push Candidate: Brian Navarreto

The first two entries in this series focused on players who are moving up in the system and the question was one of advancing to AA baseball, which is really (Jorge Polanco 2014 aside) the real first experience of closeness to the majors that a minor leaguer can see. For the final installment, I am turning to another level in the system--full season A-ball--and am profiling catcher Brian Navarreto as a "push candidate" for promotion to Cedar Rapids.

18

Push Candidate: Travis Harrison

The second of three articles featuring players who I believe should be "pushed" to the next level in the system will focus on Travis Harrison. Harrison had some high expectations placed on him after being drafted and has moved through the system in the same way that Adam Walker has. There are still a number of question marks about Harrison's potential, both in the field and at the plate.

30

TD Top Prospects: #1 Byron Buxton

If nothing else, Byron Buxton’s 2014 season probably ensured that the Minnesota Twins organization met their health care deductible.

In spring training Buxton sprained the pisotriquetral ligament in his wrist while diving for a ball in a minor league game. Then after missing the month of April, Buxton joined the Fort Myers Miracle in May, only to reaggravate the wrist five games into his return. After coming back in July, Buxton’s offensive production was down from his previous stint in the Florida State League in 2013.

It was in New Britain -- one game into his new uniform -- that Buxton collided with teammate Mike Kvasnicka in the outfield resulting in a season-ending concussion. After the season the Twins opted to send Buxton to the Arizona Fall League to accrue some much needed innings. There, while diving for a ball in short center, Buxton broke his finger which required surgery to repair.

In all, 2014 might be a lost year for the Twins’ top prospect but it did nothing to diminish his promise.

81

TD Top Prospects: #2 Miguel Sano

Despite missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, Miguel Sano retains his status as the Twins #2 prospect. In fact, reviewing most of the national prospect rankings, he has remained a Top 20 overall prospect. That is what happens when you have the elite talent and power potential that Sano has. 2015 will be an interesting year for the slugger as he returns to action. How long will it take for him to shake off the rust? More important, how long will we have to wait before we see him in a Minnesota Twins uniform?

35

TD Top Prospects: #3 Jose Berrios

Twins fans made an immediate connection with Berrios after his emotional video response to being drafted by the club in the 2012 MLB Supplemental First Round. As a teenager, Berrios made fans take notice of him by dominating the rookie leagues while striking out nearly 14.5 batters per nine.

There were some questions about Berrios after an up and down season with Cedar Rapids in 2013. He put many of those questions to rest in 2014 with a dominating performance across three levels of the Twins system on his way to winning the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year award. His stock rose more than any other prospect in the system last year and he now sits on the cusp of the major leagues.

43

TD Top Prospects: #4 Kohl Stewart

When the Twins used the 4th overall pick in the 2013 draft on prep right-hander Kohl Stewart, it marked the earliest the Twins had drafted a pitcher since 2000. That was the year the Twins selected Adam Johnson second overall from Cal-State Fullerton. Stewart also became the highest drafted prep pitcher since the Twins took Willie Banks third overall in the 1987 draft.

Adam Johnson broke Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects twice. Willie Banks took expectations a few steps higher, as he was twice ranked in Baseball America’s Top 15 prospects.

As the old adage goes, “there is no such thing as a pitching prospect” and Johnson, with his one MLB win and 26.1 innings pitched, posted a -1.1 career bWAR. Comparatively, Banks fared much better, but don’t be fooled: in his 610.1 career innings as a pitcher, Banks was as replacement-level as they come.


So as we proceed with the countdown, don’t forget: When it comes to pitching prospects, proceed with caution.

41

TD Top Prospects: #5 Alex Meyer

When the Twins acquired Alex Meyer in exchange for Denard Span back in November of 2012, the move was widely hailed as a big win for Terry Ryan because young pitchers with legitimate ace potential are among the most valuable commodities in baseball -- all the more true for a Minnesota team that sorely lacked high-end arms in its system.

As a first-round draft pick with an upper-90s fastball and quality secondary stuff to boot, Meyer had that upside. He still does, which keeps him in our Top 5, but for various reasons he now seems less likely to reach his ceiling as a No. 1 starter than he did two years ago.

That's not to say he doesn't project as an excellent pitcher and a highly valuable asset.

27

TD Top Prospects: #6 Nick Gordon

Over the past 10 years, the Minnesota Twins have had some of the lowest production from the shortstop position among all MLB teams but the future may offer stability in the form of Nick Gordon.

Selected with the fourth overall pick in 2014, Gordon entered the Twins’ system with lofty expectations. Certainly the Twins have used first-round picks on shortstops in the past -- such as Levi Michael (2011), Trevor Plouffe (2004) and Michael Cuddyer (1997) -- but eventually all were relocated to another spot in the field. Will Gordon suffer the same fate or can he develop into the two-way shortstop the organization has lacked for years?

49

Push Candidate: Adam Brett Walker III

Leading up to spring training, I am highlighting three players in the system who are "push candidates." These are players who I think should be pushed to the next level in the minor league system, even with some issues in their 2014 seasons that might give the Twins pause. I am not one who thinks players need to "dominate" a level before being promoted,

43

TD Top Prospects: #7 Jorge Polanco

In 2009, the Miguel Sano signing got most of the headlines, but earlier that summer the Twins signed shortstop Jorge Polanco from the Dominican Republic for $750,000. At the time, he was 5-10 and maybe 150 pounds. Maybe. He was known primarily for his terrific middle infield defense. The last couple of seasons, he has figured things out with the bat. He became the youngest player promoted to the Twins since Joe Mauer in 2004 when he was called up in June, directly from Ft. Myers.

27

TD Top Prospects: #9 Trevor May

When the Twins traded Ben Revere to the Phillies on December 6, 2012, fans expected immediate dividends from Vance Worley, who became the Opening Day starter less than four months later. We all know how that chapter of the story ended.

We are also very familiar with how the second chapter of that trade began when Trevor May stepped on the mound to make his major league debut in Oakland on August 9, 2014.

But his part of the story is far from over.

46

TD Top Prospects: #10 Nick Burdi

You've probably heard this crazy statistic: In 2014, the Twins had one pitcher (late-season call-up Lester Oliveros) throw a pitch that was clocked at 97 MPH or above. By comparison, the American League Champion Kansas City Royals registered 2,287 such pitches.

Major league baseball is trending toward pitchers -- especially relievers -- with big velocity, and while the Twins may appear far behind the curve based on the above finding, they're certainly not ignorant to this reality. The club's draft strategy in recent years has reflected an increased emphasis on power arms -- even those that are clearly slated for future roles in the bullpen -- and no one personifies this altered approach better than Nick Burdi.

The Twins selected the hard-throwing righty in the second round of last year's draft, and already he has become one of the most noteworthy relief prospects in all of the minor leagues.