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Article: Red Sox 4, Twins 1: Sale Outduels Berrios

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:23 AM
Jose Berrios pitched much better than the box score suggests, as he went blow-for-blow with Chris Sale before the Twins bullpen allowed a...
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Article: Coming Soon: Starting Pitching (But How Soon?)

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:21 AM
Anyone who is reading this site is a big Minnesota Twins fan. Anyone who is a big Twins fan realizes that this team needs pitching. A lot...
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Saturday's starter in double header

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:17 AM
Rochester and Chattanooga have had 6 games in the previous two days leaving 6 pitchers that line up well for Saturday. Hurlbutt, Slegers,...
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Possible Trade Partners for Dozier

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:14 AM
While awaiting late starting games, I revisited the "idea" of trading Brian Dozier.I began by asking which teams were not out of contenti...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (6/26): Lewis Homers,...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:12 AM
The Twins opened a series in Boston on Monday night and the affiliates played eight games, six of which will be profiled here. (The two D...
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Minor League Breakout Hitter Candidates

The art of hitting can be one of the toughest challenges for a professional athlete to master. There are slumps and out of those slumps adjustments need to be made. In the end, the best hitters are able to avoid prolonged slumps so as to be consistent as possible through the course of a season.

Last week, I predicted some pitchers for fans to keep an eye on during the 2016 minor league campaign. This week it's time to move to the other side of the ball to forecast which hitters are poised to breakout of their shell during the next calendar year.

There are some familiar names and some others that might be unknown but each player has a chance to make his mark in the coming year.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (Photo of Nick Gordon)
Trey Cabbage- 3B
2015 Stats (Rookie): .252/.302/.269, 0 HR, 2 2B, 37/7 SO/BB, 119 AB
Minnesota selected Cabbage in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and he made his debut with the GCL Twins last season. He was over a year younger than the competition and still managed to get on base over 30% of the time. As he grows into his frame, his quick bat should help him to add to his power numbers. Since he will still be a teenager this coming year, he will likely get most of his playing time in the rookie leagues. However, current Twins like Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano put their names on the map with big seasons with the E-Twins.

Nick Gordon- SS
2015 Stats (Low-A): .277/.336/.360, 1 HR, 23 2B, 7 3B, 88/39 SO/BB, 481 AB
Gordon is a name well known in Twins prospect circles as he was a top-five pick in the 2014 draft. He struggled coming out of the gate last year but finished the year hitting .305/.352/.422 over the last 60 games. He's been over two years younger than the competition in each of his first two professional stops and that will continue this year as he moves on to Fort Myers. With other players graduating off the team's top prospect list, he could set himself up to be the team's top prospect next offseason. It's going to take a big year in a tough hitting environment but the time is now for Gordon.

Travis Harrison- OF
2015 Stats (Double-A): .240/.363/.356, 5 HR, 23 2B, 4 3B, 102/65 SO/BB, 479 AB
After being a over a year and a half younger than the competition over the last two years, the Twins are sending Harrison back to Double-A to try and put it all together. The former supplemental first-round pick has moved consistently through the system while posting an OPS of .719 or higher during the last three seasons. He has the potential to hit double digit home runs. In two of the last three seasons, he's struck out over 100 times so this could be a very important year for him as the Twins decide what his long term role will be with the organization.

Daniel Palka- OF/1B
2015 Stats (High-A): .280/.352/.532, 29 HR, 36 2B, 164/56 SO/BB, 511 AB
Palka joined the Twins this offseason in the trade that sent Chris Herrmann to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit for a ton of power last season but he also racked up oodles of strikeouts. He's been older than the competition in every minor league season since he played multiple years in college. He impressed some of the Twins brass with a pair of home runs during a spring game. If he can cut back on the strikeouts and show more of the power he's exhibited in the past, he could be a very valuable piece to this organization as they move forward.

Trey Vavra- OF/1B
2015 Stats (Low-A): .346/.406/.538, 6 HR, 10 2B, 30/13 SO/BB, 156 AB
Vavra is beginning his third professional season but he has yet to play more than 50 games in a season. That should change this year as he starts the year with the Miracle. His OBP has been helped by a high batting average in the lower levels so it will be interesting to see what he can do with a full season. There hasn't been a ton of home run power yet but he's averaging 15 doubles per season and he's only averaged 46 games played. If he can keep his average high and stay healthier this season, there's a chance for him to have some very impressive numbers by season's end.


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11 Comments

My question is this; have the Twins over valued the abilities of Harrison? By age, he would seem to have been promoted with earnest. By production, he would seem to have been promoted too fast. He's already been moved off 3B pretty quickly. Are we looking at Moses 2?

Vavra, healthy for a full season, could be interesting. But I would think Wade and Murphy would be far more interesting subjects to watch/consider. Not so sure...just a hunch...Christensen wouldn't be a comparable comp to Vavra.

Of this group listed, Gordon is clearly the winner. Despite his pedigree, I wasn't sold on him as a top draft pick. Simply, every scouting report had him as a 50-55 in all categories. I just didn't see those reports as meeting expectations for a top pick. But he has not only looked good, but would seem to be exceeding those early projection numbers.
AB Walker could be added to the list, being promoted to see if he can handle the off speed and so far, he's doing great. Agree with Harrison, this could be his make or break year. Another one to watch is Turner. If he can handle the hitting in AA, he maybe the 1st batter promoted to AAA and if it happens, he'll be in a Twins uni next year, as his defense is really special.
    • jokin likes this

Harrison's timeline to this point has reminded me a lot of Trevor Plouffe's time in the minors.

 

He wasn't necessarily wowing anyone with his stat lines, but the Twins were seeing other things and continued to move him up the ladder. I've loved Harrison's approach at the plate, and his strikeout numbers aren't even in a realm of concern for me, especially when you consider other player's in the organization.

    • Thrylos, SydneyTwinsFan, gunnarthor and 1 other like this

I think Mitch Garver and LaMonte Wade are poised for breakout seasons. 

    • jsteve96 and sane16 like this

Good list.  I really like Cabbage and he'll start showing up on a lot of sleeper lists soon.  I'd probably add his draft mate Blankenhorn to the list, as well.  I really liked those two picks.  

 

I think Gordon could sky rocket up the top 100 lists this season.  He can play short and his power should begin to show.

 

I don't know if he'll break out but I'm really interested in seeing how well Turner can hit.  He had a decent amount of walks in AA last year.  Hopefully, he can be a bit more than Drew Buetera.  

What about Travis Blankenhorn? He is the most underrated player in our system.

I like Harrison's walk rate. Always have. Hopefully he'll put it together sooner, rather than later.

Photo
Halsey Hall
Apr 12 2016 04:36 PM

I'd keep my eye on Vielma. He shows promise of figuring it out in the box.

    • gunnarthor and twinssouth like this
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Bob Sacamento
Apr 13 2016 08:08 AM

 

Good list.  I really like Cabbage and he'll start showing up on a lot of sleeper lists soon.  I'd probably add his draft mate Blankenhorn to the list, as well.  I really liked those two picks.  

 

Cabbage is one of my favorite players in the system, if not the favorite.  Good kid, great stroke, has the athleticism to stay at 3B with a strong accurate arm.  And I'll also add in one of the old scout lines, "Did you see his dad?" - in that Trey's dad is very muscular so one can envision what a few more years of growth does to Cabbage's frame.  

 

One thing I want to add is that one would think these two, Blankenhorn and Cabbage, who are competing for the same position would have a little animosity towards each other but that is  the furthest from the truth.  The two former roommates, hang out and hit the town together on their down time.

    • gunnarthor, Tibs and twinssouth like this

I have always been a Gordon fan, no idea why........but I'm on his bandwagon big time this year.

 

I have always been a Gordon fan, no idea why........but I'm on his bandwagon big time this year.

maybe because he was a first round pick and his blood runs in the MLB? lol


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