We are already about 15 games into the minor league season. It’s not a lot, but it is just over 10% of the season’s schedule, even though there have been a lot of weather-related postponements and double-headers. It’s too early to call any of the numbers more than a Small Sample Size, but it’s always fun to take an early look at Twins prospects.
Below, you will find my preseason Top 30 Minnesota Twins prospects along with their statistics through Sunday, along with some of my thoughts and observations on many of the players. It’s exciting to see so many of these top prospects start the season strongly.
(Note this is my personal prospect ranking, use for entertainment purposes – and for learning about Twins prospects – only.)
1. Miguel Sano – Ft. Myers Miracle - .375/.438/.734 (1.173) with 5-2B, 0-3B, 6-HR, 16-RBI in 64 AB.
2. Byron Buxton – Cedar Rapids Kernels - .415/.523/.642 (1.165) with 2-2B, 2-3B, 2-HR, 10-RBI in 53 AB. Also 6-10 in SB attempts.
3. Oswaldo Arcia – Rochester Red Wings - .394/.474/.727 (1.201) with 2-2B, 3-HR, 8-RBI. Also 1-9 in 3 games with the Minnesota Twins.
4. Alex Meyer – New Britain Rock Cats – 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 16 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 19 K
These top four prospects would most likely fit into an “Elite” category. These are the guys who should be in Top 50 lists of any publication. All four of them are off to spectacular starts. Sano and Buxton are like Prospects 1a and 1b. Arcia and Meyer would be #1 prospects in several organizations.
5. Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins – .059/.200/.059 (.259) with 4-RBI.
6. Kyle Gibson – Rochester Red Wings – 0-3, 4.43 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 19 K
7. Eddie Rosario – Ft. Myers Miracle – .352/.385/.507 (.892) with 5-2B, 2-HR, 11-RBI in 71 AB
8. J.O. Berrios – Extended Spring Training –
Prospects #5 through #8 aren’t quite in the elite category, but they are highly regarded in the industry. Hicks’ struggles at the onset of his big league career have been well chronicled, but there is little reason to believe that he will not adjust. Gibson is still working on his gradual return from Tommy John surgery and is really just building up strength. Rosario made a name for himself in Puerto Rico this offseason, and earned his spot on that country’s WBC team. He impressed in Ft. Myers in spring training and he is off to a fast start with the Miracle. Berrios is also from Puerto Rico and, despite his youth, was also on the Puerto Rican WBC team. Because of that, he spent the first three weeks of the season in Ft. Myers, in Extended Spring Training. He made his first Cedar Rapids start on Monday night and gave up two runs in five innings. He sat between 92 and 94 with his fastball and touched 96. He got a couple of strikeouts on a strong breaking ball.
9. Trevor May – New Britain Rock Cats – 0-1, 3.14 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 13 H, 10 BB, 19 K
10. Max Kepler – Extended Spring Training Disabled List –
Rounding out the Top 10, these prospects have high ceilings yet have something to overcome. For May, it is his ability to consistently throw strikes. He has the ‘stuff’, but if he can’t control it, it will be difficult for him to consistently get big league hitters out. Kepler has yet to play because of an elbow injury. He’s still young and raw, but incredibly talented.
11. Joe Benson – Rochester Red Wings – .170/.235/.191 (.427) with 1-2B, 0-HR, 1-RBI. Benson has been bothered by his wrist early in the season and is off to a slow start. He’s primarily playing left field although he has already played all three outfield positions.
12. Kennys Vargas – Ft. Myers Miracle – .238/.294/.460 (.754) with 5-2B, 3-HR, 12-RBI in 63 AB. Vargas just looks like David Ortiz. He’s fun-loving, and strong. He has a ton of power, but has a lot of work to do to advance. The talent is there!
13. Danny Santana – New Britain Rock Cats – .250/.267/.319 (.586) with 1-2B, 2-3B, 0-HR, 7 RBI in 72 AB. Early in the season Santana has had offensive struggles. That could be attributed to small sample size. Another concern might be the eight errors he already has committed at shortstop.
14. Travis Harrison – Cedar Rapids Kernels – .291/.349/.527 (.876) with 7-2B, 2-HR, 8-RBI in 55 AB. Harrison has tremendous power potential, power that has yet to develop. He certainly looks the part with a strong, balanced swing. He has five errors on the season.
15. Alex Wimmers – Disabled List – Wimmers had Tommy John surgery last August, so he will likely be getting on a mound for the first time in 5-6 weeks. He might start rehabbing when the GCL season begins.
16. Adam Walker – Cedar Rapids Kernels – .264/.328/.358 (.686) with 2-2B, 1-HR, 9-RBI in 53 AB. Walker has as much power as anyone in the organization, including Miguel Sano. He is a big, strong man. Last night, he hit a long blast for his second home run. His father was a replacement player for the Vikings back in the ‘80s.
17. Chris Herrmann – Rochester Red Wings – .175/.233/.200 (.433) with 1-2B, 2-RBI, in 40 AB. Herrmann is struggling early in the season, his first games at the AAA level. He has primarily been catching, though he has the versatility to play other positions as well.
18. BJ Hermsen – New Britain Rock Cats – 0-1, 9.64 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K. Hermsen went to big league spring training. After being optioned out, he was sidelined by an intercostal strain. He made his first start of the season on Sunday for the Rock Cats.
19. Jorge Polanco – Cedar Rapids Kernels – .300/.323/.417 (.739) with 4-2B, 1-HR, 11-RBI in 60 AB. Polanco had good offensive numbers a year ago in Elizabethton, but I wasn’t able to move him higher up this list. When I update this list, he will move up. Having seen him play, the quality of his game was a pleasant surprise. Specifically, it was great to see him swing and hit. I now am a believer in his potential with the bat. He has a ways to go, but he has a decent chance.
20. Luke Bard – Extended Spring Training Disabled List – Bard is in extended spring training fighting some arm soreness. When he is able to reach the pitch count limit, he will move up to Cedar Rapids and possibly go directly to Ft. Myers.
21. Adrian Salcedo – Ft. Myers Miracle – 1-0, 5.63 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8 IP, 10 H, 0 BB, 8 K. A former Top 10 prospect, he had a lost 2012 season due to elbow and shoulder injuries. He did not have surgery, and he is being brought along slowly. So far, he has been used only out of the bullpen.
22. Mason Melotakis – Cedar Rapids Kernels – 1-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 11 K. Melotakis was one of the 2012 draft picks who was a college reliever who will get an opportunity to start in 2013. He has had mixed results through three starts. He’s limited runs, though he has given up a lot of base runners. He throws 94 from the left-side, so he’s got a chance.)
23. Nate Roberts – Disabled List – Roberts had a good year at Beloit last year, and then he went to Arizona and led the AFL in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. Unfortunately, he tore his meniscus while preparing for the season and is on the disabled list awaiting clearance to play.
24. Michael Tonkin – New Britain Rock Cats – 1-0, 6.23 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 8.2 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 7 K. Tonkin took a big step forward in 2012 and with a big fastball/slider combination he has a chance to move up quickly in 2013. He is off to a slow start so far in New Britain.
25. Pedro Hernandez – Minnesota Twins – 0-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 4 K. The lefty had a very good camp with the Twins but he went back to Rochester to stretch out and start. He never did pitch for the Red Wings as he was needed for a spot start with the Twins. He has stuck with the big league club.
26. Danny Ortiz – New Britain Rock Cats – .313/.356/.582 (.938) with 7-2B, 1-3B, 3-HR, 13-RBI in 67 AB. Often overlooked among the Twins outfield prospects, Ortiz can hit. The Puerto Rican is off to a fast start with the Rock Cats. He can play all three positions. He’s not a big guy, but he packs a big punch.
27. Niko Goodrum – Cedar Rapids Kernels – .298/.400/.383 (.783) with 4-2B, 0-HR, 5-RBI in 47 AB. Niko is a tremendous athlete who is finally growing into his frame. He plays a very good shortstop. He has greatly improved his swing from the left-side. He’s has a chance to keep moving up.
28. Matt Summers – Ft. Myers Miracle – 1-1, 4.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 16 H, 5 BB, 5 K. Summers certainly looks the part of potential starter. He has the motion and the delivery. He has stuff and touches 93 at times. I'm not sure why he doesn’t get many strikeouts as a starter.
29. Hudson Boyd – Cedar Rapids Kernels – 1-1, 5.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 12 K. Boyd is young, and has a lot to work on, but after seeing him in person, I can see why the team made him a supplemental first-round pick. He has a good arm, a good changeup and a good curveball. He’ll develop and has a chance to be good.
30. Levi Michael – Disabled List – Michael struggled throughout his first pro season in 2012. In 2013 he has fought a shoulder injury. In his stead, former Gopher and Minnetonka native AJ Pettersen has run with the shortstop job in Ft. Myers, hitting .360 on the season while batting at the top of the order. Michael is likely out another week or two and when he’s healthy he’ll likely be starting.
Feel free to ask questions about these 30 prospects or any other prospect in the Twins farm system.