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  • Minnesota Twins Will Send Seven To AFL

    The Twins announced Tuesday that they will be sending seven players to the Arizona Fall League this year. The list of prospects includes Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, A.J. Achter and Zach Jones.

    It's an impressive group, to be sure. The first five names comprised half of Twins Daily's Top 10 Twins Prospects this spring, and Buxton has of course solidified himself as the best young talent in all the minors with a phenomenal campaign between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. While Buxton is the highlight, the most interesting players to follow may be the two pitchers acquired in trades last offseason.

    Meyer displayed dominating strikeout stuff in New Britain this year and has reportedly flashed 100 MPH heat in recent outings, but he missed two months with a shoulder injury and will finish the season with fewer than 100 innings pitched. He badly needs the additional work to build arm strength, but could become a factor for the big-league club in 2014.

    May has had a disappointing and inconsistent first year in Minnesota's system, but he has displayed a powerful arsenal and could improve his standing with a good showing in the AFL.

    Buxton and Kepler aren't on the verge of the majors but they may rank as the organization's top two outfield prospects with Oswaldo Arcia graduated and Aaron Hicks amidst a year-long slump. Rosario will continue to refine his skills at second base and should be in the mix to make his big-league debut next year. Achter and Jones are stand-out relief prospects.
    Comments 53 Comments
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      Quote Originally Posted by amjgt View Post
      The only other 1B on the roster seems like a nothing prospect to me (sub 700 OPS if I remember correctly). I suspect, given that he's at Low A and the Twins used their "foreign player without a foreign league" exemption to get him on the team, he will not see the field more than 3 times a week.
      Ummm, Kepler's mom was born in San Antonio, so I am pretty sure that (despite being born in Berlin) he is an American citizen... isn't he?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by TRex View Post
      Ummm, Kepler's mom was born in San Antonio, so I am pretty sure that (despite being born in Berlin) he is an American citizen... isn't he?
      dual citizenship....
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I am thinking that Kepler is going to compete in the AFL even if it does seem too soon based on his development. The Twins will likely need to protect him on the major league 40 man roster this off-season.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      I am thinking that Kepler is going to compete in the AFL even if it does seem too soon based on his development. The Twins will likely need to protect him on the major league 40 man roster this off-season.
      One more year I think.

      Kepler shouldn't move to first permanently anytime soon but splitting time between 1B and the OF is a good plan. Why? Because the team is loaded with OF'ers so his path to the majors could be at 1B and transitioning from OF to IF is not an easy one.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      One more year I think.

      Kepler shouldn't move to first permanently anytime soon but splitting time between 1B and the OF is a good plan. Why? Because the team is loaded with OF'ers so his path to the majors could be at 1B and transitioning from OF to IF is not an easy one.
      Kepler is eligible for the rule 5 draft this off season (you could have been arguing the Twins don't need to protect him this year though, it wasn't real clear).

      I wonder if his 1st base status isn't related to his shoulder as well. It's possible that it is still affecting his throwing or that they are being cautious with it. Playing 1B would certain help protect it. Cedar Rapids didn't have a 1B on the roster after Hicks was promoted so it was easy to slot Kepler in there. It wouldn't surprise me if next season he is back taking the majority of his reps at OF.
    1. Einstein's Avatar
      Einstein -
      This is great, I live in Scottsdale, I can't wait to see these guys!
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Two interesting notes from KLaw's chast about the AFL I didn't know. First on who/how the players were picked:

      "The teams do. The league sends rough positional requirements - e.g., you need to send three pitchers, at least one of whom is a starter, a catcher, and an infielder among your seven names - and the teams pick. Each team can send one player who hasn't reached AA yet. They don't have to be serious prospects; teams often send org players to fill out rosters, or guys who are on the rule 5/40-man bubble."

      Second the question was brought up about if they only let 1 prospect per team from AA or lower go how did the Twins send Buxton, Kepler, and Jones. Apparently you can send more than 1 if the league OKs it. Had no idea. Learn something new every day!
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      i think i will have to travel over to AZ to watch some "real baseball". I can't watch the big club any more it is way too frustrating & i am drinking way too much beer. October 8th-November 16th is what it looks like..
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      Plus tickets are only $7.00 per game, general admission and sit any where you want
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by rickyriolo View Post
      i think i will have to travel over to AZ to watch some "real baseball". I can't watch the big club any more it is way too frustrating & i am drinking way too much beer. October 8th-November 16th is what it looks like..
      frustrating yes, but it's not like these prospects would come up and dominate. They are raw. You will see flashes of promise (hopefully lots of them) and see them fail in ways pros don't fail...

      Does make me wish I was near AZ though.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Wow, that is pretty cool. Who wants to organize a Twins Daily trip to AZ?
      While John's comment may have been partly tongue-in-cheek, I have set up a kind of "clearinghouse" in my blog at:

      Road Trip for Arizona Fall League? - Blogs - Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum

      If you have some interest in going, even if it's 1% at this point, add a comment so that we can keep track and compare notes closer to the start of the games.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Just an FYI - First Base is the position Kepler played his entire life until he enrolled in a baseball academy, it's not something that's completely new to him.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I'd keep him in the outfield as long as he can. When I talked to Jake Mauer about him, he says he's such a good athlete, but will likely get too big for the outfield. At that point, he can move to 1B. He's playing there enough that it won't just be foreign to him completely. Definitely too early to move him there full time. Mauer said he would likely eat himself to 1B. He's a big kid. Long, and pretty lean, but he's going to grow.
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