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  • Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects in Review

    In my fourth annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, which became available in January, I posted my Top 30 Twins Prospect list as well as my annual rankings back five or six years. I enjoy looking at those lists for a couple of reasons. First, it is humbling. No one will likely ever produce a top 10 list that is 100% accurate. Second, its a fun reminder of some of the names from the past that didnt stick around or make it. Third, its just fun to review to see what I have learned since then.

    Today, I would like to take a look at my top 20 Twins prospects from before the season started and provide a quick update on how theyre doing. Some will move up, others will (or have) moved down. In parentheses, you will see where I ranked that player when I did an updated ranking before the June draft. In the comments, please feel free to discuss, but also feel free to post your updated Top 10 list as of now.
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    #1 (1) Miguel Sano 19 years old 3B

    In Beloit, he is hitting .259/.380/.521 (.902) with 24 doubles, 4 triples, 24 homers and 90 RBI. He has stolen seven bases. He has also committed 40 errors.

    #2 (2) Eddie Rosario 20 years old 2B

    Also in Beloit, Rosario missed just over a month of games after being hit in the mouth by a line drive in batting practice, but hes back and hitting again. He is hitting .301/.359/.480 (.839) with 24 doubles, three triples, eight homers and 54 RBI. He has committed just 12 errors at second base, and is also playing about a game a week in centerfield.

    #3 (5) Oswaldo Arcia 21 years old RF

    Its been a great year for the Venezuelan outfielder. After a slow start in Ft. Myers, he took off. He played in the FSL All Star game and then hit a double off of Jameson Taillon in the Futures Game. He was promoted to AA New Britain in mid-June and he has been even better. Overall, hes hitting .319/.390/.534 (.924) with 31 doubles, five triples 14 home runs and 78 RBI. He has six errors defensively, but he also has 15 outfield assists.

    #4 (4) Aaron Hicks 22 years old CF

    Hicks has seemingly turned a corner since his strong showing in the AFL last year. In AA this year, he has taken off. He is hitting .281/.381/.456 with 19 doubles, seven triples, 12 home runs and 55 RBI. Hes also stolen 27 bases and has ten outfield assists while showing great range and a very strong arm.

    #5 (7) Joe Benson 24 year old OF

    Its been a disappointing season for Benson since a nice showing in spring training. He began the season in Rochester where he really struggled before being sent back to New Britain. He then had to have surgery on his hamate bone and missed 5-6 weeks. He has returned and is back at New Britain, but the struggles continue. Overall this season, Benson is hitting .209/.294/.350 (.644) with 13 doubles, three triples and six home runs. Hes also 13/17 in steal attempts. He remains one of the best defensive outfielders in the organization.

    #6 (3) Liam Hendriks 23 years old RHP

    Hendriks made the Opening Day roster but was sent down later in the first month. He got another opportunity in June that went miserably as well. However, in Rochester, he has been terrific. He is a 9-2 with a 1.99 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. In 99.1 innings, he has given up just 69 hits, walked 25 and struckout 76. He will get another shot soon.

    #7 (6) Kyle Gibson 24 years old RHP

    Hearing reports that Gibson is throwing just as hard, if not harder, than he did before his September Tommy John surgery is certainly encouraging. He has remained on schedule and tonight will make his first start of the year for the Ft. Myers Miracle. In a months worth of rehab games in the GCL, Gibson was 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. In 14.2 innings, he gave up nine hits, walked four and struck out 14. Of course, the numbers are far less important than the process.

    #8 (13) Adrian Salcedo 21 years old RHP

    The lanky right-hander struggled in the early season. He was 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP. Unlike his previous seasons, he struggled with control, issuing more walks than ever. Something wasnt right. He was put on the DL with elbow concerns early in the year. He came back and struggled more, and then he was put on the DL with shoulder issues.

    #9 (12) Alex Wimmers 23 years old RHP

    After all of his control issues early last season, he ended the year with a no-hitter for the Miracle. He had a solid spring and was sent to New Britain to start the season. He made his first start and hasnt pitched since. After a couple of months rehabbing, he had Tommy John surgery.

    #10 (N/A) Chris Parmelee 24 years old 1B

    Like Hendriks, Parmelee made the Opening Day roster. He struggled some, but when Justin Morneau started playing more 1B, he also didnt play. He has gone to Rochester and been back up one other time. In Rochester, he is currently hitting .354/.469/.691 (1.161) with 14 doubles, 15 homers and 41 RBI. He has 37 walks to go with 33 strikeouts. Like Hendriks, he should be up again very soon.

    #11 (8) Brian Dozier 25 years old SS

    In 84 Games with Twins, hes hitting .234/.271/.332 (.603) with 11 doubles, a triple, six homers, 32 RBI and nine stolen bases.

    #12 (9) Travis Harrison 19 years old 3B

    Hes hitting .310/.394/.444 (.838) with ten doubles, two triples, three homers and 18 RBI. He has 20 errors in 45 games.

    #13 (25) Tom Stuifbergen 23 years old RHP

    Hes 4-6 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. In 53.1 innings, hes given up 78 hits, 10 walks and 30 strikeouts.

    #14 (24) Angel Morales 22 years old OF

    Hes hitting .207/.288/.310 (.597) with seven doubles, four triples, six homers and 28 RBI.

    #15 (11) Chris Herrmann 24 years old C/LF

    Hitting .270/.343/.391 with 22 doubles, a triple, 9 homers and 50 RBI. Hes caught in 70 games and played LF in 26 others.

    #16 (36) Manuel Soliman 23 years old RHP

    He made two starts for Ft. Myers before his season came to an end due to surgery on his labrum.

    #17 (15) Levi Michael 21 years old SS/2B

    Michael was horrible in the first half and has been at least solid in the second half. Hes hitting .238/.333/.303 (.636) with 10 doubles, four triples, two homers and 33 RBI.

    #18 (27) Max Kepler 19 years old OF

    Fair to say hell move way up this list after this season. Hes hitting .298/.399/.536 (.935) with 11 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 40 RBI for Elizabethton. He played solely in CF until Byron Buxton got to E-Town. Now Kepler is playing in the corners.

    #19 (16) Niko Goodrum 20 years old SS/3B

    Like Kepler, Niko returned to E-Town, but the success (in terms of batting average) has not been there. Hes hitting .247/.367/.425 (.792) with ten doubles, six triples, three homers and 34 RBI. Hes got 13 errors between the two positions.

    #20 (10) Hudson Boyd 19 years old RHP

    Boyd jumped to E-Town for his pro debut this year. Hes just 2-5, but his ERA is just 2.40. Half of the 24 runs hes allowed this year have been unearned. He is posting a 1.40 WHIP. In 45 innings, he given up 47 hits, walked 16 and struck out 29.

    #21 (14) BJ Hermsen 22 year old RHP

    After four starts in Ft. Myers (1-0, 0.78 ERA, 0.91 WHIP), Hermsen moved up to AA New Britain where he was an All Star. With the Rock Cats, hes 10-5 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

    #22 (18) Danny Santana 21 years old SS

    With the Miracle, hes hitting .283/.324/.397 (.721) with 18 doubles, eight triples, five homers and 47 RBI. He has 16 stolen bases. He has 16 errors in 67 games at SS, and another 8 errors in 32 games at 2B.

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    There you have it. A look at my preseason Top 20, err Top 22 Twins prospects. What do you think? Whats your updated Top Ten?

    This article was originally published in blog: Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects in Review started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      didn't realize that boyd is having trouble getting Ks... he was supposed to be one of those power arms... hopefully that improves.
    1. twinsfiend's Avatar
      twinsfiend -
      Too bad Rosario isn't further along we could use his help next year. Maybe 2014?

      Is Hicks AAA next year? I'd love to see him in MN but where would we put him?

      Seems to me Hendricks needs/deserves a late season call up for audition for next seasons #4 or #5 in rotation.

      What are we gonna do with Parmalee ? Trade Morneau in offseason? Or will Parmalee be the one who is packaged up in a trade for some MLB ready starting pitching?

      Good Report. I see alot of potential MLB talent too bad most of it is 2-3 years away.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      If you don't get Ks in rookie ball, it's extremely unlikely you will in the majors. Many times I see players that post 10+ K/9s in the GCL/Advanced rk only end up around 6 or 7 per 9 at the higher stages.


      I think because of performance, Mata should be above Boyd.
      Mata: 2.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 45 IP, 48K, .168 BAA
      Boyd: 2.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 45 IP, 29 K, .258 BAA

      In additon to being in the same league, Mata is also 2 months Boyd's junior and had a phenomenal year in the GCL last year as well. Both are RHPs that stand 6'2". Boyd has a really good curveball and maybe more "plus" pitches, but I think it's time we saw Mata in the top 20 and at least close to Boyd.
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      Very good Seth :-)

      You're list was solid. Very credible and accurate.... it was interesting at one point as i was scrolling down on it, all that was framed in my screen was #'s 5 - #'s 9 (Benson to Wimmers)

      And thought to myself, everyone in that slot has been Hurt, terrible, or re-habbing.... The ONlY positive to take away from those 5 players is #7 SP Kyle Gibson! Just weird that our system is still strong, overall, despite such a lackluster back half of the top 10. Parmelee on the other hand, has been a rocket man. And I'm happy with Dozier's play...considering he should have gotten another month or 2 of AAA time.

      MY list: (changes a touch from week to week)

      1. Byron Buxton A-
      2. Miguel Sano B+
      3. Oswaldo Arcia B
      4. Aaron Hicks B
      5. Eddie Rosario B (this low over my concerns about 2B) Maybe he's the 3B of the future? Sano 1B?
      6. J.O. Berrios B-
      7. Max Kepler B-
      8. Kyle Gibson B-/ C+
      9. Chris Parmelee
      10. Travis Harrison
      ----
      missing: Boyd, Benson, Bard, Walker, Goodrum, and Hermsen Herrmann.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Seth, do you recall what a disaster this list was at this time in 2011? I don't know the numbers off-hand, but I recall (probably innaccurately) that at least half of the top 20 were dissappointing, and most of those dissappointments were injury-related, not performance-related. Which probably explains somewhat why a large majority of these prospects have good to great numbers in 2012.

      It would be interesting to compare the top 50 prospects from TwinsTerritory for 2011 and 2012. How many/what percentage had good numbers in 2011 versus 2012? Of the bad performances, what percentage is mostly attributable to injury each year as opposed to just not performing? My guess for 2012 is that 70% of the top 50 performed acceptably, 20% dissappointed due mostly to injury, and only 10% simply failed to perform to expectations. In 2011, my guess is those numbers were more like 40%, 40%, and 20%.

      If these guesses are somewhat close, it might explain the somewhat artificial pessimism about the talent level in the system coming into 2012. With the 2012 draft and so many better performances, would you expect the rankings to be dramatically more favorable, or not?
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Sorry, I meant Twinkie Town.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      If you don't get Ks in rookie ball, it's extremely unlikely you will in the majors. Many times I see players that post 10+ K/9s in the GCL/Advanced rk only end up around 6 or 7 per 9 at the higher stages.


      I think because of performance, Mata should be above Boyd.
      Mata: 2.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 45 IP, 48K, .168 BAA
      Boyd: 2.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 45 IP, 29 K, .258 BAA

      In additon to being in the same league, Mata is also 2 months Boyd's junior and had a phenomenal year in the GCL last year as well. Both are RHPs that stand 6'2". Boyd has a really good curveball and maybe more "plus" pitches, but I think it's time we saw Mata in the top 20 and at least close to Boyd.

      it can improve. both are young for the level, which does make a difference, but yeah, I was expecting more out of Boyd.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Looking at the Twinkie Town 2012 Top 50, 60% performed acceptably, 20% were injured, and 20% just underperformed expectations. Rough assessment.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Strange that salcedo was bad and got hurt but moved up 5 places and herrmann went back with a better showing. Morales move up 10 places even though he has struggled as bad if not worse than benson/tosoni.


      Thats why these lists are fun though. You can argue about them and have serious doubts about a persons sanity yet they could turn out to be the sane one.
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Hey guys.. I'm new to the site. Here's my top 10

      1. Miguel Sano
      2. Byron Buxton
      3. Oswaldo Arcia
      4. Max Kepler
      5. Eddie Rosario
      6. J.O. Berrios
      7. Aaron Hicks
      8. Kyle Gibson
      9. DJ Baxendale
      10. Angel Mata

      Couple of notes I want to add are that I don't consider Parmelee a prospect anymore or he would have been #10 and I think Rosario at #5 is the surest thing in the top 5 but 1-4 have higher upsides.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Welcome to the board and nice top 10. I have a hard time making top 10 lists. There's certainly a lot of 2nd guessing. Even the top 5 is tough at this point. I would say Sano, Hicks, Buxton, Arcia and Rosario are the top 5, but the actually order of those 5 is the hard part.
    1. Twinsoholic's Avatar
      Twinsoholic -
      Quote Originally Posted by righty8383 View Post
      Welcome to the board and nice top 10. I have a hard time making top 10 lists. There's certainly a lot of 2nd guessing. Even the top 5 is tough at this point. I would say Sano, Hicks, Buxton, Arcia and Rosario are the top 5, but the actually order of those 5 is the hard part.
      My top 20:

      Arcia
      Buxton
      Sano
      Berrios
      Rosario
      Hendricks
      Parmalee
      Hicks
      Gibson
      Parmalee
      Harrison
      Kepler
      Vargas
      Mata
      Bard
      Summers
      Boyd
      Williams
      Hermson
      Benson
      Romero
      Thielbar
      Boer
      Tomshaw

      Any list is arbitrary. Any list is fantasy. Lists can be fun. Arcia is putting up the best numbers, so he has to be number one from my perspective.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfiend View Post
      Too bad Rosario isn't further along we could use his help next year. Maybe 2014?

      Is Hicks AAA next year? I'd love to see him in MN but where would we put him?

      Seems to me Hendricks needs/deserves a late season call up for audition for next seasons #4 or #5 in rotation.

      What are we gonna do with Parmalee ? Trade Morneau in offseason? Or will Parmalee be the one who is packaged up in a trade for some MLB ready starting pitching?

      Good Report. I see alot of potential MLB talent too bad most of it is 2-3 years away.
      Seems like there's a mountain of talent rising slowly through the minor leagues. Where are the Twins going to put half a dozen talented new outfielders? Is management getting ready to wipe clean the whole mlb roster and do a radical youth movement? I feel bad for Parmelee. With Morneau getting healthy and looking amazingly dangerous at the plate, there's not much playing time for anybody else at first base.
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Yeah it's tough. But I agree almost everyone would have a similar top 1-7 or so just a slight different order. I really like Baxendale though. Everything I've heard has been good about him. I don't agree with them putting him in the bullpen though. He's a starter and wants to start but they want to keep his innings down. I believe in keeping pitchers in their comfort zone to maximize their growth. Another example is Madison Boer. He should be a reliever maybe even closer. He's lights out in short stints but clearly struggles as a starter. Instead he'll probably waste 2-3 years struggling as a starter and get put back in the pen and by the time he figures it out again he'll be 26-27 instead of other successful teams that have 22-24 yr old power relievers in the pen. Tyler Robertson could have been up a couple years ago if they didn't waste time trying to make him a starter. Sorry I've gone off the subject.. Just not too happy with the organization right now
    1. rickyhawaii's Avatar
      rickyhawaii -
      Jorge Polanco should definitely be raising some eyebrows this season. He's hitting more than I imagined and he's doing well drawing walks and making contact. The power although won't ever be a big part of his game as it would seem, has been nice. 4HRs now and he's been getting plenty of doubles. When he was signed the reports said he was a slick defender who should be able to stay at short. If he develops like he's doing he could be a very good player. He should be in the top 20.
    1. mediocre's Avatar
      mediocre -
      What Hermsen's been doing this year with such a low strikeout rate is incredible (incredibly lucky?). Have to imagine he would be making a few more Top 10 lists were he striking more guys out. Still think he can be a serviceable #4/#5 in the show, but I'm curious if he can maintain this success into next season.

      Oh yea, my Top 10:

      1. Miguel Sano
      2. Eddie Rosario
      3. Byron Buxton
      4. Oswaldo Arcia
      5. Aaron Hicks
      6. J.O. Berrios
      7. Max Kepler
      8. Kyle Gibson
      9. Travis Harrison
      10. Niko Goodrum
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Chance View Post
      Strange that salcedo was bad and got hurt but moved up 5 places and herrmann went back with a better showing. Morales move up 10 places even though he has struggled as bad if not worse than benson/tosoni.


      Thats why these lists are fun though. You can argue about them and have serious doubts about a persons sanity yet they could turn out to be the sane one.
      I think you have it backwards... the first number is the number for where I ranked them in January when the book came out. The number in parentheses is where I ranked them in late May. Salcedo dropped a little bit.

      I also will put out a top 50 following the season, likely in September... but after researching 160+ players for the book, it can change more.
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mediocre View Post
      What Hermsen's been doing this year with such a low strikeout rate is incredible (incredibly lucky?). Have to imagine he would be making a few more Top 10 lists were he striking more guys out. Still think he can be a serviceable #4/#5 in the show, but I'm curious if he can maintain this success into next season.

      I agree he is having a great year at his age and level. But as far as being a prospect.. He just doesn't project well to the majors. He's similar to Liam Hendriks except less strikeouts which is not a good sign. He has a 1 to 1 ground ball to fly ball rate.. Also a bad sign. Those two things combined.. He won't be able to sustain being a starter in the majors. He either has to increase his strikeouts or start getting more ground balls. That's why Liam Hendriks hasn't had success and is working on it in the minors.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      1. Sano
      2. Buxton
      3. Hicks
      4. Arcia
      5. Rosario
      6. Berrios
      7. Gibson
      8. Benson
      9. Walker
      10. Keplar
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by rickyhawaii View Post
      Jorge Polanco should definitely be raising some eyebrows this season. He's hitting more than I imagined and he's doing well drawing walks and making contact. The power although won't ever be a big part of his game as it would seem, has been nice. 4HRs now and he's been getting plenty of doubles. When he was signed the reports said he was a slick defender who should be able to stay at short. If he develops like he's doing he could be a very good player. He should be in the top 20.
      He wasn't a Top 50 guy for me coming into the year, but he'll certainly be in consideration between 30-40 probably. He's been solid.
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