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Prospect list in depth, Part Two: 41-50

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Here is part two of my detailed prospect list. This is where it tends to get pretty cloudy with a lot of reliever types, but these names either were or would have been in the 25-35ish range in the Twins system 2-3 years ago. That is a good sign.

50. Dakota Watts (DOB: 11-16-87), RH reliever: Watts bounced back from a rough 2011 to have a substantially better 2012 and remain on this list. He still walks to many batters and that is going to be the main issue going forward. His AA performance was good as he posted a 2.67 ERA in 33+ innings while striking out 27 and walking 16. He throws gas (mid to upper 90s), so the wildness is to be expected. The K rate has to stay where it is (or improve) or he is going to have trouble in the majors. Expected start: New Britain. ETA: 2013-2014.

Watts pitching this winter:

49. Chris Colabello (DOB: 10-24-83), RH 1B: It is hard to call a 29-year-old a prospect, but Colabello’s success in his first season in the Twins system was astounding, and includes a dominating winter performance in the Mexican League. In 228 plate appearances there, he has 17 homers and a 1.043 OPS. This coupled with his 2012 season at New Britain amounts to 790 plate appearances, 36 homers, 50 doubles, and around a .915 OPS for the entire year. His tremendous power is an enormous asset, but the clock is ticking. He is in his prime now and the Twins should take advantage of this. He is a 1B/DH type, but has experience at 3B and could serve in an emergency backup role there. I would love for Colabello to get the final bench spot on the 25-man roster, but that is unlikely. Expected start: Rochester. ETA: 2013-2014.

48. Bruce Pugh (DOB: 7-18-88), RH reliever: Pugh was pretty dominant in 2012 after a bad 2011 season. In 42 innings at New Britain, he struck out 48, walked 23, and posted a 1.50 ERA. He throws hard and has an effective slider. His K rate has stayed the same the past two years so there hasn’t been a drop off there like with many other Twins prospects. Expected start: Rochester. ETA 2013.

47. Zach Jones (DOB: 12-4-90), RH reliever: Jones threw 20 innings between Elizabethon and Beloit, striking out 34 and walking 11. He also gave up only 11 hits and one homer. He has a mid 90s fastball and a slider. He will likely remain a reliever, adding to a massive list of MR/SU/CL types in the Twins organization. Expected start: Fort Myers. ETA 2015-2016.

46. Josmil Pinto (DOB: 3-31-89), RH catcher: Pinto was OK in 2011 and I started paying attention to his progress at that point. He certainly did not disappoint in 2012. He spent most of his time in Fort Myers again, this time with a .295/.361/.473 (.834) line in 393 plate appearances. He added 22 doubles and 12 homers. He was promoted to New Britain and in 52 plate appearances had a .919 OPS and a couple homers. This performance warranted Pinto’s addition to the 40-man roster. He spent a fair amount of time as the DH, but this is not because of any defensive weakness, but rather the need to keep his bat in the lineup. Could form an interesting trio in the future with Mauer and Herrmann. Expected start: New Britain. ETA 2014-2015.

45. Lester Oliveros (DOB: 5-28-88), RH reliever: Oliveros was dominant at New Britain before being promoted to Rochester. There he struck out 35 batters in 29+ innings and walked only 8. He then injured his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of August. With minimal time in the big leagues, it is too early to rely on his major league stats to project his value. He will clearly be starting on the DL in 2013 but should be ready around mid-season. Expected start: Rochester DL. ETR (return): 2014.

44. J.D. Williams (DOB: 11-20-90), SH outfielder: Williams was excellent in 2011 at Elizabethon and fell dramatically in 2012 after moving up to Beloit. His OPS fell 220 points to .651 and he struck out an alarming 115 times in 407 plate appearances. He is a speedy outfielder who can cover a lot of ground in all three outfield positions. Both at the top of the system and toward the bottom, the outfield is crowded. With Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, Adam Walker, and others looking toward A ball this year, it isn’t clear if Williams will be at Cedar Rapids or pushed forward out of the need for playing time. Expected start: Cedar Rapids (if Buxton doesn’t start there), Fort Myers (if Buxton starts at Cedar Rapids). ETA: never or 2016-2017.

43. Corey Williams (DOB: 7-4-90), LH reliever: Williams was solid in his first full year of professional baseball. He posted a 3.47 ERA in 62+ innings while fanning 68 and walking 33. The high walk total accounted for a high WHIP (1.412) and the higher ERA. He has a solid low to mid 90s fastball, changeup, cutter, and slider, which may lead to a conversion to the rotation at some point. He is likely to move quickly as a talented lefty with 3-4 pitches. Expected start: Fort Myers. ETA: 2015-2016.

42. A.J. Achter (DOB: 8-27-88), RH reliever: Achter totally dominated low A and high A ball in 2012, ending with a 0.79 ERA in 34+ innings at Fort Myers. There he struck out 37 and walked only 3, giving up no homers. The move to the bullpen was enormously helpful for him and she should rise up this list and the system quickly, which is pretty good for someone drafted in the 46th round in 2010. He is a bit of a late bloomer, so this season will be crucial for him. Expected start: New Britain. ETA: 2014-2015.

41. Ryan Pressly (DOB: 12-15-88), RH starter/reliever: Pressly was selected by the Twins in the Rule 5 draft from Boston. He struggled some in 2010 and 2011, started out struggling in 2012 in high A ball, but did improve after being promoted to AA. The hard-thrower struck out 21 in 27+ innings while walking 10. This is certainly a reach, but I would rather the Twins give Pressly a long relief spot and trade away Anthony Swarzak in some package for a low level pitcher with a modicum of upside. Swarzak’s time is done and Pressly is a younger option who still has room for development. Expected start: either sent back to Boston or sent to the minors after the Twins work out a trade. ETA: never or 2014-2015.

Updated 12-31-2012 at 09:10 AM by Shane Wahl

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  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    By the way, odds that the Watts video poster is his wife/girlfriend, sister, or . . . mother?
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    Hard to think of Colabello as a prospect at the ripe age of 29.5 starting the season... He is just a minor leaguer at this point, like the other 30 somethings there. Not that he is not good. He might actually end up as the Twins' 1B this season or next if things fall his way. But a prospect he is not
  3. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    I think of prospects being eligible as prospects if they haven't reached the majors or have spent less than 1/3 of a season there. I also wanted to put him somewhere on the list for comparison's sake.
  4. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
    Don't understand how Achter can be in front of Williams. Williams was a much higher draft choice and is actually age appropriate for his league. I know a lot have suggested Williams as the future closer, the ultimate goal for relief prospects. Plus, left handed pitchers are valued quite a bit higher than right handed ones.
  5. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Williams is not going to be a closer. Anyway, I am basing it on Achter's dominant statistics this year, including at Fort Myers.
  6. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    Achter out of the bullpen is actually rather intriguing. He throws in the mid-90s now and has a very good second pitch.

    My definition of "Prospect" is anyone who is eligible to be rookie of the year. So, by that definition, Colabello is a prospect in my mind, that maybe not in the top 50.
  7. Thrylos's Avatar
    ok, guys (Seth and Shane) :

    Is Slama a prospect?
    He fits both of your criteria as time (not) spent in the majors. And he has actually pretty darn spiffy results better than a lot of the high ranked relievers in the high minors...
  8. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    By definition for my prospect lists, yes. Will he be in my Top 50? Probably not.
  9. Thrylos's Avatar
    So, in other words, is Anthony Slama a worse bet to be more effective in the majors that (let's say) Ryan Pressly or Caleb Thielbar based on what the 3 has shown in the minors?

    (I don't think so, btw)
  10. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    I am a big fan of Anthony Slama and I want him to get a shot, but I think that Thielbar has the best chance of being successful in the big leagues than Slama. And Pressly certainly has more upside. Slama's topping out at about 87 right now. Thielbar has been compared to me by people who have seen him to Glen Perkins out of the bullpen.
  11. Thrylos's Avatar
    Seth, we are talking about different things

    you are giving me the scouting stuff (upside, velocity, comparables) "soft" evidence in my book.
    I am saying that the guy did it and has done it better than the other 2. Look at the numbers. "hard evidence" in my book

    He is topping out higher than Dickey right now, correct?
  12. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Slama deserves a shot, no matter what his fastball radar reading is....I remember watching Greg Maddux top out at 86-87. Is Slama as good as Muddux? NO! But he has earned a shot to sink or swim with the Twins in Minnesota.
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