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Prospect list in depth, Part Four: 21-30

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In the fourth installment, things start to get quite interesting with some strong upside talents and some almost tragic time-is-of-the-essence prospects in limbo.

30. Mason Melotakis (DOB: 6-28-91), LH reliever: Melotakis was moved quickly from Elizabethon to Beloit last year and didnít miss a beat. The hard-throwing lefty (mid 90s fastball) also has a great power slider. In 17+ innings at Beloit last year he gave up only 4 earned runs, struck out 24 and walked 4. He could fly up this list and also move quickly in the Twins system. I hope the Twins push him this year immediately up instead of a return to low-A ball. Expected start: Fort Myers. ETA: 2015-2016.

29. Tom Stuifbergen (DOB: 9-26-88), RH starter: Stuifbergen suffered through a strange shoulder injury that limited him to 74+ innings and hampered his strikeout total dramatically (39). Bouncing back this year after the disastrous 2012 is certainly possible and he is running out of time. If things had gone well last year, he could have been a contender for a rotation spot with the Twins at some point this year. Expected start: New Britain. ETA: never or 2014-2015.

28. Jorge Polanco (DOB: 7-5-93), SH middle infielder: Polanco generated a decent amount of attention before even playing in the Twins organization and then fell off the radar some after the 2010 and 2011 seasons. His defensive ability at shortstop was heavily sought after by the Twins, though he struggled at the position in 2012 and spent most of his time over at second base. The offensive production, however, went off the charts with a 235 OPS point jump between GCL 2011 and Elizabethon 2012. And he is still 19. Polanco demonstrated some power in 2012, especially with 15 doubles in just 204 plate appearances. He doesnít walk much, but he also doesnít strike out much. He is definitely going to be one of my top 10 players to watch in 2013 in the system. Expected start: Cedar Rapids. ETA: 2016-2017.

27. Jason Wheeler (DOB: 10-27-90), LH starter: Wheeler was a consistent presence for the Beloit rotation, throwing 156+ innings with a 3.45 ERA. His 6.6/2.5 per nine K/BB rate doesnít overwhelm, but he looks like a younger (and taller) version of Scott Diamond right now. I would expect a steady increase in workload and movement up the system for him. Expected start: Fort Myers. ETA: 2015-2016.

26. Dereck Rodriguez (DOB: 6-5-92), RH outfielder: I remain high on Rodriguez even though the Twins are moving slow with him. He doesnít have a single plate appearance beyond the GCL, where he posted a .783 OPS in 2012. It would seem that the outfield log jam at the bottom of the system and Dereckís plate discipline kept him in the GCL after 2011. He did improve some in that regard, but still does strike out a lot. Expected start: EST and Elizabethon with possible promotion to Beloit mid-season. ETA: 2016-2017.

25. Levi Michael (DOB: 2-9-91), SH middle infielder: 2011ís first round pick did not have a good 2012 season, but to write him off at this point would be very silly. His numbers for his first season of pro ball at a level a bit over his head are decent enough and .093 isolated discipline shows a skill that wonít go away. He should hit better (and for more power) and the real question comes down to where he will play. He played a bit more at second base in 2012, but should probably get the majority of the duties at short in Fort Myer if Danny Santana moves to New Britain. Expected start: Fort Myers. ETA: 2015-2016.

24. Alex Wimmers (DOB: 12-1-88), RH starter: Like Stuifbergen, Wimmers has run into terrible luck which has significantly delayed his progress. This was a guy who some thought could actually arrive in 2011 for the Twins by the end of that season, but then weird control issues ended that and 2012 brought Tommy John. The Twins let Wimmers delay surgery and the injury only got worse, so what was an early season issue became an early August surgery. He should be working his way back into the New Britain rotation for the last 2/5 of the season. Expected start: New Britain DL. ETA: never or 2014-2015.

23. B.J. Hermsen (DOB: 12-1-89), RH starter: In 139+ innings in 2012, Hermsen struck out 75 batters and walked 25. He kept his ERA to 3.22 which is in line with his career 3.21 ERA in his career. The strikeouts are dwindling, however, and this is cause for concern as he goes forward. His sinker is good and he can induce ground balls. He is another guy to really follow this year as continued success after moving to AAA should relieve at least some of the doubts I have about his ability to pitch in the majors. He will get there though and there is no reason to keep him back at New Britain. Expected start: Rochester. ETA: a big range from Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2015.

22. Danny Santana (DOB: 11-7-90), SH middle infielder: Itís a good sign to see someone move up a level and then add 68 points to his OPS. Itís even better when this is a middle infielder. Santana has a good glove, great speed, and surprising pop. His 21 doubles, 8 triples, and 9 homers in 547 plate appearances in the Florida State League are very impressive. He doesnít walk much at all, but he cut the strikeouts down a lot in 2012 while raising his batting average 39 points. He is another guy to watch in 2013 and it will be interesting to see how middle infield time might be divided in New Britain between he and Beresford, assuming the Twins donít make the mistake of keeping him in Fort Myers. If Santana can maintain this offensive production and fine-tune his defense, he is a promising middle infielder for the Twins soon. Expected start: New Britain. ETA: 2014-2015.

21. Josh Burris (DOB: 11-28-91), RH reliever: Burris pitched 36 innings for Elizabethon, striking out 40 and walking 21. This control issue is not strange for Burris, but that is actually an improvement from his 2011 college numbers. He can hit the mid 90s and has a good curveball. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Twins will be converting his talents and stuff towards being a starting pitcher. I would think that they might experiment some with that later in the season, but certainly have to start increasing his innings load. Expected start: Cedar Rapids. ETA: 2015-2016 as reliever, 2016-2017 as starter.

Updated 01-05-2013 at 03:30 PM by Shane Wahl

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  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Note: I will link to all parts of this series with the final 1-5 grouping.
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    Love your Burris placement btw Main reason is that he has a plus (soon to be plus plus curve) and there are not many pitchers around who can claim that. One can live with an average-plus FB and a change of pace change as long as he can control that FB and throw the nasty curve any time in the count for strikes.
  3. lightfoot789's Avatar
    Surprised Burris is ahead of Melotakis based on draft round, but not surprised based on "stuff". Burris might have best curveball in system? He was awesome in ETown last year with great ERA (1.75) and best league record at (7-0). Big Sleeper. Both will be contributors for Twins in some capacity in the future.
  4. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Part of that is that Burris is a bit younger and also could move into a starter role. And his curveball is there as in ready.
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