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Twins Prospects: 10-6

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Here is part 9 of my prospect list I hope you enjoyed the earlier parts. Today I will be bringing you prospects 10-6. I will be bringing you 5 a day until we get all the way to number one. This will take awhile so keep checking back here for daily looks at who I have in certain spots and what I think of them. I am sure you will disagree with some and if so by all means leave me a comment in the comment section. If you prefer you can also shoot me an email at [email protected]. Also if you prefer you can hit me up on twitter @texastwinsfan so whichever way you prefer let me know what you think of my list.

10. Max Kepler OF/1b 2/10/93 20 Signed as a free agent in 2009 from Germany

2013 stats:.237 avg 9 hr 40 rbi 11 doub 3 trip 61 games 24bb 43k 2sb .312/.424/.736 2013 team: Cedar Rapids

2014 team: Cedar Rapids

ETA: 2016

When the Twins inked Max Kepler in 2009 out of Germany he was thought of as the biggest prospect ever signed out of Europe when the Twins gave him 800,000. When the Twins signed him at age 16 they knew he would be a project as he was not as far along as fellow 2009 free agent Miguel Sano. He has been a bit of a project not only because of taking a while to find his stroke, but he has struggled through injuries. Most recently he missed the first half of the 2013 season because of an elbow injury. So staying on the field has been a bit of a problem for the left handed outfielder. He is definately the kind of toolsy outfielder that the Twins crave. When he is on he has a power to all fields, can hit for average, has got speed, can play all three outfield spots and really do just about everything on the baseball thing. The big thing with him just like most toolsy outfielders is turning these tools into skills and not being able to stay on the field has not helped him. In 2010 he had a very good .346 obp at the GCL. Then in 2011 he moved up to Elizabethton where he had a very good .347 obp. The decision was made to have him repeat E-town and for the first time he dominated. In 59 games he hit .297 with 10 homeruns and a OPS of .925. There was tremendous excitement about Kepler after the 2012 season and was the reason why most had him a top 10 prospect after that big 2012 season. That is why the elbow injury disappointed Twins fans as they were not able to see the real Max Kepler in 2013. Even after he came back they did not see the hitter that people that saw him were raving about. He hit just .237 with a .312 obp and a .736 OPS. He still showed the power that Twins fans were so excited about as he hit nine homeruns along with eleven doubles and three triples for 23 extra base hits. Kepler is a big guy at 6í4 and between 200-220 pounds who is growing into his body. Kepler played some 1st base and there are some that believe as he continues to grow that he eventually will be a 1st baseman. The biggest thing with Kepler is he needs time to adjust and basically just needs to play after being injured in 2013. I am looking for a breakout year from Kepler both in power, but I expect him to start to hit left handed pitchers better after struggling with them in 2013. I expect Max Kepler to be a top 5 prospect a year from now because he has all the tools and I fully expect some of those tools will start to turn into skills.

9. Jorge Polanco 2b/SS 7/5/93 20 Signed as a Free Agent in 2009 from DR

2013 stats: .308 avg 5 hr 78 rbi 32 doub 10 tri 76 runs 4 sb 42bb 59k .362/.452/.813

2013 team: Cedar Rapids

2014 team: Fort Myers

ETA: 2016

When Jorge Polanco signed for 800,000 in 2009 there was much expected out of middle infielder from the Dominican Republic. It took him a little while to figure out how to hit, but when he figured it out he flourished. He repeated the GCL in 2010 and 2011 and did not show much offense. In 2010 he split the year between the Dominican Summer League and the GCL and hit just .233 in 52 games. He spent the whole 2011 season in the United States and hit .250 for the GCL. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2012 and exploded offensively as he hit .318 with a .388 obp. He then moved up to Cedar Rapids for the 2013 season and kept it going offensively by hitting .308 with a .362 obp. So he has improved offensively every season since he has been a pro. He has always been really good defensively, but the big question was is he a shortstop or is he a 2nd baseman. Well that answer is still unanswered, but my opinion he doesnít have the range to play shortstop on a every day basis. I think he fits way better at 2nd base. Some will want to force him to fit into shortstop even though he has a much better chance to make it at second. He played mostly second in 2013 when Niko Goodrum was not injured. Polanco continues to fill out on his 5í11 frame and close to 170 lbs right now. He has power potential and is not a slap hitter as he makes really good cotact with the bat. I donít think he will ever hit many homeruns, but I think he has the chance to be a doubles machine as he continues to get stronger and bulks up. What I really like about him is he is aggressive, but makes contact doesnít strike out a ton as he knows the strike zone so well. He walks some, but I would like to see him walk more because for someone with such a keen knowledge of the strike zone he doesnít walk enough. He had a .362 obp, but I think he can do better than that if he walked more. I know Brian Dozier is there right now and some think of others as the 2nd baseman of the future, but for my money I think Polanco will eventually be that guy and someone Twins fans can start getting excited about as he will be playing at Target Field soon enough.

8. Josmil Pinto C 3/31/89 24 Signed as Free Agent in 2006 out of VZ

2013 stats: minors .309 avg 15 hr 74 rbi 32 doub 1tri 65 runs 66bb 83k .400/.482/.882

majors: .342avg 4hr 12rbi 21games 5doub 10 runs 6bb 22k .398/.566/.963

2013 teams: New Britain, Rochester, Minnesota

2014 team: Minnesota

ETA: 2013

Josmil Pinto has come a long ways from when the Twins signed him 2006 out of Venezuela to likely being the Twins opening day starting catcher in 2014. He was signed for his bat and for quite a bit of time in his minor league career he was a DH. Therefore his defense is not where the Twins want it to be. Therefore, if he struggles in spring training donít be shocked if he starts back in Rochester with Eric Fryer backing up Kurt Suzuki. With that said with Joe Mauer moving to first base Josmil Pinto is the future behind the plate for the Twins. Whether it is in March or in July the thing is Pinto is the catcher of the future and the future is bright. After signing with the Twins in 2006 he did not come over to the United States till the 2008 season in the GCL. In 2008 he hit .329 with a .935 OPS in just 24 games. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2009 where he tore the Appalacian League up by hitting .332 with 13 homeruns and 55 rbis with a .997 OPS in 53 games. After that season everyone was excited about his potential and thought he would skyrocket up prospect charts. However, like most prospects do he ran into trouble in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 he hit just .225 with a .672 OPS in 100 games. However, he did show a bit of power as he hit 10 homeruns and had 32 xtra base hits in those 100 games. In 2011 he started the season back in Beloit, but only appeared in nine games before he moved up to Fort Myers. He hit .261 with a .697 OPS in just 73 games between the two stops. Therefore, Josmil Pinto was at a crossroads in his career as he played as a backup. He needed to improve and do it then if he wanted to be the guy that the Twins wanted him to. He split 2012 between Fort Myers and New Britain and had a big bounceback year. He hit .295 with 14 homeruns and 60 rbiís with a much better .844 OPS. Then he obliterated those numbers in 2013 and even got a few at bats with the Twins in September. Josmil Pinto has the ability to be an every day catcher in my opinion the thing is he needs to improve his defense. He doesnít frame pitches well, his throwing can be erratic, and he can be lazy behind the plate. He needs to improve each of those as I truly believe he is going to hit at the major league level, but I donít think he can hit well enough to be a DH so his value is that of a catcher. So it is up to him to improve his catching skills which I think he will. Josmil Pinto in my opinion will start opening day behind the plate for the Twins and will be a fixture for years to come so Twins fans should get used to seeing him behind the plate.

7. Eddie Rosario 2b/OF 9/28/91 22 4th round pick in 2010 draft from PR

2013 stats: .302 avg 10 hr 73 rbi 32 doub 8 trip 10 sb 38bb 96k .350/.460/.810

2013 teams: Fort Myers, New Britain

2014 team: New Britain

ETA: 2015

When the Twins selected Eddie Rosario in the 4th round out of Puerto Rico in 2010 the Twins really did not know what they had in Rosario. He has proven through the first four years that he is talented and that he can hit. However, he also has shown a brashness and cockiness that has gotten him benched for games in the minor leagues. Now add to that a 50 game suspension that he will have to serve to start the 2014 season for a second violation of the MLB drug policy and there is some risk to it. Less because it is not believed to be PEDís and recreational drugs are not tested once you are added to the 40 man roster which should happen next winter at the latest. I am not saying that Rosarioís suspension is not a concern, because it is, but I think he will learn from this to become more mature. After Rosario was drafted in 2010 he signed quickly and hit .294 with a .343 obp and 22 stolen bases in 51 games with the GCL Twins. He moved on to Elizabethton for the 2011 season and exploded and put up one of the greatest individual seasons in E-Town history. He hit .337 with 21 homeruns and 39 xtra base hits. He also stole 21 bases with a 1.068 OPS to put the icing on the cake. He moved up to Beloit for the 2012 season and battled injuries where he was hit in the face that limited him to just 95 games. In those games he hit .299 with 13 hr and 74 rbi along with an impressive 52 xtra base hits and a .846 OPS. He moved up to Fort Myers and ended up in New Britain and did very well in Fort Myers before suffering growing pains in New Britain. Overall, he hit .302 with 10 hr and 73 rbi with a .810 OPS even though he hit just a .742 OPS in New Britain compared to .903 in Fort Myers. Rosario has proven that he can hit as he has compiled three straight years of a .800 OPS. Rosario has quick hands that leads to good line drive power as he is more of a doubles hitter than a home run hitter. He does not walk at all which is a problem and he doesnít strike out a ton, but considering that he doesnít walk its hard to have a high obp when you donít walk. Before the 2012 season the Twins decided to move Rosario to 2nd base and it has been hit and miss. With Brian Dozier seemingly coming along there is some thought of moving him back to the outfield as he is ok at 2nd but he is a much better outfielder. I look for him to eventually be the Twins left fielder as he has quickness in the outfield and a strong arm. I think he could be an ok 2nd baseman, but I think he can be a quality outfielder. Either way I think he will be known for his offense as he can hit to all fields and hit for power and average. He has speed, but does not steal a ton of bases. Rosario seems to have a chip on his shoulder so it will be very interesting to see if he can put this suspension behind him and make the most of his talent. I think he goes back to New Britain when his suspension is over and possibly get up late in 2014 or early 2015, but make no mistake he is a big part of the Twins future.

6. Jose Berrios RHP 5/27/94 19 1st round pick in 2012 draft from PR

2013 stats: 7-7 3.99 era 19 starts 103.2 inn 105 hits 40bb 100k

2013 team: Cedar Rapids

2014 team: Fort Myers

ETA: 2016

When the Twins tabbed Berrios with a supplemental 1st round pick in the 2012 draft there was some excitement especially with his high upside and the Twins luck from Puerto Rico. He is a high upside starting pitcher who will pitch the first couple months at just 19 years old so there is excitement about his upside. That is not to say he is a finished product because he is not as he gets hit more than he should based on the stuff he has. After signing quickly, Berrios split the season between the GCL Twins and Elizabethton where he went 3-0 with a 1.17 era in eleven games including four starts. He pitched 30.2 innings and gave up just 15 hits including a mind boggling 4 walks and 49 strikeouts. He moved on to full season in 2013 with Cedar Rapids and had his struggles as he gave up more hits than innings pitched and walked four ever 10 innings. The split is that he got off to a great start in April and May going a 2.31 and 2.63 eraís respectively in those two months. He struggled awfully in June and July with eraís of 4.41 and in July he was really bad at 5.68. Berrios is so young that it is hard to judge how he is doing based on how young he is. He throws a fastball in the 93-95 range although it is very straight. If he can develop his cutter that could really help him as he needs to get some movement on his pitches. His best pitch right now is his fastball, but his change up has the abilty to be big time. He throws a curve ball that is ok, but he needs to improve it if he is going to be the starter we hope he can be. If he can develop that cutter and the curve ball into quality pitches he has the chance to be special. I view him as a solid number two pitcher going forward if he can develop those pitches. He also needs to show better control as he has a tendency of not being aggressive which makes him walk more guys than he should. I really like Berrios and think he has potential to be quite good, but the key is developing those other pitches and getting more aggressive. I view him as one of the highest upside guys in the organization and has potential to be a big time pitcher for the Twins. It will take a few years for him to figure it out, but he definately is worth the patience that Twins fans are going to need him to follow.
Twins Prospects 50-46
Twins Prospects 45-41
Twins Prospects 40-36
Twins Prospects 35-31
Twins Prospects 30-26
Twins Prospects 25-21
Twins Prospects 20-16
Twins Prospects 15-11
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