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Ten minor league prospects to watch

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Everyone knows to follow the progress of Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Oswaldo Arcia, Levi Michael, Hudson Boyd, Madison Boer and other top 20-25 prospects in the Twins system. There are many others, however, who with strong seasons could jump up into that top 20 range. Here are 10 of them (and thanks to Seth Stohs for roster information):

JD Williams, OF (Age: 21.4, SH): Williams will start with Beloit this year after a fantastic showing at Elizabethon. Three words: Dude is fast. Last year's line of .324/.406/.465 was quite impressive. Primarily played RF last year. Will probably stay there. Williams has a high ceiling and could move quickly up the system after 2012.

Nate Roberts, OF (23.1, LH): Roberts returns to the DL and to Beloit this season. While his on base numbers are gaudy, they are bolstered by being hit 29 times last year. Regardless, the .302/.443/.446 line is very impressive. The Twin likely want to get him healthy and get him a few hundred more plate appearances at low-A before promoting him to Fort Myers. He has played in left field, primarily.

Lance Ray, OF (22.7, LH): Ray will be in Fort Myers this year. He started 2011 rather terribly, but came on strong the last 2/3 of the season to hit 16 homers and post a line of .253/.335/.432 for the season. He played about two-thirds of the season in right field, with most of the other third at first base. Like Joe Benson, the strikeout rate will be a thing to watch.

Danny Santana, SS/2B/CF (21.5, SH): Santana will man the middle infield and may see some time again in CF for Fort Myers. He is a very good defensive player and is very fast. The big thing last year despite a mediocre .247/.298/.373 triple slash is that isolated power with 27 extra base hits (including 7 homers). He is defensively sound, so his bat will be the thing to watch.

Tyler Grimes, SS/2B/3B (21.9, RH): Grimes will see the bulk of his time in the middle infield for Beloit, but may fill in at third for Sano as well. Like Roberts, his OBP was aided by 6 HBP in 159 plate appearances. While compiling a somewhat unimpressive .225/.316/.406, his college numbers at Wichita State are very good. He projects as a Luke Hughes 2B/3B guy down the road, but he also is fast and can steal bases.

Matt Hauser, RHR (24): Hauser throws hard and could make his way from Fort Myers this year to New Britain as a closer at both levels. The key is health for him, because he can be a dominant pitcher when healthy.

Pat Dean, LHS (22.10): Dean got people excited in 2010 with his 37/1 K/BB ratio in 29.1 innings. In 2011, he did well in Beloit with a 37/9 ratio in 44 innings, but struggled in Fort Myers after being promoted. He returns to Fort Myers and projects as either a Brian Duensing LOOGY type or a more rounded Glen Perkins type of reliever.

Tim Shibuya, RHS (22.7): Shibuya was fantastic at Elizabethon last year and will start the season in Beloit in 2012. In 73.2 innings, he had 70 strikeouts and only 11 walks. The full season with better competition will be telling for Shibuya, but if he can work on his secondary pitches, he could be very successful.

Logan Darnell, LHS (23.2): Darnell is a deceptive lefty who will be in the starting rotation at AA New Britain. He pitched at three levels in 2011 and his success is in his ability to induce groundballs and strike some people out with his deceptive delivery.

Angel Mata, RHS (19.4): Mata will be in extended spring training this year and should then be in Elizabethon. He limits baserunners and if he improves his walk rate should be very effective. He is one of very few bottom level pitchers to get excited about in the Twins system.
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  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    I will comment on my own blog first. I should add that if I am right about Grimes and Santana, what has been a lack for the Twins (middle infield) suddenly becomes a strength, with good prospect depth (Rosario, Dozier, Michael, Goodrum at the top).
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