09-30-2013, 09:14 AM #1
BA Midwest League Twins #1 Buxton, #13 Berrios, #15 Walker, 20 Polanco
Twins were able to put four in the top 20:
1. Byron Buxton, of, Cedar Rapids (Twins)
Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 189. Drafted: HS—Baxley, Ga., 2012 (1).
Byron Buxton (Photo by Mike Janes)
Scouts debated whether Buxton was the best prospect they’ve seen or simply one of the best. Coming out of tiny Baxley, Ga., he was supposed to need time to catch up to the MWL. Instead the league never caught up to him. Buxton showed advanced pitch recognition, an ability to drive the ball to all fields and better-than-expected power.
“It’s a simple, direct swing. It’s lightning fast and physically correct,” Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “His hands are so fast and the barrel goes so directly to the ball.”
Defensively, Buxton was exceptional, showing the ability to make highlight-reel plays in center field. In fact, a diving catch he made in Cedar Rapids was a SportsCenter play of the day.
In the long term, Buxton projects as a plus hitter with above-average power, top-of-the-charts speed and defense. That includes a plus arm. He’s already moving quicker than the Twins expected. Promoted to high Class A Fort Myers after the MWL all-star break, he may be ready for Minnesota by the end of 2014.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG 270 68 92 15 10 8 55 44 56 32 11 .341 .431 .559
13. Jose Berrios, rhp, Cedar Rapids (Twins) Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 187. Drafted: HS—Bayamon, P.R., 2012 (1s).
J.O. Berrios (Photo by Mike Janes)
In most years, Berrios’ youth would stand out, but in a league with 17-year-old wunderkind Julio Urias, his advanced feel for setting up hitters seemed less spectacular. But scouts were very impressed with Berrios’ ability to mix his three pitches in both pitcher’s and hitter’s counts. He also fills the zone with many more strikes than the average teenager.
Berrios’ fastball sits at 91-93 mph, though he’ll add and subtract for anything ranging from 87 to 95. He mixes in a solid-average changeup and a hard curveball that he can vary in power and tilt. He got hot early, pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, then wore down in the second half, which is understandable considering his age and reasonably heavy workload.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG 19 19 7 7 0 3.99 104 105 58 46 6 40 100 .262
15. Adam Brett Walker, of, Cedar Rapids (Twins) Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Jacksonville, 2012 (3).
Adam Brett Walker (Photo by Paul Gierhart)
A terrible end to his summer in the Cape Cod League in 2011 hurt Walker’s draft stock, and he’s been making pitchers pay for that slight ever since.
Walker’s 27 home runs led the MWL, and his raw power is exceptional. Unlike most home run hitters, his average home run is a towering flyball that has enough carry to make it to the seats. When Walker really connects, no center-field batter’s eye can hold the ball in the park.
Walker is an average runner from home to first but is better than that underway, as evidenced by his 100 percent success rate on stolen bases. In right field, he still has work to do on his jumps, and his arm is average, which leads scouts to project a future in left field if he’s going to be a big leaguer. Other scouts believe his ultimate destination is first base.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG 508 83 141 31 7 27 109 31 115 10 0 .278 .319 .526
20. Jorge Polanco, 2b/ss, Cedar Rapids (Twins) Age: 20. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 165. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2009.
For a middle infielder who was once hampered by his lack of strength, Polanco has blossomed as the natural maturation process kicked in. He posted the fourth-best OPS in the MWL among qualifying middle infielders, trailing only Correa, Seager and West Michigan’s Devon Travis.
Polanco has a sweet swing from both sides of the plate with a solid understanding of the strike zone and more than enough pop for a middle infielder.
When both he and Niko Goodrum were healthy, Polanco played more second base than shortstop. But Goodrum was banged up enough that Polanco ended up splitting his time almost evenly between the two positions. He lacks the plus range evaluators like to see from a shortstop, but he is reliable with good hands and an average, accurate arm. He projects as a potential everyday second baseman who could slide over to shortstop in a pinch.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG 465 76 143 32 10 5 78 42 59 4 4 .308 .362 .452
09-30-2013, 10:20 AM #2
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Nice, thanks for posting that. Is there a chat to go with this at BA later?
I was surprised to see Walker that high. Polanco is a nice sleeper for us. Love Berrios and Buxton, obviously.
09-30-2013, 10:52 AM #3
Buxton will likely be #1 on the FSL list as well...
Good to see Walker as high as he is. His power is a legit tool and people shouldn't discount that at all. I thought Polanco would be higher too.
09-30-2013, 10:52 AM #4
09-30-2013, 12:00 PM #5
09-30-2013, 12:20 PM #6
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I was really hopping Walker would get a look at the FSL this season. Maybe he'll start in the FSL and get the opportunity to get promoted at the AS break. Seems like they prefer a player to get a full year at low A (with the exception of Buxton).Do or do not. There is no try.
09-30-2013, 01:03 PM #7
09-30-2013, 01:10 PM #8
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09-30-2013, 01:34 PM #9
09-30-2013, 01:37 PM #10
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I will never write-off a 19 year old kid, but Berrios' H/IP definitely worries me. His contol was ridiculous in Rookie ball last year, but a 1.39 WHIP doesn't seem to project too well.
As for Walker and Polanco, I am all in on both of these guys. Walker needs to work on pitch recognition and his discipline, but you can't teach raw power like he has. Polanco seems to have a very solid approach at the plate and can drive the ball well. Hopefully he can stay in the middle infield. Excellent write up.
09-30-2013, 02:40 PM #11
Questions about Twins:
- Michael (Valpo): Travis Harrison? Is he the Twins' 3B of the future? Goodness knows they need one!!! He did alright, didn't he?
J.J. Cooper: It was a solid season for Harrison, but I'm going to go with Miguel Sano as the Twins 3B of the next five years or so. Scouts weren't blown away with Harrison's work at third base, although he did show some feel for hitting.
- DH (Pittsburgh): Do you go along with the McCutchen - Trout comps for Buxton?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. I'll be stunned if he doesn't hit for average, play a great CF, steal bases and hit for at least some pop. The real question barring something completely unexpected like a serious injury is just how much power he'll end up having.
- Jeff (Houston): Would you rather have Buxton or the Correa/Ruiz combo?
J.J. Cooper: I'm not getting McCullers in the deal? Then definitely Buxton. Gets more interesting if you look at it as Buxton vs Correa/McCullers
- Scott (Minneapolis): We kind of have an embarrassment of riches, and I'm glad Adam Brett Walker is getting attention, but isn't Polanco too low, especially considering defensive position?
J.J. Cooper: Again, who do you put him ahead of? If I thought he was a regular SS, he would probably rank higher, but he projects much more as a solid second baseman who can play shortstop in a pinch
- Jeff (Cedar Rapids, Iowa): Do you like Jorge Polanco or Eddie Rosario better at second base for the Twins in the future?
J.J. Cooper: Generally I'll go with the better hitter who's closer to the big leagues, so Rosario. I do think Polanco will be better defensively than Rosario.
09-30-2013, 03:25 PM #12
- More on Buxton
LaRoy (The Bronx): Am I the only one who just doesn't see the power potential for Buxton? Did any scouts have skepticism that his power will only be average at best?
J.J. Cooper: Yes, there are some who project him to have average power. Which would mean his projections are that he'll be a .300-.315/.375-.400/.450-.500 guy with 15-20 home runs to go with Gold Glove defense, potentially 40+ SBs and an arm that keeps baserunner's honest. That's the big question with Buxton, but most of the guys who project Buxton as a 50 power guy see him as a 70-80 hitter, with 70-80 defense, a 70 arm and 80 speed. And there are guys who throw a 60 or 70 future power on that grade as well. He's really, really good.
- More on Buxton
09-30-2013, 03:26 PM #13
- Steve (Saint Paul): Does Mason Melotakis actually have a chance to make it as a starter, or is he destined to end up back in the 'pen like most thought coming out of the draft?
J.J. Cooper: My guess is he ends up back in the pen long-term.
09-30-2013, 03:28 PM #14
- Michael Stern (Rochester NY): I thought Adam Brett Walker would rank higher than 15th on this list. His top shelf power seemed to me to be a big time seperator. Where were the main questions with him? His defense? Plate discipline? What are the scouts saying? Thanks for the chat.
J.J. Cooper: Defense is a question and some see him as a hitter who feasts on pitchers mistakes, which become less frequent as you climb the ladder.
09-30-2013, 03:53 PM #15
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09-30-2013, 03:56 PM #16
Adam Walker is probably going to be a question mark until he can significantly raise his walk rate. Even with prodigious power, it's hard to see a regular big leaguer in a guy who is that dangerous, but still only gets on base at a .320 clip. He certainly has time, and he seems like the kind of guy who will still be able to hit a decent amount of HR's in the FSL, but he needs to get on base more to start rising up "experts" prospect lists.
I would have thought that Polanco would be higher, a 2nd baseman with solid power and good on base skills is incredibly valuable, but I guess his tools aren't quite as loud. I hadn't quite realized how loaded the MWL was until I saw the league top 20 and some of the guys who were left of. I don't think it's much of an insult for Polanco to ranked 20.
I also thought it was promising that scouts were still high on Berrios. He had a tough 2nd half, and I was worried that some of the original projections of a useful bullpen guy were going to be tossed around again. But it looks like they're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and see how he adjusts to another year of full season ball.
Enough said about Buxton. Guy is amazing.
09-30-2013, 04:48 PM #17
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The Berrios ranking excites me the most, this team needs pitching badly. I am actually surprised it is that high, and pleased.Lighten up Francis....
09-30-2013, 04:56 PM #18
09-30-2013, 11:31 PM #19
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ERA IP K/9 BB/9 babip 1st Half 3.05 56 10.4 2.4 .353 2nd Half 4.93 49.1 6.4 4.6 .310
When you take his babip into account his 1st half numbers were truly amazing. I'm glad that BA recognized that he wore down over the second half of the season. Does anyone know how many innings he threw in HS in 2012? He only threw 31 innings for the Twins in 2012 vs. 104 innings in 2013. Seems like that is a big jump to make.
10-01-2013, 12:16 AM #20
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