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Thread: Twins Minor League Breakout Candidates

  1. #41
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    After getting to spend the season watching the Kernels, there are a number of them that I think should be watched for possible "breakout" seasons in 2014. What exactly constitutes a "breakout" would vary by prospect.

    A couple of "off the radar" guys that I don't think got enough credit for the quality seasons they had are Brett Lee and Dalton Hicks. Breakout seasons for them might be merely putting together a second consecutive excellent season as they move up in class.

    Jose Berrios and Max Kepler are two guys who are already pretty much "top 10" Twins prospects already, so for them, "breakout" might be having significantly better statistical seasons than what they had in Cedar Rapids in 2013.

    But if I were to choose two players, one position and one pitcher, that I would predict to open eyes in 2014, they would be Travis Harrison and Mason Melotakis.

    Harrison worked hard at learning 3B last season, but I don't think he ever really felt comfortable over there and as the season went along, I felt like the laboring defensively carried over to his offensive game. He walked a lot, which is good. He also got wrung up looking at third strikes on (and often, just off) the outside corner, which isn't good. I think he was one pretty frustrated ballplayer by year end, but man can he crush a baseball.

    If it were me, now that the Twins seem comfortable with Sano playing 3B, I'd put Harrison back out in a corner OF spot and let him play ball. He has good foot speed and a good enough arm. If he's able to concentrate primarily on his hitting for a season, I think he could have a big year in 2014.

    Melotakis is one of the college relievers that the Twins are giving a shot to be starting pitchers. He had some success with Cedar Rapids and, while the jury is still out on whether he will end up in a rotation or a bullpen long term, I think it's worth giving him a time in both roles again in 2014. His fastball is very good, but it wasn't until he moved to be bullpen later in the season due to reaching his innings limit that his slider became an effective out pitch. He told me in mid-June that they were still experimenting with new slider and change-up grips at that point.

    Melotakis seems like about as laid back a guy as you could imagine off the field, but on the mound he's very competitive and I like that combination. If he makes strides in 2014 with the secondary pitches and one of them can become a legit out-pitch, I think he could climb the prospect list - and the organizational ladder - quickly.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

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  3. #42
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    Defining Breakout is to each their own

    I'll put my guys into categories.

    Most Likely to 2013 Pitching Draftee to Exceed Expectations:
    Koh...Stephen Consalves. Has a chip on his shoulder and will out-compete Stewart. Or at least hold his own. Stewart would have to be in 2015 Big League conversations to exceed his lofty expectations.

    Most Likely to Escape the Shadow of Miguel Sano:

    Jorge Polanco. He's well regarded, I know, but he may well leap to the head of the Twins prospect list with possible graduations. A Twins MI prospect who can hit? Who knew.

    Former Top Draft Pick Derailed By Injuries:

    Alex Wimmers. He may not have ace potential, but I think he'll get back on that fast track he orginally was on. Hope its with the Twins.

    Former Top Prospect Pick Ready to Star in the Bigs:

    Cheating here a bit, but...Arcia. He's going to be a beast. Honorable mention to Hicks, Plouffe, and Parmalee. Hope is a good thing...its the best thing.

    Most Likely to Pull a Josmil Pinto, i.e. rise from#25 to top 5:

    Kennys Vargas.

  4. #43
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    If it were me, now that the Twins seem comfortable with Sano playing 3B, I'd put Harrison back out in a corner OF spot and let him play ball. He has good foot speed and a good enough arm. If he's able to concentrate primarily on his hitting for a season, I think he could have a big year in 2014.
    That being said and I understand your rationale - Who are your outfielders moving forward in A+? and Who is at 3B in A+?
    JD WILLIAMS (possible start in high A)
    MAX KEPLER
    ADAM WALKER
    JONATHAN MURPHY
    TRAVIS HARRISON
    JEREMIAS PINEDA
    OTHER POSSIBLE A+ HOLDOVERS

  5. #44
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
    That being said and I understand your rationale - Who are your outfielders moving forward in A+? and Who is at 3B in A+?
    JD WILLIAMS (possible start in high A)
    MAX KEPLER
    ADAM WALKER
    JONATHAN MURPHY
    TRAVIS HARRISON
    JEREMIAS PINEDA
    OTHER POSSIBLE A+ HOLDOVERS
    It could get crowded, I grant you. But if Harrison is a top 15 organizational prospect (and I believe he is), your priority is developing him rather than some guys with lesser ceilings.

    I think Williams is your Ft Myers (A+) CF and Walker is in RF there. Murphy and Pineda I see opening the season at Cedar Rapids (A). I think Kepler is going to see a lot of time at 1B in Ft. Myers, splitting time there with DJ HIcks. Stephen Wickens may have earned a promotion to AA last year, but 3B is a bit of a logjam at AA and AAA, so I'd see him staying in Ft. Myers to play 3B if you want Harrison playing the OF there. Joel Licon plays a nice 3B defensively, as well, and while I think Licon opens the year back in Cedar Rapids, I wouldn't think twice about putting him in Ft. Myers if that's what it takes to let Harrison play the OF there.

    Frankly, I could also see Harrison returning to Cedar Rapids to start the season in a corner OF spot there if they don't feel they have the innings for him in Ft. Myers.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

  6. #45
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    "I think Kepler is going to see a lot of time at 1B in Ft. Myers, splitting time there with DJ HIcks."
    What are your thoughts in Michael Gonzalez at 1B then if Ft. Myers has HIcks - Kepler & Gonzalez? Is he let go or skips back up to join Vargas in AA?
    Murphy made a great case for becoming a legitimate defensive OF prospect too. He was arguebaly the best defensive guy next to Buxton in the organization (excluding A. Hicks).
    Thoughts.............

  7. #46
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
    "I think Kepler is going to see a lot of time at 1B in Ft. Myers, splitting time there with DJ HIcks."
    What are your thoughts in Michael Gonzalez at 1B then if Ft. Myers has HIcks - Kepler & Gonzalez? Is he let go or skips back up to join Vargas in AA?
    Murphy made a great case for becoming a legitimate defensive OF prospect too. He was arguebaly the best defensive guy next to Buxton in the organization (excluding A. Hicks).
    Thoughts.............
    Gonzales seems like a great guy and I recall him hitting one of the longest home runs I've ever seen hit in CR back when he was with Beloit, but he's been unlucky with his health and at this point, it kind of seems like his career is dependent on where the team needs organizational filler. AA seems like a possibility or, if the Twins think DJ Hicks should be pushed up to AA, Gonzales and Kepler could split time at 1B in Ft Myers, as they did in CR the second half of 2013.

    Murphy did a nice job in CR after Buxton was promoted, but he's not in the same time zone as Buck offensively or defensively. Right now, I would put him in a category with guys like JD Williams and Angel Morales as potentially very helpful 4th OFs at the MLB level. All will probably play passable defense in all 3 spots and they've all shown some offensive ability, if not always with a great deal of consistency.

    Just my 2 cents. I could be wrong. Happens a lot.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

  8. #47
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post

    Harrison worked hard at learning 3B last season, but I don't think he ever really felt comfortable over there and as the season went along, I felt like the laboring defensively carried over to his offensive game. He walked a lot, which is good. He also got wrung up looking at third strikes on (and often, just off) the outside corner, which isn't good. I think he was one pretty frustrated ballplayer by year end, but man can he crush a baseball.

    If it were me, now that the Twins seem comfortable with Sano playing 3B, I'd put Harrison back out in a corner OF spot and let him play ball. He has good foot speed and a good enough arm. If he's able to concentrate primarily on his hitting for a season, I think he could have a big year in 2014..
    Totally agree about Harrison and 3B. Matter of fact I was just finishing his blurb on my Twins prospects countdown and I feel that he is squeezed at 3B with Sano ahead of him, but with Minier right behind him as well.. The only concern I have with Harrison at OF is tracking fly balls and learning routes, but he can likely do it.

    As far as who will start at 3B in Fort Myers next season, goes, my gut says Niko Goodrum whom the Twins will likely start grooming as a utility player...

    The Hicks to AA might mean that Vargas to AAA at some point that season because both need reps at 1B and will be splitting 1B/DH at New Britain
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  9. #48
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    Players that haven't been mentioned elsewhere

    Danny Santana - the Twins coaching staff likes his game. He finally drew some walks last year.

    Alex Meyer - I think he's in the big leagues by June

    Adrian Salcedo - could move quickly as a reliever

    Zach Jones - just keeps striking guys out

  10. #49
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    Totally agree about Harrison and 3B. Matter of fact I was just finishing his blurb on my Twins prospects countdown and I feel that he is squeezed at 3B with Sano ahead of him, but with Minier right behind him as well.. The only concern I have with Harrison at OF is tracking fly balls and learning routes, but he can likely do it.

    As far as who will start at 3B in Fort Myers next season, goes, my gut says Niko Goodrum whom the Twins will likely start grooming as a utility player...

    The Hicks to AA might mean that Vargas to AAA at some point that season because both need reps at 1B and will be splitting 1B/DH at New Britain
    Good point on Goodrum. Given the reports (LaVelle I think?) that the Twins are going to give Jorge Polanco a season to prove he can play SS (he primarily played 2B for CR while Goodrum played SS), they will need to find another position for Goodrum. Of course, they could just as easily flip Goodrum over to 2B. Point is that there seems to be some organizational level appropriate infield options to allow the move by Harrison if that's what they want to do and I think they should seriously consider it.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

  11. #50
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    Players that haven't been mentioned elsewhere

    Danny Santana - the Twins coaching staff likes his game. He finally drew some walks last year.

    Alex Meyer - I think he's in the big leagues by June

    Adrian Salcedo - could move quickly as a reliever

    Zach Jones - just keeps striking guys out
    This is a really good list. Santana might be a year away, but he progressed a lot last year. I agree on Meyer. Hopefully Salcedo is healthy again. If so, look out. Jones could move quickly, like Tonkin before him, if he keeps pitching like this.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  12. #51
    I think Gibson, Wimmers, Meyer are the most likely break out pitchers....Wimmers was major league ready when drafted so if the Twins can jput together a healthy program I would like to see up at the end of 2014 to pitch a few games....Just think if he were to pitch against the twins and had a 20 game win season of which he is capable of....He has got to be frustrated....

  13. #52
    Senior Member Double-A shs_59's Avatar
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    RE: BJ Hermsen

    I just wanted to add that if BJ Hermsen had 2-3 MPH more on his Fast-ball

    he'd essentially be Doug Fister , or close too....

    Without it , he's scott richmond, evan frederickson , or even worse Deolis Guerra.

    too bad really.
    Top Twins prospects ? 1.Byron Buxton (OF-A+)
    2.Miguel Sano (3B-AA) 3.Alex Meyer (SP-AA) 4. Kohl Stewart (SP-RK) 5. Nick Gordon (SS-RK) 6. J.O. Berrios (P-A) 7. Josmil Pinto (C-AAA) 8. Eddie Rosario (2B-AA) 9. L. Thorpe (SP-RK) 10. Travis Harrison (3B-A) 11.Kennys Vargas (1B-A+) 12. Trevor May (SP-AA) 13. Jorge Polanco (2B-A) 14. Max Kepler (OF-A) 15. Miguel Sulbaran (SP-A) Just Missed:P Zach Jones, SS Aderlin Mejia, P Stephen Gonsalves, C Stuart Turner.

  14. #53
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    It would be really nice to see if Alex Wimmers & Angel Morales could put themselves back on the prospect map.

  15. #54
    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    Got to love what if scenarios. As such here are some that I will throw out as making players big movers this year.

    I am going to go with Polanco as my first position player breakout player, for the reason that he may become the 2nd baseman of the future. The Twins have 2 trading chips in Rosario and Dozier and as a 2nd baseman Polanco is better in the field then Rosario with a tad less bat, but also maybe less of a overall headcase then Fast Eddie and could be a better overall hitter then Dozier with less power at this point. Dozier is looking to be a good defensive major leaguer which Polanco may become. So at some point I thnik that one of these guys will be traded or moved to OF in the case of Rosario, meaning that Polanco has a good year in a pitchers league and maybe moved to New Britain at some point. At that point he jumps into the top 5 of a lot of lists.

    I agree with JimCrikket on a couple of Kernals from last year. Travis Harrison is a player that will not be out worked I think. If it is 3b, 1b, OF or wherever they put him he will put in the time to make himself better. He is on the outside of quite a few top 10 lists and with a good season at the plate and plan to advance at some position he should put himself in the Top 10's of all next year. Can't see him really moving further then Fort Meyers this year, but if the Twins keep him in the IF is it possible to sneak some at bats for the Rock Cats if the bat lives up to expectations? Maybe not, but in December you can through stuff on the wall and see what is sticking in June.

    I saw about 6 Kernals games this year and Mason Melotakis pitched in 3 of them. I saw ups and downs with Berrios in the game he pitched, a lot more ups then down to be honest and a lot I think had to do with him being a young kid, but Melotakis looks to be a professional on the mound. He could be a fast mover this year. Don't know if he could make it to Rochester, but I would be disappointed if he did not spend July and August in New Britain. Once again a guy whose role needs to be fully defined...is he a starter or a bull pen guy.

    Last but not least the under appreciated James Beresford. This year he makes it to the majors as the Twins utility player. He will be ripped by some because he has little power in a underwhelming bat, but he is smart, beyond sound defensively and durable. He is the kind of player every manager wants on his bench as he knows he will get everything he has everyday and more. He will also improve his limited skills once he makes it to the majors.

    Others to watch-Goodrum, Thorpe, Gonsalves, Koch and Turner. The Twins have a opening at catcher now and anyone behind the plate suddenly becomes more interesting to watch.

  16. #55
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    I can't say I'm necessarily predicting a breakout per se, but the two players I am most hopeful of having a breakout next year would be Jorge Polanco and Danny Santana. Polanco has a full season to see if he has what it takes to play SS, and Danny Santana should get to show what he's got at AAA. That's pretty much been the one position where we don't have much for really promising prospects up to this point, only flashes of potential. It sure would be nice to see one of those guys grab the position and really make it look like they have what it takes. Honorable mention to Levi Michael and Niko Goodrum, I just don't have as high hopes for either.

    As for an actual guess for breakout player, I'd say Stuart Turner. His hitting numbers this year weren't terrible, if he's even average with the stick he becomes a really good prospect with his supposed stellar defense at catcher.

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