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Happy Minor League Opening Day! What are your Twins 2014 MiLB Predictions?

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#1 Steve Lein

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:04 AM

I've honestly come to love the MiLB Opening Day more than the MLB one over the years, so today is going to be a fun one for me.

All the Twins' affiliates begin their seasons this afternoon/evening (barring any bad weather), so I thought it was a good time to throw out some 2014 predictions. Here is what I came up with:

-2014 Breakout Player: Max Kepler. Fully healthy this year, and I love his swing, size, and athleticism. Puts it together in the FSL.

-2014 Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Wimmers. This is more a shot in the dark, but I don't think he's worth forgetting about, yet.

-Relief Pitcher of the Year: Adrian Salcedo. Could also be a comeback player pick, but should thrive in the pen coming back.

-Starting Pitcher of the Year: Jose Berrios. I'm not as high on him as others, but the FSL will help his overall #'s at the end.

-Hitter of the Year: Kennys Vargas. Everybody and their grandmother would pick Buxton for this, but I see Kennys mashing at AA.

What are your MiLB predictions for the 2014 season?

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:19 AM

Breakout: I think there are a few good ones to choose from (including Kepler) but I think that, a year from now, Lewis Thorpe is going to be a top 100 prospect on most national lists. (I also like Amaurys Minier a lot).

Comeback: Let's put Kepler here. Had a down, injury plagued year last year.

Relief pitcher: Lots to choose from. Corey Williams gets it together this year.

Starting pitcher: Stewart. He's a stud and ends the year as a top 25 prospect. (I think May and Meyer have good seasons and reach the majors this year).

Hitter: Buxton

Hitter, non-Buxton division: Adam Walker (also, after Buxton and Sano, the Twins are actually a bit light on impact bats. So hopefully someone - Walker, Kepler, Harrison, Vargas - steps up this year)

Way too early draft prediction: Hoffman

#3 Steve Lein

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:34 AM

The only reason I didn't peg Stewart for the SP pick is he's not going to get a ton of innings, much like Berrios at CR last year. I do think he will dominate in the Midwest League though, and will end up with much better #'s than Berrios did there in 2013.

Thorpe is probably a trendy pick, but I'm not so sure he spends much time on a full-season league this year. I think they have him pegged for E-Town.

I'm also weary of Walker. He's trendy around here to. But until he shows otherwise, I'm not a huge fan of his future outlook as a one-trick pony (power) with big swing and miss tendencies and nonexistent plate discipline as part of his profile. But, he should still have a good amount of success in the FSL, where I think he should have been playing already last season with his track record/experience in college (Yes he's "young" for such a player, but also should be more advanced because of where he came from). I think they wasted last year with him at CR, and should have expected him to do what he did there. That's why I'm not so high on him as others.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#4 Linus

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

Who's starting (pitcher) for Rochester and New Britain?

#5 SD Buhr

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

I hesitate to do this kind of thing, because I have to cover some of these guys. I won't include anyone with the Kernels or likely to be promoted here this summer, but there are some guys in A+ and above I'm anxious to find out what kind of years they have.

Breakout: As has been stated, there are all sorts of possibilities. I'm going with Travis Harrison. He's still young for his level, but I can't imagine he'll be outworked. I like the fact that he's going to be playing 3B and the outfield. You don't know where he will eventually be needed, so having him at least know his way around a few positions seems wise. I'm hoping for a big year.

Comeback: I always struggle with a "comeback" category because I don't know what the critieria are supposed to be. That said, I'm hoping Nate Roberts bounces back well, so I'll go with him. I admit that it's a little tough to see where he's going to get innings based on the rest of the guys on that roster. I also have hopes that fellow Iowan BJ Hermsen will have a comeback year, though his results in ST weren't all that encouraging.

Relief pitcher: So many possibilities. I'll say Deolis Guerra, though AJ Achter would be a close second.

Starting pitcher: Most of the highest prospects are in Cedar Rapids, Extended ST or knocking on the Twins door at Rochester. I'll take a flyer on Mason Melotakis. He was fiddling with offspeed grips most of the summer last year and didn't seem to find one that worked until he had just about reached his innings limit. If he's got one he likes now, I'll be interested to see how he does out of the gate in the FSL.

Hitter: Agree with others that it's Buxton, then everyone else. In the everyone else category, I'll buck the "favorites" and suggest that Jorge Polanco could flash more power and become among the best all-around hitters in the Twins minor league organization not named Buxton or Sano.

Covering the Cedar Rapids Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com while my alter-ego, Jim Crikket, opines about the Twins and Kernels at Knuckleballsblog.com.

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#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

The only reason I didn't peg Stewart for the SP pick is he's not going to get a ton of innings, much like Berrios at CR last year. I do think he will dominate in the Midwest League though, and will end up with much better #'s than Berrios did there in 2013.

Thorpe is probably a trendy pick, but I'm not so sure he spends much time on a full-season league this year. I think they have him pegged for E-Town.

I'm also weary of Walker. He's trendy around here to. But until he shows otherwise, I'm not a huge fan of his future outlook as a one-trick pony (power) with big swing and miss tendencies and nonexistent plate discipline as part of his profile. But, he should still have a good amount of success in the FSL, where I think he should have been playing already last season with his track record/experience in college (Yes he's "young" for such a player, but also should be more advanced because of where he came from). I think they wasted last year with him at CR, and should have expected him to do what he did there. That's why I'm not so high on him as others.


I don't disagree with anything you said. I think Thorpe gets a lot of national pub so he's the "breakout" that way but a lot of Twins fans already love him. I wondered about Polanco as the breakout guy - I don't think he'll have the OPS that Vargas or Walker will have but he might be the boring guy who does a bit of everything who is underrated.

Walker's plate discipline is a huge issue and probably keeps him from the majors. But I don't think A+ is going to be much of a problem for him so he'll put up some very nice power numbers there. Hopefully, he improves his plate discipline. And frankly, after Buxton/Sano, there really are limited options for an impact bat.

#7 Steve Lein

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:06 AM

Who's starting (pitcher) for Rochester and New Britain?


Rochester's opening day starter is Scott Diamond.

New Britain's is Pat Dean.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#8 Steve Lein

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:17 AM

[quote name='SD Buhr']
Breakout: I'm going with Travis Harrison. He's still young for his level, but I can't imagine he'll be outworked.
[/QUOTE]

I liked what I saw (briefly) from Travis down in Spring Training. Looked like a more contact oriented swing than I'd seen from him before.

[quote name='SD Buhr']
Comeback: I'm hoping Nate Roberts bounces back well, so I'll go with him... I also have hopes that fellow Iowan BJ Hermsen will have a comeback year, though his results in ST weren't all that encouraging.
[/QUOTE]

Big fan of Nate's, I hope you are right! I think Hermsen has reached his ceiling, which is unfortunate. Watching him, he reminds me of the best pitchers I'd see playing Town Team amateur ball, so that's somewhat discouraging. He got rocked when I saw him this year before I ran into you!

[quote name='SD Buhr']
Relief pitcher: So many possibilities. I'll say Deolis Guerra, though AJ Achter would be a close second.
[/QUOTE]

I like the Guerra pick. It's good to see him out there again. Can't believe he's still just 24!

[quote name='SD Buhr']
Starting pitcher: I'll take a flyer on Mason Melotakis.
[/QUOTE]

Melotakis is one guy I'd like to see them put back in the pen. He's been arguably the best of their college drafted RP-transformations, but I'd rather he throw lefty 97MPH gas from the 'pen than be another back-end starter candidate.

[quote name='SD Buhr']
Hitter: In the everyone else category, I'll buck the "favorites" and suggest that Jorge Polanco could flash more power and become among the best all-around hitters in the Twins minor league organization not named Buxton or Sano.[/QUOTE]

I like that prognostication, though I'm hoping he can excel defensively at SS more than further development as a hitter.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#9 Tibs

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:07 AM

Alex Wimmers will be 25 all season. Say he does pitch well enough to be the comeback player of the year. How fast would he move up? He has never pitched more than 42 innings and that was back in 2011.
I couldn't be a player because of bad eyesight, so I decided to be an umpire instead.

#10 SD Buhr

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:20 AM

It was good talking to you in FtM, Steve.

Re: Melo... I like that they're still working with Melotakis in the rotation. I still believe that any pitcher who shows an ability to start should be used that way in the minors until they prove they simply can't do it OR until they reach the upper levels and it becomes clear that they are on the MLB doorstep and will be used in the pen there. A starter in the minors just gets to throw so many more innings than a reliever does and when you're working on being a better pitcher, there's no substitute for pitching more innings in game situations. With the innings limit they put on these guys, there's a good chance they'll see some bullpen time by the end of the season anyway.

Re: Jorge... I'm always more concerned about the hit tool than the defense tool (with the possible exception of catcher) in low level minor leaguers. I'll need to be convinced that SS is where Polanco ends up, because I just didn't see that in his arm last year. That said, he looked stronger to me in ST (as did most of last year's Kernels, frankly), so I'm glad the Twins aren't giving up on him there. But I think he can be one of those rare middle infielders with legit hitting abilities, for average and for power. If he does that from the 2B position, it's fine with me. If he can do it from SS, that's a huge bonus.

Edited by SD Buhr, 03 April 2014 - 11:23 AM.

Covering the Cedar Rapids Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com while my alter-ego, Jim Crikket, opines about the Twins and Kernels at Knuckleballsblog.com.

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#11 Steve Lein

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:48 AM

Alex Wimmers will be 25 all season. Say he does pitch well enough to be the comeback player of the year. How fast would he move up? He has never pitched more than 42 innings and that was back in 2011.


I think they would move him pretty fast if he shows anything close to what he was after being drafted. That's the big if with him, though.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#12 CK

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:31 PM

Rochester's opening day starter is Scott Diamond.

New Britain's is Pat Dean.


Diamond with only 4 earned runs through 2 innings. Not too shabby.

#13 lightfoot789

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:13 PM

Breakout Player of the Year: Levi Michael (.300+ BA & high OBP) already solid defender
Comeback Player of the Year: Tim Shibuya (Pitcher) / Max Kepler (Hitter)
Relief Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Jones shows better control and Sits 95+
Starting Pitcher of the Year: Jason Wheeler
Hitter of the Year: Adam Brett Walker [.355 OBP with same walk ratio :)]
Top Prospect: Byron Buxton
Eddie Rosario will have a great 2nd half but not enough ABs to qualify

#14 Thrylos

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:39 PM

-2014 Breakout Player: Jorge Polanco

-2014 Comeback Player of the Year: Nate Roberts / Deolis Guerra

-Relief Pitcher of the Year: Brian Gilbert

-Starting Pitcher of the Year: Felix Jorge

-Hitter of the Year: Kennys Vargas.
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