Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
The same great Twins Daily coverage, now for the Vikings.

The Store

Recent Blogs


Photo

Top 10 "Under the Radar Prospects"

  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 TD Mac

TD Mac

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

Its obviously fun to look at and compare lists of top prospects, but over the 20+ years I've been following Twins prospects, I'm always amazed at how many "top" prospects don't make it, and how many that never showed up on any lists, do.For every Jesse Crain, there's a Matt Guerrier, for every Francisco Liriano, there's a Scott Diamond. Under the radar prospects like Drew Butera, Danny Valencia and further back AJ Pierzynski, Eddie G and Jason Bartlett eventually overtook the blue chippers like Matt Moses, Jay Rainville, "Real Deal" JD Durbin and the like.

So with that, I offer my 2012 Top 10 "Under the Radar" prospects that we might see moving up lists over the next year or two.

Honrable Mention:
Dereck Rodriguez - tons of physical tools and dominate GCL early this year, but injury issues brought him back to the pack. Still young and lots of upside.
DJ Baxendale - One of a number of 2012 picks who put up great numbers (along with Duffey, Chargois and Melotakis), Baxendale not only struck out 31 in 18.2 innings, but also walked only 2 while holding batters to a .194 ave. Will almost certainly be back to starting in 2013 after the Twins limited his innings after the college season.
Bruce Pugh - Hard throwing reliever hits the mid-90s. 1.94era between Hi-A and AA this year with 72Ks vs 31BBs in 69.2 IP
Dakota Watts - Another flamethrower who split time between Fort Myers and New Britain, Watts held batteres to a .217 ave. Spent time in the Arizona Fall League in 2011.
Matt Hauser - Continues trend of hard-throwers who moved from Fort Myers to New Britain in 2012. Hauser was stretched out a little this year, being given a chance to start a few games after working exclusively as a reliever the past two years. Will be interesting to see if Twins continue the starting experiment or move him back to the pen.

10. Argenis Silva (P, DSL) - diehards are already familiar with this hard thrower who signed as a 16 year old out of Venezuela. though he struggled with control in his first season in the DSL, Silva did finish 4-0. w

9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump.

8. Zack Jones (P, Elizabethton/Beloit) - barely "under the radar", this young man might be the hardest thrower in the organization, regularily hitting the mid-to-upper 90s. Only a lack of history keeps Zack from getting more recognition. Jones put up video-game like numbers in a limited sample size this year, striking out 34 in 20IP while keeping opponents BA at .159. Be intersting to see what he does in a full 2013.

7. Stephen Wickens (SS, Elizabethton/Beloit) - Wickens has now walked more than he has struck out two straight years. Though not as athletic as top SS prospect Niko Goodrum, Wickens seems to have the intangibles to continue to climb this list. Though he doesn't have a ton of pop, he gets on base (.307/.425) and can swipe an occassional bag as well.

6. Levi Michael (SS, Fort Myers) - Had some humbling stats at the plate in the pitcher friendly Florida State League, but he did hit .272 in the 2nd half and drew 56 walks on the year. Still expect him to man a spot in the middle infield for the Twins by 2015.

5. Matt Summers (P, Beloit/Ft. Myers) - Had almost identical numbers in 2011 to Zack Jones' this year before being moved to the rotation this season. Went 11-7 with a 3.88era between his two teams this year. Strikeout numbers dropped dramatically (97 in 148.1IP) along with his velocity after pitching an inning a game in 2011, but still impressed in his first year as a starter.

4. Adam Walker (OF, Elizabethton), - We've seen others put up impressive power numbers in the Appy League before, but this 6'4, 225lb son of a former football player certainly looks to be a legitimate power threat in a system in need of them.

3. Jorge Polanco (SS, Elizabethton) - The lesser known of the two big money Dominican signees from 2009, the twins had hoped Polanco's bat would allow him to progress with Sano, but Polanco batted justi .223 his 1st go round with the GCL Twins in 2010. Polanco returned to the GCL in 2011, improving to .250, while continuing to display a solid glove a short. Polanco took a big step up in 2012, batting .318 (good for 6th in the Appy League) and his OPS+SLG of .903 ranked him third in the league (one behind his more recognized teammate, Max Kepler). Look for Polanco to move to Beloit in 2013, where his bat will determine whether he continues to move up the rankings.

2. Kuo Hua Lo (P, GCL) - This 19 year-old was the top prospect out of Taiwan in 2011. Though I haven't had the chance to see him in person, I've heard he hits up to 95 on the gun despite standing just 5'10. In his debut season, he ptched in teh GCL, putting in 39.2IP with 33Ks vs 7BB and held batters to just .171 A

1. Tyler Jones (P, Beloit) - Arguably the best power arm of any starter in the Twins system, this 2011 draftee pitched in a handful of games at Elizabethon in 2011 before moving up to Beloit for all of 2012. His era was a pedestrian 4.67 while going 5-5, but he did strike out 102 hitters in 86.2 IP with only 35 walks. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, occassionally hitting 96. His slider is a little inconsistent, though a potential plus pitch. The changeup is probably the key pitch for him in his hopes (and/or my hopes!) that he stays in the rotation, as it must become a more reliabel offering.

So there's my two cents on under the radar prospects. I look forward to discussion and other nominees.

#2 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 7,481 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:09 PM

Very interesting list, and it is certainly fun to think about this... In other words, if you ranked all 175 or so Twins minor leaguers, which would move up the most between now and mid-September 2013? Summers, Michaels and Walker are probably the three that might hit my Top 30. There are some very interesting names here. I like beyond Michaels and Summers the highest I ranked when I last did a top 50 (before the draft) was Lo. I ranked Wheeler, Tomshaw and Hurlbut as three of the top 6 minor league starters of the year, but I would likely have Jones ahead of all of them in prospect rankings.

These are hard for me, because some might say that JD Williams could rise quickly next year, but I already have him in the mid-20s. If I had to pick one or two though, how about...

1.) Aderlin Mejia - went back to GCL and raked, even got to go to the Miracle after the season.
2a.) Angel Morales - Not sure he deserves a promotion to AA New Britain, although he did play great defense, but getting him out of the FSL may help him, and his tremendous athleticism, take off.

#3 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,092 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:34 PM

Very interesting list, and it is certainly fun to think about this... In other words, if you ranked all 175 or so Twins minor leaguers, which would move up the most between now and mid-September 2013? Summers, Michaels and Walker are probably the three that might hit my Top 30. There are some very interesting names here. I like beyond Michaels and Summers the highest I ranked when I last did a top 50 (before the draft) was Lo. I ranked Wheeler, Tomshaw and Hurlbut as three of the top 6 minor league starters of the year, but I would likely have Jones ahead of all of them in prospect rankings.

These are hard for me, because some might say that JD Williams could rise quickly next year, but I already have him in the mid-20s. If I had to pick one or two though, how about...

1.) Aderlin Mejia - went back to GCL and raked, even got to go to the Miracle after the season.
2a.) Angel Morales - Not sure he deserves a promotion to AA New Britain, although he did play great defense, but getting him out of the FSL may help him, and his tremendous athleticism, take off.


Yeah it is a very interesting list. And I agree about Mejia and Morales (with fingers tightly crossed there!).

#4 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,092 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:35 PM

Other than Morales, I am most curious about what Jorge Polanco does in Beloit and where he actually plays.

#5 TD Mac

TD Mac

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:49 PM

I considered Mejia as well. It was a lot of fun to make the list, and there really are so many to consider that I felt obligated to include some as "honorable mentions". Mejia, along with players like Williams, Dallas Gallant, Drew Leachman, Pat Dean and Nate Roberts were others I struggled with.

Totally missed on Morales, though not sure if he's on his way up or down the list. Adrian Salcedo and Manuel Soliman are another couple names, like Morales that fell off this year (though in their cases, mostly due to injuries) that could yet shoot up lists (or in Salcedo's case, get back on lists).

Next year will be an interesting one for a lot of those power arms the Twins went after in this June's draft. Due to innings pitched in college, I can understand why they were so careful with innings, but next year we'll almost certainly see Baxendale in someone's rotation. I know we heard that they might try Bard, Duffey and Jones in that role as well.

#6 Twins Twerp

Twins Twerp

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 792 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:17 PM

Andy Leer. Just doing things the Twins way. Might end up being a good utility guy. Dealt with some injuries this year but played through. BA is under the mendoza line but above the Butera line...so that's something.

#7 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,762 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:24 PM

Great thread. I remember a few years ago during the Twinkie Town community ranking progress, I kept pushing for Liam Hendriks to get ranked and he didn't make the top 50 (on the other hand, I was a huge Durbin guy once, too). That was fun. I wish I knew more about "lesser" prospects but I do think Michael is pretty under ranked by a lot of Twins fans. Walker was a nice pick in the third round. It'll be interesting to see how these guys develop.

#8 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,666 posts

Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:51 PM

Michael is a 1st round pick.... He really shouldn't be under the radar rather under the microscope.

#9 TD Mac

TD Mac

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:19 AM

Michael is a 1st round pick.... He really shouldn't be under the radar rather under the microscope.


Agree that Michael is certainly "on people's radar" as a recent 1st round pick. It is interesting to me that he has fallen off the map when it comes to top prospect lists after just one full season in which it clearly took him half a season to adjust to wood bats and quality of competition.

The nice thing is that one could make the argument that it is the increase in high achieving/high ceiling prospects that make it easy for a player like Michael to drop. A couple years ago, Hicks didn't fall as far, but that was probably as much a result of a lack of quality prospects as it was his high potential.

#10 Steve Penz

Steve Penz

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 240 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:48 AM

Shame on me for not traveling to Beloit this year. Next year it appears that names like, Buxton, Kepler, Polanco, Walker, Jimenez and maybe Berrios will be there. Roadtrip. TD Mac- Thanks for this topic. It is fun to watch the big prospect and also to look those who might surprise you.

#11 greengoblinrulz

greengoblinrulz

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,759 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:13 AM

9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:

#12 drjim

drjim

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,161 posts
  • LocationSt. Paul

Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:


Pretty sure Arizona would put him in the majors!

You're kind of a two trick pony eh? No one moves fast enough and the Twins can't develop talent.

#13 Steve Penz

Steve Penz

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 240 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:43 PM

9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:




Pretty sure Arizona would put him in the majors!

You're kind of a two trick pony eh? No one moves fast enough and the Twins can't develop talent.


It is either that or GGRulz is calling me a moron but wants to do it on the DL so Brock does not reprimand him. ;)

#14 greengoblinrulz

greengoblinrulz

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,759 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

[quote name='SRP'][quote name='drjim'][quote name='greengoblinrulz']9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:[/QUOTE]



Pretty sure Arizona would put him in the majors!

You're kind of a two trick pony eh? No one moves fast enough and the Twins can't develop talent.[/QUOTE]

It is either that or GGRulz is calling me a moron but wants to do it on the DL so Brock does not reprimand him. ;)[/QUOTE]

(.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks
those are legit numbers that Im afraid wont be developed correctly....already seems with Buxton, Keplar & Walker in BEL next year that he is possibly bein passed over

#15 greengoblinrulz

greengoblinrulz

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,759 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:55 PM

9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:


Pretty sure Arizona would put him in the majors!

You're kind of a two trick pony eh? No one moves fast enough and the Twins can't develop talent.


Dont know my 2nd trick :P.......they definately dont move fast enough but I think there is very nice talent there, just develop it too slowly

#16 TD Mac

TD Mac

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:40 PM

[quote name='greengoblinrulz'][quote name='SRP'][quote name='drjim'][quote name='greengoblinrulz']9. Romy Jimenez (OF, Elizabethton)) - as a 21 year old, Jimenez was a little old for the Appy League, but did put up big numbers (.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks despite missing a third of the season with injury. Coming off an injury plagued 2011, Jimenez needs to show he can stay healthy if he hopes to make the jump
if Arizona had him with those numbers, he'd skip Low A.....MN may send him back to ELIZ since he missed time to injury:banghead:[/QUOTE]



Pretty sure Arizona would put him in the majors!

You're kind of a two trick pony eh? No one moves fast enough and the Twins can't develop talent.[/QUOTE]

It is either that or GGRulz is calling me a moron but wants to do it on the DL so Brock does not reprimand him. ;)[/QUOTE]

(.347/.439/.669) with 8 homers with 19 walks v 25 Ks
those are legit numbers that Im afraid wont be developed correctly....already seems with Buxton, Keplar & Walker in BEL next year that he is possibly bein passed over[/QUOTE]
The tough thing for Jimenez will just be to stay healthy. Despite his age, he's played a very limited number of games in 2011 & 2012. Experience/ABs is probably more important than age in moving forward

#17 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,666 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:09 PM

Michael is a 1st round pick.... He really shouldn't be under the radar rather under the microscope.


Agree that Michael is certainly "on people's radar" as a recent 1st round pick. It is interesting to me that he has fallen off the map when it comes to top prospect lists after just one full season in which it clearly took him half a season to adjust to wood bats and quality of competition.

The nice thing is that one could make the argument that it is the increase in high achieving/high ceiling prospects that make it easy for a player like Michael to drop. A couple years ago, Hicks didn't fall as far, but that was probably as much a result of a lack of quality prospects as it was his high potential.


Or he's just not that good. There was a point where I thought his season was turning around... We will see how he does out of the FSL, but he was supposed to be solid all-around. Hicks didn't fall because he was young and had a ton of tools. Michael isn't young and doesn't have the same type of tools.

#18 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,092 posts

Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:41 PM

Andy Leer. Just doing things the Twins way. Might end up being a good utility guy. Dealt with some injuries this year but played through. BA is under the mendoza line but above the Butera line...so that's something.


Did you have a straight face when you wrote this? Andy Leer is not a good baseball player. I would be completely shocked if he isn't released.

#19 joeboo_22

joeboo_22

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 173 posts

Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

Caleb Thielbar? Lefty reliever, I know he is 25 and was an independent league signing but he lit up A and AA and put up solid numbers at AAA, and is probably the first lefty bull pen arm to get the call from the Twins next year assuming he puts up similar numbers and the Twins don't make any signings.

Jason Wheeler? Was the #1 starter for Beloit, a big guy, but not over powering. IDK where he is ranked in the top prospects, but I'd consider him some what under the radar.

BJ Hermsen? Seems to have been overlooked by many the last year/year and half. Could be a big league starter next year. Arguably the top ready starting pitching prospect in the system.

Michael Tonkin, Jason Kubel's brother in law, was slow to move up but lit up Beloit, and held his own at Ft. Myers. A guy who will prolly start in New Britain but could be a late season call up depending on many things as well.

#20 Cody Christie

Cody Christie

    Twins Contributor

  • Twins Contributors
  • 840 posts

Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:33 AM

Fun idea. Not sure I would have all of these guys on the list but still an entertaining thread.

#21 TD Mac

TD Mac

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:09 PM

German Minier is one of the young men down participating in the Florida Instructional League. As a 16-year old signed to an international contract this summer, he was ineligible to participate in the DSL, so seeing his inclusion in the instructional league certainly speaks to the Twins' expectations for him. As someone without an at-bat in even the DSL, definitely deserves to be on a top 10 "under the radar" list!

#22 lightfoot789

lightfoot789

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 592 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:52 PM

I'm impressed with the youth and talent potential from the Elizabethton Twins squad. The Twins should keep these core kids together through 2015 - like the Brewers did with Fielder - Hart and Weeks in their system. They would be joining a young and up and coming young group with Sano - Rosario & Hicks. Then bring in the next Ryan Braun (Buxton) type a year later at 22. The Twins could be very special from 2015 - until. Very Special. By that time, the rotation of Berrios - Ty Jones - Baxendale - Zach Jones - Appel :) - and slew of high velocity relievers will hold the pitching part down. We will become what the Rays are now, but with better ofensive players.

#23 BobbyBaseball70

BobbyBaseball70

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 13 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 04:37 PM

I hear names like Baxendale, Kepler and Buxton...those guys are not "under the radar" guys. Under the Radar Guys are Cole Johnson, Brett Lee, Leackman and Danny Ortiz. Johnson was a Friday night starter at Notre Dame. Lee has a fastball of big league quality and he can place it where he wants to. Little Danny O is a baller. Kid can hit. They say Leachman is the smartest baseball player in the organization but just needs time to phisically mature. Look at Johnson's strike out to inn pitched ratio. Kid can pitch and win. If the old farts give h a shot, he will make it up here to see us in the Twin Cities. Also like Kenny's Vargas and Lance Ray.