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BA Midwest League Twins #1 Buxton, #13 Berrios, #15 Walker, 20 Polanco

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#1 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 08:14 AM

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).
Posted ImageByron 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.


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[TD]270
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[TD]68
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[TD]32[/TD]
[TD]11[/TD]
[TD].341[/TD]
[TD].431
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[TD].559



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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).
Posted ImageJ.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.


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[TD]19[/TD]
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[TD]105[/TD]
[TD]58[/TD]
[TD]46[/TD]
[TD]6[/TD]
[TD]40[/TD]
[TD]100[/TD]
[TD].262[/TD]
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15. Adam Brett Walker, of, Cedar Rapids (Twins) Age: 21. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 225. Drafted: Jacksonville, 2012 (3).
Posted ImageAdam 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.
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[TD]508[/TD]
[TD]83[/TD]
[TD]141[/TD]
[TD]31[/TD]
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[TD]109[/TD]
[TD]31[/TD]
[TD]115[/TD]
[TD]10[/TD]
[TD]0[/TD]
[TD].278[/TD]
[TD].319[/TD]
[TD].526


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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.
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#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:20 AM

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.

#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:52 AM

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.

#4 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:52 AM

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.

The chat starts at 230pm ET today, if you have any questions just post them here, I'll gladly ask as I have a BA account.

#5 PseudoSABR

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:00 AM

The chat starts at 230pm ET today, if you have any questions just post them here, I'll gladly ask as I have a BA account.

Pretty sure the chats are free to view (I know this for sure) and participate (it at least lets me ask questions), though posting Twins related content is always welcome!

#6 Badsmerf

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

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).
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#7 PseudoSABR

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:03 PM

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).

I wonder if it has something to do with the unfavorable hitting conditions in the FSL; moving up a league to face stiffer competition and unfavorable parks might be a bit much for non-Buxton players.

#8 nicksaviking

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:10 PM

I wonder if it has something to do with the unfavorable hitting conditions in the FSL; moving up a league to face stiffer competition and unfavorable parks might be a bit much for non-Buxton players.


Maybe, but I kind of assumed that they just couldn't promote three OFs from Low A to High A and JD Williams won the coin toss. Or maybe there wasn't a coin toss but the Twins were hoping to see an improvement in Walker's K/BB ratio. I like the guy but the lack of walks for a power hitter in a league with young arms with control issues is a bit alarming.

#9 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:34 PM

Pretty sure the chats are free to view (I know this for sure) and participate (it at least lets me ask questions), though posting Twins related content is always welcome!

They are free to view but Subscribers can click the league name to see scouting reports for all 20 ranked prospects and are also able to ask questions about the top 20 in a chat.

#10 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:37 PM

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.

#11 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 01:40 PM

Questions about Twins:

[quote]

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.[/quote]


[quote]

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.[/quote]

[quote]

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[/quote]

[quote]

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[/quote]

[quote]

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.[/quote]

#12 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:25 PM

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.


#13 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:26 PM

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.

#14 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:28 PM

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.

#15 markos

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:53 PM

  • 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.


Thanks for posting all the chat updates!

#16 Larsbars08

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:56 PM

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.

#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

The Berrios ranking excites me the most, this team needs pitching badly. I am actually surprised it is that high, and pleased.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#18 John Bonnes

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 03:56 PM

The Berrios ranking excites me the most, this team needs pitching badly. I am actually surprised it is that high, and pleased.


I agree. I'm keeping an eye on Berrios. With this being his first year in a full season league, the end of season fade is understandable.

#19 Oxtung

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:31 PM

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.


As others have stated he wore down considerably in the second half. His first half numbers were very good.

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[/TD]
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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.

#20 lightfoot789

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:16 PM

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.


Everyone wanted Adam Brett Walker to improve his strikeout rate this year and he did by 10% (30% to 20%). Incredible improvement without losing his HR & RBI production. Next year I will guess he works on his BB improvement. He has shown the ability to improve in the areas the Twins have asked (defense and K Rate) and I for one plan to rank this kid as my future star sleeper in the organization.

#21 lightfoot789

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:21 PM

All these kids have things to work on and the fact is none of us now what the "Twins" want these kids working on specifically from year to year. Those are the questions I would like answered next spring from Terry Ryan and coaches in the minors. Some what of a gameplan for the prospects in terms of their growth progression.

#22 TRex

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:50 AM

Hey lightfoot... as the lead drummer for Walker, are you 'disappointed' that he was only 15th? I, for one, think that that is quite a feather in his cap considering the group of pitchers and position players in front of him... especially since he came into the season without any top-100 hype. This also means that he was the second best position 'prospect' on CR... ahead of Polanco, Keplar, Harrison, Goodrum and Hicks. That is not a bad jump for his first full-season. I think this shows just how legitimate his power/speed combo is, and I think if he can even come close to repeating this years numbers in the FSL next year (even without improving his W/SO rate) he will garner some top-100 votes.

#23 lightfoot789

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

Hey lightfoot... as the lead drummer for Walker, are you 'disappointed' that he was only 15th? I, for one, think that that is quite a feather in his cap considering the group of pitchers and position players in front of him...


Not at all. He will always have to prove himself more (as a 3rd rounder), until he actually does something in the show. I actually thought he wouldn't get ranked at all. I thought all the 1st rounders from this years draft would be included as well. He still has a lot to prove, but I think his upside is as good or better than every position prospect in the Twins organization (minus Buxton and Sano). The funny thing is - if he didn't have that bad Cape expereince - he would have been a 1st rounder and everyone would have assumed he would be on this list. Draft status dictates these list and sometimes understandably so. I just like where the Twins are headed in the next 3 years. My prediction for Walker is a RF version of Paul Goldschmidt moving forward. [Build - Swing - Stolen Bases - Impact]

#24 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:55 AM

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.

Those HS numbers are going to be hard to peg down, not only for playing in Puerto Rico but for all the traveling squad games that he took part of as well. So 50-70 innings is probably a good guesstimate maybe 10-15 more. Plus much of those games would likely have been fastball heavy by Jose. To start this year off, Berrios was on the Puerto Rican WBC team. Sure he only threw 2 official innings but when I talked to him he said he was throwing sooner than he had in the past and looks like he just ran out of gas at the end.
So something around 130 IP (give or take) looks like a good bet in 2014.

#25 Jim Crikket

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 02:47 PM

I might quibble a little bit with the Berrios/Walker/Polanco rankings, but having all three of them in the 13-20 range is about right, so if you think one is a couple slots high or a couple slots low (which I do), that's totally immaterial.

What's very impressive and encouraging for Twins fans is that the Twins placed four players among the top 20 prospects in a league with 16 teams and there were a couple others that might have had an argument had things fallen a little differently. Brett Lee was strong all season. Mason Melotakis was lights out once he finally found the grip for his slider. Travis Harrison was about as impressive offensively as Walker through the first half of the season, before hitting a similar "wall" as Berrios.

A lot of talent in that group.
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#26 dgwills

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:10 PM

I wonder if Buxton leaving the league had anything to do with a few players hitting the wall. A guy with that kind of talent makes everyone around him better.