Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Store

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Recent Blogs

From MinnCentric


Photo

Sickels: Top 20 Twins prospects for 2014

  • Please log in to reply
107 replies to this topic

#61 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

And given that I refuse to just trot out another 10 "starting" pitchers who are either 4-5 starters or true AAAA pitchers, I prefer Ibarra on the 40-man over Pedro Hernandez. Part of this has to do with the fact that the Twins may be able to turn over a few bullpen guys like Burton, Fien, and Duensing at this year's deadline, and it's nice to have capable arms ready to replace. In such a scenario, Thielbar could move to setup and Ibarra to LOOGY.

#62 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:59 AM

And he's not a top prospect. I actually said that above. But I don't even like rating relievers highly anyway, hardly at all, given how fungible they are. In terms of major league value, though, I have moved away from Pedro Hernandez and Cole DeVries and towards Ibarra, Watts, and obviously Achter.

#63 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 7,669 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:47 PM

I see 2014 as a chance for Ibarra to get to his career numbers and have a good overall season in AAA, earning a September callup.

There probably should be a distinction between:

true prospects
minor leaguers who have something to contribute, potentially, in MLB
minor leaguers who don't have something to contribut, potentially, in MLB

There is some overlap in between those first two groups in terms of who actually gets to the big leagues. Ibarra is more likely to get a cup of coffee than at least one top 20 prospect in the Twins system, for instance.


People tend to forget that there are always some players who can make significant moves up. For example, most of the local "experts" had Josmil Pinto in the mid-30s or lower on their Twins prospect list. Sickels himself didn't even have Pinto ranked in his top 23 last year; and now, he appears on his list at #8 and Sickels doesn't even give a hint of admittance on his part that he completely missed on him in his 2013 rankings.

Hopefully, things have finally clicked for Ibarra, and encouragingly at a higher minor league level, perhaps a good pitching coach, recent mastery of a certain pitch, or physical maturity (although his underlying stats indicate that at least a part of it appears to be luck), and he becomes an effective lefty reliever option- he then likely could comfortably fit best in your middle category:

"minor leaguers who have something to contribute, potentially, in MLB"

And Watts and Achter get the same nod, perhaps with more upside.

Edited by jokin, 17 October 2013 - 05:49 PM.


#64 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:03 PM

People tend to forget that there are always some players who can make significant moves up. For example, most of the local "experts" had Josmil Pinto in the mid-30s or lower on their Twins prospect list. Sickels himself didn't even have Pinto ranked in his top 23 last year; and now, he appears on his list at #8 and Sickels doesn't even give a hint of admittance on his part that he completely missed on him in his 2013 rankings.

Hopefully, things have finally clicked for Ibarra, and encouragingly at a higher minor league level, perhaps a good pitching coach, recent mastery of a certain pitch, or physical maturity (although his underlying stats indicate that at least a part of it appears to be luck), and he becomes an effective lefty reliever option- he then likely could comfortably fit best in your middle category:

"minor leaguers who have something to contribute, potentially, in MLB"

And Watts and Achter get the same nod, perhaps with more upside.


That's exactly right and that why I:

A: Go deep with prospect lists, because of the volatility and fast-rising or fast-falling nature of some guys, and

B: Why I am maybe more persistent than many others about trading aging veterans for lower-ranked prospects in other orgs.

#65 kab21

kab21

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,567 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:54 PM

2013 was a very good year for him. His best. What I mean is that in Rochester, his K rate dropped and his BB rate went up a bit. Rochester: 6.9/4.4, career: 7.8/3.9. If his 2013 H/9 numbers are not an anomaly and he maintains something similar, a return to his 7.8/3.9 K/BB makes him a more ideal candidate for adding to the 40-man and being a potential contributor at the end of next season.


Imo a 7.8/3.9 K/BB is rather pedestrian for a minor league RP'er that isn't young for his league. They aren't even that good for an MLB RP'er.

#66 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:24 PM

Ibarra is a Grade C guy for me, a potential LOOGY. I could have ranked him in the "others" list but the Twins system is so deep that there are just guys I'd rather mention.

#67 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:27 PM

As for Pinto, it is true that I didn't rank him on last year's list, but this is what I wrote about him in my 2013 book:

Signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2006, Pinto had a big year in the Appy League in 2009 (.332/.387/.610 for Elizabethton) but struggled with injuries and defensive problems in ’10 and ’11. 2012 was better: he showed impressive power in the Florida State League, and remained hot after a late promotion to Double-A. Pinto has legitimate sock in his bat, but scouts don’t like his body and he spends a lot of time at DH. Interestingly, his actual defensive stats are pretty good: he threw out 38% of runners last year with low error and passed ball rates. Scouting reports remain unenthusiastic and he turns 24 in March, but Pinto hits enough that we need to pay attention. Grade C

I should have given him a C+ but I WAS aware of him.

#68 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:28 PM

Then I wrote this note about Pinto at Minor League Ball in early April 2013.

************
Pinto is off to a strong start in 2013, hitting .290/.405/.806 in eight games for Double-A New Britain, with four homers, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 37 plate appearances. Combined with last year, he has 20 games of Double-A under his belt with a .295/.382/.654 line, with six homers, nine walks, and 17 strikeouts in 89 plate appearances.

Yes, it is just 20 games, a very small sample. But he's picking up right where he left off last year, and he's usually hit well when healthy, so I wouldn't write this off as a fluke just yet. So far, Double-A pitchers haven't been able to contain him.

Most complaints about Pinto revolve around a bad body and doubtful defense, although as I wrote above, his actual defensive stats aren't bad and have gotten better over time. Reportedly, he has lost some weight and looks more athletic this spring, although interestingly enough he hasn't been able to catch any of the five runners who've gone on him this year.

So what do we have here? A successor for Joe Mauer? I wouldn't go that far, but Pinto is at least interesting, looks like he can hit some, has improved his defense over time, is under-the-prospect-radar nationally, and the Twins like him enough to give him a spot on the 40-man roster. That spells sleeper.

#69 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:31 PM

Here is the rough draft of the Pinto comment for my 2014 book, which I've posted nowhere else since I just wrote it a few days ago.
******* [FONT=&]

It is apparent that Josmil Pinto doesn’t care about unenthusiastic scouting reports. He blasted Double-A pitching, continued ripping the ball in Triple-A, and looked great in September for the Twins. His plate discipline took a hit at the highest levels, but the production was still there and given his track record, I wouldn’t doubt his ability to make needed adjustments. Although he still needs work on the finer points of catching, he continued to progress defensively and threw out 45% of runners in the majors. By all accounts, he has worked hard to remedy his flaws as a catcher. He’s also in better shape now, dropping 20 pounds last winter and showing greater mobility as a result. Pinto turns 25 in March so he’s not young as prospects go. His defense still needs polish and perhaps the pitchers will catch up with Pinto, but he’s been playing great for two years now. I don’t think this can be written off as just a fluke. Grade B-.[/FONT]

Edited by John Sickels, 17 October 2013 - 08:31 PM.
formatting messed up


#70 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

Don't Feed the Greed Guy

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 451 posts

Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:34 PM

Ibarra is a Grade C guy for me, a potential LOOGY. I could have ranked him in the "others" list but the Twins system is so deep that there are just guys I'd rather mention.


Thanks for the clarification/follow-up. Much appreciated.

#71 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 7,669 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:05 AM

Here is the rough draft of the Pinto comment for my 2014 book, which I've posted nowhere else since I just wrote it a few days ago.
******* [FONT=&]

It is apparent that Josmil Pinto doesn’t care about unenthusiastic scouting reports. He blasted Double-A pitching, continued ripping the ball in Triple-A, and looked great in September for the Twins. His plate discipline took a hit at the highest levels, but the production was still there and given his track record, I wouldn’t doubt his ability to make needed adjustments. Although he still needs work on the finer points of catching, he continued to progress defensively and threw out 45% of runners in the majors. By all accounts, he has worked hard to remedy his flaws as a catcher. He’s also in better shape now, dropping 20 pounds last winter and showing greater mobility as a result. Pinto turns 25 in March so he’s not young as prospects go. His defense still needs polish and perhaps the pitchers will catch up with Pinto, but he’s been playing great for two years now. I don’t think this can be written off as just a fluke. Grade B-.[/FONT]


John- Thanks for coming aboard and expanding on your great work. I didn't mean it to be perceived that I was taking a big shot at you, I was just trying to illustrate my point that every year there are guys who make quantum leaps, seemingly out of nowhere, and suddenly, they look like they actually might belong at the highest level. Thielbar was one....and that was certainly the case with Pinto, who didn't miss a step all season and was poised and ready to make the final jump when the call came.

I guess the big thing that convinced me (and kudos to the Twins FO for sticking with him all these years) that he was for real was his performance in the very hitter-unfriendly FSL in 2012- as a Catcher/DH, he was 3rd in the league in wOBA, 4th in OPS, 5th in SLG. Yet, you were hard-pressed to find anyone in Twins Territory who had even heard of him or expected him to do anything if they had heard of him. Building on that great showing in 2013, it appears that his bat and work ethic will more than make up for his catching deficiencies as he eases himself into the full-time pitcture at some point in 2014.

#72 Trevor0333

Trevor0333

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 318 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:19 AM

John- Thanks for coming aboard and expanding on your great work. I didn't mean it to be perceived that I was taking a big shot at you, I was just trying to illustrate my point that every year there are guys who make quantum leaps, seemingly out of nowhere, and suddenly, they look like they actually might belong at the highest level. Thielbar was one....and that was certainly the case with Pinto, who didn't miss a step all season and was poised and ready to make the final jump when the call came.

I guess the big thing that convinced me (and kudos to the Twins FO for sticking with him all these years) that he was for real was his performance in the very hitter-unfriendly FSL in 2012- as a Catcher/DH, he was 3rd in the league in wOBA, 4th in OPS, 5th in SLG. Yet, you were hard-pressed to find anyone in Twins Territory who had even heard of him or expected him to do anything if they had heard of him. Building on that great showing in 2013, it appears that his bat and work ethic will more than make up for his catching deficiencies as he eases himself into the full-time pitcture at some point in 2014.


That was the impression I got from your post as well & appreciate authors/writers who are willing to come and debate their points are always welcome in my book.

Edited by Trevor0333, 18 October 2013 - 03:29 AM.


#73 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,770 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:36 AM

Welcome to John Sickles! I think I can speak for everyone on this board when I say your work is fantastic.

A few questions, if I might. First, as previously brought up in this thread about Thorpe vs. Jorge. We only have gotten bits and pieces about these two. What criteria did you use to elevate Thorpe over Jorge? I've been following Jorge since his signing, and he seems like he has a pretty high ceiling, what are his knocks? Obviously Thorpe is still really young so to me he is very exciting. These two guys are the pitching prospects that matter the most to the Twins. If they can develop to be solid MLB pitchers, the Twins will be very very good in 5 years.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#74 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 8,028 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:38 AM

Even though I write my own (with Jeremy and Cody's help) prospect handbook for the Twins, John's annual Prospect Handbook is a must-order for me! It's just tremendous because 1.) he has incredible sources within all organizations ,and 2.) I really enjoy his writing style. There's great information, plus there's the occasional one-liner that has me laughing for an hour! Ha! Definitely consider buying his (and mine when it's available!!)... here John Sickels BPB2013

#75 Joe A. Preusser

Joe A. Preusser

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 726 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:49 AM

But young pro athletes are often the "early peakers" in size, particularly height -- that's how they get to be the young pro athletes! I don't know anything about it really, but I suspect they are less likely to grow late (particularly height and any natural muscle/weight).


I was just skimming through past GCL seasons for Thorpe comparables, and I noticed that Clayton Kershaw put up similar stats in that league at age 18. But Kershaw was already 6'3" and 215 lbs at that point, and he's basically the same size now at age 25.


That's a great point, I hadn't considered the potentially outlying stats of many of these young pro athletes.

#76 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:03 AM

I wasn't taking it personally. Pinto DID exceed expectations, but there were hints in his profile that he could/would do so

#77 John Sickels

John Sickels

    Verified

  • Members
  • 7 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:07 AM

Thorpe vs. Jorge: I like them both, but my understanding is that Thorpe's mechanics are cleaner than Jorge's, which are somewhat high-effort. Some observers feel that Jorge may be better suited for the bullpen as a result, but everyone seems to think Thorpe can start. The B- and high ranking for Thorpe is aggressive and when all is said and done I might move him a slot behind Pinto, but sometimes you just get a feeling about a guy, and I have that about Thorpe. The numbers were great, the scouting reports are increasingly impressive, and I've heard more than one source say that he would be a certain first round pick heading into 2014 if he had been born in the US.

#78 Badsmerf

Badsmerf

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,770 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:41 AM

I've only seen a few clips of Jorge's delivery and he seems to be pretty smooth. I have my own opinions of what a high effort delivery is, but what are the indicators you look for? For me, it is pretty easy to tell when a guy has a lot of arm action or falls off on his delivery causing trouble repeating it. I don't mean to take up too much of your time, but this is something I've wanted to ask a scout for a long time.
Do or do not. There is no try.

#79 mnfanforlife

mnfanforlife

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 492 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:27 AM

I wasn't taking it personally. Pinto DID exceed expectations, but there were hints in his profile that he could/would do so


#1. Great list.
#2. I predicted this whole Pinto blow-up last January.

Thanks

#80 mnfanforlife

mnfanforlife

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 492 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:49 AM

Once again...Jorge Polanco out-slugs Travis Harrison. Walker out-slugged him by a wide margin. My question for Mr. Sickels: Why rank Harrison higher than Walker? one year younger?

THanks

#81 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,995 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:00 PM

Once again...Jorge Polanco out-slugs Travis Harrison. Walker out-slugged him by a wide margin. My question for Mr. Sickels: Why rank Harrison higher than Walker? one year younger?

THanks


Polanco out slugged him, sure, but that was solely b/c of his higher batting avg. Harrison had the higher ISO power. Both are fun prospects to have. My guess is that Harrison's ceiling is still higher even if Polanco probably had the better year.

#82 mnfanforlife

mnfanforlife

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 492 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:11 PM

Polanco out slugged him, sure, but that was solely b/c of his higher batting avg. Harrison had the higher ISO power. Both are fun prospects to have. My guess is that Harrison's ceiling is still higher even if Polanco probably had the better year.


Makes sense. I think Harrison has a very high ceiling.

But my question was about why Walker was ranked lower than Harrison? Polanco's ISO power (144) is slightly lower than Harrison's (163). But Walker's ISO power (248) cannot be ignored. Even if he is a year older than Travis.

#83 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:30 PM

Makes sense. I think Harrison has a very high ceiling.

But my question was about why Walker was ranked lower than Harrison? Polanco's ISO power (144) is slightly lower than Harrison's (163). But Walker's ISO power (248) cannot be ignored. Even if he is a year older than Travis.


Walker is going to struggle with these rankings as long as he has trouble getting on base in Low A ball. I think we all love his power but he's not going anywhere if he can't learn to take a walk from a bunch of 20-year-old pitchers who have trouble consistantly hitting the strike zone. He was the league leader in HR by 30% yet only had an OBP of .319. That is a monsterous red flag.

#84 Oxtung

Oxtung

    I don't skinny dip. I chunky dunk.

  • Members
  • 1,526 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:54 PM

Thorpe vs. Jorge: I like them both, but my understanding is that Thorpe's mechanics are cleaner than Jorge's, which are somewhat high-effort. Some observers feel that Jorge may be better suited for the bullpen as a result, but everyone seems to think Thorpe can start. The B- and high ranking for Thorpe is aggressive and when all is said and done I might move him a slot behind Pinto, but sometimes you just get a feeling about a guy, and I have that about Thorpe. The numbers were great, the scouting reports are increasingly impressive, and I've heard more than one source say that he would be a certain first round pick heading into 2014 if he had been born in the US.


Thanks! This is exactly what I was wondering earlier.

#85 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:12 PM

Kramer's buddy Bob Sacamanto posted a video he took of Jorge at the FIL.

Felix Jorge - YouTube

That delivery stinks. Doesn't use his lower half, tiny stride toward home and all the effort is in his shoulder.

The Twins don't seem to instruct (or sign) pitchers who take long strides (which usually limits velocity) but I'm surprised the Twins haven't changed this delivery yet.

#86 lightfoot789

lightfoot789

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 664 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:56 PM

Walker is going to struggle with these rankings as long as he has trouble getting on base in Low A ball. I think we all love his power but he's not going anywhere if he can't learn to take a walk from a bunch of 20-year-old pitchers who have trouble consistantly hitting the strike zone. He was the league leader in HR by 30% yet only had an OBP of .319. That is a monsterous red flag.


My question for Prospects in general is: Do they feel a sense of obligation to drive in runs and ignore OBP at the lower levels if not stressed as much? I'm speaking particularly for power hitters? I think the the OBP can easily be adjusted when coaches emphasize it as a priority. His OBP wasn't the greatest when Buxton was there early in season, but probably took another hit when he had to be more RBI mindful after the big 3 left at mid season. The Kernels were not particularly great at driving in RBIs after the big 3 left either. He was their RBIs. The question then becomes - What was his role and did he do what was asked?................. His OBP in college was .400 (FR) / .486 (SO) / & .426 (JR) respectively. It was even higher against the better competition he faced in college. Just saying not that monsterous if you see the whole picture.

#87 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,137 posts

Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:49 PM

John Sickels in the house!

That was pretty illuminating in many ways. I really like the comments about Thorpe.

With regard to Walker and Harrison . . . Harrison certainly the capacity to develop into a pretty good OBP guy. Walker is lacking there, though the slugging makes up for a lot of that. I still don't really understand why the Twins didn't push Walker to get a month or so at Fort Myers, though. That might have given us a somewhat clearer picture.

#88 kab21

kab21

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,567 posts

Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:48 AM

My question for Prospects in general is: Do they feel a sense of obligation to drive in runs and ignore OBP at the lower levels if not stressed as much? I'm speaking particularly for power hitters? I think the the OBP can easily be adjusted when coaches emphasize it as a priority. His OBP wasn't the greatest when Buxton was there early in season, but probably took another hit when he had to be more RBI mindful after the big 3 left at mid season. The Kernels were not particularly great at driving in RBIs after the big 3 left either. He was their RBIs. The question then becomes - What was his role and did he do what was asked?................. His OBP in college was .400 (FR) / .486 (SO) / & .426 (JR) respectively. It was even higher against the better competition he faced in college. Just saying not that monsterous if you see the whole picture.


The problem is that this plate discipline doesn't typically improve. Typically it gets worse due to pitchers with much better secondary offerings. The other problem with your RBI theory is that hitters that swing at bad pitches because they are trying to drive in runs are going to keep doing that as they move up in the minors.

Regarding some other posts about Walker vs Harrison: We have been through this before. It's not Walker's age that is the issue but rather that he played 3 yrs of college ball so he should be more advanced than HS kids almost the same age. Walker is definitely intriguing but poor plate discipline and play in low A ball prevent him from being ranked really high despite his nice power.

Additionally I like Polanco more than Harrison but that is more due to defensive value and Polanco's ability to make contact. It was nice to see some pop from him but I don't expect much power as he moves up. However he looks like a potential .285/.335/.385 MLB hitter. With solid defense that is an average to above average MI'er. Harrison has a sweet swing but his K's and modest power stats keep him from being ranked in my top 10.

#89 Oxtung

Oxtung

    I don't skinny dip. I chunky dunk.

  • Members
  • 1,526 posts

Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:48 AM

I think another thing to keep in mind when discussing Walker vs. Harrison is that this was both players first go at full season ball. Through the first 90 games of the season the two were almost identical players. Walker had a .870 OPS and Harrison an .869. Harrison walked a bit more and Walker hit for a little more power but overall they were very similar offensively.

Over the remaining 45 games though things went very differently. Walker finished up nicely, OPS'ing .794. On the other hand Harrison fell off a cliff OPS'ing only .595. His BB% and K% stayed pretty much the same but his BA and especially his SLG% disappeared. Over his last 41 games Harrison hit only 4 doubles and no HR's. To me that suggests that he hit a wall and just couldn't put any power into his swing. If he was really struggling with his mechanics or if pitchers had caught up to him his K% would have increased and his BB% would have decreased significantly, but they didn't.

If you make the assumption that the first 90 games are the real Harrison (and Walker too, though he didn't really struggle much towards the end of the season) then you're left with two very similar players. However, like others have said, Harrison walked 12% of the time and Walker only 6%. Combine that with the fact that Harrison is a full year younger and played no college ball and while I think they're pretty close, Harrison probably should be ranked slightly higher.

#90 YourHouseIsMyHouse

YourHouseIsMyHouse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,235 posts

Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:22 AM

Thorpe's numbers at GCL for a 17 year old are ridiculous. He it up and I can see why he'd give him a higher ranking. Not solely based on his 44IP, however. 5 mph more on his fastball is very significant and perhaps he'll add even more to it. A lefty with big upside is very valuable. I like the Stewart over Meyer decision. Given a choice between the two, I'd rather have Stewart.

I really can't disagree with anything in this, but I think it's about that time where Harrison should slip a little bit until he can prove himself.