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Sickels: Top 20 Twins prospects for 2014

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#61 Shane Wahl

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
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#79 mnfanforlife

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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

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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