This year’s version represents the eighth annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook that I have written. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I started this. This is the fourth year that Jeremy and Cody have helped write the book. Frankly, without their assistance, the book simply would not get done. What started as a fun, little 80 page book that I could write in two or three weeks has become a 140+ page production with a ton more information.
First, we need to thank Brock for another incredible cover! As we discussed who should be on the cover, there was one clear-cut choice, Max Kepler. The young German began the season hurt, spent a week in Ft. Myers rehabbing, joined AA Chattanooga, became the league’s MVP, helped win the Southern League title and then was called up to the big leagues where he got his first hit off of Johnny Cueto. Kepler was our choice for minor league hitter of the year. He is joined on the cover by minor league starting pitcher of the year and relief pitcher of the year, JO Berrios and Trevor Hildenberger. Baseball’s top prospect, Byron Buxton, remained Rookie Of The Year-eligible, so he remains covered in the book, and gets a cover spot too.
That’s a big paragraph, and that’s just talking about the cover. Inside the book, you’ll find over 140 pages of content. You’ll find out Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Reliever of the Year stories. There are also stories or articles by a few of your favorite bloggers including Steve Buhr, Brandon Warne and Ted Schwerzler. Cody and Jeremy both added articles to the content as well.
As always, however, the meat and potatoes of the Prospect Handbook is the Prospect Profiles. In the pages this year, you will find profiles on 154 Twins minor leaguers. Anyone who played for the GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle, Chattanooga Lookouts or Rochester Red Wings and maintained MLB’s rookie status while remaining in the organization is included in the book. We also included profiles for Korean star Byung Ho Park and Dominican shortstop Wander Javier.
Jeremy spent time this year working on the book’s design and formatting. From a visual perspective, we believe that the book will just look a little better. Pages will be pretty consistent. Most prospects will get a half-page profile while some of the top prospects will get full-page spreads. Each profile will include improved (and more) header information than in the past. There will be a 2015 recap which Cody wrote and provides information on the player’s season including some statistical splits and more. Seth was responsible for writing the Scouting Reports. For most, that included background information and a scouting report. For full-page profiles, Background and Scouting Reports were divided. Seth also wrote the Forecast for ’16 section which provides you with our educated projection for where the player will spend much of the 2016 season. Finally, Jeremy wrote about the player’s Roster Status. When does he become Rule 5-eligible, or when can the player become a free agent.
In the past, we liked to include several pictures in the book. In this year’s version, we have pictures of about 90% of the players. We found photographers in Rochester, Chattanooga, Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids who had pictures of most of the players who spent time in those cities in 2015. We even found two photographers who shot photos of Twins GCL games.
We also would really like to thank Phil Miller from the Star Tribune (who also writes prospect stories at Baseball America). Phil was kind enough to write the Foreword for this year’s book. I believe Phil owns a copy of all seven of the previous prospect handbooks, and he’ll be sure to get at least one this year as well.
As always, you’ll find the Top 30 Prospect Rankings for Jeremy, Cody and I. You’ll also find our historical Top 20s or 30s. You can look at my Top 30 for 2016 and then look back at my previous top prospect rankings. It is fun to look back and see the quality of the Twins prospects and minor league system based on those lists. Let’s just say there were a few years there where the farm system was a little bit limited. For instance, you may recall 2008 when Deolis Guerra, Tyler Robertson, Anthony Swarzak and Kevin Mulvey were my top four prospects for the Twins, just ahead of Trevor Plouffe and Ben Revere. Hey, prospect ranking is not an exact science.
Needless to say, we are very excited about the release of the 2016 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. We are just crossing some t’s and dotting some I’s before it becomes available. It will again be made available through the self-publishing company at LuLu.com. (where you can also buy previous Prospect Handbooks) The 2016 version will be available in print version or in an electronic pdf form via download.
There are a couple dozen players profiled in the Prospect Handbook who will be appearing at Twins Fest. If autographs are your thing, the Prospect Handbook will be great for you. But if you just enjoy watching the Twins and getting to know more about the minor leaguers coming up through the system, this is a perfect coffee table type of book that you can use throughout the year as a reference.
So, check back to Twins Daily over the next few days to find out when it becomes available, pricing, etc. Also, be sure to follow Seth, Jeremy and Cody on Twitter. We’ll be announcing its availability and – if there are some – trying to help you find promotions to get discounts there.
A lot of you have bought the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook in previous years. Hopefully it has proven to be a solid investment for you. If you haven’t before, please feel free to ask questions in the comments below. We’ll be happy to answer them.