The Minnesota Twins are top heavy with hitters on the prospect level which bodes well for the future if they can find pitchers to put through to the major league rotation. But the pitching side of the prospect depths is still a little shallow and the major league rotation, which fell to pieces in 2012 needs to find an anchor if the Twins are going to reverse course and make their way back to AL Central contention.
The good news is that top of the pitching rankings holds some strong talent. So some rotation depth could be just a season away from the majors and there is some help on the way in 2013. Whether an Ace can be found here is questionable though. But let’s take a look and as I mentioned, we start with some offensive talent here at #1.
1. Miguel Sano, 3B 5/11/1993 H:6’3″ W:195 – Sano is a prospect who is defined by his potential power which is an 80 on the scouting scale. That elicits comparison to another elite power prospect from a few years ago, Mike Stanton. Now Giancarlo Stanton, they both hold an elite level power tool that is in fact rare.
Sano also comes with the same high K rate of a true slugger. His K rate reached 26% in 2012 and his .258 AVG was only slightly unlucky. A huge factor making him a plausible elite prospect with his elite power is that he brought his walk rate up to well above average in 2012, reaching 14.5%. A player can live on HR power, but in order to be a true elite player, he will need to find a way to keep that OBP up in the .380+ range and that will either be with walk rate or hit rate.
Defensively he has a plus arm as well and while he made 42 errors in 2012, he’s not a terrible defender. A former SS, it’s always been obvious that he would move to 3B in the future and 2012 was the year the Twins made the move. He probably should have made the move two years ago and he might have had the chance to be an above average defender, but as it played out, if he does stick at 3B, he will be an average defender at best.
Our Instinct: Sano will move to High-A in 2013, a league that dampens power, but he should still flash .200+ IsoP numbers. How well he holds his walk rate will tell us a lot about who he’s going to really be as a hitter. Expectations here are for a true #4 hitter with 35+ HR power, but a sub .270 AVG potential is real. 30%+ K rates as he begins facing more advanced hitters may also be in his profile. If he can quell that K rate increase to the lower 20% range he could be an elite all around offensive player. But that probability is low. The Twins should keep him in High-A all season putting him on track for his debut in 2 years. ETA: 2015
2012 by the numbers: .258/.373/.521, 60 XBH(28 HR), 8 SB, .316 BABIP, 144/80 K/BB ratio in 457 ab’s at Low-A. 2009 IFA, Dominican Republic.
2. Oswaldo Arcia, OF 5/9/1991 H:6’0″ W:220 – Arcia is a more advanced hitter than Sano and there was some debate on if he was actually the systems top prospect, but Sano’s power upside gave him the slightest of an edge. Arcia has done nothing if not hit at every level since the Twins signed him. Combine the fact that he is a legitimate power hitter as well, with .200+ IsoP numbers at each level and the question of placement becomes more clear.
Arcia is going to be just 22 this season and will be heading back to Double-A to start the season. He’s a solid RF and has the arm for the position so he could be in the plans for the Twins as soon as the tail end of the 2013 season.
Our Instinct: If all breaks right, Arcia will be an AVG and power bat with the upside of .285 seasons with 20+ HR and above average OBP numbers. He’s flashed .300+ AVG in the minors, but high BABIP numbers say that will settle in some as he reaches Minnesota. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: .320/.388/.539, 61 XBH(17 HR), 4 SB, .386 BABIP, 107/51 K/BB ratio in 469 ab’s between High-A and AA. 2007 IFA, Venezuela.
3. Byron Buxton, OF 12/18/1993 H:6’2″ W:190 – Buxton is a player with enough tools to warrant high ratings despite not seeing much professional playing time yet. He garnered the #3 spot on our 2012 Draft Preview:
3. Byron Buxton OF Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga. – Buxton has plus speed and the arm to handle CF or RF. He shows batting practice power and as he fills out his frame its starting to translate more into game power. With his premium bat speed and an ability to center the ball he could be an above average hitter with premium defense. He’s committed to Georgia.
Our Instinct – Buxton is thought of as an Upton clone. Which Upton and if that’s really a great thing can be debated. But he has 5 tool potential which is always highly valued coming into the draft. Comparison to a young Matt Kemp are negligent at best. But Buxton has the speed and defense ability of a future star. How much he translates his offensive production against weak high school competition will determine if he’s an actual future star. With that said, he has tools that you don’t pass up in the single digit selections of the first round.
He doesn’t profile to hit for the power that Sano possesses and Buxton has yet to prove he’s going to combine both hit tool and pop, but he projects to have an overall game that the rest of this list doesn’t possess.
Our Instinct: I hate making comps of players, but for Buxton this may be the best way to describe him and bring the realization of what his future might hold. Torii Hunter. Buxton could be a gold glove CF that hits for AVG and some power while stealing bases. Early on some 20/20 seasons with more upside on the sB side. He has the raw speed. But translating that to SB’s is still only a projection and he is going to add weight over time. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: .248/.344/.448, 19 XBH(5 HR), 11 SB, .303 BABIP, 41/19 K/BB ratio in 165 ab’s at 2 stops of Rookie ball (GCL,APPY). 2012 1st round draft pick, 2nd overall.
4. Alex Meyer, RHP 1/3/1990 H:6’9″ W:220 – Meyer came over from the Nationals in the deal for Denard Span over the winter and while the Nationals got a ready now CF, the Twins got a potential workhorse SP. Meyer is a big kid and is going to burn up innings despite not having the cleanest mechanics.
He struck out 139 in 129 IP while walking under 9% of the batters he faced. For his first full season it was a revelation that he was able to harness his stuff to that extent. Meyer has elite stuff headlined by a mid to high 90s four-seam fastball and a power slider in the mid 80s that if he learns to fully harness its movement will be a plus plus pitch. He matches those with a two seam fastball in the low 90s with movement and changeup that needs refinement.
All of his pitches have good movement, so being difficult to hit isn’t going to be Meyer’s main roadblock to the front of a rotation. His control of each of the pitches will determine how good he can be.
Our Instinct: Meyer took big strides last year… in his development. Learning to use his height and staying tall he has the chance to have 2 plus offerings and an average changeup. Paired with his size and ability to eat innings he’ll be a high level #2 starter. If his command remains average at best he still has a shot at being a very good #3 starter. He should return to High-A for half of a season before reaching Double-A in July and then the Show late the following season. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: 10-6, 2.86 ERA, 2.70 FIP, .288 BABIP, 139/45 K/BB ratio in 129 innings between Low-A and High-A. 2011 1st round draft pick, 23rd overall (WAS).
5. Kyle Gibson, RHP 10/23/1987 H:6’6″ W:210 – Gibson was the Twins top pick in 2009 and was a stud coming out of Missouri. The only reason he fell to #22 was a stress fracture in the forearm of his throwing arm. He did excellent in his debut and then started to show signs of injury in 2011 before needing TJ surgery. Heading into 2012, here was the take in his Prospect Instinct:
The TJ surgery is going to set him back a year. He’ll need a year to fully regain his control which is the main part of his pitching game. So I don’t expect to see him in Minnesota in 2012, but midseason 2013 is on the line of sight for him.
With his 3 pitch mix he’s going to be ready to take on the #3 role for the Twins soon after his debut. He’ll strike out a fair amount, probably around the 20% mark with high groundball rates and low walk totals.
He’s not the Ace the Twins are seeking, but he’s a pretty good bet to be an above average starter in the majors.
Gibson has a low 90s two seam that induces groundballs and once he gets a full feel back for his slider, its a plus offering. His change is also above average so he has the full pitch mix to remain a SP long term.
Our Instinct: The Instinct in 2013 remains the same, but his time looks like it could be right now. He’s healthy, his secondary offerings are plus to near plus and his fastball, while not premium velocity, is a pitch that is effective due to his high GB rates. All of those attributes are enough to project an above average mid rotation starter and there is no projection for him to become a bullpen arm. He’s a SP profile and the Twins have a need there. Gibson, as long as he doesn’t implode this spring, should solidify a rotation spot near the back end and work his way up the ladder over the course of the next 2 seasons. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: 0-2, 4.13 ERA, 2.88 FIP, .334 BABIP, 33/6 K/BB ratio in 28.1 innings between Low-A, High-A, and AAA. 2009 1st round draft pick, 22nd overall.
6. Eddie Rosario, 2B 9/28/1991 H:6’0″ W:180 – Rosario might just have a batting practice line drive to blame for him not being higher on this list. During a season he took a BP liner off the face which required a plate to be inserted inside his upper lip. But Rosario still played well while healthy and that was while he was learning to play 2B on a professional level.
He’s not a classic MI with range and his arm is just average, but with enough time he could be a good enough defender to stick there. But with his age to level factored in, we’re looking at a tight time line to get him to a major league caliber defender before he hits his peak seasons.
Rosario did hit .299 last season and its pretty much supported by his .336 BABIP but his IsoP dropped from an unsustainable .333 in 2011 to a what may be closer to his ceiling at his .186 number. Rosario is more of a line drive hitter so .200+ IsoP numbers are becoming increasingly less likely. But his K rate dropped in 2012 showing that he’s growing even more as a hitter and if he can maintain his walk rate he’s going to have a major league caliber bat.
Our Instinct: Rosario’s age and need to be a 2B to maximize his value make his future upside a little bit less easier to project than other prospects. At this point I’m comfortable projecting him out as a .280+ hitter with .300 hitter potential but his power potential is still a question mark. He showed elite power in Rookie ball and that’s a skill he owns, but there is no way that he’s a power hitter at that level. 15 HR per year is in line with his IsoP projections and he has enough speed to steal 20+ bases a year. If he can stick at 2B he’s an upper level prospect. If he needs to move back to the OF he will be a lower level LF, but enough of a hitter to carve out a major league career as a regular of high end utility. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: .299/.347/.499, 52 XBH(13 HR), 11 SB, .336 BABIP, 71/32 K/BB ratio in 411 ab’s at Low-A, with a brief rehab in the GCL. 2010 4th round draft pick, 135th overall.
7. Aaron Hicks, OF 10/2/1989 H:6’2″ W:190 – Hicks has been a top level prospect since being drafted in 2008. That makes this the 6th year flashing on the radar and until 2012 he hadn’t really begun putting his tools to work as skills. He’s a natural righty with a power arm, which was one of the best arms in the 2008 draft. His arm is good enough that I’ve considered him a pitching prospect as well until last season. But in 2012 Hicks finally began to show that he was more than just a patient hitter. Some a touting his 2012 as a breakout campaign, but looking deeper at the numbers it wasn’t a true overall breakout.
Hicks has always been an elite level batter when it comes to working walks, having held walk rates of 17%, 14.8% and 13.9% over the past three seasons. The last number was still excellent, but there is a clear regression level to level and year over year. His K rate has been steady, but steady above 20%. It’s not a terrible number, but he doesn’t flash plus power, so it’s not optimal. As a switch hitter, he’s better from his natural right side, but the splits aren’t as glaring as we often see.
His IsoP did finally move in the right direction getting into average territory at .173 and with his speed he was able to stretch some doubles into triples and post 11 triples in 2012 to go along with 21 doubles and 13 HR. His AVG jumped from .242 in 2011 to .286 in 2012 due to a reversion of his BABIP from .308 in 2011 to .340 in 2012. Both numbers though make it clear that Hicks will have a hard time being a .300 hitter and despite his ability to work walks, without the upper level hit tool he will be hard pressed to work at the top of a lineup.
On the bases and defensively his speed is evident, 32 SB in 2012, his best yet campaign and possibly his ceiling and his range in CF are both big positives. Hicks should be able to hold down a CF job and has the arm to handle the throw from both gaps.
Our Instinct: Hicks is still not the player that his tools have always said that he should be. But he’s rounding into a player that should carve out a career as a major league CF. If his hit tool improves further it’s possible that he holds down a CF job long term and hits as a leadoff type to maximize his speed. But the numbers and long looks at him in person tell me that he’s not going to hit his ceiling and will probably eventually settle in as a solid 4th OF playing all 3 OF spots and having some solid 10 HR/20 SB campaigns in his prime years. But he’ll have a hard time hitting enough to max out his 30+ SB potential as a full time MLB CF’er. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: .286/.384/.460, 45 XBH(13 HR), 32 SB, .340 BABIP, 116/79 K/BB ratio in 472 ab’s at AA. 2008 1st round draft pick, 14th overall.
8. J.O. Berrios, RHP 5/27/1994 H:6’0″ W:190 – Berrios was one of the top RHP prospects for the 2012 draft and Twins were able to get him just outside the 1st round in the Supp. We got to see Berrios at the WWBA and he came in high at #37 on our Pre-Draft:
37. J.O. Berrios RHP Papa Juan XXIII HS, Bayamon, P.R. – Few have risen as much as Berrios in 2012. He had the stuff to be a premium draft selection but added 20 lbs in the offseason, silencing concerns over his small frame. The better organized showcases in PR also gave scouts a closer look at him in action against some top talent. He has a fastball that now sits in the 92-94 range and some reports have him maxing it out at 98. His secondaries are still a work in progress and he uses a slider and changeup combination.
Our Instinct – Berrios has a premium fastball and locates well bottom half of the strikezone. If his secondaries were more refined he would be a 1st round selection because he is also considered very signable with a commitment to Miami Dade JC as a fall back if he falls in the 2012 draft. He’ll need to develop his changeup and will be a project for a team considering him a mid-rotation starter talent. Eventually he could end up there or using his power stuff in the bullpen.
Berrios fastball is his premium right now with his fastball sitting 92-95 and as he adds weight to his frame he could see another tick or two. His changeup was average as a senior and he shows command of the fade on the pitch. For a youngster that’s a huge plus and hints at the pitch having significant upside, but still needs to be refined. Berrios’ breaking pitch is his slider and will be the pitch he needs the most work on. The pitch has solid bite but it’s not a pitch he can use to strikeout or set up hitters yet. He will also need to add some additional power to it.
Our Instinct: Berrios is just going to turn 19 during the season, so he’s very young. The jump on pro ball in 2012 should be big in his development. We’re not certain if he’ll start in full season ball, but the chances are good that he makes it to a full season affiliate some time by the end of the season anyway. There is development that is needed for Berrios to become a finished product, but he has the fastball/changeup combo to profile well as a SP long term and has the best fastball in the system behind Zack Jones. ETA: 2017
2012 by the numbers: 3-0, 1.17 ERA, 0.85 FIP, .267 BABIP, 49/4 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings at 2 stops of Rookie ball (GCL,APPY). 2012 1st round draft pick, 32nd overall.
9. Max Kepler, OF 2/10/1993 H:6’4″ W:190 – We’ve been on Kepler since he signed and watched him progress little by little during instructs and short season ball, each season becoming a more patient hitter and having his raw power begin to emerge. Following the 2011 season Kepler hit our 360° and came in at :
299°. Max Kepler, OF, Twins, 2/10/1993 – Kepler was a big 16-year-old when he was signed by the Twins in 2009. Currently 6’4″ and 180, swinging it from the left side, he’s a project. He hit .262 in 2011 with 11 doubles and HR in 191 AB in his first taste of the Appy League. He’ll probably return there in 2012 with a concentration on turning his physical tools into baseball skills. He’ll need at least another 3 years before he’s a complete player. But a talent to keep an eye on nonetheless. ETA 2016.
The ranking was a testament to his development and tools and in 2012 he turned on more of the raw power, finally flashing plus potential in games. His IsoP bumped to .241 and he kept his AVG up, posting a career high at .297 while keeping a 10% walk rate and a career low 12.3% K rate. Advancement is some of the most important peripherals possible.
If there are any flaws in his game to this point, I would have to point to just an average arm and the fact that he is going to be relegated to LF or 1B. He has a big frame and will be 20 the entire season, so he still has room to fill out that 190 lbs. That points to more power and less speed, so I don’t see him keeping up a 15+ SB pace as he matures.
Our Instinct: The outlook hasn’t changed much from 2012, Kepler is still young, still has a long road of development. But the tools are there for a .280+, 30 HR corner player. He’s never going to be a burner, doesn’t have the speed for CF and doesn’t have the arm to be an elite RF. So his bat will need to carry him in his career. He has that type of potential in his bat though. He could be up in the top 5 on this list next season. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: .297/.387/.539, 31 XBH(10 HR), 7 SB, .312 BABIP, 33/27 K/BB ratio in 232 ab’s at Rookie-A (APPY). 2009 IFA, Germany.
10. Trevor May, RHP 9/23/1989 H:6’5″ W:215 – Trevor May was the Phillies top prospect heading into 2012 and came over to the Twins in a trade for Ben Revere. May is a big righty with a low to mid 90s fastball that works mostly in 91-92 range when he going best but he can gear up to 94-95 with less command. He pairs his fastball with 3 offspeeds, a curveball in the upper 70s and a slider in the low 80s along with a changeup in the low 80s as well.
The curve and slider are both a little too close in velocity and at times in 2012 blended together and caused May to be hit hard. His LD% jumped from 10.8% in 2011 to 21.4% in 2012. Basically he went from near elite levels to unacceptable. Pair in the changeup velocity in the same range as his slider and you have a mix that isn’t going to fool upper level hitter unless you’re a control pitcher hitting all of your spots. May isn’t a control pitcher. His walk rates remain above the 10% range, something he needs to continue to work on.
Our Instinct: May’s development hasn’t been smooth and he’s getting to the level where he’s going to be relegated to the bullpen unless he can raise his command level. He’s always been able to strikeout hitters, so the development of his changeup in 2013 is going to be key. The selection of either his curve or slider as a primary weapon will also need to be addressed. From watching him I get the feel that his slider could be his best path to success, the velocity matches his changeup velocity, the arm slot and arm speed are very similar which will add to his deception and if he can focus just on the slider and change combo in 2013 he could make a solid jump in command. His curve can be added in later on as he matures as a starter. For now the Twins will focus on getting him to the majors as a starter, whatever that may take. Simplify the process and let him use his natural ability.
If May is able to bring his bb% down and command the zone better he has solid #3 starter potential still and should be on pace for 180+ innings in 2013. He’ll start back in Double-A and should spend half of the season there before moving to Triple-A. This season should be the indicator on him remaining a starter or being groomed for the Twins pen in 2014. I’m still hopeful that the Twins will handle his next evolution of development carefully and he’ll remain a starter. ETA: 2014
2012 by the numbers: 10-13, 4.87 ERA, 4.65 FIP, .301 BABIP, 151/78 K/BB ratio in 149.2 innings at AA. 2008 4th round draft pick, 136th overall (PHI).
11. Jorge Polanco, 2B 7/5/1993 H:5’11” W:185 – Polanco was signed the same time as Sano but is a clear step behind Sano in development level. Very different prospects, Sano is power and Polanco is contact. Both were signed as SS and neither was expected to stick there long term and as of now Sano has shifted to 3B and now Polanco has shifted to 2B. Polanco’s game play and first step quickness isn’t elite level and fits better at 2B, so it should be a smooth long term transition for him.
There weren’t many questions heading into last season as to if he could be a solid defender, it was his bat that was raising the questions. But in 2012, some of the major positives of Polanco’s profile began to shine through the lack of luck he had in the past. His first 3 levels had him with .232, .283, and .284 BABIP numbers. All of which clearly could have been holding his AVG down to sub par levels. When that BABIP reverted to a more normal .333 his AVG jumped from sub .250 to .312 for the 2012 season. His added strength and that turn in luck also allowed him to boost his IsoP to .197 and had him flash power that was outside the range of his prospect profile formerly.
But the approach has always been there. He’s always been able to work counts, take walks and make contact from both sides of the plate. His walk rate of 9.8% was near a career high and his K rate remained near elite level at 12.7%. He’s a better hitter from the left side, which is fine since a majority of his AB’s will come from the left side anyway. But he flashes additional power in his right handed swing which is more compact.
His speed isn’t above average and the lack of elite power doesn’t give him any elite tools to hang his hat on. So he’ll need to continue to put together an all around game to remain an upper level prospect. But right now he has that projection and is the best bet for a long term 2B in the system on both sides of the ball.
Our Instinct: Polanco has a solid defensive game, makes contact from both sides of the plate, takes walks, doesn’t strike out a lot and has some occasional pop. It’s a prospect profile that you look for in a solid average major league 2B or utility player. I think Polanco will need to add additional pop without sacrificing his current approach in order to remain a long term starter, but he looks to be a solid bet to make it Minnesota in the long run. He’s just going to be heading to the MWL, so we’re still a few years from him hitting his stride. Long term he could be a .280+ hitter with 10+ HR/10+ SB profile as a utility infielder. He’s also seen some time in the OF so a Super Utility is there as well. ETA: 2016
2012 by the numbers: .318/.388/.514, 22 XBH(5 HR), 6 SB, .352 BABIP, 26/20 K/BB ratio in 232 ab’s at Rookie-A (APPY). 2009 IFA, Dominican Republic.
12. Joe Benson, OF 3/5/1988 H:6’1″ W:215 – Benson ranked as one the of the best prospects in the system heading into 2012 and a slow start in Triple-A highlighted by poor luck and BABIP of just .224 led to a demotion to Double-A where his luck went from bad to worse. He had a .242 BABIP and broke a hamate bone in his left hand. Between Triple-A and Double-A, Benson hit under .200 5 total HR and 8 SB in 265 AB. On the positive side his walk rate remained high and his slump was not due only in part to K rate. It was high near 26%, but no so far over his past numbers.
By the time August rolled around, Benson was shut down and needed knee surgery to remove bone chips and repair cartilage damage. All in all, it’s fair to say that Benson is now the owner of a lost season in possibly the season he was on the cusp of becoming a major league regular.
But Benson is still a prospect that holds a solid power speed combination and can range in the OF. He’ll be able to handle any of the OF spots. His arm is plus and fits easily in RF as well as CF with his speed or LF if needed. Benson has a solid football player frame, the tools to go with it and 2013 will be his chance to make the Twins roster at some point.
Our Instinct: Benson still has a chance to do what should have been done last year. Make the Twins as a 4th OF and eventually find a home there. He’s not going to be a high AVG type, but has 15+HR/15+SB power and speed. He’s always going to strikeout just little too much to become an elite talent but he does enough of everything else to carve out a career and could have some really solid campaigns in his peak years in 2015 through 2018. He should start the year in Triple-A, but has a chance to prove himself healthy and make enough noise to make this club out of Spring Training. ETA: 2013
2012 by the numbers: .202/.288/.336, 22 XBH(6 HR), 13 SB, .263 BABIP, 81/30 K/BB ratio in 277 ab’s at AA, AAA, with rehab in the GCL and FSL. 2006 2nd round draft pick, 64th overall.
13. Travis Harrison, 3B 10/17/1992 H:6’1″ W:215 – Harrison has the bat to profile as a major leaguer. He hit .306 last year, slightly inflated by a .373 BABIP, but overall he flashed some power, took walks and the line-drive approach should translate into more power as soon as 2013. He’s going to need to work hard to stick at 3B and a move to LF or 1B is a prominent possibility. His bat will dictate if his average ability at 3B will be enough for him to stick there long term. If he does he could be a well above average 3B prospect. As a LF or 1B his value tails off significantly.
14. Levi Michael 2B/SS 2/9/1991 H:5’11” W:185 – Michael was over-matched at times in the FSL and unlucky at other times. We expected him to get his feet wet in the MWL, but he went straight to High-A in the FSL and struggled at times to find the gaps. His .295 BABIP says that the struggles with hitting for AVG aren’t weighted properly and seeing him play doesn’t fit with the line he put up. His .246 AVG for the 2012 season should see a reversion to the mean when his luck turns around. He makes enough contact, striking out just 16% of the time and he took walks at a 10.9% pace. While the FSL tends to snuff out all but elite level power, Michael’s .046 IsoP is going to be a tough number to live with since he doesn’t possess elite speed. Expect a bounceback in 2013.
15. Felix Jorge, RHP 1/2/1994 H:6’2″ W:170 – Jorge is a young righty, projection in his frame and already flashes low 90s with his fastball. He should grow a little taller and add at least 20 lbs to his frame. That should uptick the velocity to the mid 90s. He pairs the fastball with an average curve and changeup. It’s been enough to hold lower level hitters to a .221 AVG against last year and lead the GCL staff with a 2.34 ERA fully supported by his FIP. He’s still on the first steps of a long development path but could be a top SP prospect for the system in just 2 years.
16. Daniel Santana, 2B/SS 11/7/1990 H:5’11” W:160 - Santana broke out in 2012 in his own way. Finally able to get his K rate under control, he used the additional contact to raise his AVG to .286 last year. Not much in the way of power, but has above AVG speed and can handle all of the infield spots as well as CF. He should move up the ladder as a utility role becomes more clear and if he can keep the K rate down and bring last years 5.3% walk rate up some, he may carve out a career as a MI-UTL type.
17. Luke Bard, RHP 11/13/1990 H:6’3″ W:195 – Bard has a low 90s fastball as a SP and flashed mid 90s a RP. He’s going to be tested as a SP early, but he could move quickly as a RP with his higher velocity and an above average slider. If he’s given enough time he could make it as a mid rotation starter, but he’s already 22 and will need to prove in the FSL that he’s ready for a full workload of a starter. He could be a dominant back end of the bullpen type if the SP project is too slow to materialize.
18. Zack Jones, RHP 12/4/1990 H:6’1″ W:185 - Jones has electric stuff, with an upper 90s fastball that can touch triple digits and a power slider. But he hasn’t always been as dominant as his stuff would suggest. There isn’t much of a chance that the Twins give him a chance to refine a changeup to become a SP, so we’re ranking a RP primarily here. He could be the top RP on this list and projects as a potential closer. If the Twins decide to give him time to become a SP and he takes to a 3rd pitch, he’s top 10 material. That is a low probability scenario though.
19. Adam Walker, OF 10/18/1991 H:6’4″ W:225 - Big power bat with a big frame. But athletic for his size and knows how to steal bases and use his speed in the OF. He’ll need to stick in LF or be relegated to 1B. But his power might play at either spot anyway. Very high K rate at the lower levels, 30%+ last year, so there is a chance that he never remedies that and can’t handle upper level pitchers so that he can get the most of his power potential.
20. Angel Mata, RHP 12/3/1992 H:6’2″ W:225 – Mata is now, where Felix Jorge might be in 2 years. Filled out. Mata’s fastball now sits low 90s and he pairs it with a curve in the 80s. He has a hard time repeating his delivery leading to a high walk rate. He’s not close to refining the changeup that will be a crucial pitch him remaining a SP. He’s already sporting a matured frame, so an uptick in velocity is unlikely, but he should stay in the 92-94 range. Enough to be successful with average secondaries. Mid-rotation upside. But has a long way to build up SP type innings.
21. J.T.Chargois, RHP 12/3/1990 H:6’3″ W:200 – The Rice Owls main closer, Chargois, has a mid 90s fastball and tight slider. He’s going to work best out of the bullpen and this isn’t a profile the the Twins will test as a SP. He has a high effort delivery and it works well with his pitch combination. He should move to High-A and work out of the bullpen. With success he may see Double-A in 2013 and be a year off of making a home in the Twins bullpen. He could become a closer or setup man and has the power arm to be a strikeout pitcher.
Other players to watch in 2013: Aderlin Mejia, Niko Goodrum, Josmil Pinto, Kennys Vargas, Randy Rosario, Mason Melotakis, Melciades De La Cruz, Hudson Boyd, Kuo Hua Lo, Romy Jimenez, D.J. Baxendale, Corey Williams, Alex Wimmers, Angel Morales, Adrian Salcedo, Madison Boer, Jason Wheeler, Candido Pimentel, Manuel Soliman, Matt Summers, Deolis Guerra, Nate Roberts, Pat Dean, Matt Hauser, B.J. Hermsen, Luke Bard, Mike Tonkin, Daniel Ortiz, Stephen Wickens, Tyler Jones, Joel Polanco, Junior Subero
For a complete list of the Top 21′s visit the 2013 Top 21′s Page
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