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  • Seth's 2013 Top 30 Twins Prospects

    The Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook has now been available for a little over a week in both paperback and e-book forms. One of my favorite parts of the book is the History of my Top 30 Twins Prospects lists. Near the back of the book, I posted my Top 30 Twins Prospects for 2013, and I also post the Top 30s going back to 2007. It’s fun to look back and see some player’s names from the past. It’s fun to see some of them being successful in the big leagues, and it’s even fun seeing names of players that I (and likely many others) may have been completely wrong about.

    Back in October, I posted a preliminary Top 50 prospect list on this site. It was purposely done before a lot of research on the Twins minor leagues had started. It created great discussion in the comments, but it is also interesting to see if, after reading a ton about all 150 or so Twins minor leaguers, the rankings change much. In some cases, they did change. The Twins also added a couple of top prospects.

    Below you will see my final 2013 Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects. In the book, it’s just a list. After each, I’ll be added a couple of sentences about the player, kind of stream of conscious-form. Obviously, in the book, there is much more about all 30 players, and over 120 more player prospects. So again, if you’re interested in the e-book, the paperback or any of the previous Prospect Handbooks, feel free to do so.

    SethSpeaks.net 2013 Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects

    Rank – Name – Pos – 2012 Levels

    1 – Miguel Sano – 3B – Beloit Snappers

    Everyone knows Sano. He’s one of the Top 10-20 prospects in baseball due to his power potential. Can he play 3B long-term? I think so. He hit 28 homers and drove in 100 runs last year in Beloit while hitting just .258 and striking out a ton. He’ll have to make some adjustments before he becomes a Sure-Thing, but he has the world of potential!

    2 – Byron Buxton – OF – GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins

    Speaking of amazing potential, Buxton fits into the upper echelon. The #2 overall pick in last year’s draft had all of the tools. He is incredibly fast, plays great defense, has a rocket for an arm, and should hit for power. He had a successful debut in 2012 and it will be interesting to see if he begins the 2013 season in Cedar Rapids or at Extended Spring Training.

    3 – Oswaldo Arcia – OF – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats

    Flat-out impressive hitter. He has very good power, uses the whole field and just always finds a way to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. In New Britain, he showed he can hit for average, walk enough, and come up big in big situations. Twins minor league hitter of the year in 2012, he could go back to New Britain for a short time or begin the season in Rochester.

    4 – Alex Meyer – RHP – Hagerstown Suns, Potomac Nationals

    Meyer came to the Twins in the Denard Span trade. The 2011 first-round pick out of Kentucky has a ton of potential on the mound. Anyone who throws 99 mph, has a semblance of control, and has the potential for four plus pitches should probably be higher than #4 on the list. He has Ace potential, now we’ll see in 2013 if he can get there.

    5 – Aaron Hicks – OF – New Britain Rock Cats

    The funny thing is that a year ago, Hicks was coming off of a frustrating season in Ft. Myers. I ranked him #4. In 2012, he moved up to New Britain and put together a very impressive line in which filled up all of the offensive categories. He had double figures in doubles, triples and home runs and stole 32 bases. He also has great range, and has a very strong arm in the outfield. He has a chance to be the Twins starting centerfielder in 2013.

    6 – Kyle Gibson – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle, Rochester Red Wings

    Like Hicks (and Arcia), Gibson should debut with the Twins sometime early in 2013. The right-hander’s rehab from Tommy John surgery in September of 2011 went as planned. He pitched fairly well, especially early, in the Arizona Fall League. He’s got a great mix of pitches including a fastball that occasionally touches 95. He should be a very solid starting pitcher in the near future.

    7 – Eddie Rosario – OF/2B – Beloit Snappers

    Rosario has a terrific bat. He is also a very good centerfielder, but due to the Twins glut of outfielders in the farm system, Rosario has been moved to second base where he has shown glimpses of having a future there. Can he stay at 2B? That shall be determined. He will be playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC and is starting to become a household name in his country.

    8 – Jose (JO) Berrios – RHP – GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins

    Another member of the Puerto Rico WBC roster, Berrios is very young having just been drafted by the Twins in the supplemental round of the Twins 2012 draft. He is a very advanced pitcher for his age and seems to be more likely to get to the big leagues than most players his age. Hopefully he can remain healthy.

    9 – Trevor May – RHP – Reading Phillies

    May came to the Twins with Vance Worley from the Phillies in the Ben Revere deal. A year ago, May was the top prospect in the Phillies organization. Walked too many at AA in 2012, but he throws hard and if he can harness the control, he could be a solid member of the rotation.

    10 – Max Kepler – OF – Elizabethton Twins

    Kepler was signed the same year as Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano, and in 2012 he took a big step forward in his second season in the Appalachian League. He showed his power potential. He takes walks. He is a good outfielder. 2013 will be interesting as he moves into a full-season league.

    11 – Joe Benson – OF – Rochester Red Wings, New Britain Rock Cats

    Benson was as big of a prospect one year ago as Aaron Hicks is today. Unfortunately, he struggled early and was hurt most of the year. When it comes to tools and talent, Benson has as much upside as anyone on this list not named Buxton or Sano. The mullet is gone. The knee is nearly back to 100% He should be given a legitimate shot at the starting centerfield gig.

    12 – Kennys Vargas – 1B – Beloit Snappers

    When it comes to raw power, Vargas has as much as anyone in the organization, including Miguel Sano. He returned a year ago after serving an extended 50 game suspension and showed his power right away in Beloit. He’s not swift. He’s not great at 1B. He struggles with a good fastball, but I just can’t get past that power potential.

    13 – Danny Santana – SS – Ft. Myers Miracle

    I’ve always been pretty high on Santana. I love his speed, both on the base paths and with his range at shortstop. He has a strong arm. He was the leadoff hitter for the Miracle this past year despite rarely seeing a pitch that he didn’t want to swing at. He posted an OBP over .300, primarily due to his average. He’s not big, but he’s fast and shows good extra base power. He was added to the 40 man roster following the season.

    14 – Travis Harrison – 3B – Elizabethton Twins

    Harrison debuted in 2012 with the E-Twins. He hit .300 although he didn’t show much power. His defense was rather rough at third base. He is a solid all-around hitter and the power should develop. He likely won’t stay at third base, so his bat is what will carry him.

    15 – Alex Wimmers – RHP – New Britain Rock Cats

    Wimmers was considered by many to be one of the most ready pitchers drafted in 2010. 2011 was a mess, and he lost his 2012 season because of elbow problems that resulted in Tommy John surgery. But, if he’s healthy, he can still show why he was a 1st round pick. Good fastball, good changeup. Plenty of pitches. Hopefully his rehab can go as smoothly as Kyle Gibson’s did. Biggest picture, don’t completely forget about Wimmers yet!

    16 – Adam Walker – OF – Elizabethton Twins

    OK, Walker has some incredible power potential too. The key for the 2012 draft pick will be whether he is able to make more contact. If he can, he’ll move up quickly. If not, frankly, he will struggle.

    17 – Chris Herrmann – C – New Britain Rock Cats, Minnesota Twins

    When the 2012 season ended, Herrmann went home to prepare for the Arizona Fall League. A couple of weeks later, the Twins had a need at catcher and Herrmann was called up. He didn’t hit, but he did show his patience. He also impressed behind the plate and in left field. That is the role (similar to Ryan Doumit, but without the bat) he should be playing for the Twins for years to come.

    18 – BJ Hermsen – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle, New Britain Rock Cats

    Yup, I get that he doesn’t throw real hard and many think it won’t transfer as he moves up. The Twins Pitcher of the Year knows how to pitch. He has a variety of fastballs that he throws at various speeds and with various movements. He lives on perfect control and being able to keep the ball in the park.

    19 – Jorge Polanco – 2B – Elizabethton Twins

    Polanco was signed for his glove at shortstop, but he has gradually been playing more at second base. He actually hit quite well in the Appy League in 2012I don’t expect that to continue, but Polanco should advance to the Midwest League in 2013.

    20 – Luke Bard – RHP – GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins

    Bard pitched mostly out of the bullpen in college, but he has the pitches and the makeup to be a starter, where the Twins 2012 first-round pick feels he would be more valuable.

    21 – Adrian Salcedo – RHP – Ft. Myers Miracle

    Salcedo was a Top 10 prospect a year ago, but 2012 was a lost year for him. He fought elbow and shoulder injuries and was rehabbed throughout the season. Hopefully he will be successful in his recovery and return to his prospect status quickly. When healthy, he is a starter who can sit in the mid-90s. He also has three pitches.

    22 – Mason Melotakis – LHP – Elizabethton Twins, Beloit Snappers

    The hard-throwing Twins 2nd round pick in 2012 did a nice job for the E-Twins and Snappers bullpens. However, there is a good chance that he will get an opportunity to start. If he can be successful, his value skyrockets.

    23 – Nate Roberts – OF – Beloit Snappers

    Led the Arizona Fall League in Batting Average, OBP and SLG% this past fall. He is the perfect leadoff hitter who understands his job is the get on base as often as possible.

    24 – Michael Tonkin – RHP – Beloit Snappers, Ft. Myers Miracle

    Tonkin went back to Beloit to start the 2012 season and was tremendous out of the bullpen. He throws his heavy fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s with a devastating slide. He struckout almost 13 batters per nine innings and was added to the 40 man roster.

    25 – Pedro Hernandez – LHP – Rochester Red Wings

    He’s considered by most fans to be just another guy from the Francisco Liriano trade. He’s a lefty with multiple pitches who, at age 23, already made a start in the big leagues. His 2013 ended with injury, but he could be a decent back of the rotation starter in the future.

    26 – Daniel Ortiz – OF – Beloit Snappers, Ft. Myers Miracle

    Ortiz had another solid season in 2012 between Beloit and Ft. Myers. The diminutive outfielder has a very nice swing and solid all-around skills, but he is often forgotten among all of the other Twins outfield prospects.

    27 – Niko Goodrum – SS – Elizabethton Twins

    Goodrum repeated at Elizabethton in 2012 and his batting average dropped but his Isolated Discipline and power increased. He should get to the Midwest League in 2013.

    28 – Matt Summers – RHP – Beloit Snappers, Ft. Myers Miracle

    A hard-throwing right-hander, Summer pitched well early in Beloit, but he did struggle in Ft. Myers. He has three solid pitches and his strikeout numbers should increase going forward.

    29 – Hudson Boyd – RHP – Elizabethton Twins

    Boyd made his professional debut with the E-Twins in 2012. His ERA was solid, although he did give up a lot of unearned runs. He has a fastball in the mid-90s, but he didn’t get many strikeouts during the season.

    30 – Levi Michael – 2B/SS – Ft. Myers Miracle

    I wasn’t real high on Michael when the Twins made him their top pick in 2011 from North Carolina. He went to Ft. Myers and really struggled with the Miracle. He played a season at third base, a season at shortstop and a season at second base in college. He played more second base with the Miracle. Offensively, he wasn’t particular good.

    So there you have it. My official 2013 Twins Prospect Ranking. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions in the Forum.
    This article was originally published in blog: Seth's 2013 Top 30 Twins Prospects started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Pretty well done. 3-8 could pretty much be pulled out of a hat and it would be hard to argue. I disagree with a few in the 17-25 range. I think Polanco, malotakis, Tonkin and Roberts should be ahead of Herrmann and Hermsen. I don't think Hernandez should be on the list at all.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Watch for Josh Burris to be a sleeper this year in Low A and Matt Tomshaw to be a sleeper in Ft. Myer & New Brittan. MY SLEEPERS
      Nice list though
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      I have some questions, too.
      None of them is as interesting as the time & effort you've put into this.
      This is awesome.
      Thank you Seth.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by righty8383 View Post
      Pretty well done. 3-8 could pretty much be pulled out of a hat and it would be hard to argue. I disagree with a few in the 17-25 range. I think Polanco, malotakis, Tonkin and Roberts should be ahead of Herrmann and Hermsen. I don't think Hernandez should be on the list at all.
      I won't disagree with you too much, but at some point, we do have to credit Hermsen for pitching very, very well. The strikeouts are low, but he is young for the level and put up great numbers. Will he be a Brandon Webb-like success in the big leagues. Who knows? I mean, he's only ranked in the mid-teens, so that doesn't shout out top of the rotation, but there are guys who are solid back of the rotation guys for several years and make a lot of money. I don't know that many work as hard as Hermsen does, and his control and changes of speed and movement are, if nothing else, intriguing.

      I see Herrmann as taking over that 3rd catcher job mid-season. He can play many positions. He may not hit for very high average, but he does put together quality at bats, takes some walks and hits some doubles. Again, in the late teens, the upside for someone in AA or higher is role player.

      As for Hernandez, I hear that a lot, but again, he's a lefty who hits 91, mixes speed and has multiple pitches there's some value there, be it spot starter or bullpen specialist down the road. He's so young.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      Watch for Josh Burris to be a sleeper this year in Low A and Matt Tomshaw to be a sleeper in Ft. Myer & New Brittan. MY SLEEPERS
      Nice list though
      I don't know how much of a 'sleeper' Burris is. People around here talk about him a lot, and if I did the list out to 40, he would likely be in that 31-40 range, if only because of his curveball. Still not sure what his role will be, starting or relieving, and there are control issues, but like his ability to get strikeouts. I'm comfortable with where I have him, and if he continues to strikeout that many and becomes a starter, he'll move up quickly.

      I really like Tomshaw. I have a ton of respect for guys that have to 'pitch' and yet succeed. He tops out at about 86 mph on the right day, but he has great character and toughness and six decent pitches. He's definitely the kind of guy you want to root for!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      I have some questions, too.
      None of them is as interesting as the time & effort you've put into this.
      This is awesome.
      Thank you Seth.
      First of all, thank you for the kind words and the support. It is appreciated.
      Second, it is a ton of work, but I love this stuff. I love talking about the prospects, they deserve recognition. I love the minor league process. I fully appreciate how good a player has to be to make it to A ball, much less AA, AAA or even just to get a cup of coffee in the big leagues.
      So, please, feel free to ask any questions you like.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      What happens if Benson rebounds back into form, Roberts continues getting on base a ton, and Walker learns how to not strike out so much as they rise through the levels? We have so many outfield prospects, most with pretty high upside. Realistically all won't make it, but even so it's hard to imagine we won't find 3 really good ones out of that bunch to roam our outfield for years.

      As was mentioned previously, after those first couple, there's a mash of guys that all have a ton of potential that we just need to see how things shake out. I like Arcia at #3. I like that there's so much debate over who should be #3. I love the potential for Rosario as a 2B (if he sticks there he's in the debate for #3). This will be such an interesting year to watch the minors. I suppose that could be said every year, but we have so many intriguing prospects right now. I can barely wait to see how these guys do this year.

      The guys I probably most want to see this year are the middle infielders. Rosario, Santana, Polanco, Goodrum, Michael. If a couple of those guys really start looking good (yes Rosario probably does already, if his defense is up to snuff), we have a great prospect at pretty much every position excepting maybe catcher depending on how you view Herrmann.

      Thanks for this Seth! I really appreciate the time you (and others as well) put in to let the rest of us know more about the guys on the farm. It makes riding out the bad years a little more bearable.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Nice list. I'd switch out Santana and Polanco. But, otherwise, not a lot to argue with here. Good job.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      OK, I LOVE Vargas at #12...that's gutsy. I had people telling me he was not top-20.

      But, why can't we expect Jorge Polanco to hit well as he advances?? Just your opinion?

      Zachary Jones is NOT in your top-30?? Whoa...he is gonna impress you this year. You'll be like, "what was I thinking dissing Jones?" In my opinion, Jones is better than your 25-30.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Ortiz does not belong in the top-30. I mean, you didn't include Tyler Duffey, Josmil Pinto, DJ Baxendale, AJ Achter, Zach Jones, Corey Williams, etc. But DID include Ortiz? Ortiz probably won't ever make it out of AA, but he's a top-30 guy for you?
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      One more thing..I dont see how A. Salcedo can be ranked ahead of ANY other pitcher in the system...production matters to me.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      The big surprise is Niko at #27. I've been questioning why some are so high on him because his season wasn't really that good. An awesome month followed by 2 bad ones. I would still rank him higher because of his tools but I'm pretty concerned that he's missing the hit tool.

      I'm interested in the reasoning behind the Polanco comments. He's one of my favorite sleepers right now but I'm trying to stay reserved until he gets to full season ball.

      Here's the interesting thing for Twins lists this year: RP'ers
      Seth's list - it seems that the first two made it based on them having a chance to start
      Bard - 20
      Melatokis - 22
      Tonkin - 24

      Sickel's list
      Melatokis - 12
      Bard - 13
      Chargois - 17
      Jones - 18
      Tonkin - 19
      Williams - 23
      #23 was the final ranking

      Obviously they value RP'ers differently and I side more with Seth but I am finding it very difficult to rank the RP'ers this year.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      The only quibble I have is Nate Roberts (Probably because he's been a favorite of mine since drafted). I know he's "old," but he's solid-average across the board on tools and how they play in games right now, which is a lot more than can be said about several guys in front of him. If he doesn't skip up to AA to start this year, I think the Twins are doing yet another prospect a disservice 'ala Anthony Slama.

      My hope is that one of the Middle Infielders (Santana, Michael, Goodrum, Polanco) takes a big step forward this year, as we all know the Twins need one of them too...
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Just wondering if Chris Colabello is too old to be considered a prospect or if he just doesn't quite make the top 30 because of his attributes. His winter numbers are inspiring.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      OK, I LOVE Vargas at #12...that's gutsy. I had people telling me he was not top-20.
      Vargas is weird. Seems people either see some David Ortiz in him and believe in his power, or they can't get past his inability to catch-up to good fastballs. The 2nd point being the more important one to me considering he's only played low-A ball to this point. The pitching is only going to get better.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am proud to say that my list matches Seth's pretty well. He knows way more than I do.

      Though I am much more "meh" on Hermsen at the moment.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      And, yes, ec, this is the year of the middle infielder for me too. I wrote something awhile ago about the "Slim Shady" effect in the Twins system and wondering if the real SS will stand up. I like that it could be a guy called "Niko."
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Good list. Obviously people might quibble with it a bit - I think May is too low - but when I look at Twins lists now, what I'm really happy with is the depth. This group looks a lot better than the lists we had a few years back which had Valencia, Morales, Swarzak and Hughes. We now have some really intriguing names outside the top 10 that could really develop - Harrison, Bard - as well as some near ML ready depth in guys like Hernandez and Benson. And a lot of bullpen arms.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Thanks for the update Seth. A good read, with nice upside in the prospects.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      One more thing..I dont see how A. Salcedo can be ranked ahead of ANY other pitcher in the system...production matters to me.
      I was agreeing with your points until this one. I'm not all that high on him but his ranking seems right to me. He may be higher if he hadn't suffered injuries last year and only pithced 30 innings. Before last year he WAS quite productive.

      I'm sure you weren't trying to come off this way, but sometimes when you talk about prospects you have this "what have you done for me lately" (good or bad) type attitute.. Which is the LAST way one should asses a prospect. Not trying to rip you becuase I like reading your thoughts. Just saying...
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