• What '13 Twins rookie will have the biggest impact?

    In the 2013 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (which is now available in paperback and e-version copies), I wrote an article looking back at all of the players that were considered rookies in 2012. From Brian Dozier and Chris Herrmann to Scott Diamond and Tyler Robertson, there were 15 rookies to make appearances with the club. On a team fighting for every win, there were plenty of opportunities for some young blood to sink or swim.

    Now that the Prospect Handbook has been out and fans have been able to look through it, the future can turn to those prospects that have the chance to make an impact on next year's squad. It can be tough to guess which players will be given the opportunity but the Twins have made hints at a few different names.

    Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks will both have the opportunity to earn the starting center field job out of spring training. If one of these two young men sticks with the club for the entire year, there is a good chance they will have the big impact on next year's club. Hicks seems to have the best chance of making the club. There is also a chance that neither of them earn the job and that could make their opportunity to shine a little harder.

    When looking to the pitching core, there are a few names that could make a splash in 2013. Kyle Gibson, the former first round pick, should be making his big league debut this year. He missed most of last season following Tommy John surgery. At the end of last season, he came back healthy and he looked good for portions of the Arizona Fall League. His innings limit this year could hinder him but he could still make a big impact.

    BJ Hermsen was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year and he was strong at two different levels this past season. He accumulated most of his innings at the Double-A level so this could put him at the cusp of making his debut next year. If the Twins start him in Rochester, he is only an injury or two away from getting the call.

    Out in the bullpen, Caleb Thielbar or Ryan Pressly could factor into the team's plans for this year. Theilbar, a Minnesota native, has been slowly working his way towards the big leagues. He pitched out of Rochester's bullpen for all of last season so he only has one more level to conquer. Pressly was the Twins Rule 5 pick this year from Boston. This means that he will have to stay on the big league roster for the entire year or be offered back to the Red Sox.

    The one player that could be considered a dark horse for next year's squad is Oswaldo Arcia. His performance in 2012 earned him Twins Minor League Player of the Year honors so it would exactly be a breakout year. The surprise would come from the fact that he doesn't seem to have an open position on the roster. He fits into a corner outfield spot and the Twins are looking to use Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee in left field and right field. This could leave Arcia at Triple-A hoping for someone on the big league roster to get injured.

    In the end, there are a few different ways to look at who will be making the biggest impact. Some of the names on this list are almost guaranteed to make their big league debuts and some of the others have less of a chance. Kyle Gibson is most likely going to pitch more big league innings than Caleb Thielbar. Aaron Hicks will probably get more at-bats than Joe Benson or Oswaldo Arcia.

    Here is a ranking of the top five players from the list above based on the kind of impact they will have on next year's team. This list isn't completely based on talent. It is based on what type of playing time each player is expected to get next year and what kind of impact he will have at the big league level.

    1. Kyle Gibson RHP- He looked healthy at the end of last season and in the Arizona Fall League. Gibson is ready to prove that he is completely recovered from Tommy John surgery.

    2. Aaron Hicks OF- He might have to start the year in the minor leagues and this could hinder his ability to make an impact. A hot start at Triple-A could have him in the big leagues sooner than expected.

    3. Caleb Thielbar LHP- There is always a need for left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. Thielbar could make the team out of spring training and stick with the club for most of the year.

    4. BJ Hermsen RHP- The Twins have been stocking up on questionable starting pitching this offseason. This could leave a hole in the rotation for Hermsen.

    5. Ryan Pressly RHP- If the Twins want to keep him, he has to stick on the big league roster. They could make him a long relief man or use him as a spot starter since he has experience as a starting pitcher.

    Which rookie do you think will have the biggest impact on next year's squad? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: What '13 Twins rookie will have the biggest impact? started by Cody Christie
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Nice article Cody. Thanks
      All Twins fans are hoping for Parmelee to have a great year and they should give him an extended opportunity. If June arrives and it's not working for Parmelee or the Twins then it will depend on how Arcia is doing in AAA.
      Arcia is as sure a hitter as we have in the minor leagues right now. It could also come to pass that Willingham is traded at the deadline. Part of such a move could be that they feel that Arcia is ready.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Hicks. He's the most solid of all the young outfielders. No major weaknesses as a hitter or fielder. Great arm and excellent range in center.

      As for pitchers, it's a crap shoot, and the dice look dicey. Maybe the Twins will get lucky in this year's cattle call of damaged goods, maybe they'll find another Burton. Young pitchers, unless they're obvious stars, usually don't make a huge difference in their first year.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Probably Gibson, maybe Hicks. When you say "biggest impact" I presume you mean positive impact.

      This got me to thinking - which Twins rookie had the biggest impact in 2012?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Probably Gibson, maybe Hicks. When you say "biggest impact" I presume you mean positive impact.

      This got me to thinking - which Twins rookie had the biggest impact in 2012?
      Scott Diamond still counted as a rookie, didn't he?
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      Good story. I would put Arcia in the top five – I question whether Parmelee will be able to stick it out all year; I just don't think either his bat or glove will be as good as Arcia's.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      Parmelee is no longer considered a rookie as he had more than 130 AB.
      As many of the names were on the AA squad last year it would be hard to predict. At the end of the year if neither Hicks, Arcia nor Benson have an almost full season in then they had the biggest impact by not being ready yet. If one of them plays the whole season after May, then it would be one of them.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I think KG has the biggest impact in 2013, he'll be a welcome addition to a starting rotation that I anticipate will struggle to put up quality starts. That being said, I expect Gibson will take his lumps and have some growing pains as he adjusts to MLB baseball. I hope all the youngsters get a chance to come up and play this year and start to perform at the big league level.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I just hope that it is the one who wins the CF job (either Benson or Hicks) for the Twins' sake. I think that they will really baby Gibson this season.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Upon further review, and since he is a rookie and has been invited to Spring Training with the big club, I'd have to say:
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      Anthony Slama
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Upon further review, and since he is a rookie and has been invited to Spring Training with the big club, I'd have to say:
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      Anthony Slama
      Oooo, forgot about the Slamster. He get mofo out, mon! Very deceptive delivery, but arm fall off too much!

      Twins might as well give Slama a full tryout, let him pitch himself off or on the team. If he breaks down again, I figure he'll disappear into AAA and elsewhere. You'd think by now the Twins would have learned, don't sweat the details when a man gets guys out. Ask R.A. Dickey.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Aaron Hicks must be the starting CF and Joe Benson the 4th OF. Kyle Gibson must be in the starting rotation, even if he is on innings restriction. For Benson and Gibson, the clock is ticking. Gibson is 25 and Benson will turn 25 in May. If they are not able to establish themselves now, they probably never will.

      For Hicks, it is the chance to develop at the major league level, and for a player with his skills I think that is the best approach. He has already spent five years in the minors, he has all of the physical tools, let him take the last step in development at the major league level.

      THiS IS A REBUILDING YEAR. Wins-losses, who cares. This should all be about player development. If our manager does not have the patience or skills to work with young players, then we simply need a new manager. It is that simple, and frankly, we have already wasted two years of 95+ losses that should have been dedicated to establishing a new core group of young players.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      How is Joe Benson going to develop, sitting on the bench? Hicks has only spent one year above A level. If he blows Twins management away in Spring Training, (not just numbers-wise), by all means let him play in the bigs. But there is no reason to throw him to the wolves if he doesn't force his way on to the club.
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