• Minnesota-bound Prospects for 2013

    Joe Benson has a good chance of seeing time in Minnesota this season.
    It has been a tough offseason for many readers of Twins Daily. What started out with great promise, trades involving Span and Revere, has ended with a big thud. In the eyes of many, the Twins failed to shore up their biggest weakness from last year, the rotation. As I read thread after thread on the Twins Talk forum over the past couple of months there was a decided negativity about the direction of the Twins. Twins fans have felt that Terry Ryan did not live up to his pledge to improve the rotation. While I am disappointed that more wasn't done, I think we are in better shape now than we were at the end of the season.

    As they say, hope springs eternal. I am encouraged by the positivity displayed on the forum over the past couple of weeks. Maybe it is due to Spring Training. ESPN released a Top 100 Prospects list as well as organizational rankings that gave Twins fans something to be positive about. It's easy to get excited about these prospects, but many are years from contributing for the Twins (Sano, Buxton, Rosario, Kepler).

    In that vein, I thought I would put a different spin on the Top 10 Prospects list. I have put together a list of the top 10 players that I think have a chance to break in with the Twins this year. I'm stretching the term "prospect" for some of them, so bear with me. The rankings are based on probability that they can make it to the show as well as their chances of performing well. I have eliminated players who have spent significant time in the majors already such as all of the MI candidates as well as Robertson (40GP). So here goes my first blog attempt:

    #10) Alex Meyer - I don't see it happening this season, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. At best Meyer would be looking at a September callup. Meyer is only 3 months younger that Trevor May, but could use more seasoning. It would take a breakout season for him to get a look.

    #9) Chris Colabello - He will be 29 this season and is too old to truly be a prospect, but I think he stands a chance as a bat off the bench if and only if Morneau and/or Willingham get traded. It would be nice to have a RH bat with some pop to platoon with Parmelee on occasion against tough LHP.

    #8) Anthony Slama - Put me in the "Free Slama" camp. I still don't understand why he hasn't been given a chance. Jeff Gray gets 52 IP last year??? That being said, the Twins don't seem to think he can get big-league hitters out. I think several of Roenicke, Pressley, Swarzak, Burnett and Robertson would have to fail for him to get a chance.

    #7) Trevor May - He threw 100+ innings in AA ball last year. If he can find his command this year, he could push his way up the pecking order fairly quickly. He will be 23 this season and shouldn't be blocked by the retreads sitting in AAA. Meyer seems to have slightly higher upside, but May seems to be higher up the ladder at this point.

    #6) Caleb Thielbar - Following a solid showing in AA and AAA last year, Thielbar was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. It appears as though he has passed Slama up in the eyes of the Twins. Like Slama, it would take some bullpen issues for him to be given a chance this year.

    #5 Chris Herrmann - At this point we start to get to players with a reasonable chance of making it to the show. If either Doumitt or Mauer were to get hurt, Herrmann should be the replacement. If Butera were to get hurt, I would guess the Twins turn to Rivera instead. Signing Doumitt to an extension hurt Herrmann's chances this year. His OF versatility certainly helps.

    #4 Oswaldo Arcia - Arcia had a breakout season at AA last year and is likely close to being ready. If he were called up, he should be playing everyday. A Morneau or Willingham trade/injury or ineffectiveness/injury for Parmelee would be the likely reason. Right now he is probably blocked and should start at AAA.

    #3 Joe Benson - I hesitate putting Benson ahead of Arcia, since I think Arcia is the better prospect. This is more about opportunity. Benson has the ability to play CF which is open for the taking. If he can re-establish his status, he has a decent chance this year. His arm and power also play in RF which helps his cause if Mastroianni grabs the starting CF gig.

    #2 Kyle Gibson - Gibson would have been #1 at the end of the season. By all accounts he threw well at the end of the season, actually throwing harder than he did prior to surgery. The surgery is what will hold him back. He's as near a lock as anybody to play for the Twins this year. He just may not start the season with them to control his innings.

    #1 Aaron Hicks - Ladies and Gentlemen, your next CF and leadoff hitter for the Twins. Barring a major setback in Spring Training, I'd have to say he's nearly a lock to start the season with the Twins. This pick is all about opportunity. The trades made by the Twins indicate they feel he is ready. He finally started showing the potential the Twins felt he had this past summer in New Britain. His minor league numbers compare favorably to Torii Hunter with more plate discipline.
    This article was originally published in blog: Prospects for 2013 started by Physics Guy
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I disagree with everyone about Hicks, and will be pissed if the Twins actually do start him out of ST. All he needs is to stay at AAA for a month (which would actually help his development IMO) to avoid losing a year of team control. The Twins would be ****ing idiots to not do this on a team that has no chance.... especially if the Twins feel he is the CF of the future. All this talk now is to avoid the truth about why he doesn't go North with the Twins.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      I disagree with everyone about Hicks, and will be pissed if the Twins actually do start him out of ST. All he needs is to stay at AAA for a month (which would actually help his development IMO) to avoid losing a year of team control. The Twins would be ****ing idiots to not do this on a team that has no chance.... especially if the Twins feel he is the CF of the future. All this talk now is to avoid the truth about why he doesn't go North with the Twins.
      Like Smerf, I'd rather see Hicks get a few reps at AAA. There's no reason to spend that year of control on what is probably a lost season.

      Plus, it wouldn't kill the team to see what they have in Benson. He's far less of a sure thing prospect-wise. Even Mastro could hold down CF for a month.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      The talk has certainly made it seem like Gardenhire especially wants Hicks as his CF for some reason. I'm truly excited about the prospect of him playing CF for us, but I agree that the more reasonable decision would be giving him the time in AAA for that extra year of team control. The Twins really need to get off to a decent start this year instead of burying themselves in the standings by the end of April, and while I think Hicks will be a better player, if I had to choose who plays better to start the year to help that goal, I'm going with Mastroianni. Benson can back up all three OF spots adequately for now.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      I disagree with everyone about Hicks, and will be pissed if the Twins actually do start him out of ST. All he needs is to stay at AAA for a month (which would actually help his development IMO) to avoid losing a year of team control. The Twins would be ****ing idiots to not do this on a team that has no chance.... especially if the Twins feel he is the CF of the future. All this talk now is to avoid the truth about why he doesn't go North with the Twins.
      This is such a no brainer, anyway you look at it.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      I think Pressley is going to be given a better chance than both Thielbar and unfortunately, Slama, JMHO.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      I can't say I disagree with any of you regarding Hicks. The smart move would be to delay his arrival to keep him an extra year. Ryan should step in and tell Gardy he is going to have to wait. Worst case scenario has Matro keeping his seat warm for a month or so. On the other hand, I hate that the system influences when guys are brought up. The best player should play.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by ericchri View Post
      The Twins really need to get off to a decent start this year instead of burying themselves in the standings by the end of April
      Apparently JR doesn't agree with you, or he would have done more this offseason to help the big league club.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Fun stuff.
      Still think the growing pains would be significant for Hicks. Time in AAA would be good for him.
      We shall soon see.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      Odds are this year will top out at in the 70-73 win plateau if things all right. (If you want to talk about 80+ wins, I suppose you are in the anything can happen mindfram. True enough, but unlikely.) Give Hicks some time in AAA. He has always been a work in progress and one good season n AA does not change this. He won't be there for long if he deserves to come up. By September will it be a Benson-Hicks-Arcia outfield with Parmalee at 1st?
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      From what I've read it leads me to believe that Gardy was promised he could have Hicks from day 1 if the FO traded away both Span and Revere. I understand that the Twins aren't going anywhere this season but Gardy will be fired if the team starts poorly. So it's hard to tell him to wait a month or 2 for Hicks when Gardy's tenure could be over by then. Will Having Hicks over Mastrioni make that much of a difference? I doubt it but the point is that the team needs to start off playing respectable ball or the fans will be calling for heads and Gardy's will be the first to roll.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by MWLFan View Post
      By September will it be a Benson-Hicks-Arcia outfield with Parmalee at 1st?
      I personally would love to see it, as long as we aren't just dumping Willingham and Morneau.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      From what I've read it leads me to believe that Gardy was promised he could have Hicks from day 1 if the FO traded away both Span and Revere. I understand that the Twins aren't going anywhere this season but Gardy will be fired if the team starts poorly. So it's hard to tell him to wait a month or 2 for Hicks when Gardy's tenure could be over by then. Will Having Hicks over Mastrioni make that much of a difference? I doubt it but the point is that the team needs to start off playing respectable ball or the fans will be calling for heads and Gardy's will be the first to roll.
      Long overdue. A few talentless season bad seasons aren't Gardy's fault. JR has a team to run and if that influences his decision shame on him. Keeping Hicks in AAA will benefit this team in a big way, while letting Benson (who could easily be better anyway) showcase and earn a spot.
    1. LoganJones's Avatar
      LoganJones -
      If Hicks is the best CF the Twins have, he better be starting in CF on April 1. If during spring it looks like playing in a league half full of guys who can't hack it in the bigs would be good for him, then do that. Team control is foolish to worry over about a 23 year old. You get 6 years. He'll be 29 when he's entering his first FA season. A guy with all the tools that Hicks has can actually add quite a few wins in early season match-ups when balls aren't jumping as far and pitchers are still shaking off the rust.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      While I agree with most of you that Hicks should spend some time @ AAA, your argument regarding the extra year of team control is based on the assumption that he spends the entire year with the Twins. He could start the year with Minnesota and show that he isn't ready (like Dozier and Parmelee) and get sent down for a month or two and they would still gain that extra year of control.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      I have a bad feeling that the Hicks will suffer a Benson-like regression this year. Starting in AAA and having to go back to AA.
    1. terencemann's Avatar
      terencemann -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ultima Ratio View Post
      I have a bad feeling that the Hicks will suffer a Benson-like regression this year. Starting in AAA and having to go back to AA.
      I wouldn't worry too much. They are two very different prospects. Hicks has a lot more going for him than Benson.

      I think it's a lot better to start Hicks in AAA, let him see some borderline major league pitching, and then bring him up later if he's successful and still looks like he can help the team. It's better to give the non-prospects a chance to show what they can do at the major league level and not mess with the development path of Hicks.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      In the scheme of things, an extra year of team control is no big deal. By the time it becomes an issue, he'll be trade bait to make room for Buxton.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Trade bait becomes much more valuable when there's additional control to go with it.
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      In the scheme of things, an extra year of team control is no big deal. By the time it becomes an issue, he'll be trade bait to make room for Buxton.
      Or Hicks will be a bust... or he'll be really good and he can move to LF and have an amazing outfield... Or Buxton won't pan out... or that extra year of team control will allow the Twins to trade him for a better player than they would have gotten without the team control (one of the reasons both Span and Revere brought the return that they did).

      Any way about it, an extra year of team control for a potential impact player is a good thing to have.
    1. specialiststeve's Avatar
      specialiststeve -
      Unless Hicks bats about .400 in the spring he will start in AAA. Mastrioni should be able to handle the job and who knows if he can do the job that opens up some trade opportunities. It's a long season and Hicks WILL be her just when. Always fun seeing a top prospect until they struggle.
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