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  • 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. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Hicks should start in Minnesota if they think he is ready. Benson will probably never make it and why hurt Gardenhire my giving him a player who is not that good. Hicks draws enough walks to have a respectable OBP even if his BA is not great. A extra year of control is only an issue if you are not going to pay Hicks after 6 years. That is a small market team issue not a mid market which the Twins are.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I'm not arguing that the extra year is not good to have. But it's relatively minor when compared to his development. And, as some have said, it's way to early to be counting arbitration years on a guy who hasn't played an inning at the majors.

      If I'm the Twins, I want him working with the major league staff and learning major league pitchers right away, if he doesn't have obvious stuff to work on. A two-month stint at AAA won't hurt him that much (it's not without risks, think Cuddyer), but I believe he'll develop faster at the majors. And that really is the key. The extra year means nothing if he washes out because we didn't handle him right.

      I also think the Twins need to get off to a good start, and should take the best guy north for that reason. He's the only lead-off guy of the three vying for the job. If winning is at all important, Hicks is the clear choice.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      If one month in AAA is enough to mysteriously ruin his development, then he never stood a chance in the first place.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      From Phil Miller's Chat yesterday on StarTrib:

      Comment From Shadow of Kirby:

      What are the chances of Aaron Hicks being ready to play center?

      Phil Miller:

      Very good. It's clear the Twins desperately want him to seize the job this spring, to add some excitement and intrigue to the team. That said, if he's not quite ready, sending him to Rochester for 6 weeks means they would control him for an extra season, which wouldn't be bad either.


      I think I am going to like Miller. I didn't read the PP when he was there.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Miller has always been my favorite among the TC media.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I'm not arguing that the extra year is not good to have. But it's relatively minor when compared to his development. And, as some have said, it's way to early to be counting arbitration years on a guy who hasn't played an inning at the majors.

      If I'm the Twins, I want him working with the major league staff and learning major league pitchers right away, if he doesn't have obvious stuff to work on. A two-month stint at AAA won't hurt him that much (it's not without risks, think Cuddyer), but I believe he'll develop faster at the majors. And that really is the key. The extra year means nothing if he washes out because we didn't handle him right.

      I also think the Twins need to get off to a good start, and should take the best guy north for that reason. He's the only lead-off guy of the three vying for the job. If winning is at all important, Hicks is the clear choice.
      Winning is not important to the Twins (nor should it be, imo); the offseason moves made that clear. Money, and therefore service time, obviously are.

      And it's absurd to think that spending two months at triple A is a bigger risk than skipping a level, especially for a guy who has needed a full season at every level and who until last season has had a consistent, gaping hole in his game.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      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.
      This is exactly right and precisely the reason that if Hicks is the best player in the spring there is no reason to send him out.

      If he is good enough to stay the whole year I would assume the team would want to lock him up long before he reaches free agency. If they do this all the machinations to get an extra year of control would have been pointless.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Assumptions make for great long-term plans.

      I'm sold.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      If either Hicks or Benson are to be future trade bait I supose a month in Rochester is not the end of the world. As spring training has barely started, speculation as to where either will play is just a pasttime. There are no definative indicators either is ready for mlb level competion with a bat.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      If Butera were to get hurt, I would guess the Twins turn to Rivera instead
      Probably a tiny detail in the big picture of things, but Rivera is a Padre. And his divorce from the Twins was not happy last September. Apparently someone from the Twins' brass promised him that he will get recalled in September but he did not (and Herrmann did instead.) At that point some stuff hit the fan... was interesting to follow Rivera's twitter at that time

      As far as that list goes, I think that Gibson (barring injury) will be with the Twins sometime this season. Also one of Benson/Hicks will have to be (and Benson has just another season before he is out of options I think, so the Twins might want to take a look) And there are probably 4 spots open in the pen now (with Swarzak not ready in April)
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