• Five Overlooked Twins Minor League Hitters in 2013

    As I'm sitting here on an airplane, I thought it would be cool to write up a blog from like 34,000 feet. Yes, I paid for the wireless, but I don't care. After 90 minute delay in Hartford, we landed in Philadelphia about 15 minutes before the "On Time" flight was to take off for Minneapolis. We immediately boarded, but thanks to storms and delays, we were on the runway for two hours and 15 minutes, the time the flight is supposed to take. Oh well. Makes me realize that on-time departures are vastly under-rated.

    That got me to thinking that there are at least a handful of Minnesota Twins minor leaguers that we overlook and should recognize. Most of these names won't be found on most prospect lists. Here are a few of them:

    JD Williams - A tenth round pick out of high school in 2010, he has slowly worked his way up to Ft. Myers. He began this season by repeating at Cedar Rapids, which proved to be beneficial for the toolsy outfielder. Coming in to play on Wednesday, Williams was hitting a combined .265/.375/.410 (.786) with 17 doubles six triples and nine home runs. He has stolen 26 bases and improved his defense. As you can see, he is an on-base machine, but the hit tool has made great strides this season as well.

    Photo by Rinaldi Photos

    James Beresford - He has been in the Twins farm system for a long time. In fact, he tested minor league free agency this past winter, but he chose to remain with the Twins. We know he won't hit for much power, but he has hit .306/.365/.339 (.704) this season between AA and AAA. All the while, he remains one of, if not the, best defensive shortstops in the organization. Although not likely, it'd be great to see the Australian get a cup of coffee with the Twins in September.

    Deibinson Romero - You can't help but wonder what would have happened if not for the visa issues that kept Romero in the Dominican Republic throughout spring training. He was coming off of a nice season at AA and had a major league invite. He has played well since going to Rochester about a month into the season. He has hit .278/.379/.456 (.836) with 16 doubles and 13 home runs. He's an adequate defender at third base who walks and shows some power in the upper levels.

    Zach Larson - The Twins 19th round pick a year ago, the Twins went well over slot to sign him. He began this season crushing GCL pitching and has recently been promoted to Elizabethton where he has hit well. He can hit. He may not run great and have a rocket for an arm, but his bat makes him one to consider and find out more about and then watch going forward.

    Tyler Grimes - The former 5th round pick struggled last year in the field and with the bat for Beloit. This year, he had to learn a new position (catcher) on the fly. He has one of the strongest arms you'll find behind the plate, and despite being new to it, he has thrown out a strong percentage of would-be base stealers. He's hitting just .245, but has a .370 on base percentage. He's not real big, but he can pack some punch into the ball at times. He's had a very solid year as he's made the transition and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.

    So, there you have it, five prospects that aren't going to rank real highly on any Top 10 or Top 20 list. In fact, I believe that none of them were even on my Top 50 list before the season. However, that does not mean that they can't surface in the big leagues in some role, even a utility capacity. If nothing else, they do deserve to be noticed.
    This article was originally published in blog: Five Overlooked Twins Minor League Hitters in 2013 started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. SydneyTwinsFan's Avatar
      SydneyTwinsFan -
      Seth, if Beresford is one of the best defensive SS in the system, any idea why has he played exclusively 2B at Rochester?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by SydneyTwinsFan View Post
      Seth, if Beresford is one of the best defensive SS in the system, any idea why has he played exclusively 2B at Rochester?
      Very good, very fair question. First, I probably meant to type "Middle Infielder" instead of "Shortstop," but since I put SS, I'll just say that Danny Santana is not overlooked or undervalued and they're going to go with him at shortstop. I'm not sure why he hasn't played SS at Rochester though. Strangely, in big league spring training, he really only played 3B.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Could Romero be a Sept callup?
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      JD Williams is an interesting prospect. Very fast with a good OB% as you noted.
      If he was in other organizations, he would be getting some hype. But he has been overshadowed by people like Hicks and now Buxton. Hes a guy who is probably looking forward to becoming a Minor League FA
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Could Romero be a Sept callup?
      I think it makes much more sense than calling up Sano. They know what they probably have in Sano long-term. They may want to look at Romero at 3B and some 1B possibly and see how he does. Like others at Rochester, doesn't make sense to call him up until after the Red Wings are done (could be Labor Day, or they could make the playoffs).
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      I think all five of these guys have a shot to wear a Major League uniform, but I suspect every one of them will need to do it with another organization.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Very good, very fair question. First, I probably meant to type "Middle Infielder" instead of "Shortstop," but since I put SS, I'll just say that Danny Santana is not overlooked or undervalued and they're going to go with him at shortstop. I'm not sure why he hasn't played SS at Rochester though. Strangely, in big league spring training, he really only played 3B.
      His future is utility man so it probably makes sense for him to have played 2B and 3B quite a bit before getting to the majors.
    1. SydneyTwinsFan's Avatar
      SydneyTwinsFan -
      His future is utility man so it probably makes sense for him to have played 2B and 3B quite a bit before getting to the majors.
      Good point. I hadn't really considered that, but it makes sense to me.
    1. exrugger9's Avatar
      exrugger9 -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Could Romero be a Sept callup?
      Yes, please. Start the Mr. Coffee and get him up here. Just so sick of watching Plouffe fumble around out there. Fumbling around at 3rd can be tolerated if the bat makes up for it, but...... whew.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      After last night I would be happy to call anyone up to replace Plough
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Yeah, I like all five. Grimes has been moved back to second of late--not sure why.

      Romero definitely deserves a shot. He is yet another guy who can also play first base. If the Twins are not going to find a place to platoon Parmelee and Plouffe, I would like to see Plouffe traded at some point for some thing. Given his price and power potential, the return might not be too bad. Romero can fill in and maybe end up being the real "bench bat with pop" that Wilkin Ramirez was supposed to be this year.

      I have been puzzled by them not playing Beresford at SS. I cannot imagine that this is just some innocuous thing. I mean he barely has played there at all this year and there is no reason for him not to be the starting shortstop at Rochester. It seems obvious that he can handle second base at a high level. Beresford is either a utility guy (post Dozier?) or a starting shortstop on a powerful team (one with Sano and Rosario also in the infield . . .).

      J.D. Williams is a favorite of mine and I hope he basically mimic this season's performance next year and is at AA in August 2014. Down the road he might be the perfect 4th OF (once the Twins actually have three).

      I am not high on Larson yet. There isn't a lot there, ultimately, but he has been surprising so far.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      The thing is these are the roster fillers, AAAA guys the Twins should be looking at other than Bernier, Thomas, Roeincke etc.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Rosterman is correct, but maybe they are leaving the Rochester guys there to help out Rochester....not that I agree with that approach, but its my theory.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      The thing is these are the roster fillers, AAAA guys the Twins should be looking at other than Bernier, Thomas, Roeincke etc.
      Especially Beresford over Bernier.
    1. SD Buhr's Avatar
      SD Buhr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Yeah, I like all five. Grimes has been moved back to second of late--not sure why.
      The answer is a combination of need and wanting to give some regulars a rest. Jake Mauer wanted to give his regular infielders some rest in the last 2 weeks before the playoffs start and since the Kernels have three catchers, Grimes started taking some balls at 2B. Then both Polanco and Goodrum went on the DL with groin pulls.

      Grimes has actually looked pretty decent at 2B.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Beresford has a higher BA than Bernier by a small margin (.295 to .305) and Bernier has a higher OPS (.778 to .709), so I understand why they called Bernier up. That, and Beresford has only played 4 games this year at SS.

      Why do they move all their young SS to 2B? I get not all of them are great, but what do we have, 6 2B now? Someone has to play SS. With Dozier playing well and Rosario coming, how many 2B, with very limited SS experience, do we need?

      This organization's insistence on moving all drafted SS to 2B is a puzzle to me. At least Escobar is getting some games in a SS while he's down there.
      And he, I believe, is our utility guy for the near future. (is he doesn't outright take SS from Pedro)
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I would call up Romero and see what he has in September. Let Plouffe get some ABs as an OF (especially if the Twins can move Willingham) and see if he can have a Michael Cuddyer type transformation. He cannot be the Opening Day 3B next year. See if Romero can be serviceable and an adequate placeholder until Sano arrives in early June.

      Next year's 1B Colabello. OF could be a defensive train wreck (Plouffe, Arcia, Parmalee if Hicks or Buxton are still in the minors). Ellsbury???
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Nice write-up. It seems there are always a few guys for one reason or another end up making it where there more heralded brethren do not.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Yes, we always talk about the top prospects, but so many on-the-line guys do get a cup of coffee with the Twins or elsewhere (Brock Peterson made the majors this year, go figure). I am an advocate that the Twins should give more of their organizational guys that cup-of-coffee (Brian Dinkelman had his moment, remember).

      Wondering about next year's injury returns: Deolis Guerra and Lester Oliveros. Where will they be in the scheme of things.

      Remembering Anthony Slama!?!
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Not sure that I can say that Deibinson Romero has been overlooked in the organization. He was added to the 40 man roster a few years ago to be protected and was invited to the ST this season. I like him a lot and I think that the Twins know what they have in him.

      I am really not that high on Beresford as some people are. I've seen him play a few times now. And all I can think is Dinkelman or Tolleson. Despite the allegations of a great glove.

      Grimes is having a great season, but he is at least a couple of levels below his age group. I want to see what he can do in New Britain, where he should be age-wise

      Hard to omit Kennys Vargas in the most overlooked list. He should be in New Britain and in Rochester next season.
      I'd probably add Matt Koch and Evan Bigley in the list as well. Heck, I overlooked Bigley until last season as well. And unfortunately he has been injured most of this season, but I think that he's got it...
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