• 2013 Twins Minor League All Star Team

    Last week at Twins Daily, we presented several minor league awards. This week, I wanted to present the organization's minor league All-Star team. As we have discussed many times here throughout the year, it was a terrific season in the Twins farm system. That can be further illustrated by looking at this All-Star team, and a potential lineup.

    How do you think the following lineup would compare against All-Star lineups from other organizations?


    CF Byron Buxton
    SS Jorge Polanco
    2B Eddie Rosario
    3B Miguel Sano
    DH Chris Colabello
    C Josmil Pinto
    1B Dalton Hicks
    RF Adam Walker
    LF JD Williams

    Photo by Seth Stohs includes three members of this All Star roster.
    From L to R: JD Williams, Byron Buxton, Adam Walker, Romy Jimenez

    Byron Buxton is the best prospect in baseball, and he had a tremendous all-around season for the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Ft. Myers Miracle. His plate discipline, power and speed make him the nearly perfect prospect. All the comparisons to Mike Trout as a prospect are absolutely accurate.

    I did take a bit of liberty in putting Jorge Polanco as my shortstop, but he did play the position in 49 games in 2013. He was signed as a defensive infielder, but after a strong short-season at Elizabethton in 2012, he put up some terrific numbers. He hit .308 with 47 extra base hits for the Kernels this year.

    Eddie Rosario has been a big prospect since being named the Appy League Player of the Year. However, he has taken his prospect status to a new level. He hit .302 with 50 extra base hits between Ft. Myers and New Britain this year as a 21 year old. He has made himself a decent second baseman and will easily be able to handle a move back to the outfield if necessary.

    Miguel Sano can hit cleanup in many lineups, including one made up by me. Like Rosario, Sano played for both Ft. Myers and New Britain, only he did it at the age of 20. He hit .280 with a .992 OPS, and he accounted for 70 extra base hits including 35 home runs.

    Chris Colabello may have struggled in his time with the Twins, but what he was doing in Rochester was incredible. The 29-year-old first baseman was named the International League Rookie of the Year and MVP. In 89 games with the Red Wings hit .352 with a 1.066 OPS. He also hit 25 doubles and 24 home runs.

    Josmil Pinto has flown under the radar for several years. He's made a strong first big league impression with the Twins, but he was terrific in New Britain and Rochester this year. Combined, he hit .302 with an .882 OPS. He is also known for having great plate discipline. The backstop also has a very strong arm.

    Dalton Hicks led the organization in RBI this season with 110. He had 82 RBI in 89 games in Cedar Rapids before driving in another 28 runs in Ft. Myers. He combined to hit .289 with an .826 OPS.

    Adam Walker's 109 RBI was second only to Hicks in the organization and led the Midwest League. His 27 home runs also led the league. The 21-year-old hit .278 with an .844 OPS in his first full season of professional baseball. Only Miguel Sano may have more raw power in the organization than does Walker.

    JD Williams repeated in the Midwest League for the first half of the 2013 season, and it was beneficial for him. He was a different player. His approach at the plate was vastly improved as evidenced by his .372 on base percentage. His is still raw and very toolsy. He has good speed and some power.

    So, the next obvious question is what about the pitching? Here are my choices for the 2013 Twins All Star team:

    LH SP - Taylor Rogers
    RH SP - Alex Meyer

    Taylor Rogers was my choice for Twins starting pitcher of the year. He combined to go 11-7 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He led the organization with three complete games and two shutouts and in his playoff game for the Miracle, he threw nine shutout innings.

    Alex Meyer missed nearly three months of the season and yet, in his 16 starts, he posted a 2.99 ERA. In 78.1 innings, he struck out an impressive 11.5 per nine innings. Upon his return from the shoulder issues, he was again hitting triple-digits on the radar gun.

    LH RP - Edgar Ibarra
    RH RP - Zach Jones
    Closer - Tyler Jones

    Ibarra posted a 1.93 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP between New Britain and Rochester in 2013. As he heads to the Arizona Fall League, Zach Jones boasts a 1.85 ERA and 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings this season with the Ft. Myers Miracle. Tyler Jones was my choice for reliever of the year. Between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he recorded 13 saves and posted a 2.58 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He walked 3.4 per nine while striking out 11.4 per nine.

    All-in-all, it was a tremendous season in the Twins farm system. There were team successes, and most important, prospects (and specifically key prospects) took another step forward in their development. 2014 may be another rough season for the Twins, but it should be a year in which the next core of Twins players debuts.

    I'm already envisioning a September 2014 lineup that includes: C - Josmil Pinto, 1B - Joe Mauer, 2B - Brian Dozier, 3B - Miguel Sano, SS - Pedro Florimon, LF - Aaron Hicks, CF - Byron Buxton, RF - Eddie Rosario, and DH - Oswaldo Arcia. I'm envisioning a starting rotation that includes the likes of Alex Meyer, Kyle Gibson and Trevor May.

    Patience is a virtue, and for the most part, Twins fans have been patient. I'm thinking that patience needs to last one more year as this next core of players starts getting their opportunity.
    This article was originally published in blog: 2013 Twins Minor League All Star Team started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Danny Santana gets the snub!

      Especially since as you noted, there is little chance of Polonco sticking at SS. And last time I looked, Polonco only played SS when Goodrum was hut.

      Santana is probably the only hope this Organization has at SS for in house talent for at least 2-3 years. I have him in my personal top 10.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      The most overlooked part of the organization in which I think are the true All Stars - are the minor league coaches. These players are all great talents, but to have the improvements that Sano; Rosario; Walker; Hicks; Williams; Buxton; etc. have made in 1 years time is very impressive.
      *Sano's average jumped from .258 to .350+ in a year.
      *Rosario improved as a second baseman to the point where he was nearly the best in FSL
      *Walker improved his strikeout rate from 30% to 20%
      *Hick was able to stay healthy (trainers) and show true talent
      *Williams as noted improved his OBP to new heights (able to show off his speed more)
      *Buxton was able to go from a kid with great tool potential to "Mr. Baseball"

      The Twins minor coaches have done an incredible job in taking these kids to new levels and nurturing their talent in the best interest of the Twins long term. Just think of where they can be next year if they progress at their current rates.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Danny Santana gets the snub!

      Especially since as you noted, there is little chance of Polonco sticking at SS. And last time I looked, Polonco only played SS when Goodrum was hut.

      Santana is probably the only hope this Organization has at SS for in house talent for at least 2-3 years. I have him in my personal top 10.
      He's been and will be in my personal Top 10 too.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      The most overlooked part of the organization in which I think are the true All Stars - are the minor league coaches. These players are all great talents, but to have the improvements that Sano; Rosario; Walker; Hicks; Williams; Buxton; etc. have made in 1 years time is very impressive.

      <snip>

      The Twins minor coaches have done an incredible job in taking these kids to new levels and nurturing their talent in the best interest of the Twins long term. Just think of where they can be next year if they progress at their current rates.
      Very good point! The Twins do have very good instructors in most of their minor league system. Obviously the guys in Elizabethton (Ray Smith and Jeff Reed for sure) are tremendous. I got to know the Cedar Rapids coaching staff and their knowledge of the game, and their ability to get people to learn is remarkable. To watch them work (Jake Mauer, Tommy Watkins and Gary Lucas) is really something! Their enthusiasm is great to watch! Obviously Doug Mientkiewicz and long-time big leaguer Jim Dwyer know a ton about pitching. Ivan Arteaga gets great reviews from people I've talked to. Gene Glynn has an eye for talent, and the personality to fit in well at that AAA level. His job for so long was scout and talent evaluator. He just knows what he's doing.

      Thank you for pointing this out!
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Lightfoot789 you make a very good point. The difficulties at the major league level have masked the excellence of our minor league organization and our scouting for that matter. I had the same thought, if they could just show the same progress next year. But in reality, they will show the same progress every year. The only change is since June of 2012, we are now drafting at the top, instead of near the bottom. The organization has always been in place.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Maybe the Twins should look at promoting more than just players in the near future.
    1. richardkr34's Avatar
      richardkr34 -
      Hicks would be in RF. Best arm on the team.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      Quote Originally Posted by richardkr34 View Post
      Hicks would be in RF. Best arm on the team.
      I'll take Walker's 15 more HRs & 40+ more RBIs (per season) and his position worthy arm in RF. He's a better fielder than most might believe. Hicks is a far better fielder, but Walker will win more games for you in the course of a full season. IMO . In terms of Runs scored. Walker was second in the Midwest League in that category. So - He brings more to the table as an overall player. IMO .
    1. richardkr34's Avatar
      richardkr34 -
      Sorry, I was referring to that projected September 2014 lineup; Hicks in RF instead of Rosario. As far as Walker goes, he needs to get to at least AA before his prospect status really takes off. He was a college player who spent his entire season in low A. He'll be a 22-year-old in High-A to begin next year. Hicks was in AA and doing well at the same age.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Plan: Move all the guys on this list to AAA under Gene Glynn. After the All Star break, move them all (including Glynn) to the major league club. Keep Dozier, Pinto and Mauer, plus most of the relief staff.

      How am I doing so far?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by richardkr34 View Post
      Hicks would be in RF. Best arm on the team.
      I prefer him in LF just because there is more room to cover, and in my opinion, range is more important in the outfield. Also, Rosario has a very good arm too and enough to play RF. So, my choice is based on range, but Hicks definitely has a rocket for an arm.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Plan: Move all the guys on this list to AAA under Gene Glynn. After the All Star break, move them all (including Glynn) to the major league club. Keep Dozier, Pinto and Mauer, plus most of the relief staff.

      How am I doing so far?
      I had a similar thought. If this team played the big league club in a 3 game series, who would in more games?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      What of the SS position for the future with regard to Polanco? Seth, do you think that the Twins are just playing Santana and Goodrum at SS instead of Beresford and Polanco, respectively, because they know the latter two can play SS but they think the ceiling is higher for the first two and SS is in dire straights?

      I do think that Polanco is firmly above Goodrum at this point overall, so that question kinda doesn't make sense. But still, what gives? Is Santana really going to be a SS? If it doesn't work there for him, then he seems to be immediate trade material.

      Same for Polanco. I *really* like Polanco though. He is still very young and the bat has not only come around, but and thensome.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      For that matter, Polanco is pretty much Rosario-esque in so many ways outside of OF capability. Look at Rosario's 2012 numbers at A- and Polanco's 2013 numbers there.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sconnie View Post
      I had a similar thought. If this team played the big league club in a 3 game series, who would in more games?
      The minor leaguers would win, hands down. Might be a blowout. We are talking about two of the best players in the world (Buxton and Sano) right now. The MLB Twins are an average AAA team. They would get beat by a hungry, and uber-talented, minor league squad.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      The minor leaguers would win, hands down. Might be a blowout. We are talking about two of the best players in the world (Buxton and Sano) right now. The MLB Twins are an average AAA team. They would get beat by a hungry, and uber-talented, minor league squad.
      Come on. Buxton and Sano are two of the best MINOR league players in the world. They are far, far away from being the best players in the WORLD. Depends on pitching obviously, but I would money on the major league team 2 out of 3 if not 3 out of 3. Anything else is pure silliness.

      This is like saying the Alabama Crimson Tide would beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fun to think about, but no chance.
    1. scottsilvi's Avatar
      scottsilvi -
      Quote Originally Posted by orangevening View Post
      Come on. Buxton and Sano are two of the best MINOR league players in the world. They are far, far away from being the best players in the WORLD. Depends on pitching obviously, but I would money on the major league team 2 out of 3 if not 3 out of 3. Anything else is pure silliness.

      This is like saying the Alabama Crimson Tide would beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fun to think about, but no chance.
      In fairness, this would be more like the Jags playing the SEC All Conference players. And I'd bet on the SEC (ignoring small details like Football is much more of a "team" sport, so the SEC players would struggle without ample practice time)
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      That's about right for the position players. Only difference is that I would have given 1B to Kennys Vargas. Very similar numbers with DJ Hicks (bit more power, bit less BA, OBP within 10-15 points), only Vargas got them all in Ft. Myers and is a year younger than Hicks.
    1. CGNikolic's Avatar
      CGNikolic -
      Quote Originally Posted by scottsilvi View Post
      In fairness, this would be more like the Jags playing the SEC All Conference players. And I'd bet on the SEC (ignoring small details like Football is much more of a "team" sport, so the SEC players would struggle without ample practice time)
      1. Alabama IS the SEC All-Conference team essentially. 2. The Jaguars would destroy the SEC All Conference team. You are talking older, physically matured players who are playing against college kids. Wouldn't be close, I don't care how bad the pro team is. This is how it works in contact sports.. However, in baseball? The Twins playing this team would be interesting. And entertaining!
    1. CGNikolic's Avatar
      CGNikolic -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      That's about right for the position players. Only difference is that I would have given 1B to Kennys Vargas. Very similar numbers with DJ Hicks (bit more power, bit less BA, OBP within 10-15 points), only Vargas got them all in Ft. Myers and is a year younger than Hicks.
      A fair point, but I think you are pointing out the fact that Vargas is the better PROSPECT, while Hicks had the better year. Either one did deserve it however.
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