As the World Series is about to start, and the Minnesota Twins are not particularly close to that, I thought it would be a good time to talk about Twins minor leaguers. Today, I will be beginning a series showing my top 50 Twins prospects. People often ask why fifty? To that I say, well, why not 60 or 75 or 30? For me, it's always about giving recognition to players who worked hard throughout the 2013 season and deserve to be noticed.
Prospect rankings are obviously a very subjective thing. As a disclaimer, this prospect ranking is mine and is based on my thinking at this time based on information such as statistics, scouting reports, video, some in-person watching and, frankly, opinion. I would certainly welcome you taking the time to list out the Twins minor league prospects and rank your top fifty.
Before we get to the list and the series, a quick reminder of my definition of a prospect. First, I follow the guidelines that Major League Baseball uses for rookie of the year eligibility. That is, 130 big league at-bats for hitters and 50 innings pitched for pitchers. There is also a service time piece so that relievers that spend 2/3 of the season with the big league club yet only rack up 40 innings do not quality as a prospect any longer.
I consider a lot of factors in my rankings. I consider Age-To-Level-Of-Competition. I consider the tools of the player. I look at the numbers, but scouting reports mean more sometimes, especially when the player is further from the big leagues.
I welcome your feedback as we trek through this series of prospects five at a time. Feel free to ask questions. This ranking will almost certainly change as I continue to get more reports. By the time my sixth annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook comes out, I'll have a more official Top 30 list in the book. Enjoy the series.
Part 1: Prospects 46-50
Part 1 starts with three relief pitchers, a very intriguing, big upside starter from the 2013 draft, and a highly-drafted defensive-minded catcher. As you would expect, these are not the glamour prospects by any means, but the relievers have a chance to contribute and catchers always have value and if the starter's stuff measures up, well, you never know.
#50 Adrian Salcedo Ft. Myers RH RP (22)
Adrian Salcedo was a Top 10 Twins prospect in my rankings as recently as two years ago. Unfortunately, 2012 was a lost year for him because of injuries to his elbow and shoulder. He avoided surgery and returned to the mound in the Miracle bullpen. He remains intriguing because of a mid-90s fastball, a low-90s sinker and a terrific changeup. It will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at a starting spot in the Twins system.
#49 Josue Montanez Cedar Rapids LH SP (21)
The left-hander was the Twins 15th
round pick in 2011 out of community college. He was impressive in the GCL, though he fought injury and missed time. He has a sturdy frame and a solid, three-pitch mix. He fought consistency in Cedar Rapids, but has shown flashes of potential.
#48 Aaron Slegers Indiana/Elizabethton RH SP (21)
Slegers certainly has a lot of mound presence, including a big shadow. The 6-10 righty was a fixture in the Indiana starting rotation that went to the College World Series in June. He hadnt pitched much due to injury before 2013, his junior season as a Hoosier, but he went 9-1 with 1.93 ERA and hit 93 mph with his fastball. He gave up just one earned run in 19 innings out of the bullpen in Elizabethton. Finding a consistent release point and mechanics could lead to even more velocity. One could say, if one wanted, the sky is the limit.
#47 Stuart Turner Mississippi/Elizabethton/New Britain C (21)
With their third-round pick this year this June, the Twins took the best college catcher available. Turner, from Ole Miss, won the 2013 Johnny Bench Award given to the top catcher in college. Known for his defense, Turner hit .264 at Elizabethton before going 2-4 in one game at the end of the season for New Britain. How much will he hit? That is the big question, but his role in the organization is pretty important as he'll be working with some very impressive young pitchers.
#46 AJ Achter New Britain/Rochester RH RP (25)
Achter was the Twins 46th
round pick in 2010 out of Michigan State. He made the move to the bullpen in 2012 and was my choice for Twins minor league relief pitcher of the year when he posted a 1.70 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 between Beloit and Ft. Myers. In 2013, he split the season between New Britain and Rochester and earned an opportunity in the Arizona Fall League. He may not be as flashy as Michael Tonkin, but he has put up equivalent numbers without as much acclaim. He'll be considered for a 40-man roster spot this fall and is certainly worth watching.
Tomorrow, we'll be back with Part 2, prospects 41-45.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and questions below.