• Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects: 36-40

    After a one-day break, we return today with Part 3 of the Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects. After looking at prospects 41-50 earlier in the week, today I'll present prospects 36-40.

    Be sure to check the links to the previous pieces of this list at the bottom of this article for background into what is considered while making these lists. As always, feel free to discuss each of these players and the rankings of those discussed to this point.

    Part 3: Prospects 36-40

    In this group, there are some pitchers with #3 upside and some question marks. For one, the question is health and how well he will be able to come back. For others, the question will be whether or not the Twins should have them start or push them to the bullpen? This is definitely not an easy question to answer, and those answers are not needed right away. The fifth person within this list is a very talented, athletic catcher.

    #40 – Alex Wimmers – RH SP (24)

    The Twins made Wimmers their first round pick in 2010 out of Ohio State. In 2011, he fought control issues, but came back with a season-ending no-hitter. He made one start in 2012 for New Britain and went on the DL. Later in the summer, he had Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2013 season with the exception of a few rehab appearances in the GCL. Will the Twins add him to their 40 man roster next month? Regardless, 2014 is a huge year for him. In four minor league seasons, he’s made just 16 starts (counting 6 rehab starts in the GCL in 2013). When healthy, he has a low-90s fastball and a very good changeup and a curveball. Despite injury, he still has the ability to be a mid-rotation type.

    #39 - Tim Atherton – RH SP (23)

    The Australian right-hander originally signed with the Twins in 2007 as a hitter, but after being released in 2008, he returned to the Twins in 2011, this time as a pitcher. At Cedar Rapids this year, he made 20 relief appearances before moving into the rotation for 11 starts. His numbers were similar in both roles. He struck out nearly a batter per inning as a starter after striking out 42 in 33.1 innings as a reliever. He has good stuff, tops 90 mph with a fastball and has a very deceptive delivery. Atherton pitched the final innings of a Cedar Rapids no-hitter in early April, a game started by...

    #38 – Tyler Duffey – RH SP (22)

    After the Twins used their 5th round pick a year ago on Duffey, he walked two and struck out 27 in 19 relief innings in Elizabethton. He moved into the starting rotation this year in Cedar Rapids and in his first start, he worked the first seven innings of a combined no-hitter. He made nine starts with the Kernels before moving up to Ft. Myers where he made nine more starts and six relief appearances. It would be great to see him strike more out, but he does have a good pitch-mix so it’ll be interesting to see if he can remain in the rotation.

    Photo by Rinaldi Photos
    L to R: Tyler Duffey, Jairo Rodriguez, Josue Montanez, Tim Atherton

    #37 – Mason Melotakis – LH SP (22)

    Melotakis was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2012 out of Northwestern State (LA) where he was primarily a reliever. He made 20 relief appearances last year between Elizabethton and Beloit. He was moved to the rotation in 2013 with Cedar Rapids and spent the entire season with the Kernels. He went 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA. He made 16 starts before ending the season with eight games in relief. As a starter, his fastball sat between 89 and 92. As a reliever, he would occasionally hit 97. So, like Duffey, the question will be (and has been since he was drafted), do you want him to start and take longer to possibly get to the big leagues, or should he go to the bullpen where he could move up more quickly?

    #36 – Brian Navarreto – C (18)

    Navarreto was the Twins 6th round pick this past June out of high school in Florida. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, he is a very strong, very athletic catcher with a powerful arm and powerful bat. In high school, he unfortunately made a name for himself for reasons that one would not want to be known, but he has tremendous talent. He hit just .226 in the GCL in his pro debut, but had 10 doubles and three homers. He also threw out 34% of would-be base stealers.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So there you have it, Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect list. We'll be back tomorrow with Part 4, prospects 31-35.

    Part 1: 46-50
    Part 2: 41-45
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      In my unprofessional opinion, Melotakis is the most likely on this list to reach the show. I say this under the assumption that he will ultimately be in the bullpen. I still think Wimmers could be solid. Nice job so far Seth!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Just 35 more to go!

      I agree that Melotakis will be a very good bullpen arm, but I completely agree with seeing if the starting can work (because I believe starters are worth more than relievers (many more innings).
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Navarreto over Turner? I wouldn't have done that but I guess you think their is more potential in Navarreto?

      This is a lot of fun, thanks for doing this!
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      Hey Seth, love all the work you put into this, great reads! Small request as I find myself jumping back & forth from this page to the players last season stats. Any way they could be tossed in at the end of the summary for each player?

      Also with the pitchers, does anyone know a good site where you can find a pitchers pitch repetoire? Like he has a 2 seamer, curve, changeup & slider. etc...
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Navaretto and Atherton confuse me completely. Like . . . .completely.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Navarreto over Turner? I wouldn't have done that but I guess you think their is more potential in Navarreto?

      This is a lot of fun, thanks for doing this!
      This is fun! Thanks!

      I think that Navarreto's upside is much higher than Turner's. Size, power. Much more offensive upside. Turner's three years older and is tremendous defensively but many question his offensive game. I would say Turner is much more likely to get to the big leagues, but "a little better offensively than Drew Butera" isn't terribly exciting. Naverreto has a long way to go, but for me, prospect lists are about potential, or at least that's a big part of it.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trevor0333 View Post
      Hey Seth, love all the work you put into this, great reads! Small request as I find myself jumping back & forth from this page to the players last season stats. Any way they could be tossed in at the end of the summary for each player?

      Also with the pitchers, does anyone know a good site where you can find a pitchers pitch repetoire? Like he has a 2 seamer, curve, changeup & slider. etc...
      Good suggestions. I could provide links to their Baseball-Reference.com page or their milb.com page, if people would like.

      As for a place to find pitcher's repertoires, I would suggest ordering the 2014 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook where I'll be sure to include that for everyone, with velocities and much more.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Navaretto and Atherton confuse me completely. Like . . . .completely.
      How so? You think they should be higher? Lower?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Wimmers is an interesting case. Hate to say that, but he does not belong in a prospect list anymore and I suspect that if he were a 10th round vs a 1st round draft pick he would not be in this list. Think of this:

      He is the same age as Liam Hendriks, has pretty much the same stuff (with less velocity), but (unlike Hendriks) he never got to pitch more than 41 innings in any professional level or have any substantial success. This does not a top 50 prospect make, given that he does not have a lights out pitch (like a 98 mph FB or a killer slider or change that can potentially be harvested in the future.) I did like his two seamer when I saw him at ST in 2012, but it is an 88-90 mph pitch.

      Make or break year for him and he really needs to be lights out in New Britain this season to make it.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I disagree with thrylos, he certainly belongs on prospect lists because he stil has upside, and isn't in the majors......

      Not a fan of picking and rewarding players that act like Navarreto, but he was a kid and racial stuff can escalate. I hope he's on a short leash.

      Of this list, Melotakis is the most likely, imo, to make the majors. I think it will be as a reliever, but letting him start this year is not a bad idea. But I hope they make a decision faster than they have with some others. At some point, the guy can be a MLB reliever and be set for life financially, or he can spend years more in the minors. I don't know what will happen here, but I hope they decide this year, not 2 years from now.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Thrylos, I can't really disagree with you much. Certainly, he would not be on the list if he were a 10th rounder instead of a first rounder. However, he was a first-rounder, and rightfully so, just three years ago. Injuries are part of the game, and because of his injuries and struggles, he is not going to be debuting at age 23 like so many hope. In fact, he may not debut until he's 27 (if at all). However, if he comes back in 2014 at 100% and gets a full year under his belt, works 140 or so innings and and produces, it will be as a starting pitcher. Let's say he debuts at 27 and is an average big league starter (#3/4 type), for six pre-free agency years, that takes him to 33. Six years of a starter is pretty valuable. Now, I'm obviously countering that by placing him at 40 with what happened his first full season when he was healthy and the uncertainty of any TJ or surgery comeback. That's some of my thinking.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Why not bring up Melotakis quickly (once he is ready) to the minnesota bullpen? Then after a year or two...move him to starting pitcher (like the path of rule 5 pick Johan Santana)
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      This season had to be a pretty big increase in innings over anything Melotakis has ever done before, right? I'd be curious if he wasn't somewhat "pacing himself" knowing that was going to be the case, and that next year you might see a little bump from him as he's better conditioned for the workload. I'd definitely give him another season as a starter to see what happens.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      My thought is that starters are much more valuable, so if you can develop them, go for it. A reminder that most good relievers were not relievers in the minor leagues. They were starters.

      Consider, most relievers aren't closers. Set up guys may go one inning, but they also could go 2, even 3. So, it certainly doesn't hurt to have them 1.) work on pitches, and 2.) stretch out to be able to fill a long-relief type of role if needed when they are called up.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      Why not bring up Melotakis quickly (once he is ready) to the minnesota bullpen? Then after a year or two...move him to starting pitcher (like the path of rule 5 pick Johan Santana)
      Santana was only in the bullpen because they had to keep him on the 25 man roster. Until Melotakis has to go on the 40 man roster they should keep trying him as a starting pitcher. There is really no downside - he gets to see more batters and work more on his secondary pitches as a starter. Minor league relievers don't get much more than 60 innings a year. My guess is they'll make the decision when he reaches AA.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Sure there is downside. If he's not going to be a SP, he delays his income by a lot staying in the minors as a bad starter* rather than moving up as a good reliever.

      *I'm not syaing he is bad, I'm saying there is certainly downside risk to staying a starter.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Melotakis hasn't been a bad starter. He's moving up the ladder as a starting pitcher and I assume that will continue until he isn't performing well. If he gets to AA and they decide to convert him back to relief he'll move quickly. Getting him innings speeds his development, it doesn't slow it down.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      If Melotakis can only manage 6.8 K/9 in Low A ball, I don't know that I care to see much more of him as a starter. I had high, likely too high, hopes for him, Duffy and the rest of that 2012 pitching class. I thought the Twins might be on to something converting these hard-throwing relievers with littler wear and tear into starters but it doesn't look to be working.

      Either these guys lost more velocity than expected or the Twins have tinkered too much, either way, if the ceiling is #5-6 starter, might as well stick them back in the pen because that's where back-end starters end up most of the time anyway.

      I agree with the Navarreto over Stewart. I know it's not cool or old-school to say so, but offense trumps defense, always, and it's not like Navarreto looks bad behind the plate.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I have the great fear that all catchers below Pinto are going to disappoint.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I have the great fear that all catchers below Pinto are going to disappoint.
      I don't but mostly because I never expect too much from a catcher.
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