• 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. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Wimmers will get every chance to shine in 2014 in the minors. The question is, do the Twins put him on the 40-man roster. He would have to start at Ft. Myers this year (partly because he will still be in the best training center area.) You can debate if he will go as high as New Brit. But he has to try and make it as a starter. As Seth says, he can 40-man for 3-4 years, if the Twins feel they have the space for him. He just needs to face batters now.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      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.
      Mid-rotation potential always belongs in a top 50.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      My question: what type of rotation are the Twins trying to build? The names mentioned in this list as pitchers sound like they are simply less experienced versions of the pitchers that are/have been in the rotation the past few years. Continuing to develop this type as a starter inevitably leads to adding the most successful as "tryouts" to the rotation. The answer is already in--these aren't the guys! The bar for the rotation must be set higher in order to actually develop the rotation required to win consistently. Melotakis, (I thought) had the most success of the named bunch this past season, projects (to me) as a Craig Breslow--who is actually a darn useful pitcher! Another thread is neded for Breslow--so back to Melotakis, develop him for what he really is/can be. A very useful pitcher can be had, and not in an interminable period. Geese should not be confused with swans despite how much you truly want swans.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      My question: what type of rotation are the Twins trying to build? The names mentioned in this list as pitchers sound like they are simply less experienced versions of the pitchers that are/have been in the rotation the past few years. Continuing to develop this type as a starter inevitably leads to adding the most successful as "tryouts" to the rotation. The answer is already in--these aren't the guys! The bar for the rotation must be set higher in order to actually develop the rotation required to win consistently. Melotakis, (I thought) had the most success of the named bunch this past season, projects (to me) as a Craig Breslow--who is actually a darn useful pitcher! Another thread is neded for Breslow--so back to Melotakis, develop him for what he really is/can be. A very useful pitcher can be had, and not in an interminable period. Geese should not be confused with swans despite how much you truly want swans.
      Please note that so far we have been looking at #s 36-50. These are "good" prospects, but they're not top prospects. Good prospects can get to the big leagues and contribute as bullpen arms, bench bats/utility players, 5th/6th/7th starters, 4/5th Outfielders, and once in awhile be more.

      I don't know what you're hoping for. There are only about 15 true aces in all of baseball. There are maybe 30 #2s, an then pretty much everyone else fits into the 3-5 category. Those guys throw the types of velocities that these guys throw. They throw the types of pitches these guys throw. And many of them become successful in the big leagues.

      There is no one way to build a rotation. There is no "perfect" pitching prospect (Mark Prior was one, right? Strasburg? Cole? Etc.) With so few obvious top pitching prospects, having a few of them is good, and the rest are guys you're hoping with based on one or two pitches, good control, etc.

      As for Melotakis, and Wimmers, and Duffey, it would be silly to give up on them, just like Summers from a previous list. They could continue to progress, find something that clicks. Get used to working a full season and what that means they need to do. Who knows?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Melotakis spent better than half the 2013 season experimenting with different grips for his breaking ball and really didn't come up with an effective one until almost the point where he was pulled from the rotation and moved to the bullpen due to his innings. He's got plenty of velocity on the fastball to fall back on, whether as a starter or bullpen arm, but if he had worked strictly from the pen in 2013, would he have gotten enough innings to finally find that breaking ball? Or would he still have been looking for it next year?

      I think it's much too soon to know with certainty what his eventual role will be, but I agree with Seth, until you know a lot more than what you know now, you let him get starting pitcher innings and as much work on those secondary pitches as possible.
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      I don't want to make too much of the stats, and I know a lot of these guys are working on other things and have a little time, but I gotta say - the K rates from some of these guys that I had higher expectations for, are again making me wonder about how the Twins scout pitchers.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I had Mason Melotakis as my Adopt-a-Prospect in 2013 and I got to meet him in Cedar Rapids when I made a trip there in June. He seems like a nice young man and seemed legitimately surprised and flattered when I told him he was my Adopt-a-Prospect. He seems to have the skill set to advance quickly and he did a good job last season overall. I would expect that he'll advance quickly when his role (starter or reliever) is determined.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by admin View Post
      I don't want to make too much of the stats, and I know a lot of these guys are working on other things and have a little time, but I gotta say - the K rates from some of these guys that I had higher expectations for, are again making me wonder about how the Twins scout pitchers.
      Scout or instruct. Something just doesn't add up. Other clubs just don't seem to have as much trouble getting minor leaguers with above average K rates.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      As with everything else pitching-related, I blame it on 'Pitch to Contact'!
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Scout or instruct. Something just doesn't add up. Other clubs just don't seem to have as much trouble getting minor leaguers with above average K rates.
      I'd be willing to bet that if you were looking at the 36-40 range prospects of other clubs, you'd likely see a lot of guys like this. You start getting up higher on this list, and you'll start seeing guys with better K rates.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I'd be willing to bet that if you were looking at the 36-40 range prospects of other clubs, you'd likely see a lot of guys like this. You start getting up higher on this list, and you'll start seeing guys with better K rates.
      I completely agree with this. If they struck out 8.0/9 IP or more, they'd likely be higher. (or relievers) I would like to think that the Twins have more K guys higher up this list, and there are a few. Tim Atherton struck out a batter an inning in Cedar Rapids this year and he was in one of the last groups.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by admin View Post
      I don't want to make too much of the stats, and I know a lot of these guys are working on other things and have a little time, but I gotta say - the K rates from some of these guys that I had higher expectations for, are again making me wonder about how the Twins scout pitchers.
      Or just as importantly, how they coach them.

      How many pitchers, in general, not necessarily just prospects, significantly increase their K rate after joining the Twins organization?

      Recent case in point, perhaps not statistcally significant, but still possibly indicative:

      Miguel Sulbaran moves within the same league:

      @ Great Lakes K*9 8.3
      @ Cedar Rapids K*9 7.2

      That's a 13.25% drop in K*9 rate.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Of course, he threw 92.2 innings with Great Lakes and 20.0 innings with Cedar Rapids, but don't worry about that small sample size. Or, that the West was much more difficult than the East division this year.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Of course, he threw 92.2 innings with Great Lakes and 20.0 innings with Cedar Rapids, but don't worry about that small sample size. Or, that the West was much more difficult than the East division this year.
      Or that this was his first taste of full season professional ball.
    1. goulik's Avatar
      goulik -
      And we got him for Drew Butera? I'm still laughing about that one
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