Today, we move on to Part 4 of the Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects. We'll look at the Twins prospects I ranked 31 through 35. The first three have brought some interesting discussions into the comments, and I suspect that as we move closer to the top of the list, discussions will continue to be terrific.
If you click on the links to the previous pieces of this list at the bottom of this article, you can read some background into what I consider when 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 is an athletic on-base machine and four pitchers. As with those on the previous list, these pitchers have experienced some success, yet at this point can't be ranked any higher. Maybe it's a lack of strikeouts despite good pitches. Maybe the reason is strictly health-related. One made the move to the bullpen before the 2013 season while the other three could wind up there as well. All five are certainly worthy of interest and attention.
#35 – Matt Summers – RH SP (24)
Summers led the Florida State League in both ERA and WHIP in 2013. In 21 starts, he went 6-5. He also made five starts for New Britain in which he really struggled. The 2011 fourth-round pick struck out 6.3 per nine innings in 2013, which was actually an increase from 5.9 K/9 in 2012. He does throw hard, hitting 92-94 with a two-seam fastball and occasionally hitting 97. He’s got a sharp slider and a good slow curve ball, so I can’t explain the lack of strikeouts.
#34 – Tyler Jones – RH RP (24)
Jones was my choice for Twins minor league relief pitcher of the year
in 2013. He averaged 11.4 K/9 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He had been a starter in 2012 in Beloit, but he made the transition to the bullpen and it went well. Having a fastball that touches 98 mph certainly helps, but a much-improved slider helped also. Jones rededicated himself last offseason and got himself in tremendous shape which he credits with some of his success. He's definitely one to watch as he could move quickly.
#33 – JD Williams – OF (23)
Williams was the Twins 10th
round pick in 2010 out of high school in Florida. He is a tremendous athlete who needed time to develop. In 2013, he started the season by repeating in the Midwest League. He needed to do it, and he showed great improvement. In 80 games with the Kernels, he hit .281 with an impressive .391 on base percentage. He has very good speed and increasing pop in his bat. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he got off to a fast start before slowing at the end of the year.
#32 – Luke Bard – RH SP (22)
Bard was the Twins supplemental 1st
round pick in 2012 out of Georgia Tech. He has been hurt pretty much the whole time since. He rehabbed most of the 2013 season before making four appearances in the GCL. He made seven appearances in Elizabethton. He ended the season with one game pitched in Ft. Myers. He’s got the ability to be a solid big league starter or a good big league reliever, if he can get and stay healthy.
#31 – Logan Darnell – LH SP (24)
The Twins 6th
round pick in 2010, he moved from Beloit to Ft. Myers to New Britain in 2011. He spent all of 2012 and began 2013 with the Rock Cats where he made 15 starts and went 6-6 with a 2.51 ERA. He was then promoted to Rochester where he made 11 more starts. The lefty pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the 2012 season and is well thought of. He can eat innings and has a solid four-pitch mix. He just doesn’t strike many out.
So there you have it, Part 4 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect list. We'll be back Monday with Part 5, prospects 26-30.
Part 1: 46-50
Part 2: 41-45
Part 3: 36-40