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  • Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects (Part 2: 31-40)

    Yesterday, we looked at my choices for Twins prospects 41-50. Today, we continue to look at our series on the Twins Top 50 prospects by seeing who I’ve got listed in placed 31 through 40. Like yesterday, you will see a couple of relievers that have a chance to be back-of-the-bullpen types if things work out. There are a couple of college-drafted pitchers who are pitching quite well, and there are some pitchers who were signed young who have a lot of potential. There are just two hitters in this group, and one of them is currently on the Twins roster.

    Without further ado, let’s get to the list. Here are my choices for Twins Prospects 41-50:

    #40 – Steven Gruver, LHP


    The Twins drafted the left-handed Gruver in the 7th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Tennessee. He signed quickly and pitched 31.1 innings for Elizabethton out of the bullpen. He was 1-0 with a 3.45 ERA. With a full offseason under his belt, the 22-year-old is back to starting this season with the Beloit Snappers. He is currently 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA through his first nine starts.

    #39 – Tim Shibuya, RHP


    Shibuya was the Twins 23rd round pick last year out of UC-San Diego where he went 40-15 with a 2.19 ERA over his four seasons there. Upon signing, he went to Elizabethton where he went 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA. In 73.2 innings, he walked just 11 and struck out 70. He threw the first seven innings of a no-hitter in July. The 22-year-old was named the Appy League pitcher of the year. He throws a low-90s fastball with an average curveball, changeup and slider. Through nine starts with Beloit, he is 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA. In 48.1 innings, he has walked just eight and struck out 42. In his last start, he threw a complete game shutout.

    #38 – Kuo-Hua Lo, RHP


    Lo was signed by the Twins in June of 2011 out of Taiwan where he was widely believed to be the top high school pitcher. The 5-11, 19 year old already throws 90-91 with the fastball but has touched as high as 94 on a radar gun. He also throws a slider and a split-finger pitch and is working on his curveball. He did not play in the US last year and debuted during Florida Instructional League last fall. Because of his talent, and also a high make-up displayed in several international competitions, it would surprise few if he started the season at Elizabethton.

    #37 – Luis Nunez, LHP


    Nunez signed with the Twins in 2009 from the Dominican Republic. The now-20 year old lefty throws very hard despite a small frame. Listed at 5-11 and just 160 pounds, there is certainly room for growth. Last year, he repeated in the GCL and dominated. He pitched in 16 games and went 5-0 with 5 saves, a 1.67 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. In 32.1 innings, he gave up just 23 hits, walked six and struck out 37, serving as the team’s closer. He will likely pitch for Elizabethton this summer.

    #36 – Manuel Soliman, RHP


    As most probably know, the Twins signed Soliman in March of 2007 and he spent two years struggling mightily with the bat as a 3B. he was moved to the mound and has been very intriguing as a pitching prospect. He threw a no-hitter in Elizabethton in 2010. Last year, he was a work horse for Beloit. He went 7-11 with a 3.97 ERA. In 136 innings, he walked 50 and struck out 120. Soliman throws a low-90s fastball, a two-seamer, and a very hard slider. He is a ground ball guy. He struggled in two early-season starts with the Ft. Myers Miracle this spring before being shut down. Many believe, myself included, that he is best suited for the bullpen where he can add a few more mph to an already very good fastball.

    #35 – Matt Hauser, RHP


    The Twins selected Hauser with their 7th round pick in 2010 out of the University of San Diego. In 2011, he spent time with Beloit, Ft. Myers and even made an appearance with New Britain late in their season. In 63.2 innings combined, he walked too many (29) and struck out a lot (75). Hauser throws a four-seam fastball that is clocked between 93 and 97 mph. He also throws a 1-seam fastball that sinks a lot. His slider is a great pitch and touches 87 mph. He has improved his control in 2012 with just seven walks in his first 23.2 innings for the Miracle.

    #34 – Danny Ortiz, OF


    22-year-old Ortiz was the Twins 4th round pick in 2008 out of Puerto Rico. Despite being just 5-11 and 170 pounds, he has tremendous power. He has good speed, and is able to play all threw outfield positions well. He returned to Beloit to start this season and hit .299. He was promoted quickly to Ft. Myers where he has hit .250. Last year in Beloit, he hit .239/.294/.391 with 33 doubles, four triples and ten home runs. Playing in the Florida State League, it is unlikely we will see those numbers again, but over time, his power will show.

    #33 – Josh Burris, RHP


    The Twins used their 17th round pick in 2011 on the immensely talented Burris. He played last year at LSU-Eunice. As a utility player (playing 2B and in the OF), the converted catcher hit .273/.432/.364 with 13 stolen bases. However, the Twins took him as a pitcher. Although he was 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in the team’s bullpen, he has the type of stuff that scouts drool over. Despite a 5-10, 180 pound frame, Burris has a fastball that sits between 91 and 94 mph. It is his curveball, however, that grabs people’s attention. His 12-6 ‘Yacker’ has been described to me as “filthy,” and “nasty” by other pitchers. I can’t tell you what hitters have called it. Control was his issue last year in college. In 21.1 innings, he walked 20 batters, but he also struck out 32. If his stuff can be harnessed, Burris could be the next Tom Gordon (for those that are too young to remember the 90s, this is very much a compliment!).

    #32 – Deolis Guerra, RHP


    Guerra came to the Twins as a much-hyped 18-year-old from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade. He struggled mightily thanks to the Mets pushing him far too quickly. Finally, the Twins moved him to the bullpen in the second half of the 2011 season, and he has been incredible since. In his last 27 games of 2011, he threw 52 innings. He allowed 36 hits, walked 13 and struck out 65. After giving up one run in 12.2 innings for the Rock Cats this spring, he was promoted to AAA where he has given up two earned runs in 16.2 innings. In total, he is 3-1 with a 0.92 ERA in 2012. In 29.1 innings, he has given up just 15 hits, walked six and struck out 29. Opponents are hitting just .152 off of him (.175 in AAA). The still-just-23-year-old works with a fastball in the upper-80s that can touch 92 at times. He has a good curveball, but it is his changeup that gets him to the next level. Does he have enough fastball for the big leagues? Well, we will likely find out in the next couple of months.

    #31 – Lester Oliveros, RHP


    Oliveros came to the Twins last August with Cole Nelson in the Delmon Young trade. The Venezuelan right-hander will turn 24 years old later this week. Although he pitched minimally for the Twins and Tigers in 2011, he began this season in AA New Britain. He posted a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings before being promoted to Rochester recently. He has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings with just four hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. Combined, he has not allowed a run in his last 17.2 innings pitched. Oliveros throws hard, reaching into the mid-90s. He has a hard slider as well, but it will be his control that will determine how good he can be as a big league pitcher.



    So, there you have my choices for Twins prospects 31-40.Later this week, I’ll be back with my next installment which will be prospects 21-30).

    If you have any questions or comments on any of these prospects, please feel free to ask.
    This article was originally published in blog: Minnesota Twins Top 50 Prospects (Part 2: 31-40) started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Getting anything for Delmon Young was a great move by Bill Smith, which many of us believed then, and believe even more this year. I admit, I didn't think Oliveras had this upside. Guerra is an interesting placement....his floor seems to be middle reliever in the majors for a few years. Moving him to reliever was a great idea, and really, he should be up at some point this year. So, is he only 31st, because he probably isn't a high leverage guy (though he may be), or is he higher because he looks nearly certain to pitch in the majors for a few years, while others above him have less certain futures....?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      E-Town is going to be interesting again this year.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Guerra is an interesting placement....his floor seems to be middle reliever in the majors for a few years. Moving him to reliever was a great idea, and really, he should be up at some point this year. So, is he only 31st, because he probably isn't a high leverage guy (though he may be), or is he higher because he looks nearly certain to pitch in the majors for a few years, while others above him have less certain futures....?
      I admittedly don't rank relievers as high as starters. My reasoning is that a decent 4th starter will throw 160 innings. A great reliever will pitched 60 innings. Now, I fully understand the high-leverage situations some of the time, but not all. I rank a guy I think will be a very good reliever (as I think Oliveros and maybe Guerra can be) around guys that I think could become #3 or #4 SP.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I would agree with that philosophy, Seth.
    1. scottz's Avatar
      scottz -
      I hadn't thought of this before, but if Oliveros throws in the low to mid-90s with a hard slider, is he someone the Twins could possibly think about as a closer in a couple of years? I had no idea he could get it up there with into the mid-90s.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I admittedly don't rank relievers as high as starters. My reasoning is that a decent 4th starter will throw 160 innings. A great reliever will pitched 60 innings. Now, I fully understand the high-leverage situations some of the time, but not all. I rank a guy I think will be a very good reliever (as I think Oliveros and maybe Guerra can be) around guys that I think could become #3 or #4 SP.
      This adds a little further insight to the question I asked you yesterday - it does make it sound aligned with "value" such as in potential trades or for eventual Wins Above Replacement or whatever. Keep the reasoning coming.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I didn't realize that Guerra's fastball topped out so low. I really thought his stuff was more consistently in the low 90's, so I may have to re-evaluate my thinking on his ability to succeed in MLB.

      It will be interesting to see if Oliveros has the control to make the Twins roster in the next year or two. I also wonder if Cuellar will be able to work up a change-up for him at AAA. If he can get a good change to go with the mid-90's fb and a hard slider, he could be quite exciting if he can throw strikes. Fair number of ifs, but some interesting possibilities too.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by scottz View Post
      I hadn't thought of this before, but if Oliveros throws in the low to mid-90s with a hard slider, is he someone the Twins could possibly think about as a closer in a couple of years? I had no idea he could get it up there with into the mid-90s.
      Sure... if he can throw enough strikes.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Keep the reasoning coming.
      Keep the questions coming because I don't always explain my logic well... and it's not that my logic is the correct and only way to think about it. Hopefully others learn from my stuff and create your own top 50 (or top 30) lists based on your logic.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      I didn't realize that Guerra's fastball topped out so low. I really thought his stuff was more consistently in the low 90's, so I may have to re-evaluate my thinking on his ability to succeed in MLB.
      That's my biggest concern... Obviously the changeup is his best pitch and the speed differential is what makes that, but if big league hitters are able to sit on the changeup and still react to the fastball, he could struggle.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I thought Guerra threw a bit harder than that in the past? If true, I wonder what is going on? Also, I wonder if there is a difference in velocity in April-May and July on previously?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Guerra and Oliveros might be a nice mix in the middle-late relief role though.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I was lucky to see both Oliveros and Guerra pitching this Spring at Fort Myers on a side field with a radar gun on the table with the kids who are charting the pitchers. Guerra's 2 seamer is more like 89-91 with occasional 92-93. But he just throws the 2 seamer for some reason. I suspect were he to throw a 4-seamer, that would be higher. Oliveros is somewhat funny: The fastest he throws, the lest control he has. He can throw strikes all day, if he settles at 92-94. Jumping up to 96-97 he is all over the place. Same with the slider. Low-mid 80s is nasty, mid high 80s gotta get out of the way.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Thrylos, what do you think of the Burris ranking?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I like it for the moment . I think that you've seen that I "adopted" Burris and what I wrote about him when I saw him in Spring Training. There are a couple things in play: a. is something that I did not write after I saw him pitch and that is who he reminded me off. Both his FB and (especially that curve.) And still I am not gonna go there (for a good reason. that guy was something and he f'd up that something so it is bad luck). Just think early-mid 80s; similarly built pitcher... And I saw them both pitch up close (that other guy is practically my age) and the similarities are scary. And his raw stuff is that scary good. And it is raw. b. I think that eventually he might start. So I would probably rank him higher at some point (like Salcedo high ) but he still got to get going and get some innings under his belt. So. Yeah. I am that high on the kid. He just gotta get his head in it an work his rear end off.

      The one I think that you might not have ranked yet and he really deserves to be in the top 50 list, and I am sure that he will be in your off-season rankings is Matt Koch. He is the real thing.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I have been reading these lists for years, and am grateful to Seth and others for all their hard work.

      Even though most of these players will never play for the Twins, at least they give us glimmers of hope after a soul draining beating by the White Sox tonight.
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