by, 10-01-2013 at 12:32 PM (668 Views)
The government has shut itself down. But not before a motion was made to pay its most elite employees. Given the situation, it’s frighteningly irresponsible that our political leaders should be taking a paid break. In celebration of paid vacations, I am going to finish evaluating my prediction from last winter about Twins prospects (while working at the ole day job).
(Will DJ get his "hog-on" in 2014?)
I recently critiqued my predicted top-10 list for the end of 2013, which was dreamt up last January. Check it out here. Today, we will see how I did on prospects #11-20. For comparison purposes, I will list my prediction alongside MLB.com’s actual list.
My Prediction MLB.com’s Actual List 11. Nate Roberts 11. Travis Harrison 12. Zach Jones 12. Daniel Santana 13. Mason Melotakis 13. Miguel Sulbaran 14. Josmil Pinto 14. Mason Melotakis 15. Daniel Santana 15. Luke Bard 16. D.J. Baxendale 16. J.T. Chargois 17. A.J. Achter 17. Stephen Gonsalves 18. Michael Tonkin 18. Niko Goodrum 19. Kennys Vargas 19. Stuart Turner 20. Chris Colabello 20. Felix Jorge
Now this is more like it. Not a single correct prediction by myself on prospects #11-20. Let’s look at each spot on the list and comment.
11-spot: I had Travis Harrison listed #10. So, that’s not bad. Nate Roberts was on a fast-track to competing for an outfield job in Minnesota after his stellar performance vs. other top-prospects in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. But, Nate’s 2013 season was non-existent due to more injuries. He has only managed to play 180 games in the last four seasons. Will he ever make it?
12-spot: I need to reiterate my annoyance at Zach Jones being excluded from the top-20 MLB.com list. This guy is fire! His first real challenge in professional baseball was slapped in the face by his 95+ gasball. I understand he walked a lot of people, but he had the most K’s/9 and allowed the least amount of hits for anyone that finished 30 games or more in the Florida State League. He will hold down a bullpen spot in Minnesota very soon. And, if he gets his BB’s/9 under control, he will challenge for the closer role with the MLB club.
13-spot: I predicted Melotakis would continue to impress in 2013, and that he did. His role was changed to “starting pitcher,” and he proved that he can handle it. He made 18 starts and was 2nd in the Midwest League with 11 victories. His 3.16 ERA was great, and his rise to Minnesota should be in short order since the entire MLB rotation is AAA material. The current 13-spot holder, Miguel Sulbaran, looks like a great return in trade for Drew Butera. Who would have thought we could get a 19-yr-old LHP with the 5th best ERA in the Midwest League in exchange for a AAA catcher?
14-spot: Again, how can the experts at MLB.com not rank our boy Josmil Pinto in the top-20 Twins prospects?? This guy has done nothing but Hit (with a capital ‘H’) at every level. Pinto, because he can hit, is the best catching prospect we have had since Wilson Ramos. The need for this guy in Minnesota is obvious. Let Ryan Doumit do his “super-back-up” role somewhere else that doesn't require him to hit. Should Pinto split time behind the plate with Mauer 50/50 in 2014?
15-spot: I predicted Daniel Santana for this spot. MLB.com had him ranked at #12. The shortstop Santana is definitely a #10-15 prospect for this organization after his solid 2013 season. So, let’s look at who MLB.com has in the coveted #15 spot: Luke Bard. I get it. That ranking is based completely on reputation, not production. How can they include Bard, but leave out healthy, productive prospects? That, I don’t get.
16-spot: I put D.J. Baxendale, who lit it up in Ft. Myers. After his promotion to New Britain, he really reached terminal velocity as he fell back to solid ground (to the tune of a 5.63 ERA). It must have been frustrating for the young righty, since he absolutely Dominated (with a capital ‘D’) the Florida State League in 2013 (1.10 ERA and he went 7-0 in nine starts). Baxendale remains a solid prospect for the starting rotation in Minnesota, maybe as soon as 2014. MLB.com has J.T. Chargois ranked #16, and he did not play any baseball in 2013 (injury).
17-spot: MLB.com has Stephen Gonsalves ranked here, and I would have to agree that the 2013 4th rd. pick is very promising. This 19-yr-old dominated the rookie level after signing last June. Could he move multiple levels in 2014? Jose Berrios couldn’t quite make that happen in 2013, but we can always hope for Gonsalves to find a quicker path to Minnesota. I predicted A.J. Achter would crack the top-20 following 2013. But MLB.com didn’t value his contributions out of the ‘pen. Achter’s Hits/9 numbers during the 2013 season in AA (6.87) and AAA (6.46) were outstanding. Achter should debut with the big club in 2014.
18-spot: Michael Tonkin deserves a spot in the top-20. And I predicted that for him following 2013. It didn’t happen on MLB.com’s list. Tonkin was unspectacular in AAA, but was called up to help out of the bullpen mid-season in Minnesota. He dominated for 11 innings with the Twins before being sent back down to AAA (as a reward??). Many times, this organization does things that make you scratch or shake your head. Just roll with the punches I guess. MLB.com likes Niko Goodrum in the #18 spot. I disagree since Goodrum is miles away from being a major league hitter.
19-spot: MLB.com has Stuart Turner ranked #19 for this organization. That seems a little ridiculous considering he hit .264 with very little power in Elizabethton after signing as a 21-yr-old. He could be the next Drew Butera, or even the next Eric Fryer. That should get Twins fans excited. Our #19 prospect has a AAA ceiling. Stuart Turner might develop into something great, but he is not top-20 material right now. My #19 guy, Kennys Vargas, had 53 extra-base-hits in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Where were ya on that one, MLB.com??
20-spot: I threw Chris Colabello a bone and named him the #20 prospect following 2013. Well, that might have worked out fine, except Morneau got hurt and Parmelee couldn’t hit. So, Colabello got an extended look in Minnesota and proved to be less than the god that slashed .352/.467/.639 in AAA. If Colabello had never been called-up, how much would fans be screaming for him to start at 1B in 2014? As it is, MLB.com has Felix Jorge ranked #20. Jorge had a solid 2013 in Elizabethton, and could move multiple levels in 2014. Felix Jorge is exactly the type of prospect of which the Twins could never have enough.
Predicting the rise and fall of baseball prospects is not easy. Those that are sure-fire often end up being weak-sauce. And those that were never drafted can have profound impacts on professional baseball. The guessing game will continue for the upcoming 2014 season. Will the Twins find a way to get all the top talent together in Minnesota? The last three seasons have been trouble for the Twins. Trouble with a capital “T”, and that rhymes with “C”, and that stands for Cool (NOT).