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Prospects: Who I'm most interested in for 2014

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I've been tossing this idea around in my head a bit as I start getting excited for the upcoming season. We have lots of highly rated prospects, lots of depth, lots of unknowns. I sat back a little and tried to figure out who I was actually most interested in seeing how they performed this year. This isn't a Top 10 prospects list, smarter people than me have already done those.

I'm assuming Buxton will dominate. I'm interested in that, certainly. But he's not the guy I'm most interested in finding out something about, I suspect we already know most of what we need to know about him, with him it's hopefully just about waiting. But we have lots of guys I really hope to get a better feel for this year as we hopefully start a large-scale roll over to prospects this year and next.

#1: Danny Santana - we've heard glimmers about his defensive prowess and his hitting looks to have some potential. Is he the next Pedro Florimon, or can he be a competent two-way starting shortstop for the next half-dozen years? I think I want the answer to this more than anything else this year.

#2: Stuart Turner - I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm really curious about him. He seems like he might be the perfect match for Pinto. A great-defense, mediocre hitting catcher to match up with the good-hitting, mediocre-defense (hopefully better, jury's still out) Pinto. I don't know if he will, but if he shows signs of being able to hit a little, I expect to see him move quickly.

#3: Mason Melotakis - There's some lefty starters that look to have more potential, probably, but I still have some high hopes for him. He hasn't had much time as a starter yet, I'm curious how he'll perform in a second year of full-season ball as a starter. An eventual move back to the pen wouldn't be a shocker, but I'm hoping for good results this year to make that a failsafe, not a given.

#4: Adam Brett Walker - His power is just so intriguing. Can he hit a breaking ball? I don't know what the overall reports on his defense are, but in my sample size of one (the Cedar Rapids game which was on FSN) he looked pretty athletic, and his stolen base success indicates someone with more going for him than just a powerful swing. He'll presumably be in a pitcher's league in Ft. Myers this year, we should finally start getting a better idea of how he may progress.

#5: Ryan Eades - We saw barely anything from him last year, as he threw only a handful of mediocre innings. Where will he pitch? Does he look like he can be a major leaguer some day? I think he's almost completely forgotten about amongst our starters, but if he turns out to be good how awesome would that be? He was a really good starter for a really good team in a really good college baseball conference. Surely he has something going for him?

#6: Trevor May - Another of the almost forgotten pitchers. Many seem to already be writing him off as a starter. His numbers didn't get a lot better in a second AA season, but they did improve in almost every category, even if it was small. He still seems like a guy who could be a #3/#4 pitcher for a lot of years, with flashes of being better. Not everybody will be an ace, but he still has a lot of the tools to be pretty good.

#7: Jorge Polanco - Will he actually get a full season of playing SS, or will he just fill in when somebody else isn't playing there? Can he actually man the position adequately? I'd be very much on board with a great-hitting, average-defense SS. Can he be that guy? Will he have to move back to 2nd, and if so will he be better than Dozier or Rosario?

#8: Stephen Gonsalves/Lewis Thorpe - cheating a bit here. Couldn't decide which of the two I'm most curious about, but high-upside lefty starters presumably playing above the rookie leagues are definitely guys to pay attention to.

#9: Alex Wimmers - Will he ever manage anything? A former #1 pick who's barely even pitched professionally. Almost more of a human interest curiosity than a baseball one at this point, but one I'm really wondering about.

#10: Amaurys Minier - Is he the next highly-rated International signing to start making waves in the Twins system? He seemed pretty inconsistent this last season (injuries?), but I hope to have a better idea of what his potential might be after this year.

Updated 03-03-2014 at 02:16 PM by ericchri (Spelling errors)

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  1. howieramone's Avatar
    Good job!
    Updated 03-03-2014 at 12:06 PM by howieramone
  2. TD Mac's Avatar
    Solid list. To that I would add Aaron Slegers and Niko Goodrum, as well as all the Rookie League pitchers who have flashed so much potential as they move up to full season ball.

    Saw Slegers pitch a couple times for Indiana last year and has a really intriguing backstory which leads me to believe he could be a late bloomer. Very tall, but more or a control guy right now, though lots of angle on his pitches.

    Goodrum, though still very young, has been talked about for a couple years as a "breakout" type player with all the physical tools, but needs to actually start breaking out if he's to live up to that potential.

    Finally, Thorpe, Gonsalves and Stewart deservedly have gotten headlines, but Jorge, Rosario, Stirewalt, Romero and Ho are also very intriguing young arms that have to fire you up with their potential! Combine them with Eaves, Berrios & Slegers, and there are a ton of good looking prospects to be excited about.

    Can't wait to get down to Ft. Myers next week to check out the minor league side!
  3. lightfoot789's Avatar
    *Tyler Jones and his 95+ fastball. Can he consisitently close games at the higher levels. I say yes, but can't wait to see it personally.

    *Travis Harrison was much better at 3B last year defensively than people give him credit for. He also show major power potential. He might hit 30 if he stays in Midwest league again this year.

    *Tim Shibuya - Just knows how to pitch

    *Matt Thomshaw - A lefty with 4 to 5 quality pitches to keep hitters off balance. He is an underrated pitching prospect to me. Great long / middle releiver IMO

    *Madison Boer is also another pitcher who came on strong last year. Upside is there

    *Dalton Hicks - Better defender than advertised and just drives in runs (Hrbek )

    *Hudson Boyd - former 1st rounder needs a bounce back year. Revamp approach

    *Adam Brett Walker - Sano went from hitting .250 in midwest league to .350 in high A. Can Doug Mientkiewicz and staff help Walker to a similar turn around. Power should play out the same if he continues to refine swing.
  4. jimv2's Avatar
    Really excellent blog post.
    W/r/t Eades: I think he gets less attention because he probably doesn't have the same ceiling guys like Kohl and Gonsalves have. But as you noted, he's already proven that he has a decently high floor. The problem is that we already have a bunch of 3-5 starter prospects which I suspect is his ceiling. We all know you can never have too much pitching, so it's great having him, but the same level of intrigue isn't there for some us.

    And w/r/t Turner: Gardy and Ryan have made it abundantly clear over the years that the attributes they want most in a catcher are the abilities to call a good game, to keep a pitcher on an even keel, and to control the other team's running game. Quoting one of them--I can't remember which--"any hitting you get [from your catcher] is a bonus." I take that with a grain of salt but if Turner really is a Johnny Bench level catcher defensively, I don't think he'll have to hit all that much to be the starter.
  5. Jim H's Avatar
    I am interested in the group of pitching prospects who are relatively close to the majors but kind of flying under the radar. Like Melotakis on your list, maybe Darnell, and some of the other recent college pitchers who could move pretty quickly if they figure things out. Also guys like Wimmers and Salcedo who have been around awhile, who injuries have set back, but who were highly considered at one point. I would like to see a guy or two out of this group really challenge for a starting major league job within the next year. Combined with the higher profile guys like Meyer, Gibson and May, this could have the Twins looking pretty good over the next few years.
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