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Jeremy Nygaard

Twins Draft Preview III - Presence in Puerto Rico

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This article was orignially posted at ManCenter.com

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Initially my plan was to continue the series with a preview of the Midwest. While the Twins do a pretty good job of locating and selecting talent from this area, it doesn't appear that there are a ton of top prospects from the area. So I'm pushing that preview back.

Instead I'm going to highlight a place that has been a great place to infuse talent into the Twins system: Puerto Rico.

In 2007, the Twins jumped on "toolsy OF" Angel Morales, though his hit tool was questioned. He appeared to be CF-ready and the Twins plucked him in Round 3, after being projected to go between Rounds 2-4.

The next year, 2008, the Twins took Danny Ortiz in the 4th round. (Round 3-5 projection.) Ortiz was an advanced hitter with defensive questions. He was recently promoted to Ft. Myers, but has never been considered one of the Twins top prospects. (I think he's a good "sleeper" prospect though.)

The Twins missed out in 2009, but got back into it in 2010 with Eddie Rosario in the 4th round. Rosario was an also an advanced hitter, but profiled similar to Ortiz. He exceeded expectations both offensively and defensively and was recently moved to 2B and ranks as one of the top prospects in the system.

Why is this important? Because the Twins have done a great job of locating - and getting - the talent on this island. We should expect to see something similar in 2012.

Carlos Correa, SS - Tall, skinny and projects to hit for power, Correa will probably settle at 3B. If he was plugged into the Twins system, he would have to play his way off SS and would have a higher ceiling than everyone not named Miguel Sano. He remains the least-discussed candidate to go 2nd overall.

Jesmuel Valentin-Diaz, SS - Son of former major-league Jose Valentin. Switch-hitter who should be able to stay at SS. Could (and should) be a target for the Twins in the sandwich or 2nd round (especially if they take a P at #2). Could fall due to signability issues.

The Twins haven't experienced the same success (or had the same volume), when it comes to pitchers, but a few stand out.

Jose Orlando Berrios, RHP - Berrios has become the #1 pitching prospect on the island. Every time he pitches, his stock rises. He is in the mid-90s, deceptive, and already has a solid curveball and change-up. It wouldn't shock me if he ends up in the middle of the 1st round.

Edwin Diaz, RHP - Already 6-3, but a very skinny 170. His smooth delivery is producing fastballs in the mid-90s.

It's worth noting that while the hitters have committed to college, neither of the pitchers have (which could be a factor when it comes to signing).

While these are the four most notable names from Puerto Rico that Twins have also taken players later in the draft.

Baseball America had a write up on the Excellence Tournament that is currently going on in Puerto Rico and, to no one's surprise, these four players are mentioned prominently.
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