I was listening to this... Interesting comment that Parks made that is debated here often is that he doesn't believe that they try to make players into an "organizational mold". He says they develop guys to be the best guy that this type of player can grow into... Interesting.
SL is ++
CU is above average
CB is above average
Also, I participated in the press conference introducing Stewart to the Twin Cities media. He was also working on a sinker to go with it. He's got a ton of confidence, which I think bodes well. And, most exciting for me, he'll be able to focus solely on baseball now. My only concern with him is his shoulder (and because he's a pitcher, his elbow).
I also feel the need to say this... I wouldn't give up on Kepler at all... he's going to have to figure out how to hit lefties better. And no, he's not going to be a centerfielder (Though, with Buxton and Hicks ahead of him, does it matter?), but he can be a left fielder or a first baseman. He's got the ability to get on base, and he does have some very good power. He hit 9 HR in a little less than half of a season in Cedar Rapids. There's no reason to believe that he can't eventually be a 25 HR a year guy, maybe more.
-First base for the Twins is spoken for until 2019.
-Walker, Harrison, DJ Hicks and Vargas at this point seem to have better bats for the DH/1B/OF types. And they have more power than Kepler. And probably better hit tool.
So I really think that Kepler is a sell high type of guy...
But after that there is a huge drop off to guys who were in Cedar Rapids/Rookie Leagues last year. There is no other pitcher who ended the year at Fort Myers or above last year who I have any reasonable hope to be an 1 - 4 type pitcher. (Maybe May, but he looks to be bullpen arm to me) There is lots of interesting pitchers below Fort Myers but we can only reasonably expect 1 or 2 if we are lucky to actually make the Twins due to injury/talent and other TINSTAAPP issues
The current system is weak on OF prospects with power - Outside of Arcia who is there who could help the team in 2014 or even 2015? – Don’t say Walker because he has HUGE contact/SO issues that he hast to fix and he hasn’t been able to fix even though he played college, he needs to prove it against pitchers who can throw with movement. Now that Mauer moves to 1B, this removes a potential problem at this position as there isn't anyone who looks to be a good hitting 1B until we reach Vargas.
I do think Polanco will become the best prospect in the system, and hopefully he can end the year at AA next year – that would be huge!. And I liked a lot of players at CR/E-Town/GCL last year. But I think after the Buxton, Meyer, Sano, Rosario wave graduate, the system could drop to Middle of the pack because of the weakness in the upper levels – Unless of course everything goes right next year with Vargas, Walker, Polanco, Stewart, Thorpe, Rosario, Landa & Felix.
Not going to argue with you Clutterheart but I will say that Parks noted that the Twins had depth throughout the org - not just in the low minors or rookie ball.
Some of these guys will fail but others will step up. No one saw Thorpe exploding this year and he's already at the point where prospect guys are weighing in on him, some pretty heavily. Sure, he has a long way to go.
Now, obviously, if the Twins graduate Buxton, Meyer, Sano and Rosario this year (with fellow top 100 guys Gibson, Arcia and Hicks graduated this year) the team rankings will fall. I'm ok with that. 7 top 100 guys reaching the majors in two years is great. That's the type of fall you want.
After that, you have one potential ace in Stewart, a #5 pick in the next draft and maybe one or two players break out (say 2 of Thorpe, Berrios, Polanco and Harrison) and the team could conceivably still have 4 top 100 guys for the 2015 season. (Berrios and Thorpe could be top 100 guys in some lists this year). That's a strong system and still better than middle of the pack.
The great thing is that there is still some nice talent in the system despite up to 7 young players being up with the Twins for good by opening day 2015.
I completely disagree with thrylos's analysis of Kepler. Vargas (I like) and Hicks (I don't) are completely limited to DH and Walker has big plate discipline issues. Harrison and kepler are kind of comparable but I wouldn't say that Harrison is better (unless he sticks at 3B). Kepler's poor season was almost entirely BAPIP driven. He showed great plate discipline and pretty good power. These are things that I look at in prospects and Kepler has them.
Pretty awesome and crazy fellas. The craziest thing about all of this, is that we get to add another top 5 draft pick to this group. Also if we keep our 2nd rounder, that should be of high quality as well. Draft well this year and we will be set up for the next 5-10 years.
I hope as many prospects pan out as possible.
Regarding the natural cycle, my point is simply I don't think of what the system has as "depth." I think its top heavy with some super prospects on the verge followed by a bunch of "maybes" in the low minors. I think the team needs to hit on some position players next year in the draft. And of course if they could sign another Sano type player as an international FA, I would take that too.
And this is still how systems work. If there were can't miss guys in the minors combined with Sano, buxton, Meyer and Rosario then this would be one of the most ridiculous systems ever. And I would still consider a bottom portion consisting of Stewart, pick #5, Thorpe, Berrios, Polanco, Kepler, Harrison and Gonsalves (among others) to be really good.
Like I said above, by depth, I mean guys that can make the big leagues as role players... That's why we differentiate those top prospects, but when you've got guys in the 30s and 40s and 50s that you/I think have a chance to be bench or bullpen guys, that's depth.
As has been pointed out, if you've got 7 top 50 guys coming up and graduating within two years and that core goes with Mauer and some others, you're still going to need the Caleb Thielbars and Michael Tonkins and Eduardo Escobars to fill roles. When the Twins were successful, they usually had no more than one or two prospects coming up each year and contributing. Hopefully the team gets back to that soon.