Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Immediate Prospects - Next Year's Twins ROY

Looking at the Nick Blackburn controversy raises an interesting question. Who are the top ten prospects to provide the Twins immediate help next year. Blackburn would have been near the top of that list last year, even if he was nowhere near the top prospect in the Twins system. So lets look at next year based on three criteria: How close is a player to being ready to help. What is the player's upside next year. Opportunity will also need to be a factor, but the fact that a player looks blocked wouldn't eliminate them from the list since injuries happen. Not being considered are players like Drew Butera who are only likely to get a September callup.

Here is the list of potential "Nick Blackburns" next year ranked in the order of how likely they are to be the Twins' rookie of the year:
  1. Jose Mijares - Some folks have already handed him a spot in the bullpen. That may be too enthusiastic, but he clearly has a good shot.
  2. Phil Humber - He's out of options. He is almost certain to make the roster and he is probably ready to contribute.
  3. Randy Ruiz - right handed bat off the bench
  4. Jose Morales - If he fully recovers and can catch, he is probably the first choice if one of the catchers go down.
  5. Bobby Korecky - Good shot  at filling out the bullpen at some point if there is an opening
  6. Jason Pridie - Blocked, but ready to contribute if the opportunity presents itself.
  7. Mathew Macri - Backup infielder and right handed bat
  8. Alejandro Machado - His chances depend on his arm. If he fully recovers he has a shot at the shortstop position if the Twins don't fill it.
  9. Trevor Plouffe - Like Machado, his chances depend on who the Twins sign to play shortstop. By mid-season, Plouffe will probably be ready to step up to the major leagues.
  10. Kevin Mulvey - Potential bullpen help or starter
Others who merit consideration;
Brian Duensing - Potential bullpen help or starter
Tim Lahey - Potential bullpen help similar to Korecky, but not on roster
Armando Gabino - Potential bullpen help, on the roster but probably not ready until mid-season
Anthony Swarzak - Potential starter who could be ready by mid-season
Zachary Ward - Potential bullpen help who could be ready by mid-season
Ryan Mullins - lefty out of the bullpen, he will need to break out to be ready by mid-season

There are also a few players in the lower minors who could  break out. Steve Tolleson's performance in the AFL indicated his bat was ready, but his glove still needs work. Likewise Jeff Manship could develop quickly and fill a bullpen or rotation spot if one opens up.  Carlos Gutierrez is the guy who could break through from last year if he stays in the bullpen. But the Twins seemed determined to make him a starter and that will probably take more than a season.

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