Every year at this time people start coming out with top ten or top 50 lists of Twins prospects. Here is a list of players who are definite sleepers. Most at one time were considered top talent, but have fallen off the lists do to injury or poor play. Others were afterthoughts whose skills have grown to where they may get a chance. They are almost all long shots to appear in a Twins uniform, but so are most of the players on a top 50 list. Here are my ten sleepers whose progress is still worth noting:
Both Kelly and Thompson have been plagued by injuries. But if they can stay healthy for a few years and polish their skills, they have the tools to be major league players. But time is running out.
Nepotism. Pure and simple. But Gardenhire has shown he is a versatile minor league player and his family background and comfort around a major league clubhouse may give him a shot as a AAAA player who provides depth in the system.
Portes was on a list of exciting prospects at some point. He has continued to develop, but not as fast as people would have liked. He was 23 at AA last year and did just fine. His bat will probably be major league quality, but he doesn't really have a defensive position.
Fox was a high draft choice before his injury. He has worked his way back and may yet make it to the big leagues. He was a starter at New Britain last year, but his major league role is probably as a middle reliever.
Like Fox, Waldrop was highly touted when drafted and then got hurt. He was moved to the bullpen when he came back. Its not clear if that switch to the bullpen is permanent, but he certainly projects an upside of at least a decent middle reliever.
Kirwan was considered a tough sign when drafted. He has moved slowly in the system and is not likely to ever be a star. More a middle reliever or back of the rotation starter. And still at least a couple years away from that.
Butera is a major league defensive catcher. His bat is not. But catching is a defensive position and Butera projects as a catch and throw backup. He may even win the Twins backup spot next year.
Mullins has struggled but he is still a lefty with a good arm. If he can harness that he will at least get a shot as LOOGY in the big leagues.
Allan de San Miguel
See Drew Butera, only younger with even less bat. But if they gave Gold Gloves for fielding, he would have a shot at being a gold glove major league catcher.
I think Lanigan has yet to attract much attention because he is from a small college and he didn't do particularly well as a starter at Beloit this year. But he projects as a fastball/slider reliever with a chance to start if he can develop his changeup.
You could also add some older "failed" prospects to this list like Juan Morillo, Jason Pridie and Jason Jones but its not clear if they are even still in the Twins plans. All three will likely see the major leagues again, but maybe not for the Twins.