Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Twins Prospect Allstar Team

When evaluating any team's farm system there are probably not enough real major league prospects to fill out a roster. Minor league players often switch positiong in the big leagues. Michael Cuddyer was drafted as a shortstop, but was moved over the third base as he moved up the ladder. Major league second basemen often spend their minor league careers mostly at shortstop. And the bullpen is filled with pitchers who started for most or all of their minor league career. This list limits itself to the positions players actually played. Even there, some players had limited time at the position they are listed at here.
Catcher - Danny Rams 
There aren't really any major league catching prospects in the Twins farm system, but Rams has the kind of power that might get him there. Danny Leatherman is probably the guy most likely to make the major leagues, but it would be as a temporary backup catcher. Rams was taken in the second round of the 2007 draft and has not played a full season above A ball, so even he is a stretch here.

First Base - Chris Parmelee 
Parmelee was the Twins' first round choice in 2008. He really broke out with his bat at New Britain this year. He has been used both in the outfield and at first base. His defense is unlikely to be anything special at either position. But he is a guy whose power is expected to grow as he fills out. He may be ready to help sometime this season, although it will probably be at least a couple more years before we see how well he fulfills his full potential.

Second Base - Niko Goodrum
Goodrum was a second round draft choice this year. He may end up in the outfield, but the Twins seem to be starting him out as an infielder. He played all the infield positions and is probably not going to be a major league shortstop. He has the athletic ability to play second base and he may not really have the bat to be a major force in the outfield. 

Shortstop - Trevor Plouffe 
Plouffe is a controversial player among bloggers. He is a first round draft choice and a lot of people are impatient that he has not yet developed into a star. But he remained one of the youngest players the Twins had at AAA last year. He projects to have good power for a non-juiced shortstop, but that is often late in developing. His glove is solid, but unspectacular, at shortstop. So his bat needs to develop a little for him to be a plus major league player. 

Third Base - Miguel Sano
I have him at third base, but frankly that may be optimistic. Sano projects more as a corner outfielder. But his bat and power will play at any position. If he can stay at third base he projects as a core player for future Twins teams.

Left Field - Ben Revere
Revere's arm is a major question mark, which makes it likely he will end up in left field instead of center. Revere's speed is going to let him play anywhere in the outfield. His bat, speed and base stealing make him look like a top of the order table setter who will be ready to help by the end of this season.

Center Field - Aaron Hicks
Hicks is supposed to be a five-tool star who hits for power and average while playing gold glove center field. Its not clear however that he won't end up more Dave Winfield than Willie Mays. But the fact that comparisons to hall of fame players are not entirely ludicrous tells you a lot about Hicks perceived upside. 

Right Field - Angel Morales
Morales has speed and arm to play any of the three outfield spots. He still strikes out too much and he did not display the same power last season as a couple years ago.The other candidates for this spot were Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni. Benson is older than Morales and he strikes out even more. Like Morales he has the arm and range to play any outfield spot. Unlike Morales, he demonstrated prodigious power last year and was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year. I may just be stubborn, but those strikeouts against AA pitching look like a deal killer. Tosoni is not the defensive player that Morales and Benson are, but he is a more polished hitter. I chose Morales because he has a higher upside than Tosoni if he fully develops all his tools. He younger than Benson, already strikes out less and I think he is far more likely to carry his tools over into big league performance.   

Starting Pitching

This group is really a mixed bag. Gibson and Wimmer are both recent first round draft choices out of college who were projected to be close to major league ready. Whether that translates into major league performance remains a question. Sometimes polished college pitchers shine in the minor leagues but can never make the leap to the big leagues. Bromberg has moved up the ladder more or less unnoticed. He is a prototypical Twins pitcher with decent, not great, stuff and good command. He looks a lot like Wimmer/Gibson only a product of the Twins minor leagues rather than college. Guerra is a different animal. He came over in the Santana trade from the Mets hyped as a young guy who threw in the high 90's. He hasn't shown that velocity. But he still projects as a top of the rotation starter. Salcedo is all projection. Not sure what else to say. He throws hard, is very young and will likely fail. But his upside is staff ace.

Kyle Gibson
Alex Wimmer
Deolis Guerra
David Bromberg
Adrian Salcedo


As I said above, the bullpen is often filled with minor league starters. That means the five guys listed above could end up in that role as well. There are two reasons pitchers get moved to the bullpen. One is that they lack a third solid pitch. The other is that they aren't durable as starters and can throw harder when only pitching short stints.  

It sounds like the Twins have given up on the experiment with Guttierez as a starter and are now grooming him for the bullpen. His outstanding sinker makes him a potential dominating reliever and closer. The starter experiment was, in part, to get him to develop some secondary pitches.  Robertson is a lefty that is moving to the bullpen because he lacks the pitches to start.  Bullock was drafted as a relief pitcher. Pat Dean was drafted in the third round last June. He is a lefty who was striking out a third of the batters he faced this summer.  He will likely be a starter, but he actually pitched a few games out of the bullpen this summer. Swarzak has had a couple chanced with the Twins including a stint as starter. He still has a good arm, but if he is going to make it at the big league level it will likely be as a reliever. Matt Bashore was a supplemental first round pick in 2009 who came up injured after only a few games and missed all of last season. Assuming he is healthy, he projects as another lefty in the bullpen.

Carlos Guttierez
Billy Bullock
Tyler Robertson
Pat Dean
Anthony Swarzak
Matt Bashore

There are other pitchers who have been hyped by various sources that I haven't mentioned above. Liam Hendrick, Manuel Soliman and BJ Hermsen being three examples. There are no doubt a bunch of position players someone thinks will be big league players some day. In some cases they will be right. 

I picked the above list based on two factors. How good COULD these players be. And how lLIKELY they are to be THAT GOOD. Joe Benson is a good example of how this played out. He is a player who has a huge upside if you are an optimist. He has speed, power, arm etc. I just don't think he is very likely to reach that upside. I think he stands a pretty good chance of ending up a fourth outfielder or a AAAA player. His chances of turning into the next 30-30 major league player are remote at best. So he isn't on the list.

On the other hand, Trevor Plouffe is not going to be a major league star. But his upside is a major league shortstop with some pop in his bat. I think he is likely to reach that if he gets a chance. So he is on the list.

1 comment:

Ben said...

A few typos:

Danny Leatherman = Danny Lehmann?
Wimmer = Wimmers

And how LIKELY they are to be THAT GOOD.

I like that you add this element of perspective.

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