Monday, March 12, 2012

Top Twins Prospects, Almost Ready

I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the top Twins prospects who might be ready to contribute this year and next:

Kyle Gibson - Gibson is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but should be pitching in the minor leagues some time in July or August. He is at the top of this list because the Twins are likely to have several openings in the rotation in 2013 and he will likely take one of them. He projects as a solid number two starter.

Alex Wimmer - Wimmer was supposed to be on the fast track, but he fell off the rails in his first start at Fort Myers last season when he was totally unable to find the plate. He came back at the end of the season and pitched well. He kept on that track during the fall instructional league. He may be ready by next spring, although I doubt the Twins are going to rush him after the experience last year. His upside is a solid starter in the top/middle of the rotation.

Carlos Gutierrez - Gutierrez has a mid-90's sinker that is devastating. When he can get his other pitches over the plate consistently he will be in the Twins bullpen. That could be this spring. His upside is a potential closer candidate.

Delios Guerra - I think think 2012 is Guerra's last option year, so he will need to be in the big leagues next season. He is still very young and probably not ready just yet but we might see him before the end of the season. He projects as setup guy or potential closer.

Brian Dozier - Dozier is close to ready whether that is as a shortstop is still a question I think. He will start the year at AAA, but we may see him this year if Casilla or Carroll get hurt. He projects as a middle infielder with a decent bat that will play better at shortstop than second base.

Chris Parmelee - Parmelee turned fans heads last fall. His promotion to the big leagues requires an opening. He projects as a starting first baseman with mid-range power for the position and probably above average batting average.

Oliveros - Oliveros is a hard thrower with a chance at a bullpen spot out of spring training. He is still very young, so it is more likely he will start the season at AAA.

Scott Diamond - Diamond is one of the candidates for the rotation next year. His chances this year probably depend on the major league rotation's health. He projects as a middle/low starter.

Doyle - Doyle is a rule 5 guy who needs to be kept on the roster. He will either be in the bullpen to start the year or likely gone. His long term role is as a starter, which is why the Twins grabbed him in the rule 5 draft.

Aaron Hicks - Hicks is a long shot to contribute in the big leagues this year. But if he puts it together at AA, he could be a September callup. He is on this list because he has the kind of tools that would let him force his way onto the major league roster once he is ready.

Other candidates:
Joe Benson - I remain convinced that his strikeouts indicate a fatal flaw. But he has been out in center field this spring. If he can play there, his power will likely get him a roster spot sometime.

Mastroianni - He is another version of Ben Revere, with a better arm. He will start the year at AAA, but could be in the big leagues if there is a demand for a center fielder.

Liam Hendricks - I am not sure that Hendricks has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues. But he is a candidate for the rotation if he does and will likely get a chance to win a spot next spring.

Robertson - Robertson role is as a setup guy in the bullpen. He will start the year at AAA, but he could get a call up if he does well.

Kyle Waldrop - Waldrop seems to be getting a lot of love in the Twins camp. He has a shot at the bullpen this spring and we will likely see him at some point this year. Projects as a middle reliever.

There are probably some other guys who have shots if someone gets hurt or falls on their face. In any case, that top ten list, combined with the five who missed it, makes a lie of the idea that the Twins lack talent at the top of their system. They don't have any can't miss superstars ready to play this spring. But they have quite a few players who will become household names for Twins fans in the future.


Jim H said...

I like your list. I would probably order it a little differently. It would be fun to be a mouse in the corner when Ryan and others discuss these guys. I like Henriks more than you do. I think the Twins like Benson more than either one of us do.

If all of these guys make progress this year, it will certainly make things interesting next spring. I do hope Gibson returns to pre TJ form. I also think I would add Bromberg to the bottom of your list.

Jim H said...

A couple of thoughts. I think the Twins have pretty well decided that Dozier can play major league SS. If reports are correct, he is getting most of his ST work at short plus he has appeared at short in all? of his games. I don't think he makes the team out of ST but since his innings are mostly in the first part of the games, the Twins are looking at him pretty hard.

When a player appears in ST games seems to mean more than how often or total AB's or IP. Since the regulars only play the first half or so the games, if you really want to see what a marginal guy looks like, he will play in the first half of at least some of the games.

The fact that Chang has started some ST games would tell me that the Twins might consider him as a potential UT guy. Holimon hasn't gotten those looks. The Twins also have given Benson a number of ST starts as well. I don't think he begins the year with the Twins but he maybe pretty high on the list if someone gets hurt.

Anonymous said...

Mastroinni can play - dont understand why he got sent down - can run real well - hit and field

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