Friday, March 22, 2013

Five most overated Twins Prospects

I did a list of overrated prospects a couple years ago.

If you make a list of "overrated prospects", your chances of being right some of the time are pretty high. They were Kyle Gibson, Oswaldo Arcia, Joe Benson, Liam Hendricks and Dave Bromberg.  Most prospects are overrated since ceiling is always part of the evaluation and most players never reach their projected ceiling. I also did a list of underrated prospects, Chris Parmelee, Trevor Plouffe, Deolis Guerra, Carlos Guttierez  and Bobby Lanigan. That was February 2011 and two years later most of those are still up in the air.

Here is an updated list:

Miguel Sano

According to a local reporter today, "Sano is clearly on the fast track to get to Target Field in the not-too-distant future." There is actually little, if any evidence for this. It appears Sano will start the year at Fort Myers. How fast he will get to the big leagues is an open question.

Sano is a great prospect because of his power potential. But he strikes out a lot and has yet to play above low A ball. He hasn't shown that he can hit a curve ball. In short, he is a great prospect because he could be an outstanding major league power hitter. Those are rare. But there are a lot of players who had that potential who never achieved it, much  less doing so in the "not-too-distant-future" after their first year in a full season league.

Sano's expected time of arrival at one step per year is 2016. And most power hitters take longer than that to really achieve their potential. Justin Morneau is a good example. He was 25 when he broke out and he did not show Sano's problems with strike-outs early in his career. Morneau also hit for far better average.

Then there are the questions about his defense and how long he will stick at third base. If he ends up as an all or nothing power hitter at first base, he won't be anything really special.

Trevor May 

May came to the Twins along with Vance Worley in exchange for Ben Revere. A lot of people seem to think he was the key to that trade, but he looks more like a throw in. May is the guy who could make this a winning trade for the Twins. But it was the established young starter, Worley,  that made giving up Revere acceptable.

May struggled at AA last year. He is certainly still a good prospect, but he didn't look ready to make the jump to the big leagues. He may well start the year back at AA. But even if he starts at AAA, he is unlikely to contribute this year. In fact, he isn't all that likely to contribute next year either.

Eddie Rosario

The question is going to be whether he can adapt to playing the infield. The possibility that he will never be acceptable defensively in the middle infield is what makes him overrated.   Rosario does not really have the power to play a corner outfield spot in the big leagues. That's why the Twins are trying to move him to second base.  If that fails, its not clear he can make it anywhere else. 

Jose Berrios

Berrios has yet to show he can hold up as a starter over a full season and he is a relatively small right handed pitcher. He is mature for his age and impressing people with his stuff.  But I am always a bit suspicious of guys labeled "mature".The danger is that "mature" means that they are as good as they will get. Berrios is may be closer to ready than many 18 year olds, but he still isn't good enough to pitch in the big leagues. He needs to get better and that usually means adding maturity, not having it.  

Zack Jones

Jones was the 130th player taken in last June's draft. He dominated as a college kid pitching in rookie ball at Elizabethton and then got promoted to Beloit. He continued to strike out almost half the batters he faced. Unfortunately, of the 25 batters who put balls in play against him at Beloit, 9 got hits. The strikeouts have a bunch of people excited, but his inability to get batters out when they make contact is not a good sign.

I want to be clear that "overrated" is not really a prediction of failure. Sano is legitimately a top prospect worthy of excitement. He is just still a long way from the big leagues. Too far away for people to start talking about him as competition for Plouffe or anyone else. The same is true of the others to an even greater extent.

May is closest to the big leagues, but even he has a lot to prove. He has the stuff to be a major league pitcher, but he has yet to demonstrate he can use it well enough to succeed.


Anonymous said...

What does overrated even mean? You basically just took a few of the highest rated prospects in the twins' system. I suppose the most underrated prospects are the lowest rated ones?

You really made no point other than to try to take people who are excited about the future down a notch.

TT said...

"a few of the highest rated prospects"

I don't think its surprising that over-rated prospects are highly rated do you? And yes, the point of the post was that people are getting way ahead of themselves. The idea Sano is going to compete for a roster spot next spring is a bit ludicrous.

Worse is when people criticize the Correia signing because the Twins have May or Berrios.

The reality is that half the "top prospects" below AA may never see the major leagues. And there are some reasons why these five in particular may not make it and are getting far more notice than they deserve.

" the most underrated prospects are the lowest rated ones?"

Yeh, a couple years ago my top five underrated prospects included Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee. And, yes, that was because people underrated them.

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Jim H said...

I don't really disagree with your list. Pitchers often get injured and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of these 3 has a major setback because of injury. I like May because he could be a frontline starter. Of course that is his ceiling and he probably won't reach that.

To pick nits, I think Rosario has a solid future even if he can't stay in the infield. He can hit, and I think he will hit as he moves up the ladder. He probably can play centerfield too, just not too likely for the Twins. You can be a valuable corner OF if you can hit 300 and with around 15 homers. I expect that he has a good chance to do that. It wouldn't make him a star, but valuable production, nevertheless.

TT said...

Jim -

You are right, if Rosario hits for a high enough average, he might hold down a corner outfield spot. Although I am hard pressed to come up with a list of regular corner outfielders on championship teams who only hit 15 home runs. In any case, Rosario didn't hit .300 in low A ball last year.

As for center field, I think if he was a center fielder he would be playing there. You don't move players to a less valuable position in A-ball because you have some other prospects who might be better if and when they both get to the major leagues.

Jim H said...

Actually, it is not that unusual to see regular corner outfielders on postseason teams who didn't hit 15 home runs. Often a leftfielder who bats leadoff, like Gladden did for the Twins. There a quite a few other examples as well. I don't really know how good a CF Rosario is. When he was moved to 2nd, the Twins had 4 CF ahead of him in the organization. Hicks and Benson were/are prospects but ahead of him in the organization.

I am not sure I would consider 2nd a lesser defensive position than CF either. Although you could make that argument. It seems Rosario is fast enough, probably, to play center, he may not have the instincts of others in the organization.

TT said...

"Hicks and Benson were/are prospects but ahead of him in the organization."

I think Benson is a good example of why a team doesn't move a player in A ball because of prospects "ahead" of them in the organization.

Shannon Stewart is another example of a Twin left fielder who lacked a lot of power. So it certainly isn't impossible, it just becomes harder.

As I understand it, one of Rosario's weaknesses as an outfielder is his arm. Of course that didn't keep Ben Revere out of center field. But Revere's average was 80 points higher than Rosario's at Beloit, he stole 44 bases compared to Rosario's 11. He was also almost a year younger.

Shannon Stewart also hit 30 points higher in A ball than Rosario. And he had also shown off his ability on the base paths stealing bases. Gladden hit ten points better than Rosario and he stole over 50 bases twice in the minor leagues. His career minor league average was 20 points higher than Rosario's.

In short, when you compare Rosario to guys who have been successful as top of the order corner outfielders, his numbers don't really look so hot. He may step it up, but his offense last year is not a sign of a guy likely to succeed in he big leagues as an outfielder.

So what we have is an A-ball players who may or may not have the defense to play second base. And who may or may not have the offense to play the outfield. Is he a prospect? Yes. But until he shows either more offense or better defense he is not someone to get too excited about.

Jim H said...

I agree that Rosario is a better prospect if he can stick at 2nd. Gladden was an unfortunate choice on my part. He is a bit overrated by some in the Twins community. He was a pretty much below average lead off hitter. I suspect that Rosario's injury last year probably hurt his numbers. I do think his bat is a better than you give him credit for. Comparing him to Stewart and Revere is something of a compliment. I don't think he has much of a chance to be as good as Stewart. Revere is a lot different hitter. Rosario has more pop, if that tranlates to the majors, Rosario could be fairly useful. Again I am not sure Rosario is quite the prospect some of Twins prospect hounds think he is, but I think he has a good chance to be a big league regular, even if he can't stick at 2nd.

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