Thursday, June 16, 2005
TOP 30 TWINS PROSPECTS
It is mid-June. The Minor League seasons have now been going over two months. It is time for me to update my Top 25 Prospects. Now, admittedly, the last time I did this was last September, right after the minor league season finished. So, it is probably about time.
But, before we get into that list, I wanted to point out just a couple more things. The reason for my infrequent (every-other-day) posting this week is because I am in some team leader-type training all week. Now, normally training takes place at work. However, in this training, we are also getting reading assignments. And, on Friday, there will be a test that, obviously, it is a good idea to pass. So, in other words, there will not be a new posting on Friday. I do feel bad about that, but I know that you understand. Also, you know how much I enjoy discussing the Twins minor league system, so I don't mind leaving this page up for an extra day, and over the weekend.
Another reason for not posting tomorrow is because I need to prepare my Blogger Minute for Saturday. As you recall, I have been on the Blogger Minute twice already, on April 23 and May 14. It will appear on the Twins Magazine Show on Saturday. I believe the hour-long show begins at 4:30 that day because of the 6:05 game time.
Also, I will be down at the Metrodome this weekend. My sister and I will be attending the Twins Autograph Party for the third straight year. We have really enjoyed it the previous years. If you happen to see a short, ummm... stocky man with a powder blue Twins t-shirt, say hi! We also will be going to the Twins/Padres game that night.
The Baseball Savant has now made it big time!!! He was featured and quoted in an Indianapolis Star article yesterday on fantasy baseball. The Don't Think, Just Throw league is a great league that we are in. Check out the article, and be sure you've bookmarked and consistently read the Baseball Savant page. The Savant was kind enough to mention my site to the writer of the article and a link to www.SethSpeaks.net was included in the article. If you happened to stop by the site after reading that article, thank you for stopping by and be sure to send me an e-mail to say hi!
OK, let's get to the Twins Top 25 Prospect list, because I know that's really what you're hear for, right? Clearly, this type of a list is very subjective. In other words, there are a number of factors that I took into the rankings. Those include, but are not limited to, performance, age, age as related to level of competition, and history. Performance simply asks how they are doing. Age is also a factor, especially when related to their level. In other words, a 19 year old pitcher in A ball is more of a prospect to me than a 27 year old pitcher at AAA. History just says that someone who isn't performing at a real high level has shown enough in the past to still warrant consideration. There are other factors and some may be obvious.
Also, I didn't include players who are not rookies, or are contributing fully to the Minnesota Twins right now. Joe Mauer is no long rookie-eligible, so he is not on this list. Jason Bartlett is, and is now back in the minor leagues, so he is on this list. Jesse Crain, despite technically being a rookie, is not on this list as he does not need to worry at all about being sent down.
But what is a prospect list? In my opinion, it is a GUESS at which players will have the biggest impact at the major league level in their careers. That is why a guy like David Gassner, who has already contributed at the major league level, is ranked lower than many players who are nowhere near the big leagues. Many of those other players may never make the Twins roster, but in my opinion, their ceilings are higher. And again, the key word is probably "Guess." Prospect lists are guesses. I don't know what's going to happen. The Twins front office can't guarantee what is going to happen. Not even Baseball American can predict the future at 100%. So the list is fun to show and interesting to discuss, but take it for what it is, a fun list. So yeah, here it is, the
SethSpeaks Top 30 Twins Prospects
(Rank - Name - Age - Position - Team)
30 - David Gassner - 25 - LHP - Rochester Redwings
Last year, Gassner led the International League in wins with 16. That, coupled with a strong spring performance and a good first AAA start, meant that he was called up to the Twins when Carlos Silva was put on the Disabled List. He won his first big league start with a great game against the Indians in Cleveland. His next outing, at home against the Royals, was awful, and short. He went back to Rochester where he has continued to be up and down. He is 4-4 with a 4.47 ERA. We are now more able to see what Gassner can be. Sure, the Jamie Moyer comparisons are obvious, but there aren't a lot of soft-throwing lefties that have had the career Moyer has had. I think he can be adequate as a 5th starter or a long reliever though. ETA - September 2005.
29 - Alexander Smit - 19 - LHP - Beloit Snappers
Smit was higher up the list last fall, and for good reason. This year has been a struggle for the Danish lefty. He is now 1-9 with a 5.98 ERA. He is still striking out a strong rate of batters (54 in 49.2 innings), but he is also walking too many hitters (28) and giving up too many homers (9). But again, he is still just 19 and very raw. The team can afford to stay patient with him. ETA - 2009.
28 - Josh Rabe- 25 - OF - Rochester Redwings
The Twins had a bunch of quality outfield prospects over the past few years. Because of that, Rabe's name is rarely mentioned. However, if you look at his numbers, he always puts up solid, if unspectacular numbers, at every stop. May not seem like much, but he has consistently moved up the system. He has to be at the point where if the Twins needed an outfielder or another right handed bat, Rabe should be considered. He is just coming off of the disabled list right now, but before the injury, he was spending a lot of time hitting in the 3-hole of the Redwings linuep. In 150 at bats, he was hitting .293/350/.467. ETA - 2006.
27- Kevin West - 25 - OF - Rochester Redwings
Like Luis Maza, Kevin West had a big 2004 season between New Britain and Rochester. The power-hitter got off to a slow start this year at AAA, but he had a great month of May in which he was named the Organization's Player of the Month. Although he is still hitting just .253, West has 11 doubles and seven homers. He hasn't shown quite the power yet, but I would expect that to come as the season wears on. ETA - 2006.
26 - Justin Olson - 25 - RHP - New Britain Rockcats
OK, it's another hard-throwing bullpen guy. Olson throws nearly 100 mph. The Twins started him in the Rockcat's starting rotation. Although dominating, he would seem to have a bad inning here and there. He was recently moved back to the bullpen where he has been absolutely lights out. On the year, he has 60 strikeouts in 68 innings. Alarming are his walk totals (28) and his homers allowed (11). I know that the Twins prefer to have their top pitching prospects starting. They can always move them to the bullpen. The fact that they tried him as a starter tells me that the Twins think highly of him. ETA - 2007.
25 - Deacon Burns - 22 - OF - Beloit Snappers
Just when we think that the Twins are out of outfield prospects, they draft Deacon Burns out of Northern State (SD) University in the 26th round. He tears up Elizabethton, but we attribute that to him being a college guy hitting against high school kids. But now this year, he is playing in Beloit and continues to hit for average and some extra-base power as well as stealing bases. At some point, you do have to take notice and realize what he is doing. That would be hitting .297/.368/.510 with 21 doubles, 6 homers, 41 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Sure, he is still probably a little older than most of the pitchers in the Midwest League, but you can't ignore the continuing numbers forever. ETA - 2009. (Picture at right from Concordia-St. Paul website. Burns played football at Northern State as well. He's in the maroon jersey and helmet.)
24 - Doug Deeds - 23 - OF - New Britain Rockcats
Another guy who sometimes flies under the wings. Deeds has been a doubles machine this year at New Britain. He has been one of just a few bright spots for the Rockcats this season. He is hitting .287 with 21 doubles, six homers and 31 RBI. But again, a 4 tool player at AA can not be completely ignored. ETA - 2008.
23 - Jay Sawatski - 22 - LHP - Ft. Myers Miracle
Sawatski seems like another guy who could have a Crain-like ascension through the minor league system. The team's 8th round pick just last year, Sawatski dominated both Elizabethton and Quad Cities last year. He has been very good again this year at Ft. Myers. He started the season by not giving up a run in almost 20 innings. He is now 2-2 with 7 saves and a 2.26 ERA. He strikes out almost a batter an inning and walks one ever 3.5 innings. The lefty should be in line for a call up to New Britain yet this season. ETA - 2007.
22 - Ricky Barrett - 23 - LHP - Rochester Redwings
Barrett was the Twins 7th round pick in 2002 out of the University of San Diego where he was a pitcher and an outfielder. The lefty had Tommy John surgery in 2003 and came back with a solid 2004 season between Quad Cities and Ft. Myers. He started at New Britain this year but quickly moved up to Rochester where he has been good. He's 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings. He has 15 strikeouts. He could be in the Twins bullpen by mid-2006.
21 - Luis Maza - 24 - 2B - New Britain Rockcats/Rochester Redwings
Maza had a great 2004 season at New Britain. When he was sent back there for a third straight year, he had to be disappointed. His average dropped as he was trying to hit for more power. With the Twins injury situation and all the infield callups of late, Maza moved up to Rochester. Maybe it is a re-found focus at the higher level, but in 10 games, he's hitting .368. That keeps him on this list. ETA - 2006.
20 - Boof Bonser - 22 - RHP - Rochester Redwings
Bonser was up-and-down in his second AA season in 2004. He would have a good start, then two or three bad ones, but by the end of the season, he was doing well. This year, he moved up to Rochester and has reclaimed his prospect status. He leads the staff in innings pitched. He is 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA. He has 76 strikeouts (and 21 walks) in his 75 innings. I think we can now see Bonser as a long reliever, if not a 4th or 5th starter type. ETA - September 2005.
19 - Trevor Plouffe - 19 - SS - Beloit Snappers
Plouffe was the Twins first of three first-round picks in 2004. Of the top five Twins draft picks last year, Plouffe has clearly been the most disappointing. However, it is also important to remember that he was the youngest first round pick a year ago, and playing in the Midwest League may be a step ahead of where he should be. He just turned 19 yesterday! He has not hit until recently when a hot streak increased his batting average to .194. He hasn't shown much power either. But the Twins are sticking with him, as they should since he is so young. It is WAY too early to count him out. Don't be surprised if/when he repeats this level again next year. ETA 2009.
18 - Pat Neshek - 24 - RHP - New Britain Rockcats
We all know that Pat Neshek writes an excellent website, but fact is, the man can also pitch a little bit. Some may say that I have the side-winding reliever a little too high on this list. However, part of what this list is is the players who can make an impact at the major league level. Neshek not only has the funky delivery, but he has a funky delivery with a 92-94 mph fastball. He also has a couple of other pitches to go with it. He is the Rockcats closer, and since their season is going so poorly, he can not be measure by the Save stat. Frequently, he is asked to go two or more innings. His strikeout rate is great (42 K in 34.1 IP). To be honest, I would think that he has earned a promotion to Rochester where he can set up for Travis Bowyer (until he is called up to the Twins). ETA - Opening Day, 2007.
17 - Alex Romero - 21 - OF - New Britain Rockcats
I have to admit that when Romero got off to such a slow start at AA this year that my confidence in him as a big-time prospect faded some. But the Venezuelan has really picked it up of late. His average is slowly creeping up and he is hitting for more power as well. He is now hitting .276 with 12 doubles, 8 homers, 31 RBI and 7 steals. I have always ranked Romero higher than most and the reason is because of how well he has played against great competition in the Venezuelan Winter League. I think he has a ton of potential. My lone fall back would be to say that I no longer would compare him in prospect status to Jason Kubel. ETA - 2007.
16 - Errol Simonitsch - 22 - LHP - Ft. Myers Miracle
I have been watching Simonitsch since the Twins drafted him in the 6th round out of Gonzaga just two years ago. The 6-4, 225 pound lefty has always put up good but unspectacular numbers. But I always attributed that to his age over the younger competition. Now in the Florida State League, I think that evens itself out. Simonitsch just seems like a typical Twins pitcher, Radke-like. In other words, he eats innings (73.1 IP), he throws strikes, he doesn't walk out many (just 12 BB), and he can get enough strikeouts (67 K). The Rockcats are in need of another starter or two now. I am actually surprised that both Simonitsch and Glen Perkins have not been moved up to New Britain. ETA - 2008.
15 - Danny Matienzo - 24 - 1B/DH - New Britain Rockcats
Can you say Matt LeCroy? Matienzo seems to possess so many LeCroy-like qualities. He is not fast. He has played 3B, 1B and C, and none particularly well. But the man can flat-out hit! There is no questioning that. This year, he's hitting .303/.352/.552 with 20 doubles, six homers and 41 RBI. If you follow my daily minor league reports, Matienzo pops up on there 70% of the time. LeCroy is going to start getting spendy for a man without a position, and he isn't exactly doing much when he does get playing time. So, why not use up his roster spot on Matienzo for league minimum? ETA - Late, 2006.
14 - Garrett Jones - 23 - 1B - Rochester Redwings
Garrett Jones had a total breakout season in 2004 at New Britain. He had done nothing previously in his career, but had a monster year. That got him added to the 40 man roster. He started off hot at AAA with a batting average over .300 and some power. However, his average has really dropped and although he has shown power, it would just be nice to see more consistency. Part of it might be just that he strikes out way too much and doesn't have much patience. In 240 plate appearances, Jones has struck out 56 times and walked just 11 times. I think he needs this whole season at AAA and probably into next year as well. But I do think he has a future as a DH and part time first baseman. ETA - September 2005.
13 - Adam Harben - 21 - RHP - Ft. Myers Miracle
Harben continues to pitch to his scouting report. We know a few things about him. First, he throws hard. Second, he gets strikeouts. Third, he has a tendency to get wild at times! On the season, he is 5-4 with an impressive 2.97 ERA. In 63.2 innings, he has 62 strikeouts. The only negative are the 34 walks. If he can cut that number down, he could be special. ETA - Late, 2008.
12. - JD Durbin - 23 - RHP - Rochester Redwings
Durbin has had a rough season. It started with such high hopes and expectations heading into spring training. He was going to be given a shot at a spot in the starting rotation. However, control became his problem right away in the spring and he was quickly sent to minor league camp. Things haven't really been better since the start of the season. His numbers aren't terrible. He's 2-3, but his ERA is just 3.95. However, in 68.1 innings, he has 58 strikeouts, but he also has 35 walks. He has had two or three really good starts this spring mixed in with the bad ones. That leads me to believe that he's still got it. And remember, he is still just 23 and the Twins starting five is doing well, so there is no need for concern or to rush him. ETA - September 2005.
11 - Travis Bowyer - 23 - RHP - Rochester Redwings
As you know, it is tough for us bloggers to rank relief pitchers too high (with the exception of Jesse Crain, of course). The reason is that they will likely throw between 50 and 80 innings in a season whereas a starter could throw 180-220 innings. However, after a breakthrough 2004 season where Bowyer and his 99 mph fastball jumped from Ft. Myers to New Britain, he was put on the 40 man roster. In spring training, he showed glimpses of what he can be. What is that, a hard throwing reliever who can come in for an inning and get some big strikeouts. He is the closer at Rochester right now and has done great. In 37.2 innings, he has 50 strikeouts. His 16 walks is really good for a hard-thrower. ETA - Hopefully by July 2005!
10 - Jason Bartlett - 25 - SS - Rochester Redwings
Bartlett was the Twins opening day starting shortstop and really was the starter through the first month. But then his batting average fell (although his isolated patience was still very good), and he made an error and Juan Castro became the starter (yes, I was bitter at the time, but Castro is growing on me too!). Bartlett went back to Rochester and after a slow start is now hitting over .300 in 22 games. He still is the shortstop of the near-future in my opinion. He'll be back up at some point this season and should be the starter next spring again.
9 - Denard Span - 21 - OF - Ft. Myers Miracle
All anyone wants is to see a completely healthy season from Span. Actually, they are probably thrilled that he has only missed about ten games so far due to minor injuries. But it also looks like Span has learned how to hit. That .337 batting average with the .410 on-base percentage tells us that, as well as the few strikeouts.! No, he has no power. But that isn't the type of player he is. It bothers me when people compare a Span-like player to a Justin Morneau-like player. Both serve a different role on a team, and both can be important even if Span's OPS never gets real high because of the lack of power. Anyway, back to Span. With healthy, he has been great and finally is starting to show the promise that the Twins saw when they drafted him in the 1st round. three years ago. ETA - Sept. 2007.
8 - Glen Perkins - 22 - LHP - Ft. Myers Miracle
The second of the Twins three first round picks in 2004, the former Gopher has been excellent. He missed his first couple of starts with a sprained wrist and was worked back slowly, but he has been great! I would expect that he should be moved up to New Britain at some time shortly. I keep saying that the Twins are probably waiting for the Tigers to promote Justin Verlander first. ETA - 2007.
7 - Jay Rainville - 19 - RHP - Beloit Snappers
Rainville frequently draws comparisons to Roger Clemens. Probably isn't exactly fair, but a nice compliment. Anyway, he was supposed to spend some time at the Twins extended spring training facility, but an injury moved him into the Beloit rotation. He started off quite slow, but in the last month, he has been excellent and shown the talent that made him a top pick. He is 5-2 with a 3.80 ERA. He has 58 strikeouts and 21 walks over 66.1 innings. ETA - 2009.
6 - Kyle Waldrop - 19 - RHP - Beloit Snappers
Waldrop was the Twins third first round pick (25th overall) last summer. If you look at his win-loss record (3-5), you would think that Waldrop is having a rough first full pro season. And, it wouldn't be true to say that he's been great (4.63 ERA). However, look at his other numbers. For instance, in 72 innings pitched he has 62 strikeouts and just 8 walks. Of course, that was his thing when the Twins drafted him. ETA - 2008.
5 - Jason Kubel - 22 - OF - Minnesota Twins (Disabled List)
It is one of the saddest things of late. After Jason Kubel's remarkable rise through the Twins system last year, he tore up his knee in the Arizona Fall League and will miss this entire season. He is in Ft. Myers rehabbing now. Normally, an injury like this will drop a player a little bit, but not this far down. That's in most organizations. In many, Kubel would still be the #1 prospect, so this ranking says more about the Twins organization and how strong it is. I still fully expect Kubel to be in the Twins starting lineup on Opening Day of 2006. Probably as a DH at this point.
4 - Anthony Swarzak - 19 - RHP - Beloit Snappers
Swarzak was another high school pitcher that the Twins drafted in the top two rounds. Swarzak was actually the last one and yet to this point, he has been the best. Also at Beloit, he is 7-3 with a 2.78 ERA. In 68 innings, he has 77 strikeouts and just 18 walks. Those are really incredible numbers for such a young pitcher. It is exciting to see all three 19 year old pitchers drafted high last year pitching so well at this level of pro ball. ETA - 2008.
3 - Matt Moses - 20 - 3B - Ft. Myers Miracle
Moses had the same problem as Span his first full year of pro ball, staying healthy. The 3B has stayed healthy, for the most part, this season and has responded wonderfully, better than even the Twins could have hoped. He is hitting .324 with 13 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBI. His defense still leaves much to be desired, but no one can question his bat! ETA - Late, 2007.
2. - Scott Baker - 23 - RHP - Rochester Redwings
Baker made a Crain-like rise through the Twins system last season when he started at Ft. Myers and moved up to New Britain, before ending the season in Rochester. Baker continued by having a strong training camp. He has been excellent at Rochester so far going 2-3 with a 2.92 ERA. In 68.1 innings, he has 48 strikeouts and just 14 walks. He was called up to the Twins for the 10 days of Juan Rincon's suspension. It is really unfortunately because he was lost in the bullpen and pitched just one inning of relief. He did not allow a run though. I expect him to come up to the Twins if there is another injury to a pitcher, and certainly he'll be called up on July 31st (to be on the post-season roster), if not sooner.
1 - Francisco Liriano - 21 - LHP - New Britain Rockcats
OK, I talk about Liriano all the time. It should be a surprise to no one that I have him ranked this high on the list. The lanky left throws 98 mph with a Johan-like changeup and a slider. His 2005 record is just 3-5, but his ERA is 3.64. In 76.2 innings, he has just 26 walks and 92 strikeouts. I know that he is missing one start as a precaution for a sore elbow. This guy is worth the patience, especially considering how little he pitched because of arm problems his final two seasons in the Giants organization. ETA - Mid - 2006.
So there you have it, my list of the Top 30 Twins prospects. I think that the Twins have such a strong list of prospects. It is interesting to me, and the reason that I love the Twins minor league system, that all thirty of these players and probably more could have good major league careers in time. For instance, I have Dave Gassner ranked 30th and he came up to the Twins in April and won his big league debut. It is also important to mention the names of some others who just missed this list. I should mention Terry Tiffee who has helped the Twins. How Colby Miller isn't on this list is beyond me, even though I ranked it. David Winfree was probably next in line. Beloit's 3B is a good hitting prospect. Javi Sanchez may be the organization's best catch prospect. Matt Fox, another of the Twins top pitching picks last summer will be having arm surgery and will be out the rest of the season. So have closers Bobby Korecky and Frank Mata. By that, it would be wise not to forget the name of Justin Jones. Jason Miller could be very good. Luis Rodriguez could have made this list as he is helping the Twins right now. Scott Whitrock has great power and speed, but he strikes out a lot and is old for Ft. Myers. Juan Portes will probably move up to E-Town this year. Ben Pattee has been hitting well since returning from injury, moving up to New Britain since then. And, I could probably name a bunch more ,but you're probably ready to go to another website, so I'll end it there.
So, what did you think of my Top 30 Twins prospects? Who did I miss? Who did I rank too high? Too low? Send me your thoughts. I love discussing this stuff.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I am sorry I didn't do minor league recaps. I would encourage you to check out the team sites on the top left of this screen. For thoughts on the Twins loss last night, be sure to check out the other great Twins blogs on the left. I hope everyone has had a great week and that you will enjoy your weekend! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.
I decided that because of some great responses to my Twins Top 30 Prospects list from yesterday that I would post some of the e-mails that I received regarding my list. I also got other people's lists. It is so much fun for me to discuss these players and their stats and hope for the best for them with the Twins in the future. That is why I love to hear from the readers on this and any topic. So today, I am going to post some of the e-mails that I received. Enjoy.
From Chris Dunn
Hey seth, great job as always, my list is different, but that's the point! It's nice to know we have so many great prospects, it's fun to track. Anyways here is my top 30!
1. Jason Kubel - He is gonna come back just fine, a special bat, great arm.
2. Francisco Liriano- Lefty, who can throw mid 90's, and young for being in AA. Top of the rotation Potential
3. Glen Perkins- Another Lefty, 14 k's other day in Fort Myers, he's on the fast track, like Baker is/was.
4. Anthony Swarzak- Dominating Beloit, he's got great command, is a proven winner, competitor, and a Miracle player soon.
5. Scott Baker- I view him as a future #3 pitcher, and a very consistent performer. I see him having a long career as a Twin.
6. Matt Moses- Sweet hitting 3rd basemen, Could have a middle of the lineup type bat. Putting together a great year.
7. Denard Span- Hitting about .340 this year, getting on base, making things happen. He finally is living up to the billing.
8. Adam Harben- Big power pitcher who's dominating at Fort Myers. Should be in AA soon, great Era and K's are a +.
9. Kyle Waldrop- Amazing control for his age, is struggling a bit, but Twins are confident in him. Should be a good #2-4 guy.
10. Travis Bowyer- Might be the best RP in the minors. 98 mph heater, and his numbers are just out of this world. Geeez
11. Jay Rainville- This kid has done everything asked of him. He's doing very well at Beloit. Has top of the rotation potential. Big Righty.
12. Errol Simonitisch- All this kid has done is pitch excellent at every level he's ever been at... Great year this year... Big Lefty...
13. Henry Sanchez- 2005 draftee, soon to sign, Sandwich pick... He's a massive player with unreal hitting ability, Some say best HS hitter.
14. JD. Durbin- (The Real Deal)? - Maybe one day we'll find out, he's getting better though lately, solid Era and Hits/Inning in AAA.
15. Jason Bartlett- Should be up later this year. Needs to work on that fielding a bit and get his confidence up. Good player.
16. Scott Tyler- Dominating past 3 starts, One day this kid is gonna put it all together and just click, he's got top of the line stuff oozing out.
17. Boof Bonser- Struck out 13 the other day. He's doing very well in AAA. Could be a back of the rotation type MLB pitcher.
18. Alex Romero- OF, New Britain. He's really been heating up, 8 homers now and he doesn't really strike out much.
19. Jay Sawatski- Very good pitcher, relief guy who is ready for a call up to AA any time now.
20. Trevor Plouffe- The kid is the youngest player in the MWL. He's still 18! Youngest guy in 2004 draft. He doesn't K much, tough outs..
21. Matt Garza- (2005 draftee) selected 25th overall. Said to bring it 92-95mph, 4 quality pitches. Will start in E-town.
22. Deacon Burns- He's little! So what! All this kid does is hit homers, doubles, triples...extra baggers. Steals bases... He will be a MLB'r
23. Garrett Jones- Has good power, really needs to work on K's too much. Cuz he have Restovich syndrome? We'll see....
24. Jason Miller- RP for the New Britain rock cats. 1.99 era, insane innings pitched/hits ratio, great k's.... and .145 opponents avg off him.
25. Jose Mijares- I think twins may have struck gold with this player, from caracas, Venezuela, doing great in Beloit...Lefty can bring it..
26. Steven Duguay- He's injured, plays for Beloit. 28 ip's, 12 hits, 35k's, 1.35 opponent average. DOMINANT!
27. Danny Matienzo- Well he's a good hitter, not much of a glove. But loves to hit some doubles and homers. DH destined.
28. Kevin Slowey - (2005 draftee, 2nd round)- Godly numbers, he out dueled Mike Pelfrey in college. Could be a real find, going to E-town
29. Johnny Woodard- He's hurt right now, he's due back soon, I've always like this kid, He's a good hitter.
30. Eduardo Morlan- 3rd rounder in 2004. Big Burly HS kid...he did very well in rookie ball. Good fluid pitcher. He will be in E-town.
Some guys for consideration- Alexander Smit (oh how you have fallen son), Colby Miller, Josh Rabe, Justin Jones (INJ), Matt Fox (INJ), Pat Neshek, Ricky Barrett, Doug Deeds, Nick Blackburn, Justin Olson, David Winfree, Tristan Crawford, JP Martinez, Angel Garcia.
I honestly wouldn't trade the Twins farm system for any system in baseball. Our pitching staff is gonna be unreal for the next 10 years to come, barring some sort of ungodly tragedy.....
Terry Ryan, Radcliffe and Rantz and the boys just stock piled us with some great draft picks, lots of college arms to go down to E-town and help us do well there.
Henry Sanchez, many feel is the best pure power hitter in the draft, but that he can also just flat out hit, and spray balls to all fields. We could use a bat like him in say 2009 in our new park ( knock on wood)!
From Roger (Part 1)
Great article...I mean, really great article! I haven't updated my list in several weeks and need to take a look...especially at guys like Matienzo and Romero, who has turned the corner at the plate. I rate kids a little different than you, ie, I give an extra benefit to kids that are closer to making it. A lot can happen between Beloit and Minnesota, so I would rate a kid higher at New Britain than a kid from Beloit that may be doing a bit better. I also no longer include Kubel as a prospect as he has made the team and is on the roster, although on the DL.
AS for guys you missed...I understand not having Colby Miller on the list because of questions regarding his health. I think that David Winfree belongs over Smit. Others that probably should have been on it include Nick Blackburn, Jason Miller and maybe even Matt Yeatman who has very quietly done a good job at New Britain and is only 22 years old. Also, was surprised you didn't include Rob Bowen who is hitting well for the first time and will probably be our backup catcher in 2007.
Interesting move at Ft. Myers last night. Simonitsch was scheduled to start...but Schutt started and Simonitsch came in for 2 innings of relief. Sounds to me like they are getting ready to move Simonitsch to New Britain and wanted to get Schutt into the rotation as his replacement...will Simonitsch start on a different day at New Britain so they wanted to get him 2 innings of work. That would mean he gets moved today or tomorrow.
Also tells us that they are not likely to move any of the "young guns" up from Beloit to replace him. With those kids only 19, probably best to give them the entire year at Beloit...then move them to Ft. Myers next year...with the best making a late season move to New Britain at 20?
When I did my list of "untouchables," I included most of the good pitchers at Ft. Myers and New Britain. Personally, I believe at least two of these seven (Perkins, Simonitsch, Harben, Blackburn, Waldrop, Swarzak, and Rainville) will become stars and #1 level starters. Because they all are several years away, we don't know which two...could be any of them. Therefore, I wouldn't consider a trade for any of them. If two do develop, can you believe a staff 3-4 years from now with Santana, Liriano, two of these kids at #3-#4, and whomever at #5? Will be better than the current staff...hopefully playing outdoors so they can keep Santana.
From Roger (Part 2)
I have now completed an analysis of my Top 30. I have decided that I will make changes to my list 4 times a year. The first will be done prior to spring training each February. It will be revised in early April after all the teams are set. Will revise again each June as the minor league teams approach the half way point. The final revision will be each Sept following the minor league seasons.
I began by reviewing your list. I looked at who probably shouldn't be on my list and who I thought you missed that should have made it. I thought 2 players shouldn't be on your list...Jason Kubel (is on Twins roster/DL), and Alexander Smit. Players on your list that I thought should be on the bubble included...Doug Deeds, Justin Olson, Kevin West and Josh Rabe. The player that wasn't on your list that I thought should definitely be included was Nick Blackburn. Others not on your list that I thought should be considered included Luis Rodriguez, Terry Tiffee, Rob Bowen, Matt Yeatman, Jason Miller, Colby Miller, Scott Tyler, David Winfree and Javi Sanchez. I did not include Abernathy or Williams after thinking about them as I suspect they will be up and down and most likely will be gone after this year.
Of this group I included 5 that weren't on your list, Tiffee, Bowen, Jason and Colby Miller and Nick Blackburn on my list. The 5 on your last that I did not include were Deeds, Olson, West, Rabe and Smit. I think the argument can be made for at least one of the outfielders, I just don't know which one. Rabe has the best numbers at the highest level, however, he is also the oldest?
My updated list as of mid season:
1 Francisco Liriano LHP AA 21
2 Scott Baker RHP AAA 23
3 Jason Bartlett SS AAA 25
4 Travis Bowyer RHP AAA 23
5 Matt Moses 3B A 20
6 Anthony Swarzak RHP A- 19
7 Glen Perkins LHP A 22
8 Errol Simonitsch LHP A 22
9 Nick Blackburn RHP A 23
10 Denard Span CF A 21
11 Adam Harben RHP A 21
12 Jay Rainville RHP A- 19
13 Garrett Jones 1B AAA 24
14 Kyle Waldrop RHP A- 19
15 Dan Matienzo 1B/C AA 24
16 Ricky Barrett LHP AAA 24
17 Boof Bonser RHP AAA 23
18 J.D. Durbin RHP AAA 23
19 Alex Romero OF AA 21
20 Jay Sawatski LHP A 23
21 Pat Neshek RHP AA 24
22 Jason Miller LHP AA 22
23 Luis Maza IF AAA 25
24 Terry Tiffee 3B AAA 26
25 David Gassner LHP AAA 26
26 Colby Miller RHP AA 23
27 Deacon Burns OF A- 22
28 Rob Bowen C AAA 24
29 Luis Rodriguez IF Twins 25
30 Trevor Plouffe SS A- 19
That the list
From Tony Lasky
Great list! One of the words the Twins use all the time concerning a player like Morneau is bus driver. Span is considered a bus rider. You need the riders on base if you're going to score runs. Look at the White Sox last year. Too many drivers and no riders. Span will some day be a great leadoff hitter (I hope), and a great bus rider!
I'm sure that's what Kenny Williams was thinking when he traded Carlos Lee to the Brewers for Scott Podsednik, and didn't sign Mags. He's got more bus riders this year.
From Andy Wink, from Twins Killings
I liked your write up about the prospects. My only gripe was about Boof Bonser. I'd have him in the top 7 or so. He's been REALLY good for the last year or so, since he started to really turn in on about this time last year. Bonser had a good spring training and is putting up just as good of numbers as Baker (#2). Personally, I think he should be used as a trading chip to grab some veteran bat or an outfield prospect... but that's just me.
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