Results tagged ‘ Minnesota Twins ’
Next up are the Minnesota Twins, one of the organizations I like writing about the most. I’ve long liked the way they go about their business and their system is one of the better ones in baseball. Even with injuries to the top guys, No. 1 overall prospect Byron Buxton and No. 9 Miguel Sano, the Twins have a tremendous amount of potential impact talent. Including Buxton and Sano, the Twins have six players in the top 40 on our Top 100 list, with the addition of Nick Gordon via the 2014 Draft.
No. 11 prospect Kennys Vargas just graduated off, meaning No. 21 below is now officially in the Top 20. The 21-25 list is still pretty solid, showing you just how good this system is.
21. Michael Cederoth, RHP: This San Diego State product was ranked No. 59 on our Draft Top 200 and went No. 79 overall in the third round. He doesn’t lack for arm strength, with an ability to hit the upper-90s, especially in shorter stints. He performed well in such a role, serving as San Diego State’s closer as a junior. He had started in the past as well, with mixed results, and the Twins sent the big right-hander out as a starting pitcher. Early returns were positive, so look for him to be in a rotation somehwere with a full-season club in 2015.
22. Jake Reed, RHP: Ranked No. 123 on the Draft Top 200, the University of Oregon right-hander went in the fifth round, No. 140 overall. Reed had been a starter for two years, but really took off when he moved into the closer role this past spring. His fastball-slider combination works really well in short relief, throwing the heater in the mid-90s with good life and a hard slurve-like slider that misses a lot of bats. He had a strong pro debut this summer and should move quickly through the Twins system.
23. Rainis Silva, C: Considered by some to be the best young backstop in the system, Silva made his United States debut in 2014, playing in the Gulf Coast League at age 18. He more than held his own, hitting .270, albeit without any power or on-base skills. He has some impressive catch and throw ability that should continue to improve. He threw out 39 percent of would-be basestealers in the GCL this summer.
24. Ryan Eades, RHP: The 2013 second-rounder out of LSU had an up-and-down first full season of pro ball. He finished with a 5.14 ERA over 133 innings, all in the Midwest League. He did finish the season well, with a 2.86 ERA in 28 1/3 August innings. When he’s on, he has an intriguing three-pitch mix, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a curve and a changeup. He needs to continue improving his secondary stuff along with his command in order to move up the ladder.
25. Yorman Landa, RHP: Landa made the move to the bullpen in 2014, his first taste of full-season ball. He was throwing well, striking out 10.8 per nine innings over his first 25 innings pitched. But the Venezuelan right-hander landed on the disabled list in late May with a shoulder issue and didn’t return. He should be back in 2015. If he’s healthy and can refine his command a bit, he could be a very good power arm out of the pen.
Our most recent Pipeline Perspectives is up on the MLBPipeline.com now. Jim Callis and I debate which teams have the best trio of prospects in the game. I went for the Cubs combination of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora. Jim advocated for the Twins trio of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer.
As we’ve tried to get in the habit of doing, both of us are blogging about the subject as well. Jim ranked his favorites. By now, you know me… I like using our Prospect Points system to see how things shake out. So I took the top trio from every organization that had three or more prospects in the Top 100 (the Red Sox could have had three trios, for example, but I only took one) and ranked them using our points system. A quick refresher: 100 points for the No. 1 prospect, 99 for No. 2, all the way down to one point for the last prospect in the Top 100. Here’s what the “standings” look like:
|1||Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer||MIN||270|
|2||Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora||CHC||269|
|3||Carlos Correa, Mark Appel, George Springer||HOU||257|
|4||Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow||PIT||247|
|5||Xander Bogaerts, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley||BOS||238|
|6||Kyle Zimmer, Yordano Ventura, Raul Alberto Mondesi||KC||205|
|7||Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Rafael Montero||NYM||185|
|8||Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez||BAL||184|
|9||Jonathan Gray, Eddie Butler, David Dahl||COL||177|
|10||Francisco Lindor, Clint Frazier, Trevor Bauer||CLE||172|
|11||Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee||LAD||170|
|12||Andrew Heaney, Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick||MIA||158|
|13||Austin Hedges, Max Fried, Matt Wisler||SD||158|
|14||Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong, Stephen Piscotty||STL||144|
|15||Archie Bradley, Chris Owings, Braden Shipley||ARI||142|
|16||Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor, Michael Choice||TEX||133|
|17||Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna||TOR||132|
|18||Jake Odorizzi, Hak-Ju Lee, Taylor Guerrieri||TB||69|
The first month of the season is in the books, so it’s time to take a look at which prospects performed the best over the opening weeks of the season. Small sample size? Sure, but it’s fun to see who broke out of the gates well among the prospects on the Top 100 list.
Hitters (It’s good to be a Twins fan)
Byron Buxton, Twins (No. 19 overall, No. 2 on Twins Top 20) — 1.194
Miguel Sano, Twins (No. 12 overall, No. 1 on Twins Top 20) — 1.183
Nick Franklin, Mariners (No. 45 overall, No. 4 on Mariners Top 20) — 1.1161
Nolan Arenado, Rockies (No. 60 overall, No. 2 on Rockies Top 20) — 1.059
George Springer, Astros (No. 55 overall, No. 3 on Astros Top 20) — 1.056
Sano — 9
Springer — 8
Courtney Hawkins, White Sox (No. 65 overall, No. 1 on White Sox Top 20) — 7
Joc Pederson, Dodgers (No. 81 overall, No. 3 on Dodgers Top 20) — 6
Javier Baez, Cubs (No. 16 overall, No. 1 on Cubs Top 20) — 5
Mike Zunino, Mariners (No. 23 overall, No. 3 on Mariners Top 20) — 26
Sano — 24
Arenado — 21
Buxton — 21
Springer — 20
Billy Hamilton, Reds (No. 11 overall, No. 1 on Reds Top 20) — 15
Buxton — 9
Gregory Polanco, Pirates (No. 62 overall, No. 4 on Pirates Top 20) — 9
Luis Sardinas, Rangers (No. 80 overall, No. 3 on Rangers Top 20) — 8
Francisco Lindor, Indians (No. 14 overall, No. 1 on Indians Top 20) — 7
Pederson — 7
Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks (No. 24 overall, No. 2 on D-backs Top 20) — 1.26
Taijuan Walker, Mariners (No. 5 overall, No. 1 on Mariners Top 20) — 1.55
Jesse Biddle, Phillies (No. 58 overall, No. 1 on Phillies Top 20) — 1.74
Michael Wacha, Cardinals (No. 79 overall, No. 5 on Cardinals Top 20) — 1.86
Gerrit Cole, Pirates (No. 9 overall, No. 1 on Pirates Top 20) — 2.32
A Bradley — 43
Biddle — 40
Jake Odorizzi, Rays (No. 43 overall, No. 3 on Rays Top 20)– 36
Zack Wheeler, Mets (No. 8 overall, No. 2 on Mets Top 20)– 36
Chris Archer, Rays — 35 (No. 44 overall, No. 4 on Rays Top 20) — 35
Batting average against
Or STPR for short. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
I’m in Florida now for a two-week stretch and it’s like a gold mine for us prospect fans. Especially this early and especially with the World Baseball Classic, prospects are and will get a lot of playing time in Grapefruit League action.
My goal is to give updates regularly here on B3 about the players I get to see. When I can, I’ll also wrinkle in some opinions from scouts about prospects in big league camps in general. so lets get this thing started, shall we?
Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first game and I took in the Rays-Twins game. There were prospects-aplenty, with both the Rays‘ and the Twins‘ Top 20s well-represented (rank in team top 20 in parentheses):
Will Myers (1): Started in RF, went 1-for-2 with a walk. He told me he’s really working on turning on the ball so he can tap into his power to the pull side more consistently.
Hak-Ju Lee (5): Came into the game and played shortstop, went 1-for-2 with a run scored. Drove in the tying run with an infield single, stole second and third and scored during the five-run Rays’ 8th.
Mike Montgomery (8): The lefty who came in the James Shields trade tossed a scoreless eighth inning, allowing one hit and one walk (Keep an eye out today for a story I wrote about him).
Joe Benson (13): Benson started in center and hit lead off as he competes with others for the spot. He went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Much, much more to come. Today, I’m at the Pirates-Red Sox. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s starting in center for the Red Sox and I see that Gregory Polanco is on the travel roster for the Pirates.
Been a busy week, what with participating in our democracy and all. Let’s catch up, shall we?
The report on the White Sox featured Trayce Thompson. The video report focused on Thompson, Carlos Sanchez and Andy Wilkins.
The Orioles’ report featured Jonathan Schoop, while the video report’s focus was on Schoop, Clay Schrader and Chris Petrini.
And, finally, the report on the Braves centered around Nick Ahmed , while the video report focused on Edward Salcedo, Ahmed and Cory Rasmus.
And a quick catch up on Stars of the Day:
Wednesday: Logan Darnell of the Twins. The left-hander went four innings, allowing no runs on one hit while walking none and striking out five in his first AFL start.
Covering Monday and Tuesday’s games, following my two-day stint in our studios in NYC to shoot AFL team reports and record things for the 2013 Draft Top 50 (coming in November!)
Monday’s Star of the Day nod goes to Padres’ 2b prospect Jeudy Valdez. Leading off for Peoria on Monday, the 23-year-old went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. Valdez had a big year in 2011, in the hitter-friendly California League, hitting .295 with 15 homers, 92 RBIs and 34 steals. But he wasn’t nearly as productive with the move up to the Double-A Texas League (.225/.273/.364), so a good AFL could help him get back headed in the right direction.
I figured at some point, there would be repeat Stars of the Day, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, and I certainly didn’t think it would happen with a pitcher. With all due respect to Kolten Wong’s 4-for-4 day, it’s Kyle Gibson who once again deserves the honor. The Twins’ right-hander continues to put Tommy John surgery in his rear view mirror. The Twins’ No. 16 prospect (me thinks he’ll move up in 2013) once again went five innings, allowing one run on six hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 8. In two outings, his line reads: 10 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 0.90 ERA, 0 BB, 16 K. Not too shabby.
Gibson is one of the Twins’ prospects featured in the AFL team report we recorded in NY. Here’s the finished version.
Sure, there were some good performances at the plate. Gary Brown had three hits, two RBIs and a stolen base, not a bad day’s work for the Giants’ No. 1 prospect. Nick Castellanos, the Tigers’ top prospect, hit a ninth-inning home run to give Mesa its first win. And Washington prospect Brian Goodwin (No. 3) homered to tie the game in the ninth as Salt River went on to beat Brown and Scottsdale, 6-5.
But Thursday’s Star of the Day is a no-brainer, and it comes from the mound.
Kyle Gibson came to the Fall League to continue to make up for lost innings and to regain his form following Tommy John surgery. The Twins’ No. 16 prospect would likely be in the big leagues by now if it hadn’t been for his elbow woes and he threw just 28 1/3 innings in 2012 as he worked his way back. Well, if Thursday is any indication, he’s shaking the rust off quite nicely. Gibson went five shutout innings on Thursday, something that doesn’t typically happen this early in the AFL schedule. He gave up just four hits, walked none and struck out eight. He hadn’t thrown more than four innings in any outing since he returned from TJ surgery.
Sometimes, the timing just works out. Not always, maybe not often, but when it does, it can be very nice.
Case in point: On Tuesday, I was going to drive from Fort Myers to Sarasota bright and early to talk to the Orioles’ Jason Esposito (No. 5 on the O’s Top 20). I had to drive north anyway, what with an assignment to cover the Twins against the Tigers in Lakeland on Wednesday, so it was no big deal.
As it turned out, Esposito was coming with the A-level Orioles down to Fort Myers for a Minor League game, so I was able to stick around and wait for him there. The interview we did resulted in this story about the third baseman, including some of the video interview we did.
If that’s not enough Espo for you (I hope it’s OK to call him that — you can ask him on Twitter @JasonEsposito), here’s the interview in it’s entirety, uncut.
Pretty well-spoken, mature young man, don’t you think? Those Vandy products do tend to come out with a pretty good head on their shoulders.
The added bonus of being able to stay in Fort Myers is that I got to watch the Twins’ A-level team play (actually, 2 of them, but the game I focused on was the low-A one). Esposito was playing in that game (so was Glynn Davis, No. 8 on that O’s list). But the real fun was that they were playing a Twins team that included Twins’ No. 1 prospect Miguel Sano, No. 4 Eddie Rosario and No. 9 Adrian Salcedo, not to mention first-round pick Levi Michael. Sano and Rosario should make for a very exciting combination in Beloit this year and Salcedo could start the year in Fort Myers.
Salcedo is typically around 93 mph, maybe touching a 94 and he was right around that area in this start, mostly 91-92 mph, from what I saw. He showed some good ability with his breaking ball and his changeup. The outing overall was up-and-down. Salcedo cruised through the first inning and did a fantastic job keeping the ball down in the zone. In his second inning of work, he was up and he got hit as a result. Things unraveled a bit for him and he had a hard time stopping the bleeding — “damage control” as one Twins executive put it at the game.
Now here’s where the luck of the day kind of ran out. I was so excited to see Sano hit — it was fun watching him take BP (he’s the type people are going to stop what they’re doing to watch hit). The previous day stalwart baseball writer LaVelle E. Neal III was excitedly telling me about seeing Sano triple twice and homer in a Minor League game he had just watched.
I had no such luck. Facing lefty Tim Berry, Sano was lost in both of his at-bats, striking out swinging wildly both times. The second at-bat, he swung and missed badly at soft stuff then whiffed on a fastball. I tell you this not because I think it’s some warning sign, that he’s overrated. Hardly. Maybe just take it as a reminder that he probably has a long way to go. Or, as that Twins exec mentioned above, said, “It will take time.”
And finally, the last installment of my video interviews with members of the 2010 Draft class, first-round style.
The Twins took Alex Wimmers No. 21 overall in last year’s Draft out of Ohio State and he fits the Minnesota mold in terms of the kind of pitcher it looks for in the Draft — typically college guys who know how to pitch, throw a lot of strikes and command the baseball well.
After signing, Wimmers did get his feet wet professionally last summer, making four starts for Ft. Myers in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. He gave up one run in 15 2/3 IP, a nice way to kick things off. He was back in Ft. Myers, obviously, for Spring Training and got to stay for the start of the FSL season.
Things didn’t exactly get off on the right foot, though. In his 2011 debut, Wimmers walked the first six batters he faced. Of his 28 pitches, only four were strikes. He was charged with three wild pitches and four runs without allowing a hit or retiring a batter. The Twins placed Wimmers on the disbled list with what was called “flu-like symptoms,” but really they were taking him out of the rotation so he could try to re-discover his mechanics. Remember, this is a guy who was a first-rounder largely because of his command… we’re not talking about a power arm here with a history of control problems. Here’s hoping he gets things sorted out before long.
In the meantime, here’s the edited, cleaner version of our Spring Training interview, when he was just coming back from a minor hamstring issue (hmm, I wonder if that threw his mechanics off at all). Click here to watch it.
And for those of you who want the unedited, longer version, watch below. Now that I’m done with the first-rounder series, I’ll try to get more video on here as the season wears on. Enjoy!
Here’s the Minnesota Twins’ Top 10 prospects, meaning it’s time for OMG (One More Guy) from their system:
Angel Morales, OF: The third-round draft pick out of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy in 2007 continued to make his slow climb up the Twins’ ladder in 2010, showing both his considerable tools as well as what he still needs to work on.
It’s been one step at a time for the now-21-year-old outfielder, sometimes having to hit a step twice. He made it to full-season ball in his third summer as a pro, then began last year back in Beloit. He showed progress there to earn a promotion to Ft. Myers, where he was just so-so.
When everything is going right for Morales, he’s got a very interesting power-speed combination. He doesn’t always tap into his raw power, with his career high in homers (15) actually coming when he was with short-season Elizabethton back in 2008. His 29 steals last year were a career high. Defensively, he’s not a great center fielder, but he’s got enough arm for a corner and if the power comes, he could profile well in right.
Assuming he goes back to Ft. Myers to start 2011, it will be interesting to see if he can make more progress and earn another midseason promotion. Even though he’s already spent four summers with the Twins, he’s still young and not particularly behind the curve.