Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twins Top 15 Prospects: 2011

Minnesota Twins Top 15 Prospects: 2011 

1) Kyle Gibson
2) Aaron Hicks
3) Alex Wimmers
4) Ben Revere
5) Liam Hendriks
6) Joe Benson
7) Miguel Sano
8) Carlos Gutierrez
9) Adrian Salcedo
10) Angel Morales
11) David Bromberg
12) Manuel Solimon
13) Billy Bullock
15) Max Kepler-Rozycki

Note about the process: When ranking prospects there are two key factors that weigh in the process - projectability, and upside. I value projectability quite a bit more than a lot of other rankings systems. Therefor toolsy players who've yet to refine their talents into skills will rank lower on my charts than on some others. Please realize this doesn't mean that I don't see someone's inherent talents, or understand what they could become. But given the choice between a player I "know" will contribute at the MLB level, or one that has a chance to be a better one - I'll take the "sure thing." Feel free to agree or disagree with that methodology at your leisure. 

Now for the hard part. The Twins system isn't the Royals system, but it's probably the second best in the division - I think most of the SP prospects are more projectable than the Indians. The guys I have listed at 1,3, and 5 on this list are all going to be MLB starters barring injury, and headlining the list is Gibson who reminds me a lot of Tim Hudson. Meaning he's probably more of #2, but will have some years where he puts up #1-type performances. 

Other pitchers who I like further down the list are young Latin finds Adrian Salcedo and Manuel Solimon. I'm not entirely certain what to make of Solimon yet, but I like him. Salcedo has the stuff to be a #2/#3 and his command is superb but he needs plenty of work. Carlos Gutierrez has been a starter but should be a very good relief pitcher.

Amongst position prospects the Twins really have one area of strength, and it's in the outfield where they have perhaps five or six potential Major Leaguers. At #2 on my list, I have Aaron Hicks, a switch hitter who is going to fly up the ladder once he either figures out his left-handed swing, or drops it altogether, because the rest of his game is pretty stunning.  Ben Revere is the closest of the group and he will be a Major League player, though his Juan Pierre-like game means his upside is somewhat limited.

The obvious "snub" on my list is 3rd base prospect Miguel Sano. I put that in quotes because I don't mean it as a snub of course. He's a lot like the Tigers toolsy Nick Castellanos. Both are very young with incredible upside - and Sano gets the nod over Castellanos for me because he's actually proven he can hit professional pitching, even if it was in the Rookie Leagues. I have Castellanos at #8 overall on the Tigers list, Sano at #7 on the Twins. Both could fly up that list with strong performances in A ball.

The system lacks any clear-cut A grade prospects (though Gibson and Hicks could qualify for some) but as per usual, is deep in highly projectable pitching and has a lot of impressive outfield talent. While it does those two things better than just about any other team in the division, it is lacking in other areas and could stand to add some balance.

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.

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