Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Minnesota Twins Top Prospects 1-10

Yesterday I started my countdown of the top prospects in the Twins organization with prospects 11-20.  As I mentioned in that post, picking out the top talent in an organization's farm system can be one of the most exciting things for bloggers to do in the offseason.  There can be much debate about the merits of a candidate.  In the end it came down to two prospects for me to chose between.  But who will be number 1?

Today the top 10 are revealed with a few surprises along the way:

10.  Max Kepler, OF-  Another young player in the Twins organization, Kepler is only 17.  A product of Europe, Kepler was able to compile a good batting average (.286) with the Rookie League Twins.  His power numbers weren't there last year but he is only 17 so he has time to develop into his man muscles.

9.  Kyle Waldrop, RHP-  Waldrop has been in the Twins system since 2004 when he was drafted in the 1st round.  He spent all of last season at the the AAA level and pitched in the Arizona Fall League.  That trip to the Fall League was rough for Waldrop but he was still invited to the big league camp at Spring Training.  With lots of question marks in the bullpen, Waldrop has a chance to make an appearance with the Twins in 2011.

8.  Liam Hendriks, RHP- Hendriks is Australian born and has shown remarkable ability at all of the levels he has pitched at.  In 2010 he finished the year at high A ball and he had a minuscule ERA of 1.74 along with a WHIP of 0.837.  It will be interesting to see if he can keep his high level as he continues to make his way through the higher levels of the Twins organization.

7.  Oswald Arcia, OF-  Another teenager in the Twins system that had a promising season in 2010.  Arcia played all of 2010 for the Elizabethton Twins.  During last season he was able to show that rare ability to hit for average (.375) and power (21 Doubles, 7 Triples, and 14 HR).  At 19 years old he will have some time to continue to add more power and increase his skills.

6.  Ben Revere, OF-  Twins fans were given a glimpse of this former 1st round pick at the end of the 2010 season.  He made a few brief appearances with the big league squad as the team wrapped up their Central Division crown.  Revere's 2010 minor league season was quite the roller coaster ride and I wrote about that earlier this season.  He has shown great ability to hit for average and steal bases at the minor league level.  His biggest areas of weakness are his lack of power and his throwing ability.  Revere is an injury or two away from getting significant playing time with the Twins in 2011.

5.  Alex Wimmers, RHP-  The Twins 1st round pick in this past year's draft there is little to go off of for minor league numbers.  He is a control pitcher so that means he throws a lot of strikes.  That strike-throwing ability is what lead the Twins to draft him.  He has three decent pitches (fastball, curve, change-up) that he can throw at any point in the count.  Wimmers could rise very fast in the Twins organization this year and has a chance to make it all the way to AAA this year (much like Kyle Gibson did this past season).

4.  Joe Benson, OF-  The Twins Minor League Player of the Year for the 2010 season will have even more to prove in 2011.  As he has entered his 20's his core power numbers have continued to increase.  He had a rough start to the 2010 campaign but was able to finish strong and even represented the Twins in the Arizona Fall League.  He is an overall great athlete that could fit into the Twins outfield plans as he develops.

3.  Aaron Hicks, OF-  Last years #1 Twins prospect according to Baseball America saw his stock fall a little in 2010.  This fall might have more to do with the high performance of those listed above Hicks than him having a bad season.  2010 saw Hicks in his second year at Beloit.  His average and power continue to improve along with good defense.  I fully expect Hicks to fit into the Twins outfield of the future but that might be a few seasons away still.

2.  Kyle Gibson, RHP-  The Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2010 season was able to jump from high A ball at the beginning of year all the way to AAA.  This has left Twins fans wondering how soon it will be until Gibson makes an appearance with the Twins.  He has been invited to Spring Training and will get a chance to prove his worth with the big league squad.  To make the team as they head north, Gibson would have to blow the organization out of the water.  Barring any key injuries to the pitching staff you can expect to see Gibson in mid-summer for a Target Field debut.

1.  Miguel Sano, 3B/SS-  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I love prospects that have the possibility of being a huge star for a long time.  Sano just completed his first professional season with the Twins and in that time he was able to put up very good numbers.  The thought of what could be for this young player leaves me extremely excited.  There will be a few seasons before he will make an impact on the Twins but that still didn't discourage me from putting him #1 on my list.  His numbers were there last year but the more important thing is that he has the tools that the Twins can work with to make him into an All-Star.

There is my list of the top prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization.

There can always be a debate about who goes where and why.  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

There are many others that have created their own prospect lists and you can find links to their prospect lists below:

Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net and the TwinsCentric Crew

John Sickels of Minor League Ball

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects in the Twins Organization

Other bloggers will be releasing their lists in the coming weeks.  Make sure to check them all out.


JimCrikket said...

I watched one of the Twins coaches working one-on-one with Sano on infield technique during Spring Training last March and the thing that stood out was his physique. He may be a teenager (though who knows, given the issues in Latin America with regard to IDs), but he's already a very strong young man.

Two things make him stand out... first that the Twins were willing to spend so much money to sign him and second that the Twins have very little for potential power bats in their system.

It's risky to rank someone who has so much work to do before contributing to the Twins as your #1 prospect, but I'd say he may be the only legitimate potential offensive superstar in the Twins system today and that may make him worthy of that top spot.

Ben said...

We've got some good prospects that make for an encouraging future. I don't see much help this coming season outside of Gibson, but 2012 looks pretty promising with both prospects AND a lot of payroll coming off the books.