Monday, July 11, 2011

Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

Hendriks has found himself moving up the prospect charts.
The All-Star Game is tomorrow evening and with it comes the mid-point of the MLB season. That means that it is time to reevaluate the top prospects in the Twins organization. There have been some players that are off to excellent starts this year and there are others that have not lived up to expectations.

Entering the 2011 season there were three prospects that sat at the top of most lists concerning the Minnesota Twins. Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, and Miguel Sano have shown that they are the in the future plans of the Twins organization. Another player has entered the realm of these other top prospects during the 2011 season. Liam Hendriks has shown tremendous ability for the New Britain Rock Cats. But has Hendriks shown enough to crack into the top three spots?

1. Aaron Hicks - OF - 22 - Fort Myers Miracle
.272 BA - 21 DBL - .388 OBP - .408 SLG - .795 OPS (72 Games)
The start to Hick's 2011 season was a rough one as he finished the month of April with a .211 BA and other low numbers across the board. The months of May and June have seen Hick's go on an offensive tear at the plate. For the month of June, he batted .337 with 11 doubles and a .996 OPS. His tremendous defensive ability has also helped to lead the way for the Miracle. Hicks seems to be a player that is putting all of the tools together in his first full season in the Florida State League.

2. Miguel Sano - IF - 18 - Elizabethton Twins
.295 BA - 6 DBL - .325 OBP - .564 SLG - .889 OPS (19 Games)
Sano topped my list of prospects during this offseason and he has done nothing to take away from that ranking. It is still early in the season for the Elizabethton Twins and that means that there is still a lot of time left for him to show that he belongs in the Rookie Appalachian League. With six doubles, three triples, and three homeruns in nineteen games this year, the power potential of Sano seems to be shining through for the Twins. He is a raw talent and he does have five errors in time spent at third base and shortstop in 2011.

3. Kyle Gibson - RHP - 23 - Rochester Red Wings
W-L (3-7) - 4.17 ERA - 1.344 ERA - 86 K - 22 BB (86.1 IP)
After the season Gibson had in 2010, many Twins fans felt that he would already be part of the major league roster. There have been different struggles for the top pitching prospect in the Twins organization in his first full season at the AAA level. Locating his pitches is key for Gibson and he has stressed through messages on his Twitter account that he continues to work on various parts of his game. His breaking pitches have improved over last season but the location of his fastball has been a struggle at different points in 2011. Depending on how the rest of the season goes for the Twins, there is still a good chance that fans will get their first glimpse of Gibson at Target Field this year.

4. Liam Hendriks - RHP - 22 - New Britain Rock Cats
W-L (8-2) - 2.70 ERA - 1.144 WHIP - 81 K - 18 BB (90 IP)
Hendriks has seen himself become one of the hottest Twins pitching prospects during the 2011 season. He was a highly ranked prospect after the 2010 campaign that even included an emergency appendectomy. Hendriks has rebounded nicely from that surgery and looked dominant at times for the Rock Cats. He already has more complete games this season than the rest of his minor league career combined. Twins fans caught a first glimpse of Hendriks on Sunday when he pitched for the World Team in the MLB Futures Game. Nerves seemed to get the best of Hendriks in this outing but the hope is he can continue to pitch well at AA. If he keeps up his level of play for the Rock Cats, there is a good chance he could make an appearance with the Red Wings by the end of the season.

5. Oswaldo Arcia - OF - 20 - Fort Myers Miracle
.342 BA - 12 DBL - .394 OBP - .650 SLG - 1.044 OPS (33 Games)
The Twins have moved Arica through many teams in the farm system so far in 2011. He has played games with the GCL Twins, the Beliot Snappers, and the Fort Myers Miracle. At 20 years old, Arcia is the currently the youngest player on the Miracle by over a year. Competing with players older than himself has not been an issue for Arcia as he has managed a .293 BA in the 11 games he has played in the Florida State League. The Twins have used Arcia a lot as a DH this season so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues as he moves through the system.

6. Joe Benson - OF - 23 - New Britain Rock Cats
.284 BA - 18 DBL - .377 OBP - .466 SLG - .843 OPS (58 Games)
Benson has just recently returned from an injury that cost him the entire month of June. The Twins awarded Benson with their Minor League Player of the Year Award at the end of last season. During that season he showed the offensive skills the Twins saw when they selected him with their second-round pick in the 2006 June draft. In limited action during the 2011 season, Benson has kept his average near .300 with decent power numbers to back-up his average. It will be interesting to see if his hitting can continue to improve now that he is healthy.

7. Adrian Salcedo - RHP - 20 - Beloit Snappers
W-L (5-3) - 2.81 ERA - 1.148 WHIP - 68 K -24 BB (99.1 IP)
The Twins are keeping an eye on the hot pitching streak that Salcedo has amassed for the Beliot Snappers. The 20-year old pitcher has been a roll lately with seven straight starts that he has gone at least six innings while allowing two runs or less. In his four starts during the month of June, Salcedo only allowed seven earned runs in 27.1 IP. Last season the Twins were forced to advance Mr. Salcedo from Elizabethton all the way up to Fort Myers. He had struggles with that transition but he has looked much more confident at Beliot.

8. Trevor Plouffe - IF - 25 - Rochester Red Wings
.314 BA - 11 DBL - .386 OBP - .644 SLG - 1.030 OPS (50 Games)
Fans of the Twins got a look at Plouffe when he was given a chance to be the starting shortstop for the Twins earlier this year. That plan did not go exactly the way the team and Plouffe wanted it to go. His play on defense was a cause for concern and he quickly found himself in the doghouse with the Twins coaching staff. He was sent back down to Rochester to work on defense at multiple position. Mr. Plouffe has been playing with a chip on his shoulder since being demoted and he made it hard for the Twins to keep him in the minor leagues. That is why he will rejoin the team on Thursday after the All-Star break. Hopefully his offensive output follows him to the Twin Cities. 

9. Angel Morales - OF - 21 - Has Not Played
Morales spent most of this spring trying to rehab an elbow injury but at the beginning of last month the Twins decided that this rehab was not improving the situation. The pain in his elbow was not going away and the team was forced to turn to Tommy John surgery. The recovery time for an outfielder having this surgery is around nine months but that still means that Morales will miss the entire 2011 season. Last season, Morales split time between Beliot and Fort Myers and he showed the ability to drive the ball. The Twins are hoping for a full recovery and that Morales will continue to climb their list of top prospects next season.

10. Eddie Rosario - OF - 19 - Elizabethton Twins
.299 BA - 4 DBL - .365 OBP - .571 SLG - .936 OPS (19 Games)
The Twins used their fourth round pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft to select Rosario so he is fairly new to the Twins system. After last year's draft, he signed and was sent to the GCL Twins. He kept his average around the .300 mark and in 51 games he was able to compile nine double, two triples, and five homeruns. In only 19 games so far in 2011, Rosario has matched his HR total from last season. His ability to steal bases and his defensive skills help to keep him at the top of the Twins list of future players.

Players that were close to the making the top 10 (in alphabetical order): David Bromberg, Carlos Gutierrez, Max Keppler, Chris Parmelee, and Rene Tosoni

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