Thursday, September 8, 2011

Naming the Twins' minor league breakout players

At the beginning of the season, Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net asked some of the Twins Blogosphere to give their input on who would be the best players in the minor leagues for the Minnesota Twins. It was a fun exercise to see what other bloggers thought about the promise of a new season and who would shine as the top prospects in the organization.

Below you will find my picks from the preseason and the winners I have chosen now that the season is complete.

Breakout Hitter (Upper Levels)
Pre-season Picks: Chris Parmelee, 1B; Rene Tosoni, OF (Runner-Up)
Both of my picks from the preseason have shown the Twins enough in the minor leagues to be part of the roster in September. They each had very good minor league seasons but one player stood out above the crowd in only 78 games with the Rock Cats. There was plenty of buzz around the Twin Cities with the way Brian Dozier was playing in the minor leagues. Since being drafted by the Twins in 2009, he has shown the ability to hit for average and power at a tough defensive position for the Twins. He will start next season at Rochester but he could get a shot with the Twins in 2012.
2011 Winner: Brian Dozier, SS: .317/.384/.502: 22 2B: 7 3B: 7 HR
2011 Runner-Up: Trevor Plouffe, SS: .313/.384/.635: 11 2B: 3 3B: 15 HR


Breakout Pitcher (Upper Levels)
Pre-season Picks: Liam Hendriks, RHP; Kyle Waldrop (Runner-Up)
The Twins needed the service of both of my preseason picks during the last couple days. Hendriks and Waldrop both earned their first call-up and got to see MLB action for the first time. With Kyle Gibson having Tommy John surgery, Hendriks becomes the Twins top pitching prospect in the higher levels. He was dominant at times in AA this season and the Twins are hoping to see some of that consistency from Hendriks at the big league level in the last month of the season. Hendriks could develop into a solid number two starter for the Twins and he shown a lot of that ability this season.
2011 Winner: Liam Hendriks, RHP: (12-6): 3.36 ERA: 111 K: 21 BB: 1.134 WHIP
2011 Runner-Up: Chuck James, LHP: (3-2): 2.30 ERA: 67 K: 27 BB: 1.213 WHIP

Breakout Hitter (Lower Levels)
Pre-season Picks: Oswaldo Arcia, OF; Niko Goodrum, SS (Runner-Up)
This is a tough category to decide since there were quite a few great seasons put together by the Twins hitters in the lower levels of the minor leagues. At 20 years old, Arcia had a great hitting season between Beliot and Fort Myers. But at the same time, Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario were torching the hitters of the Appalachian League. Arcia did miss a month of the season with elbow surgery but he came back and showed that he could hang with the hitters at Fort Myers. The decision came down to the fact that it is hard to ignore when a player is named MVP of his league even if it is one of the short-season teams. Rosario's numbers were off the charts but a person can't go wrong with picking any of these players.
2011 Winner: Eddie Rosario, OF: .337/.397/.670: 9 2B: 9 3B: 21 HR 
2011 Runner-Up: Oswaldo Arcia, OF: .291/.335/.531: 23 2B: 4 3B: 13 HR

Breakout Pitcher (Lower Levels)
Pre-season Picks: Alex Wimmers, RHP: Adrian Salcedo, RHP (Runner-Up)
Before the season, I predicted that Wimmers would have a break-out campaign similar to what the Twins got from Kyle Gibson in 2010. That did not go as planned but the young right-handed pitcher did end the season on a high note with a seven inning no-hitter. Salcedo had a very good year for the Snappers and he will continue to develop into a top-notch pitching prospect for the Twins. The pitcher that stood out for Beliot and Fort Myers was BJ Hermsen. After shining with the Snappers, Hermsen got promoted to Fort Myers for the last few weeks of the season. It will be fun to see how good the Fort Myers starting rotation can be with both of these players at the beginning of next season.
2011 Winner: BJ Hermsen, RHP: (13-8): 3.33 ERA: 101 K: 37 BB: 1.335 WHIP
2011 Runner-Up: Adrian Salcedo, RHP: (6-6): 2.93 ERA: 92 K: 27 BB: 1.170 WHIP

Make sure to check back at the beginning of next week when I will reveal my picks for the Twins Minor League Player of the Year and the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

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