Thursday, May 31, 2012

Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

The MLB Draft takes place next week and the Twins hope to be able to take some difference makers with the five picks they have in the first couple of rounds. With the number two pick, the Twins should be getting a player that will jump straight into the top 5 of the list below.

It's great to see where the organization is sitting before they enter the draft. A team's future is decided by the players they select in the draft and a team can be made or broken because of some tough decisions. The team is always in need of adding more pitching depth especially with the onslaught of injuries that have hit some of the top pitching prospects for the team.

Even since the offseason when I put together my last prospect list, the players have shifted around for a variety of reasons. There is still plenty of talent in the Twins system and the draft should only strengthen the future of the club.

1. Miguel Sano, 3B, Low-A Beloit Snappers
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2009)
.245/.351/.527, 13 HR, 10 2B, 2 3B, 40 RBI, 32 R
He is hands down the best prospect in the Twins organization and you will get very few who will argue the fact. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently wrote an article that named Sano as the best power-hitting prospect in the entire minor leagues. He is off to a very good start with Low-A Beloit and one of the most positive signs could be his increased rate of walks. Many fans of the Twins pull up the box score of the Snappers on any given night to see what kind of game Sano had at the plate. He is still a work in progress at third base with 19 errors in 165 chances this year. His 19-year old frame continues to fill out and the Twins are excited about what Sano can mean to the future of this organization. 

2. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Low-A Beloit Snappers
Acquired: 4th round pick (2010)
.284/.356/.458, 16 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 25 R
The Twins saw Rosario blossom last season with the Elizabethton Twins and he continues to impress during his third season with the club. He put up monster numbers for the E-Twins in 2011 and he was named co-MVP of the Appalachian League. Rosario has shown power to all fields and his defense had been outstanding in the outfield. The word "had" is used in the previous sentence because the team decided to transition Rosario from outfield to second base. He has found a few struggles at his new position but he has multiple levels to make it through before the major leagues. This should give the 20-year old plenty of time to prove he can handle the rigors of second base.

3. Liam Hendriks, RHP, Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
W-L (3-0), 1.40 ERA, 0.896 WHIP, 23 K, 8 BB, 25.2 IP
Hendriks has made eight starts in the major leagues with very little to no success but his return trip to Rochester seems to be just what the doctor ordered. He has been impressive so far in his four appearances for the Red Wings and he should get another shot in the major leagues before the season is done. The calling card for Hendriks during his time in the minor leagues has been his ability to control the strike zone and avoid walking batters. Last year he lead the Twins organization in strikeouts with 127 and he was second in wins with 12. The Twins will have openings in the starting rotation for next year and Hendriks should solidify a spot in the starting five in the coming months.

4. Aaron Hicks, OF, Double-A New Britain Rock Cats
Acquired: 1st round pick (2008)
.246/.335/.392, 8 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 29 R
At 22-years old, the Twins are still waiting for Hicks to break out and prove he can be the player he was when they selected him in the first half of first round of the draft in 2008. He played in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason and some scouts thought he was a little lost at the beginning of his tenure. Hicks was able to work through some of those issues and end the AFL by making some improvements to his approach at the plate. The switch-hitting outfielder still struggles as a left-handed batter by hitting .205/.313/.344 so far this year but 10 of his 14 extra-base hits have come from this side of the plate. His defense continues to be outstanding in the outfield and Baseball America ranked him as the top defensive outfielder and top defensive arm in the Twins system.

5. Joe Benson, OF, Double-A New Britain Rock Cats
Acquired: 2nd round pick (2006)
.173/.264/.299, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 11 R
It has been a very rough start to the season for Benson in 2012 as he was suppose to be thriving at Rochester and busting down the door to the major leagues. Things haven't gone exactly to plan and he finds himself demoted to New Britain to try and find his swing. He struggled last season during his September call-up with the Twins but this still didn't take away from the promise he has shown in his minor league career. He was the 2010 player of the year for the Twins farm system and the team hopes he can get back to that level in the near future.

6. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, High-A Fort Myers Miracle
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
.298/.351/.482, 13 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 13 R
It seems as if Arcia could find himself shooting up this prospect list with his performance in 2012. He is currently outperforming many of the names listed above him and it should only be a matter of time before he finds himself in the outfield of the Rock Cats. He has never played more than 81 games in a season so it will be interesting to see how he fairs towards the end of a long campaign.

7. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
Acquired: 1st round pick (2009)
Gibson is in the midst of rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery and he should be throwing off of a mound at the beginning of June. The Twins hope to get Gibson into some minor league games by the end of the summer and he could be set to join the Twins starting rotation in 2013. When he was healthy, he moved through the minor league system very quickly so it will be great to see what he can do with his surgically repaired elbow.

8. Travis Harrison, 3B, Extended Spring Training
Acquired: Supplemental 1st round pick (2011)
When the Twins took Harrison in the supplemental round of last June's draft, there were some lofty expectation thrown on the high school power hitter. As a prep player, he showed tremendous power potential and the team was happy to take him with one of their early round picks. His size and body type make it hard to believe that he will stick at third base but his bat projects to be one of the biggest in the system.

9. Brian Dozier, SS, MLB Minnesota Twins
Acquired: 8th round pick (2009)
.228/.247/.337, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R
It is looking like Dozier won't be on this prospect list for long as the team has inserted him into the role of everyday shortstop at the major league level. After getting off to a hot start in his first handful of games, the rest of the league has made some adjustments and Dozier has come back down to earth. The Twins are committed to Dozier at this point and he looks like he will be entrenched at shortstop until he proves he can't handle the job.

10. Adrian Salcedo, RHP, High-A Fort Myers Miracle
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2007)
W-L (0-1), 5.64 ERA, 1.881 WHIP, 13 SO, 15 BB, 22.1 IP
So far this year, Salcedo has run into some strange situations on the mound. He was forced to leave one start this year after a one-hopper broke his nose. A blister on his finger in a different outing caused him to leave the game. Now Salcedo is on the disabled list with an elbow injury as he tries to rehab his way back onto the field. Mr. Salcedo has seen success at every level of the minor leagues so hopefully the start of this year is just a small hiccup.

Just missing the list: Chris Parmelee 1B, Alex Wimmers RHP, Hudson Boyd RHP, Chris Herrmann C, Levi Michael IF

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