Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2013 Minnesota Twins Top 15 Prospects

                                                                   Minnesota Twins

1.) Miguel Sano 3B                                           Prospect Rating: 725
 Sano might have more power than any player in the minors leagues since Giancarlo Stanton reached the majors in 2010. He is already a physical specimen and will continue to grow as he gets older. The product of the Dominican Republic was perhaps the most highly touted prospect from the island in the last decade. His story was documented in the critically acclaimed Pelotero this past year. And the hype around Sano is well warranted; Sano's power tool is an easy 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. In his 2011 campaign, Sano ranked  2nd in Appalachian League with 20 homers (in just 66 games) as an 18-year old. In his first year of full season ball Sano paced the Midwest League in home runs, total bases, and RBIs. However their are some areas of Sano's game that are red flags. Sano struck out an average of 32% of his at bats last season. While strike outs will always be a part of his game, most scouts are confident that with more polish he will hit for average along with power. He also draws a lot of walks to help off set all the K's he piles up. Defense is also a question mark for Sano. Originally drafted as a SS, Sano already outgrew the position. He has been converted to third base, but he needs a lot more polish to handle the hot corner. There is a chance he could wind up in Right in the future as well. You are certainly buying into the bat first here, so defense takes as back seat at this point.
2.) Byron Buxton OF                                      Prospect Rating: 700
As load as Sano's tools are, Buxton's may be louder. Buxton was widely regarded as the best prospect in the 2012 draft, and the Twins nabbed him with the 2nd pick last June. Buxton has big time raw power and speed that make scouts drool. He doesn't have a tone of present power, but he has lightning quick hands that generate tremendous bat speed. He is a burner on the base paths too. In center he covers a ton of ground and has a plus arm. He should almost certainly be able to stick there. Unfortunately, Buxton is a very raw talent and may be as many as 5 years away from the big leagues. However, if everything comes together for the native Georgian, watch out.
3.) Eddie Rosario 2B                                      Prospect Rating: 600
Rosario has great pop for a second baseman, and he even out slugged Miguel Sano in the Appalachian League with 21 home runs in 2011. This year he continued his success as he posted  a .347/.499/.846 triple slash-line for Low-A Beloit. He has excellent bat speed, and should continue to hit for decent power as he reaches the next level. Rosario has a refined approach at the dish and appears to have a different plan for every at bat. Defensively, some scouts question whether he has good enough hands to remain a second. He may have to make the move back to the outfield where he began his career as a professional.
4.) Oswaldo Arcia OF                                  Prospect Rating:575
Arcia is yet another bat in Minnesota's system that can flat out rake. After hitting very well for Fort. Myers, Arcia elevated his game even more after a promotion to New Britain. He slugged at .559 clip and hit .328 for the Rock Cats in 69 games. Arcia projects as solid corner outfielder with the potential to  have above average power. He also has a good track-record for having a high average in the minors, but to maintain his success he will need to improve his plate discipline and cut down on his strikeouts.
5.) Aaron Hicks OF                                     Prospect Rating: 525
Aaron Hicks has long been one of the most of the most frustrating prospects in baseball. He is a great athlete oozing with talent, but he has never been able translate his skills into performance. Hicks has solid pop, great speed, a balanced approach, and a rocket for an arm but it almost seemed that like he would never make enough contact to use any of his assets. Everything finally started to come together for the 2008 draftee this year. He hit .287, swiped 32 bags a year, and added 13 homers. While Hick's progress is significantly behind the schedule, he is still only 22. He could get his first taste of the show sometime late this year.
6.) Max Kepler OF                                     Prospect Rating: 500
Few prospects have more interesting backgrounds than Twins' outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler inked an $800, 000 bonus out of Germany, the highest ever for a European signee. He is the son of Polish and American ballet dancers who raised Kepler in Berlin. Kepler has a big-rangy frame and has some serious power potential. He has a pretty swing from both sides of the plate, especially from the left. The German native started to harness his tools and made huge strides in 2012. He made good contact (.297) and connected for 10 home runs for Elizabethton.
7.) J.O. Berrios RHP                                   Prospect Rating: 500
In a banner year for the island, J.O. Berrios was the top arm from Puerto Rico in the 2012 draft. Berrios already has a live arm but there is not a lot of projection left for him. At 6'0" 190 Lbs. he is probably maxed out physically, but his heater comfortably sits between 92-95 and he has reportedly been clocked at 98. Berrios has an aggressive approach and he pounds away at the lower portion of the strike zone. He has a hammer curve that could develop as a plus pitch. His change up is a step or two behind his other offerings at this point. The Papa Juan XXIII graduate has #2 starter potential if he reaches his ceiling. However, there is a decent chance he will end up in the pen because of his size. 
8.) Kyle Gibson RHP                                Prospect Rating: 500
Once an elite prospect, injuries have forced Gibson to fall in recent years. He pitched under 30 innings  in 2011 and time is running out for him to reach potential. At 6'6" Gibson has a huge precense on the mound. His fastball sits in the low 90's with a lot of sink and is at least an average pitch. His best offering is his slider which has a sharp break. Gibson has good command of his pitches and if he can stay healthy he should be pitching in Minnesota this Summer. 

9.)Travis Harrison 3B                              Prospect Rating: 500

Travis Harrison profiles as a corner infielder with solid offensive upside. Harrison spurned the Gamecocks when he took a $1.05 million offer to sign with the Twins in 2011. Harrison's bat is his calling card, as he projects to hit for both average and power. He has a balanced swing that generates a lot of line drives. He could stick at third, but he more than likely will move across the diamond to first.
10.) Adrian Salcedo RHP                         Prospect Rating: 475
Salcedo will probably never be a front-line starter, but he could prove to be to be an asset as a back of the rotation guy with a great feel for pitching. Salcedo can throw all of his pitches (fastball, curve, and change up) for strikes and rarely allows free-passes. Salcedo doesn't blow up the radar guns, but if he add couple pounds to his wirey frame he could add a couple ticks on his velocity. Salcedo has one thing going for him; he gets a ton of movement on his pitches. After missing most of his 2012 season due to injuries, it will be interesting to see how Salcedo bounces back this year. 
11.)Hudson Boyd RHP                          Prospect Rating: 475        
Boyd was selected out of Bishop Verot High School with the 55th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Boyd features a solid fastball that sits between 90-94 mph and a nasty curve. His breaking ball has hard, sharp movement that could be an out pitch for him. Boyd's biggest problem is his weight. After signing Boyd reportedly weighed  close 280 Lbs, but he has shed 35 lbs. of fat since high school. It is interesting to note that he hired the wife of fellow Twins prospect, Kyle Gibson, as his nutritionist. If Boyd is able to keep his body in check he could develop into a workhorse-type starter for the Twins. 
12.)J.T. Chargois RHP                          Prospect Rating: 425
While attending Rice Chargois was a two way player for the Owls, but his future clearly lies on the hill. He fastball has a  lot of late break and has very good velocity. Chargois would be a quick-riser through the Twins system and has the electric stuff to be a late inning reliever. He has an average curve and decent feel for his change up, but Chargois lacks the durability and command to be a starter. For some scouts, his mechanics are also a cause of concern.
13.) Mason Melotakis LHP                  Prospect Rating: 400
Melokatis is one of many power relief arms in the Twins system. He has a big-time fastball that sits in the mid-90's.. Melokatis also features a slider that flashes plus-potential, but he sometimes has trouble commanding it. Melokatis enjoyed excellent success in his debut season. Between Beloit and Elizabethton he compiled an ERA of 1.88 and struck out 34 batters in just 20 innings of work.
14.) Levi Michael 2B/SS                      Prospect Rating: 375
Michael was regarded as a polished switch-hitter when he was drafted by the Twins in the first round of 2011. However he struggled in his first season hitting just .246 with little pop. Michael possesses good plate discipline and bat control so I would expect him to get back on track in 2013. Michael does not have super-star potential, but he plays good defense at both short and second and could carve out a long career as a big-league utility man.
15.) Madison Boer RHP                     Prospect Rating: 375
Boer was a dominant reliever for Oregon but he has been converted to a starter since signing. Both his fastball and slider are plus pitches but he got hammered in the Florida State League this year. I see him returning to the pen before all is said and done. 

Next Five: Adam Brett Walker OF, Matt Summers RHP, Felix Jorge RHP, Niko Goodrum SS, Luke Bard RHP

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