Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lets Give This Another Shot - Prospect Power Rankings

Let's put the key in the ignition and see if this thing still works. After almost a year of not putting anything on this blog, I have decided with a new faster computer and an abundance of free time to start back up here. I can just picture a polite golf clap now from my two readers, my dad and my girlfriend. I will tread softly back into the blogosphere with a Twins Prospect ranking that will differ greatly from the last post last year. The previous ranking would be where I had them going into this current season.

1. SP Kyle Gibson - AA New Britain
Age: 22
Pre-Season Ranking: 3
Total Stats: 50.2 IP 1.60 ERA 50 K
AA Stats: 7.1 IP 0.00 ERA 10 K
The Twins 1st round pick in last year's draft had the expectation that he had the chance to be an ace and move quickly through the organization, but he has blown away the expectations. He already has a complete game 1-hitter to his name. His first start at the AA level may have been even a better start with 10 K's. If he doesn't strike out the batter they ground out. He has a ground out to fly out ratio of 3.57. Think Nick Blackburn but with Liriano's strikeout ratio. Baring injuries he won't be seen this year but he could easily be in the opening day rotation in 2011.

2. OF Aaron Hicks - Low A Beloit
Age: 20
Pre-Season Ranking: 1
Stats: .272 3 HR 10 RBI .395 OBP .800 OPS
By almost all publications he the biggest prospect in the Twins system. He was ranked as the 19th best prospect by Baseball America. He has shown flashes of the skill that has lead to all the rankings but he has been marked by inconsistency all year. He started the year batting 1-30, then hit around .400 for the next couple weeks. He has recently hit another rough patch hitting .194 in the last 10 games. The most encouraging aspect of his game so far is his patience at the plate. He has 25 walks so far on the season in which has lead to the one of the highest OBP in the farm system. He will spend most of the season in Beloit, but should get a taste of Fort Myers by July.

3. C Wilson Ramos - AAA Rochester
Age: 22
Pre-Season Ranking: 2
MLB Stats: .296 0 HR 1 RBI .321 OBP .729 OPS
AAA Stats: .160 3 HR 9 RBI .190 OBP .487 OPS
Even the Twins fan who doesn't track the minors at all is aware of Wilson Ramos. When Mauer went down with a bruised heel, he came up and made his presence felt. He even had people having heated debates on what to do with him. Some of the less intelligent fans calling for Mauer to move to 3rd to make room. He then did cool down and showed why he is still a prospect and not a finished product. He still has the potential to be an all-star catcher. I am of the camp that he can be a factor next year as the backup catcher and right-handed DH.

4. 3B Miguel Sano
Age: 17
Pre-Season Ranking: 4
While he has not officially been assigned to a team it is believed he will join the Gulf Coast Rookie League when they start in late June. Sano combined with Gibson where the 1st signs that the Twins budget had changed well before the re-signing of Mauer. He signed last summer for the second -largest bonus in team history right behind St. Mauer's. He profiles as a slugging 3rd baseman. It is hard to project a 17-year old but his ceiling would be a .300-35-120.

5. 3B Danny Valencia - AAA Rochester
Age: 25
Pre-Season Ranking: 6
Stats: .305 0 HR 20 RBI .343 OBP .747 OPS
He is known to many as the next 3rd baseman for the Twins. He is currently being blocked by the Gardenhire-Punto love fest. Don't get me wrong I have no problem that he is not currently up here but even if Punto is batting .180 I can still see him sticking with him and Valencia toiling away in upstate New York. He got off to a slow start and has still not hit a home run, but is currently on a 20 game hitting streak. I haven't reached it yet but the more at bats people like Tolbert, Harris and Casilla get the closer I will get to the boiling point that he is not in Minneapolis yet.

6. OF Ben Revere - AA New Britain
Age: 22
Pre-Season Ranking: 5
Stats: .279 1 HR 10 RBI .353 OBP .680 OPS 11 SB
I have never been a huge fan of his despite being back-to-back minor league player of the year in the organization, and his start in AA has not changed my opinion. He somehow has a lower slugging percentage than a on-base percentage. He has 34 hits on the year and only 4 extra base hits. There are signs that his success in the lower levels will not translate. The two biggest issues are that his batting average has decreased at every level with him hitting only .279 so far and that his stolen bases has gone down. He had 45 stolen bases last year and to date has only 11 in 15 attempts. You would have trouble to find a player that stolen bases go up as they hit the majors. The only way I see value for the Twins for him is he moves to 2nd base. I just can't see them making room for him on the roster by moving out Cuddyer, Kubel or Young when the best he could be is another Denard Span. My guess he is more likely to be traded than don a Twins uniform.

7. SP David Bromberg - AA New Britain
Age: 22
Pre-Season Rankings: 8
Stats: 37.2 IP 3.58 ERA 25 K
Bromberg was finally recognized as a big-time prospect in the system after repeating his Beloit stats and dominating in Fort Myers. He has not been outstanding in AA and has not been dominant with some of his control issues. That being said he is holding his own at age 22 and his star has not diminished. Some warning signs are the strikeout ratio has fallen considerably so far and only pitching 37 innings in 7 starts means he is not cruising out there. It looks like he is going to be passed by Kyle Gibson in line to jump in the rotation but he could be in the Twins rotation by 2011 or opening day 2012.

8. OF Angel Morales - Low A Beloit
Age: 20
Pre-Season Ranking: 7
Stats: .244 3 HR 18 RBI .324 OBP .714 OPS 10 SB
There was some that thought with his strong second half in Beloit he would start the season in Fort Myers. He hasn't exactly forced the Twins hand to promote him yet. He has never hit for a high average and has always had issues with strikeouts. He has increased his stolen bases showcasing his overlooked tool, speed. It also gets lost because he has been around for awhile that he is only 20 and the same age of Hicks. He and Hicks will likely see Fort Myers by the second half of this year.

9. RP Anthony Slama - AAA Rochester
Age: 26
Pre-Season Ranking: 9
Stats: 24.1 IP 1.85 ERA 27 K
I don't know what more he has to do to finally get his chance at the Majors. He has dominated at every level on his way up. He was dominant in Spring Training. Batters are currently hitting .123 against him. The standard line is that he needs to work on his control but he has walked only 9 batters in 24 innings. Alex Burnett got the call and has walked 10 in 17 innings and he's doing fine. They then say it is because he is not on the 40-man roster and they would have to make room, but Clay Condrey can easily be moved to the 60 day DL to make room. Even more frustrating was info that they may finally get rid of Crain but that it might be Kyle Waldrop who would get the call. Waldrop is also not on the 40-man roster. I know his stuff doesn't blow you away but results speak louder than any scouting report should.

10. SP Liam Hendriks - High A Fort Myers
Age: 21
Pre-Season Ranking: NR
Total Stats: 41 IP 1.32 ERA 47 K
High A Stats: 7 IP 1.29 ERA 8 K
He wasn't on anyone's top 10 list coming into the season. He was not in the top 30 by Baseball America and not in the top 50 on Twinkie Town, but his performance to this point can not be ignored. There have not been many scouting reports on him to this point so I don't know if his stuff will translate to the higher levels but the stats are amazing. Of the starters in the farm system he is second in ERA, strikeouts and leads the organization in WHIP with 0.56 and hitter batting average with .136. If he keeps it up he will certainly make a few lists next year.

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