Midseason Top 10 Prospects - Part One

The Twins have a knack for coming up with quality prospects, even though they may not be highly rated by Baseball America and the like. This year, the Twins have two impact guys at the top of the list, but a relatively thin list at the end. Thus, 6-10 is basically a crap shoot, and I’d be fine with rearranging any of the names on the list. The Twins’ past couple drafts have been pretty darn good, and thus they should have more depth in the coming years. However, they are still a farm system in the lower half of baseball, but I do believe they are on the rise.

10. Anthony Swarzak, RHP

Swarzak struggled a bit in 2008 when the Twins asked him to repeat AA, but improved last year in AAA, albeit in a small sample size. This year he has filled in for Glen Perkins over the course of a few starts, and has pitched OK, with a mid 4s ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. But his underlying numbers aren’t great. He has just 5.06 K/9 and walks just over 3 batters per 9. Swarzak’s best pitch was thought to be his curveball, but it is actually his fastball that has been his best pitch in his major league career. Swarzak will probably usurp Perkins as a back of the rotation starter in the next couple years, or they both could be in the rotation due to the team’s instabilities there.

9. Tyler Ladendorf, SS

Ladendorf didn’t have an impressive debut last year, but the 20 year old was a prolific hitter in junior college, and is just now beginning to catch his stride. He’s hitting .400/.493/.717 so far this year, and although his BABIP is ridiculously high Ladendorf has upped his walk rate and lowered his strikeout rate from last year, both of which were very good. Ladendorf has also shown the necessary tools to stick at shortstop, and for a system bereft of shortstop talent, that is a welcome addition.

8. Billy Bullock, RHP

This admittedly might be high for the 2009 draftee out of Florida, but I love Bullock. He’s only thrown 7.1 innings as a pro, but his FIP is a shade over 1, he has struck out 10 and walked just 1, and allowed 3 hits. Granted he’s a college kid in rookie ball and is doing what he’s supposed to do, but he is harnessing the control that was spotty while he was at Florida, and at this point looks to be the successor to Joe Nathan. Not bad.

7. Carlos Gutierrez, RHP

When Gutierrez was drafted 27th overall, many called it a reach. Indeed he was closer to the back of Baseball America’s Top 100, but he has been great until hitting AA. At Fort Meyers this year he gave up just 1 homer in 54.2 innings, and although he doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, Gutierrez has a power sinker that could make him a very valuable starter or perhaps short reliever, assuming the Twins ever have a good infield defense again. He has just 6 AA starts, but his ERA is over 5 and he’s given up 4 homers already. I understand that he was a college kid and the Twins would like him to move quickly, but as long as he was dominating A ball I would have liked to have seen him stay in Ft. Meyers through the end of the year, maybe making a start or two at AA.

6. David Bromberg, RHP

Bromberg doesn’t have the geatest control (3.20, 4.94, 3.24, 3.86 BB/9 rates in his career), but Bromberg has ranged from good to excellent over the course of his career, other than last year. Bromberg has a tremendously high ceiling, and it’s nice to see he has improved against lefties this year. Last year they had an .844 OPS against him. He has a good low 90s fastball which could develop more velocity due to his frame. He strikes out a ton of guys (12.5, 10.62 per 9 the past two years) and if he can refine his control a bit and give up less hits, the Twins could be sitting on a future #2 or even possibly #1 starter.

Just missed: I tried to get Rene Tosoni in there, but decided on Swarzak at 10 instead. Once Swarzak graduates, Tosoni takes that spot, but then of course gets bumped back off assuming Kyle Gibson signs.

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