In part one of exploring the best of the future Twins, we found a couple mid rotation starters, a boom or bust guy at shortstop, and a potential ace, or perhaps a potential bust. A little more certainty greets the second half of our top 10, but to be honest not a ton.
When compiling this top 10, it’s easy to see that outfield is where the Twins depth lies. 4 outfielders made the list, including 3 of the top 5, and our top two spots are occupied by outfielders. As mentioned in the last post, Twins 1st round pick Kyle Gibson, if signed and healthy, will occupy the #3 spot on the list. With the intros out of the way, let’s get to it.
5. Angel Morales, OF
Perhaps the best thing about Morales is that he’s still just 19. When he was selected in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft Morales was still a raw kid, and apparently had more power than anyone realized. He struggled in his debut, but in 2008 at Elizabethton Morales hit 15 homers in just 183 at bats. This year he has taken a bit of a step back, but the environment in the FSL is partly to blame. Morales still needs to refine his approach, but he is very athletic and has tons of potential. Perhaps a guy the Twins should be shopping in an attempt to acquire help at the trade deadline.
4. Wilson Ramos, C
Ramos can sure hit. Here are his career minor league wOBAs: .362, .357, .356, .348 He’s never walked a lot (especially this year) so that might catch up to him as he gets up to AAA and the majors. He’s just an average defender, but he led the FSL last year in runners thrown out. He has power potential, but it hasn’t completely shown up yet.
3. Danny Valencia, 3B
Valencia is poised to be the Twins third baseman in 2010. He has repeated both high A and AA, with much much better results the 2nd year than the first. From the end of 2006 when he was in Elizabethton to 2007 when he was in Beloit, he upped his walk rate 3 percent. Repeating A+ ball, he raised it 34.4%, and repeating AA, he upped it 6.1%. On the surface he appears to have made the AAA transition very well, hitting .360/.372/.573 for a .402 wOBA, but his 2.6% walk rate has me concerned, as does his .387 BABIP. Assuming he can get his walk rate up, and not come down too far from his numbers once his BABIP goes down, I’ll be much more excited about Valencia.
2. Aaron Hicks, OF
When he was drafted 14th overall in 2008, most teams liked Hicks as a pitcher more than an outfielder. But the Twins took him as an outfielder and he provided immediate dividends, with a .424 wOBA and walking almost as many times (28) as he struck out (32). The Twins held him back in extended spring training for quite a while this year, taking the patient approach, and through just 19 games at Beloit Hicks has just a .674 OPS, but has walked two more times than he’s struck out. Hicks has all the potential in the world, and assuming a season like he had last year, I would expect him to be in Baseball America’s top 20 prospects at the end of the season.
1. Ben Revere, OF
When the Twins took him in the first round in 2007, many people said: huh? But the joke’s on them. Just 5’9″, Revere packs some power into that frame, although it is mainly gap to gap power. His speed will help out his slugging percentage as he gets older, as he already has 22 career triples. Revere doesn’t strike out often, nor does he walk a lot either. If he walks a little more, he could turn into a real asset, as he had 44 steals last year and has 33 already this year. Put it this way: anytime you can have a 70ish point drop in your wOBA and have it still be at .348 you know you’re a prospect. Carlos Gomez, Denard Span and the rest of the Twins outfield better start checking the boxscores, because in 3 or so years Revere and Hicks will be patrolling center and left field.