The Twins have a slightly above average farm system, and it is getting better. That seems to be the consensus among the plethora of prospect lists and organizational analyses that are coming out these days, and it’s good news for Twins fans.
I would like to direct your attention first to Seedlings to Stars, where Puckett’s Pond alum Wally Fish published his overview of the Minnesota minor league organization. The Twins get a B overall, which is a much better grade than most observers would have given them at this time in 2010 or 2011. I think the Twins organization can be summed up with one line from Mr. Fish’s article: “This is a system with more substance than hype and flash, and as a result it will almost always be underrated.”
Keith Law of ESPN just released his farm system rankings, and the Twins came in just above the middle of the pack at number 14. Minor League Ball puts the Twins a little lower, at #17, noting they have “some potential regulars” and “several solid role players.” I think that’s a little understated, considering that Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario project as much more than just “regulars,” but overall it’s probably accurate. We can also take comfort in the fact that the Twins division rivals (other than the sixth place Royals) are ranked much lower. The Tigers came in 23rd, the Indians 27th, and the White Sox dead last at 30th.
If you’re looking for a more focused take on the Twins’ system, you should know that MLB.com has published its annual Top 20 Twins Prospect list. Sano is, of course, number one.
Why should we get excited about the minor Twins? Other than the fact that you’ll be watching many of these guys play for the Twins in a couple of years?
Because this could be a breakout year for a large number of Twins minor leaguers. Sano and Rosario will travel to Beloit for their first full season of pro ball, and we all expect big things from them. Alex Wimmers is a top pitching prospect, and this year he can put a disappointing 2011 behind him. Oswaldo Arcia has a chance to prove he should be ranked among the top prospects, and Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee have a chance to prove they should be playing among the Major Leaguers. At the same time, it will be exciting to watch 2011 draft picks Levi Michael and Travis Harrison take the field for the first time. Finally, Aaron Hicks is due for a huge year. The Twins have been patient with him, and he has the talent to take AA by storm if he can just put it all together.
The system as a whole should shoot up the rankings next season, if for no other reason than the massive infusion of talent it will receive this summer. The Twins have five draft picks in the first two rounds of the June draft, including the second overall pick. High draft picks don’t always turn into productive Major Leaguers, but whoever the Twins pick will probably look pretty good when it’s time to rate the 2012 farm system.
Speaking of Prospects, you can expect the “Offseason Book Review” series to return very soon with a review of Seth Stohs’s Twins Prospect Handbook. Spoiler Alert: it’s a great book, and you should buy it.