Here at Puckett’s Pond, Michael has started a series profiling who he believes are the top 10 prospects in the Twins system in his series Bright Futures. His post, coupled with a relatively quiet off-season this far for the Twins, have put me into the prospect ranking mode, but before I put out my list of the Twins top prospects going into 2013, let’s take a look back at who I had pegged for the top 10 going into 2012. You can see my 2012 Top 20 list here, and see the Puckett’s Pond combined 2012 top 10 with some notes by clicking here.
10. Brian Dozier. Dozier started 2012 in AAA and got off to a hot start before cooling off, but was still called up to join the Twins early in the season. Things didn’t go well for Dozier in 2012 and he was sent back down to AAA before the season was over. Once back in AAA Dozier continued to struggle and ended the season on quite a slump. In 84 games with the Twins Dozier put up a slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .234/.271/.332, good enough for an OPS+ score of 67 to go with 15 errors and a .964 fielding %.
Twins fans were hoping to find a serviceable SS in Dozier, but 2012 was a disappointment. I expected him to struggle in his first taste of the big leagues, but Dozier looked over matched at the plate and took some of that into the field with him. For Dozier to be successful with the Twins he will need to hit as the Twins have plenty of guys who can flash the leather at shortstop much better than him with similar offensive production. He will need to work on improving his K/BB ratio which was 58/16 in 2012.
9. Alex Wimmers. Some people thought it a bit strange for me to have Wimmers in my top 10 going into 2012, and it looks as if the naysayers were right! An elbow injury limited Wimmers to just 5.0 total innings in 2012 and he eventually underwent Tommy John surgery on the 2nd of August. The late season surgery will mean that Wimmers will miss most of, if not all of 2013. Like Kyle Gibson did this past year, Wimmers will need to work hard through recovery to come back to be the prospect the Twins had hoped for when they drafted him in the first round in 2010.
8. Chris Parmelee. Parmelee started the season with the Twins and he struggled mightily and was sent back down to AAA. Something must have clicked when he got back down to AAA, and many Twins fans, myself included, give a lot of that credit to recently promoted Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky. Parmelee went on a tear down in AAA to the tune of .338/.457/.645 which included 17 HR in 64 games and was called back up to the big leagues. Parmelee played a total of 64 games with the big league club, and although he was better after coming his stint in AAA he only hit to the tune of .253/.296/.453 in September/October and finished the season with a line of .229/.290/.380 and struck out 4 times as often as he walked. Parm split time between right field and first base in 2012 and if the Twins do not move Justin Morneau this off-season it is likely that RF will be his primary position in 2013.
7. Kyle Gibson. Gibson, as mentioned earlier, spent most of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery and saw limited action before the season ended. Gibson started off the Arizona Fall League on a hot streak but has not been very good during his last couple outings. Twins fans are excited about Gibson’s return from surgery, and they have good reason to be. The trip down to the AFL has given Gibson a chance to log some innings on his surgically reconstructed elbow and he has flashed the dominance that the Twins organization and fans have been waiting for since before the injury. With Scott Baker leaving the organization to sign with the Chicago Cubs the only spot locked down for the Twins rotation in 2013 is Scott Diamond. How long before we see Gibson up with the Twins this coming season?
6. Liam Hendriks. Hendriks started 16 games for Rochester and another 16 games for the Twins. In AAA he was lights out and posted a 2.20 ERA in 106+ innings and had 82 K’s and only 28 walks. His numbers in the show were much less impressive and he was up and down from the big league team for most of the season finishing with a 5.59 ERA and only struck out 50 in 86+ innings while walking 26. Hendriks struggled early in games and often, but also had several gems, including a complete game duel against Felix Hernandez that Liam would take the loss in a 1-0 game. Hendriks gave up 3 or fewer runs in 4 of his starts and 4 or less in another 5, but ended the season with a disappointing 1 win to go with 8 losses. Many Twins fans were hoping Hendriks would establish himself in the big leagues and be a contributing member to the Twins pitching staff. All of the Twins starters struggled in 2012, and hopefully Liam can turn things around in 2013. Scott Baker has left for greener pastures and only Scott Diamond has a spot in next season’s rotation, so there is plenty of opportunity and room for Hendriks to get back on track this spring and garner himself a spot in the rotation.
5. Aaron Hicks. Hicks finally put things together in 2012 and will almost assuridly find himself back on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list this season after falling off after 2011. Hicks found his power stroke in AA and hit 13 HR, 11 triples and 21 doubles to go with 79 walks and 116 K’s, good enough for a line of .286/.384/.460, very impressive numbers for his first year in AA.
4. Oswaldo Arcia. Arcia went into BEAST MODE in 2012 lighting up high-A Ft Myers and then getting even better after a promotion to AA New Britain totaling 17 HR and 36 doubles. Arcia had an impressive .309/376/.517 line in A+ and improved upon all of those numbers after his promotion hitting to the tune of .328/.398/.557 in 69 games for the Rock Cats. I could keep on singing the praises of Arcia for considerable length, so many things went right for him in 2012, but I’ve written about him before and Twins fans should already be looking to see his name called in the not-so-distant future.
3. Eddie Rosario. Like Arcia, Rosario also had a very nice season in 2012, unfortunately his season was shorter than expected as he had to deal with a mid-season injury that limited him to only 95 games with low-A Beloit, but that’s still considerably more than he played last season in Rookie ball (65). Rosario did great things with the time he had hitting .296/.345/.490 with 48 extra-base hits, including 12 home runs. This season saw Rosario move to second-base from the outfield and he struggled defensively, but continued to make progress as the season went on. It will be interesting to see if Rosario can stick at second base or if he is destined to join the surplus of outfield players in the Twins organization.
2. Joe Benson. 2012 is a season that Joe Benson would like to forget. Benson played for the Twins in 2011 as a September call-up and started 2012 in AAA where he got off to an icy cold start hitting sub-.200 to start the season. He was demoted to AA and his struggles continued and eventually suffered a hamate bone injury that would require surgery. Benson played in 76 games, including rehab starts and had a combined line of .202/.288/.336, woof, not a great showing for the player Baseball America had rated in the top 100 in back-to-back seasons (100 pre-2011, 99 pre-2012). With the outfield depth the Twins have at AA and above, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Benson; has his time in Minnesota come to an end?
1. Miguel Sano. After a monster season with the Elizabethon Twins in 2011 Sano was moved up to low-A Beloit for the 2012 season. His bat did not disappoint and Sano led the Midwest League in HR (100, 2nd place had 19), RBI (100, 2nd place had 86), Total Bases (238, 20 more than 2nd place), and was in the top 10 in the league in just about every offensive category. The big knock on Sano is that he’s trying to hit the ball out of the park with every swing, and that showed with his 144 K’s, but he also took 80 walks. Defensively Sano has some work to do at third base where he committed 42 errors and had a sub .900 fielding percentage. Like Rosario, Sano definitely made improvements as the season went on but there are questions to whether he will be able to stick at the hot corner. Even if Sano has to move to the OF his bat will carry him, but he is young and I expect his defense to improve. The Twins will be patient with his defensive skills as he progresses through their system.
Some of the guys definitely improved their ranking, and a couple of the guys even made their debut with the Twins. Come back Down on the Pond later this off-season for a look at how the prospects rankings have changed as we progress towards the 2013 season.
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