Bad teams often have a lot of room for talented prospects to move quickly through the farm system and get a chance to play with the big league club. After losing 99 games in 2011 the Twins stunk it up again in 2012 and lost 96 games. Half-way through the off-season the Twins have traded away their two best center fielders and while they have gotten back three quality arms in return, two of those arms still have a ways to go before they make it up to the big league club. The Twins also added a veteran arm to the starting rotation, but by all accounts it looks like the Twins are building for the future at the expense of the 2013 season. Who are the young guns in the system to be on the lookout for? Follow me Down on the Pond and together we’ll take a look at some of the top prospects in the Twins minor league system. This week we take a look at the prospects I have ranked 16th-20th.
20. Adrian Salcedo. Salcedo was limited to just 9 games this past season after he suffered a broken nose when a line-drive came back and caught him in the face. In 2011 Salcedo posted a nice 2.93 ERA in low-A Beloit but only struck out 92 batters in 135 innings after having struck out 81 in 93 innings the year before. I look for Salcedo to return to the Miracle in 2013 where his K rate will hopefully return and his ability to keep the ball in the park will remain.
19. Daniel Santana. Santana is switch hitting short-stop who spent 2012 with the Miracle. After hitting .247/.298/.373 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in Beloit in 2011 he made the jump up to high-A and improved his slash line to .286/.329/.410 in 2012. Santana was the Miracle’s primary SS, but also spent some time at second base. Santana committed 27 errors at SS in 2011 but reduced that to 16 in as many chances in 2012, unfortunately he committed another in limited duty at second base. Has Santana done enough to start the season in AA?
18. Mason Melotakis. Melotakis was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft out of Northwestern State University of Louisiana, signed and started his professional career with the Elizabethan Twins where he appeared in 7 games out of the pen before getting called up to Beloit to join the Snappers. He pitched in 20 games across both leagues, striking out 34 batters in just 24 innings. As a college tested power arm from the left side Melotakis could be up with the big league ball club sooner than later. I don’t like to put relief pitchers too high, as I think even a bad started could move to the pen and find new value, it’s hard not to dream big about Melotakis at the back end of a big league ball club.
17. B.J. Hermsen. Pitched 162.2 innings in 2012, all but 23 of those innings with the AA Rock Cats. He struck out only 81 batters (4.8K/9innings), but was very stingy with the walks, surrendering only 30 free passes. Hermsen is the A-typical Twinsian pitcher, his stuff is not over powering (high-80′s, low-90′s stuff), and he throws a lot of strikes keeping the walks to a minimum. Hermsen was selected as the Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2012 and looks to build upon that momentum in 2013.
16. Jorge Polanco. Polanco has been in the Twins organization since 2009 when he signed out of the Dominican Republic and spent 2012 with the Appalachian League Champions Elizabethan Twins. 2012 was by far the most impressive season for the young middle-infield prospect. Polanco saw most of his action this season at 2nd base while Niko Goodrum played SS. Polanco appeared in 51 games last season and hit .318/.388/.514 in 204 plate appearances, including 22 extra base hits and only 26 strikeouts to go along with only 8 errors in 233 chances. If Polanco can continue to get on base at a high clip, and develop the power that appeared in 2012 he could move quickly through a Twins system that is lacking middle-infield depth, and he’s only 19.
Stop back next Thursday and we’ll take a look at the next 5 prospects in my top-20 list.
With the off-season slowing down a bit around the holidays prospect lists are popping up all over, and here at Puckett’s Pond is no exception. Make sure to check out Brad’s Top 25 primer and Michael’s Bright Futures series.
And if you really want to dive into the world of Twins prospects, make sure to check out Seth Stohs 2013 Twins Prospect Handbook when it comes out later this off-season. It is, without a doubt, the best guide for Twins prospects throughout the system, and has been an essential part of my off-season reading for the last couple years.