Hello again and welcome back to my top 25 Prospect list. This has been quite a journey. Over the last few weeks, we have learned a lot about some very interesting prospects. Many of those prospects have solid MLB careers ahead of them. As we get closer to number 1, that likelihood increases. This is part 4. If you want to, you can read part 1, part 2, and part 3. Part 4 is a party. Before we get to the party, here are those from earlier in the list.
25. Kennys Vargas
24. D.J. Baxendale
23. Michael Tonkin
22. Daniel Santana
21. Levi Michael
Bonus 21. Tyler Duffey
20. Zack Jones
19. J.T. Chargois
18. Nate Roberts
17. Adam Walker
16. Niko Goodrum
This week, we will look at 2 more relievers from the 2012 draft, a breakout middle infielder, a power hitting corner infielder and a dude with great hair who is looking to be more than just great hair in 2013. Let’s get started.
15. Luke Bard
Bard was drafted 42nd overall in 2012 out of Georgia Tech. He will undoubtedly be compared to his brother throughout his career. I am not sure this is fair, but brothers do share half of their genes, so maybe there is some reason to make the comparison. Anyway, Luke Bard is his own man. He is a reliever who the team might try to convert to a starter and many are concerned that this is not realistic. Wow, that sounds nothing like Daniel Bard. Whatever. Luke Bard is his own Bard. He doesn’t throw as hard as his big bro, but he isn’t a soft tosser either. He also has a power slider, but he’ll need to add a third good pitch to start at the highest level. He’ll either fly through the system as a reliever or slowly climb as he works to become a starter. If things break well for the Twins, it will take him awhile to get through the system. Patience could pay off.
14. Mason Melotakis
Melotakis was the Twins second round pick in 2012. There are enough concerns about his arsenal and his stamina to make him one of the few relievers picked in 2012 who is unlikely to be given much of a chance to start. I’m not sure it matters. He throws a mid-90s fastball from the left side and mixes in a curvy slider that can be pretty nasty. I read that he was working on a change-up, which could boost his starter profile. Even if he ends up as a fastball-slider lefty with nasty stuff, he’ll be able to contribute to an MLB team. If things are going well in his development, he’ll rack up strikeouts, limit walks and advance multiple levels in 2013. His path to the Majors will be very similar to Bard’s, with a 2013 appearance in September not out of the question.
13. Jorge Polanco
BREAKOUT ALERT!!!! If I am borderline in love with Niko Goodrum, I’m not sure what I am with Jorge Polanco. Polanco really put himself on the map last season. He flashed good on-base skills, good power, and good defense at second base (but not at short) while at Elizabethton last season. Polanco and Niko Goodrum formed an exciting double play combo together and might start to move up through the system together as well. It seems he will get his first taste of A ball next season, although the Twins could keep him at Elizabethton for at least the beginning of 2013. He will be only 19 in the first half of 2013, so holding him back won’t stunt his development. For a team practically begging for an exciting middle infielder, Polanco could deliver that excitement. Just don’t expect to see him in a Twins uniform for many years.
12. Joe Benson
Very little is certain in the prospect world. I can say with complete certainty that Joe Benson is appearing on his final Twins prospect lists this off-season. Benson had a brutal 2012, filled with injuries, poor play and bad luck. Seriously, go look at his BABIPs from last year. Very sad. Benson also had a really poor September call-up in 2011, where he struck out a lot and wore a suit. Benson needs to seize the opportunity that he will have in 2013. He can’t even be considered a AAAA player, as he hasn’t had any AAA success.
Benson will take one of two paths in 2013. He will win the starting center field job or at least prove that he has value on the MLB roster by showing off his power, speed, defense and arm, establishing himself as a useful MLB player. Or… He will continue to pile up strikeouts, be inconsistent and/or injured, and start the failed prospect parade that will lead him to multiple MLB cities on multiple minor league contracts. I still have hope. Perhaps it is blind hope. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for long hair. Benson’s long hair might make him more exciting to me than he should be. Superficial follicles aside, Benson’s tools are exciting as well. He could end up as a 20/20 type player, who can play any outfield position. I’d really like to see that happen. He needs to start showing it in March.
11. Travis Harrison
Power. Travis Harrison has power. Well, raw power I should say, as he didn’t really show a lot of game power in his pro debut in 2012. However, he is also very young. He’ll be 20 all next year, and is likely to spend his season in Cedar Rapids. He might be one to go down to Iowa to see. If you do, go early and try to catch batting practice. Remember the power I mentioned like 20 seconds ago? It won’t be fair to compare Harrison’s power to Miguel Sano‘s power, but many will do just that as they are both young, power hitting third basemen who are separated by one level. Don’t make that comparison, it’s lazy.
Harrison is a TBINO or third-baseman-in-name-only. I actually made that up I think. I’ll trademark it one day. Maybe. If Harrison can hit for crazy power, he could still provide value at first base. Nothing I have read says that he is destined to DH. He needs to start providing game power in 2013. A good season for Harrison will end with lots of doubles and home runs in his box scores. Hopefully, he can stay at third base for a few more seasons and maybe even improve at that position as he matures. He has a lot of upside, but also a lot of paths his career can go down. Harrison is a long way from playing for the Twins, and it should be fun to monitor his development.
Next week, we’ll move into the top 10. There are some real for serious starting pitchers to discuss. I’ll see you then.