Unfortunately, Taylor, the Prospect Octopus, had a little run-in with a squid over the long weekend and hurt one of his tentacles. Therefore, we have just seven prospects to discuss today. Luckily, seven Twins prospects were named to the Arizona Fall League and we will discuss those youngsters today. This is a great time to remind everyone that fighting is a terrible way to solve problems. When a squid and an octopus have issues with each other, they should talk it out. Humans too. Let’s all try to remember this as we read about these prospects.
I will punch anyone in the face if they try to tell me that Buxton isn’t the best prospect in baseball. Wait, no. That’s not how we solve problems. Let’s talk it out. Buxton is my favorite, regardless of how anyone else feels about him. I’m surprised to see him on the AFL roster. Not that he can’t handle it; he can handle anything. However, he’s playing his first season of full-season ball and he certainly is not used to playing so many games. With an elite prospect like Buxton, it makes sense to push their development a little. If he can dominate the AFL like he has dominated baseball to this point, he might accelerate his MLB timetable even further. If nothing else, it will be fun to watch him on TV.
Kepler makes a lot of sense for the AFL because he got off to such a late start. He missed so much time due to injury that it makes sense to get him into more games. Kepler has cooled off substantially after a very hot start. He has played in a career-high number of games at this point. However, 60 games is hardly an impressive career-high at age 20. It’s good to see that Kepler will get more high-profile game action this season. It appears that he’ll be playing first base in the AFL, which would be good experience for him. Kepler may need to start the 2014 season with Cedar Rapids, but a strong showing in the AFL might push him to start with Fort Myers.
I am 100% confident that Eddie Rosario will hit well in the AFL. He has raked at every stop he has ever made and the AFL should be no different. The extra time in the AFL will be great for his development at second base. Every inning and chance counts. Rosario will get ample opportunities to hone his defensive craft as he continues to transition to his new position. While there are no concerns about his bat, there were reports earlier this year that indicated that his defense needs more seasoning. It will be interesting to watch how Rosario works at second base, as the Twins now appear to have a legit second baseman in Brian Dozier. Rosario hits well enough to play any position, but he’d have crazy value in the middle infield.
Trevor May has improved as a AA pitcher this year. Just about every stat looks better in his second year in the Eastern League. Of course, players should improve when they repeat a level. Bringing May to the AFL will give him a look at different hitters. The talent pool in the AFL is pretty impressive and generally, the league favors hitters. Giving May AFL innings can only help. In fact, extra innings are very important. May will eclipse his career-high in innings, but not by much. These extra AFL innings will help him reach a new level of season longevity. If May is to remain a starter, stretching out to nearly 200 innings will be very important in his overall development.
Meyer missed a significant portion of the season with a shoulder issue. He won’t reach 100 innings without the AFL. Meyer has been impressive when healthy. It would be great to see him dominate in the fall. While he did avoid surgery, the Twins’ track record with rest and rehab is not impressive. The fact that he is actually able to throw in the AFL is extremely encouraging. A month or so ago, I was worried that he would be returning just in time for the 2014 AFL. Of course, I tend to be pessimistic when players rest and rehab. I’m conditioned that way.
Fort Myers closer Zach Jones will be headed to Arizona this fall. He loves to K but sometimes he also loves to BB. Mostly, he’s been dominant this season, with 70 strikeouts in 48.2 innings pitched. He looks like a future late-inning reliever. He has given up as many walks (28) as hits (28, duh) this year, which points toward a level of dominance he could really achieve if he can get his command and control in order. More professional innings will give him more opportunity to fine tune those areas of his game.
Achter absolutely earned his promotion to Rochester back in early July. I’m not sold on Achter as a future fixture in the Twins bullpen just yet. He still walks far too many batters for my liking. Unlike Zach Jones, he doesn’t have the dominant stuff that leads to gaudy strikeout totals. However, he’s been effective, even if his peripheral stats don’t make it look like he should be. You can’t take actual production away from players just because their peripherals don’t impress. I’ll be interested to see how Achter fares in the AFL, if only because his AAA experience should help make him one of the few pitchers who shouldn’t be overwhelmed with the offensive talent he’ll have to face.
The Arizona Fall League starts in October and you’ll be able to catch some of the games on the MLB network. This is a great opportunity to see some of the more exciting Twins prospects and exciting prospects in general. Taylor and I will keep you up-to-date on their progress, if you can’t stand the possibility of hearing anything Eric Byrnes has to say.