Welcome back to the Prospect Octopus Year-End Review Extravaganza Recap and Review! What a great title! If you missed the first or second parts, you can find part one here and part two here. This week, we have a hodge podge of prospects, with a wide variety of ceilings and floors. Rather than trying to categories the players as a bunch, let’s discuss them individually.
Darnell was a 6th-round pick back in 2010 out of the University of Kentucky. He has made a slow climb through the Twins’ system and reached AAA halfway through the 2013 season. Darnell is a low strikeout, moderately low walk pitcher, who hasn’t really had a breakout full season. After his promotion to AAA this season, his strikeout rate dropped, his walk rate spiked and his ERA mirrored his walk rate. Darnell doesn’t have big stuff, so he has to be very precise with the stuff that he has. He might get a spot start with the Twins here and there, but that’s probably his ceiling.
Dean was the Twins’ 3rd-round pick in 2010 and he has grown alongside Darnell while also providing underwhelming results. Dean is more of a command pitcher than Darnell. He has fantastic walk rates, but below average strikeout rates for a Minor League pitcher. Since reaching high A, Dean hasn’t posted a strikeout rate greater than 5.6 per nine innings. Dean gives up a lot of hits, so the low walk rates can be a bit of a wash. He did have a very nice six start AAA debut at the end of the 2013, posting a 2.02 ERA and a 4.4 K/BB ratio. He probably has Darnell’s ceiling, but might be more of a organizational darling due to his ability to limit walks.
Duffey was the talk of Cedar Rapids early in the season. In nine starts, he posted a 2.78 ERA and a 7.83 K:BB ratio. His strikeout rate wasn’t impressive, but he only issued six walks in 58.1 innings. That performance earned Duffey a promotion to Fort Myers. Duffey wasn’t quite as spectacular in high A and he wasn’t able to limit walks to an elite level. He finished the season in the bullpen, likely to preserve his arm a bit and limit his innings. Duffey was a college relief arm drafted back in 2012 and seems to be transitioning from relief to starting quite well.
Eades was the Twins’ second-round pick this past June. His pro debut was a bit of a disappointment. As a college arm, one would expect a certain level of performance against rookie ball hitters. Eades struggled with command, posting a K:BB ratio just above one. He walked 12 batters in 15.2 innings and ended with a 4.60 ERA. We’re used to seeing high-round draft picks tear through rookie ball, but Eades did not. He still holds a lot of promise as a relatively young and inexperienced college starter. He’ll likely move to full-season ball at some point next year, but might start his 2014 season back with Elizabethton.
Oh man, a catcher! I am so enamored with all catching prospects, regardless of how good they are and how well they actually catch. Fernandez split catching duties in the GCL, but it’s hard to know if that is an indication of his skills or simply a result of there being multiple options available at the position. Focusing on Fernandez’s performance, there isn’t much to get excited about at the plate. In repeating the level, he hit .236/.276/.398. However, he added a bit of power and improved his K:BB ratio, so there is hope that actual progress was made. I’d imagine he’ll move to Elizabethton in 2014, with an eye toward Cedar Rapids in 2015.
In 2013, Fuentes completed his seventh season with the Twins organization. He has only thrown 5.1 innings above A ball. Fuentes hasn’t gotten poor results when he’s pitched, but he’s only managed 240.1 innings in those seven seasons. Even as a full-time reliever, that is a very low number. There are reasons for optimism though. His career minor league ERA is 3.18 and he’s averaged over a strikeout per inning as a pro. He also owns a K:BB ratio of 3.64. There are reasons to continue to monitor his progress as a player. He’s 24 and coming off of two relatively healthy seasons. Now, he needs to prove that he can get more advanced hitters out.
Another catcher! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Garver was the Twins’ ninth round selection back in June. He’s a college senior and he signed quickly and cheaply. Garver had a relatively successful pro debut with Elizabethton, posting a .243/.313/.366 triple slash. He had 15 doubles and 19 walks in 225 plate appearances. It would be great to see that power and plate discipline continue to develop. The fact that he can catch will always keep me interested, as I have a soft spot for that position. He’s interesting on his own though.
Gibbons is from Geelong, Victoria, Australia. I love the name Geelong. But wait, Gibbons is interesting beyond his background! He’s right-handed and has a nice 6’4″ frame. In 77.2 GCL innings, split between 2012 and 2013, Gibbons has a 2.09 ERA and a 2.89 K:BB ratio. He’s a teenager too. His strikeout rate is unimpressive, especially in rookie ball where everyone strikes out all the time. However, he has the build and age to make some progress and potentially add some Ks down the line.