Welcome back, folks. In week 11 of the year-end review, we have eight more tasty prospects to dissect. We’ll discuss the newest Twin, one of the more exciting prospects in the system and a forgotten man who dominated the Arizona Fall League just one short season ago. Let’s dish.
Ah, the new guy. Do you like Pedro Hernandez? Would you like an older Pedro Hernandez? Johnson is left-handed, throws in the low 90s and tries to limit walks. He doesn’t strike out many batters and he is just generally really meh. At least he’s 29! Now, Duke Welker is nothing special, so I don’t hate this trade, I just don’t see why the organization would even bother with someone like Johnson. He was 10-4 last season at AAA, and if anyone uses that as a reason to acquire him, they should be put on a giant ice cube and floated into the Arctic Ocean. Not a prospect. Nothing special. Walk away.
All right, let’s get it started with a real prospect. Jorge Polanco is a switch-hitting middle infielder with a lot of promise. Polanco is just 20-years-old and he had an excellent full-season debut with Cedar Rapids in 2013. He hit .308/.362/.452 and showed legit extra-base power. He had 32 doubles and 10 triples. He didn’t really have a right/left split difference and appears to be a pretty legitimate hitting prospect. This would be great on its own, but when you consider that he might be a shortstop, there is a lot to drool over. Baseball Prospectus released their top ten Twins prospects and they had him tenth in a loaded system. I like Polanco better than that (my rankings come out in January). They aren’t convinced he can play short at the highest level. I’ll take him at second, if that’s the worst case scenario. I love Polanco as a prospect and I really think he could be at the top of a Twins’ prospect list within the next two years, if he isn’t in Minnesota already.
Pugh had been with the Twins since they drafted him in the 19th round in 2008. His 2013 season was a disaster as he dealt with injuries and a crapload of walks. Pugh walked 26 batters in 33.2 innings and thus, ended with an ERA over 9. In 2012, Pugh looked like he could turn into a decent reliever, as he recorded over a strikeout per inning and limited walks to a reasonable amount. In 2013, he walked more batters than he struck out. Yikes. Pugh was released at the end of July and didn’t catch on with another organization.
Catcher alert! If you follow The Oct, you know I love me a catcher. Quesada was drafted in the 24th round back in 2010. He made his full-season debut in 2013, although he only played half of a season. In 244 plate appearances, Quesada hit .202/.316/.303. He showed a complete lack of power, but a decent ability to draw walks. It’s very hard to know if low A hitters have plate discipline or if the low A pitchers they faced are generally wild. Even so, without any power and little contact, those walks aren’t very helpful. Quesada is a catcher, so I love him, but I’m not sure the Twins love him. He’ll be 24 next season and I can’t imagine he reaches high A before mid-season.
Robb is an international signing out of South Africa. He is 21 and has been with the organization since 2010. Robb didn’t get a lot of work in during the 2013 season. His season didn’t start until late May and he made just three mostly unsuccessful starts with Cedar Rapids before being sent back to Elizabethton. Robb was pretty outstanding in his second tour of the Appy League. He made 11 starts, threw 63 innings, struck out 52 and walked just 13. Robb will need to pass the Cedar Rapids test in 2014 to be a part of the Twins’ future plans.
Roberts had one hit in 2013. Just one. He was coming off of a breakout season with Beloit in 2012 and an impressive performance in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. As has been the case in his entire pro career, injuries were his undoing in 2013. He started the season with an injured knee and made his debut on May 13, 2013. That was the only game he played in 2013, as he went back on the DL with another knee injury shortly thereafter. Roberts has been an OBP machine, posting a .438 career mark in 793 plate appearances. He also has played just one game above low A and is going to be 25 when 2014 starts. His plate discipline could still help him reach the Majors one day, but his major injury history is really sapping his prospect strength.
Rodriguez was the Twins’ sixth-round pick back in 2011. His pro career has been mostly disappointing, as he has a career .216/.279/.336 triple slash. He did show improvement in 2012 when he repeated the GCL. He upped his triple slash numbers by 100 points or more across the board. He then made his Appy League debut in 2013 and saw all of those numbers plummet. Rodriguez is a corner outfielder with little power. He’ll turn 22 next season and likely is not ready for full-season baseball.
Rogers was the Twins’ 11th-round selection in 2012. A tall lefty, Rogers has had moderate success as a starter in the lower Minors. In 2013, he spent most of his season with Fort Myers, earning a promotion from Cedar Rapids in mid-April. He was actually pretty awful in those three April starts with Cedar Rapids, but he had a fine season with Fort Myers the rest of the way. He started 21 games, threw 130.2 innings and posted a nifty 2.55 ERA. He only struck out 83 batters, which is very concerning at that level, but he did also limit opponents to just 32 walks. His 5.7 K/9 with Fort Myers does not inspire a lot of long-term confidence in his stuff, but the results are worth monitoring. If he can out-perform his stuff, he could have value going forward.
That’s it for another week of prospect review. Join me next week when we’ll have eight new prospects to discuss, including two top 10 prospects in this loaded Twins system. Have a great week, everyone!