2012 MLB Prospects: Puckett’s Pond’s Top 10
By Paul Pleiss
Earlier this week I unveiled a cut and dry version of my top 2o Twins prospects. As part of that process I invited the rest of the Puckett’s Pond Staff (including our former prospect Guru, Wally Fish) for their top 10 lists. Nate ran the numbers behind the scene and what you see below is the collective analysis of the Twins prospects going into 2012:
1. Miguel Sano, 3B
2. Joe Benson, OF
3. Oswaldo Arcia, OF
4. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF
5. Liam Hendriks, RHP
6. Kyle Gibson, RHP
7. Aaron Hicks, OF
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Chris Parmelee, 1B/OF
10. Adrian Salcedo, RHP
11. Levi Michael, SS
Follow me after the jump for player profiles and predictions for 2012.
1. Miguel Sano: Sano was profiled as Fansided’s Seedlings to Stars (S2S) top 100 Prospect list; he came it at #33 (The highest Twin on the list). It comes as no surprise to see Sano at the top of the list, he is the class of the Twins organization. Many have compared him to Miguel Cabrera, and if handled correctly, Sano could become the face of the Minnesota Twins. At only 18, there are still a lot of question marks for Sano as he progresses through the minors. As Sano grows into his body he may need to slide over to 1B or out to RF where it would be even more important for his bat to develop. The ceiling is high for Sano who looks to finish 2012 at Ft. Myers.
2. Joe Benson: Benson is coming off of an impressive AA season in which he hit 16 HR and 29 doubles while hitting .285 for the Rock Cats. With both Cuddyer and Kubel leaving for free agency, and Delmon Young out the door as well, Benson has a real shot to compete for a job in 2012. Although he will most likely start the season in AAA, an early season call up for the Benson is not out of the question. Many projections show a BA between .220-.250 with an OBP right around .300 for Benson in 2012, and while that would be a considerable disappointment, I’d look for Benson to overshoot those numbers, and early season time in Rochester will only benefit the young outfielder. Benson has shown strong on base ability throughout his career in the minors, aided by a career BABIP of .340 and will be a welcome addition to the Twins when he finally gets the call.
3. Oswaldo Arcia: Arcia finished the season in high A ball last year where he hit to the tune of .263 with 8HR. Before moving up to A+ Arcia played very good A ball, where he hit .352 w/ 5HR in 20 games. Arcia is only 20, but his skills are raw. After the promotion to A+ in Ft Myers, Arcia’s approach at the plate was exposed, he struck out 53 times while only earning 9 base on balls. He’ll need to work on that, and continue to develop the hit tool. The Twins are high on Arcia, and you should be too, his power potential and hit tool ability are off the charts. Look for Arcia to continue to move up through the system finishing the season in AA.
4. Eddie Rosario: The Twins found a true steal when they were able to pick up Rosario in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. Rosario’s tools are solid and he has better than expected power. The Twins moved Rosario to 2B to compensate for the plethora of outfield prospects and to take advantage of his quickness and athletic skill. At only 20 years old Rosario has both the time and the ability to adjust to the new position. Rosario shows above-average skills across the board, but he does lack a true PLUS tool. I expect that Rosario will continue to develop his defensive skills and finish the year at high-A Fort Myers.
5. Liam Hendriks: Hendriks profiled as the 80th prospect in the nation, according to S2S. Hendriks has impressive control and although his fastball usually sits at 90, he can reach back and throw 92-93 when the situation arises. Hendriks is MLB ready, and I expect that he will be up in Minnesota by mid-season, sooner if anyone in the starting rotation goes down with an extended DL stretch.
6. Kyle Gibson: Gibson is coming off of a 2011 season in which he underwent Tommy John surgery, and while that’s never a good thing, the success rate of TJ surgery should allow Twins faithful to remain hopeful that Gibson can return to form and be a middle of the rotation starter for the Twins when his recovery is complete. Prior to going down last year, Gibson was poised for a trip up to Minnesota. Gibson will miss most, if not all of 2012. While Gibson was drafted with hopes that he would become a front of the rotation guy, he lacks a true out pitch. Gibson was the best pitcher in the Twins minor league organization in 2010, hopefully Gibson will regain his 2010 form when he returns from injury. Look for Gibson to be part of the Twins rotation in 2013.
7. Aaron Hicks: Hicks was born to play center field. His range is outstanding, and his arm just might be the best in the minors (won the award for best arm in the AFL 2011). Hicks has not had success hitting for average (career .266/.377/.407) or for power (21 HR in 4 minor league seasons). What Hicks lacks at the plate he more than makes up for with his defense. Hicks was selected 14th overall by the Twins in the 2008 draft. Hicks will likely be starting the season with class A Beloit (for the 4th season), and for Hicks, who was drafted with so much promise, this may be a make or break season. Hicks will likely move up to AA before 2012 is over and if he can shorten his swing and move his average up towards .300 it would not be surprising to find Hicks getting reps in AAA. With so many plus outfielders in the Twins system, Hicks should be given time to progress into the outstanding center-fielder that he is capable of becoming. Hick’s who is in semi-regular phone contact with former Twin Tori Hunter, looks to the big leaguer for advice and friendship as he comes up through the Twins organization. We can only hope that Hicks continues in the long line of outstanding CF players that have come up through the Twins system.
8. Brian Dozier: Dozier was the next Twin on the S2S top 100 prospect list and came in at #77. As part of Puckett’s Pond’s non-roster invite series, Dozier was compared to former Twin Jason Bartlett. Dozier has seen time all over the infield since signing with the Twins in 2009, playing games at SS, 3B, and 2B. Click on the link above for a full profile of Brian Dozier.
9. Chris Parmelee: Parmelee came up last season for 21 games with the Twins and immediately made himself a fan favorite, hitting .355/.443/.592 during his time with the team. While Parmelee is the epitomy of “small sample size,” but if his minor league numbers are any indication of what is to come for the 24 year old, Parmelee could find himself with a spot on the 25-man roster this season. Parmelee is not a true “prospect” at 24, and aside from the power he has shown, is more of an average player than an all-star. Parmelee plays a decent first base, and has played some OF as well, but his biggest asset is his bat. If Parmelee can continue his hot streak from the end of last season into spring training there is no reason why he should be be starting the season in Minnesota with the big league ball club.
10. Adrian Salcedo: Salcedo had an impressive year for Class A Beloit in 2011. Although going an unimpressive 6-6 while pitching 135 innings, he finished the year with an ERA of 2.93 and a 1.17 WHIP, giving up a paltry .3HR/9 and striking out 6+/9. For many, the low strikeout numbers in 2011 are a red flag, although whether this is an indication of pitching coaches being unable to develop Salcedo or if it is something with Salcedo himself is hard to say. The Twins organization is not known for producing strike out guys (pitch to contact…) and the reshuffling within the Twins minor league system will benefit Salcedo going forward. His stuff is good, and with another year in the minors will help. Salcedo should move up to high A Ft Myers and possibly up to AA by the end of the season. Look for another impressive year from Salcedo in 2012.
11. Levi Michael: The Twins selected Michael with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, the write up from S2S can be found here. Some prospect writers have Michael in the top 5 of Twins prospects, but having not yet played any professional baseball, the staff here at Puckett’s Pond was leery to rank him high, especially when 2011 was not even Michael’s best collegiate season.
Seedlings to Stars will be running a Twins Prospect ranking post on February 8th, make sure to give it a read. The post is being posted by Minnesota Twins prospect guru, and former Puckett’s Pond writer, Wally Fish.
Curious to see how the prospect list has changed from year to year? Check out Call to the Pen’s 2011 Twins prospects report for a position by position analysis of where our farm system was a year ago.
With the 2012 season on the horizon and spring training just a breath away, make sure you come back to the Pond for Twins news and analysis.
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