was the captain of the Arkansas team and looks great in a uniform. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to my Minnesota Twins Top 25 prospects list. Much like children, prospects are our future. The Twins have a suddenly deep farm system, which will be fun to explore. Last Wednesday, I explained my methods and talked about some prospects that just missed my list. You can read this all here. If you don’t want to read it all, I will summarize for you in a neat little chart:
Also, Paul started his top 20 list with numbers 20 through 16. It is awesome, and you should read it. Here’s mine:
25. Kennys Vargas
Vargas is probably best known for getting suspended in 2011 for using a weight loss supplement and missing 50 games as a result. He might start to be better known for his hitting, if the small samples are an indication. Over the past 3 seasons, Vargas has hit above .300, gotten on base around .400 and slugged over .500. Those are low minors stats, but a .300/.400/.500 slash line is still impressive. Last year, he added some home run power to his always present on-base skills. He is 22 years old and hasn’t reached high A yet, but if he can start putting full seasons together, he could put himself on the map for more than just a failed drug test. He has to play more, as he has only played a total of 159 games in 4 minor league seasons. That being said, there might be something here.
24. D.J. Baxendale
The Twins’ 10th round pick in 2012, Baxendale was a part of the theme of drafting all of the college arms. Baxendale started and pitched out of the bullpen at the University of Arkansas. He doesn’t throw as hard as some of the other pitchers drafted in 2012, but did have dominating results in his pro debut. He had 31 strikeouts and only 2 walks in 18.2 innings between Elizabethton and Beloit. I’d guess he will start in Cedar Rapids next year, but could end up as far as New Britain if things go well. It will be interesting to see if the Twins give him a chance to start next year or if he will be put in the bullpen. I’d guess he’ll get to start.
23. Michael Tonkin
Tonkin was a 30th round selection in the 2008 draft, and just turned 23. His performance was largely unimpressive prior to 2011. However, he is tall. He is 6’7″ in fact, and over the past two seasons he has had a huge jump in strikeout rate. He throws hard and he has improved his fastball command, according to John Sickels. This all coincides nicely with his transition to relief pitching. His walk rate has remained relatively steady his whole pro career, so if this strikeout rate jump maintains and heads down a normal path, he could be an effective reliever down the road.
22. Daniel Santana
Santana was good enough to move former first round pick Levi Michael off of shortstop. In doing so, and having a good year with the bat, he also moved Michael down the prospect lists, while raising his own stock. I doubt he has a personal vendetta against Michael, so let’s just calm down. Santana was slated to give the outfield a shot, but ended up spending much of the season at short. He made a lot or errors, wherever he was playing. He really emerged as an interesting name because of his bat. In 507 at bats, he had 21 doubles, 9 triples and 8 home runs. Those aren’t eye-popping, but would provide good pop at a premium position. If he can continue to develop this type of extra-base power, he could become a much more interesting prospect. He’s getting older (22 to be exact), so the clock is certainly ticking.Levi Michael
and his slightly pink socks. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
21. Levi Michael
I wrote extensively about Michael just a few weeks back. You can read a lot more about him here. To summarize that post, I remain intrigued. It is looking increasingly likely that he will be at second base and not shortstop. He doesn’t really have the type of range the Twins look for from a shortstop. However, he has good on-base skills, runs well and can put the ball in play. In short, he does a lot of things fine and nothing spectacular. He won’t rush through the system like many thought he would, but he could still end up being a contributor in some capacity down the line. I like Michael more than Santana, because I think his tools are more likely to stick with him as they progress (likely together). However, Santana likely has more upside, even if he is just a bit older.
To summarize, prospects 21-25 include an older player with a checkered past, but a potentially huge bat. There are a couple of pitchers who might share some 2013 bus rides in Connecticut this coming season. Finally, there are two infielders who might ascend the Twins system along side each other, as they try to remain part of the Twins’ future plans. Check back next Wednesday, as I profile prospects 20-16. Spoiler alert: One of my personal favorites is number 16.