Feb 19, 2013; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Robertson (64) poses for a portrait during photo day at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
As you probably know, I found the Prospect Octopus when deep-sea diving in the Pacific Ocean. I was communicating with him via text over the next few weeks and found that he had a lot of knowledge of Twins Prospects. He uses speech-to-text because he’s all tentacles when it comes to things like typing and texting. Regardless, his vast knowledge of prospects is at our disposal and here are some updates from the Twins’ minor leagues.
Rochester Red Wings
Kyle Gibson has really started to put things together. On the season, he has a nearly 3:1 K:BB ratio and has sits at nearly a strikeout per inning pitched. In addition, he has only given up one home run. In his most recent start, he went 6.2 innings, struck out seven, and walked two. He only gave up two hits and zero earned runs. His 27 innings pitched on the season leaves him with only about 100-110 innings yet to pitch this season. It will be very interesting to see how many starts he gets in Minnesota. If he continues to pitch like he has in Rochester, there won’t be much reason to leave him down there.
Tyler Robertson was sent down to AAA when Anthony Swarzak recovered from his broken ribs. While Robertson isn’t really a prospect, he is a young player who could help the Twins win games now and in the future. However, he seems to have lost his control. He only walked one batter in two innings on Sunday, but had walked seven batters in 3.2 innings in his two previous appearances. While a momentary loss of control happens from time to time, a long-term issue with control would pretty much end Robertson’s chances to return to Minnesota.
New Britain Rock Cats
Speaking of control, B.J. Hermsen has some of the best control in the Twins’ system. He was injured to start the season, but has returned and made two starts. Here are the results:
Two starts are two starts, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into these two starts. However, Hermsen needs to be very fine within the strike zone, as he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. On Saturday, he did not throw many strikes, and when he did, they were hit. A high ground ball rate is another key for Hermsen, as he has never been a big strikeout pitcher in the Minors. He got a lot of ground balls in his first game and gave up a lot of runs. He didn’t get many ground balls in his second start, and he only gave up a couple runs. What do I know?
Sticking with initialed players, A.J. Achter is an interesting name. He was a 46th-round pick back in 2010 and he has worked his way through the Minors as a high strikeout, low walk reliever. So far this season, only half of that is true. He has walked a much higher percentage of batters than he had ever walked previously. He may just be working through a short slump, so I wouldn’t worry too much. It is something that is worth watching though, as the average AA hitter has a more advanced approach than Achter is used to seeing.
Fort Myers Miracle
Levi Michael made his debut on Thursday and hit two triples! A four game sample is obviously too small to learn anything about a player. However, the fact that Michael has played shortstop in three of those four games is somewhat telling. Michael still has a chance to establish himself as a future Twins’ middle infielder. Many think that Michael is a future second baseman or utility player, but obviously the Twins want to give him a chance to stick at short. It will be interesting to see how often he plays another position while with Fort Myers.
Adrian Salcedo was once a top 10 prospect in the Twins’ system. He took a line drive off his face last season and obviously missed a lot of time as a result. Salcedo got rocked on Sunday, giving up four earned runs, including two home runs, in just an inning of work. His season ERA sits at 7.84. However, he also has not walked a batter all season long. In addition, he has struck out over a batter per inning. Salcedo is obviously still recovering, likely both physically and mentally. Taking a line drive to the face would be a very jarring experience, and one that can threaten a career. Early struggles had to be expected, but the strikeout and walk rates are very encouraging.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Jose Berrios made his much anticipated debut on Tuesday. He went five innings, gave up seven hits, two walks, two earned runs and recorded five strikeouts. The biggest significance is just the fact that Berrios is 18 and pitching in full-season baseball. Berrios went from a fringe 1st-round pick back in June to one of the more interesting prospects in all of baseball. He pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and now joins an extremely loaded Cedar Rapids team. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus said that Berrios pitches with #rig. I would have to agree.
Speaking of #rig, Adam Walker is hitting mad home runs these days. Here’s a tweet for you:
Walker was a 3rd-round pick last June and hit 14 home runs at Elizabethton last season. He has as much power as anyone in the Twins’ system, Miguel Sano excluded. Just this week, he hit five home runs and had 16 RBI. His .310/.380/.634 line thus far is outstanding. With all the talented prospects currently playing for Cedar Rapids, I might just have to run an all Cedar Rapids ProstOct in the future.
Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are raking. If you have followed any local or national prospect writers, you are more than aware. These two teenagers (that’s right, teenagers) are probably the best 1-2 hitting prospects in any organization. Don’t believe me? Ben Badler of Baseball America agrees:
In fact, these two are hitting so well, that they may be changing their ETAs. I would have had Sano reaching Minnesota in mid to late 2015. I would have had Buxton joining him the following season. Now? I think Sano might debut next season and Buxton might not be far behind. While much can still change and each player still has things to work on, it is clear to see that these special prospects are going to move fast. In fact, they might move faster than anyone would have expected. Get excited.
That is all we have this week. If you have questions for the Octopus, you can certainly send them to me on Twitter @bridman77 and I will pass them along. If you have mollusks of your own who have knowledge of the prospect world, I’d be very interested to hear about them. Have a nice week everyone!