Minnesota Twins Prospect Octopus: Week 5


Feb 19, 2013; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Trevor May (65) poses for a portrait during photo day at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When the Prospect Octopus and I were conversing this week, he asked about the reaction to his prospect information.  I was shocked to hear that he didn’t read the posts I had been putting up based on his information.  He claims to be too busy scouting and eating crab to read his own thoughts put into my words.  I questioned his heart and he replied that he has three hearts, so perhaps I should do some research before making such a wild accusation.  He wins this round.  On to the prospects!

Rochester Red Wings

ProstOct is requesting a one week reprieve from Rochester, as he doesn’t feel there are any real prospects left to discuss.  I decided to grant this short vacation.  We’ll make up the two players at the lower levels.

New Britain Rock Cats

Chris Mellen of Baseball Prospectus was scouting Alex Meyer on Sunday.  He shared this information early in the game:

Those pitches make me woozy.  If he can harness those pitches consistently, then look out, World!  However, later in the game, Mellen sent this tweet:

Bummer.  An average third pitch will probably make Meyer a number 1 or 2 starter.  Better command will be important too, but this is a great reminder that Meyer is still a prospect and not a finished product.  He is a crazy exciting prospect, but still has work to do.  His season has been universally successful, but that doesn’t mean hiccups aren’t reasonable to expect from time to time.

Trevor May is the other AA pitcher who Twins fans should be excited for.  May had a great start on Saturday, going 7.1 innings, giving up 1 earned run off three hits.  He struck out three and only walked two.  This is encouraging as May was murdered on Monday (not literally) and put up stats that we don’t have the combined four hearts to share.  That he bounced back is good to see and how he performs in his next start will be one of the things I am watching most closely this coming week.

Fort Myers Miracle

D.J. Baxendale was the Twins’ 10th round pick last June.  This is going to shock you, but he was a college pitcher, although he was a starter at Arkansas.  As a direct result of his starting background, he is a bit further ahead than some of the college relievers who are converting to become starting pitchers.  Thus, Baxendale is at Fort Myers, and so far, he is cruising.  He has been relatively consistent, with few walks and a decent amount of strikeouts.  He hasn’t given up a lot of hits and he is working deeper into games.  If he can keep this level of performance up for a few more weeks, he’ll likely be moved to New Britain.

Taylor Rogers has already been promoted this season, moving from Cedar Rapids to Fort Myers after just three starts.  Rogers is another college draft pick from 2012.  His strikeouts and walks have dipped in his two starts at Fort Myers, but come on, that’s just a 14 inning sample.  There isn’t much to see in his numbers, but the fact that he was chosen for a promotion does likely say something about how he is viewed within the Twins’ system.

Tom Stuifbergen has the second best name in the Twins’ minor leagues (Brian Dinkelman) and has done one thing at an elite level this season:  limit walks.  He has walked two batters in almost 33 innings this season.  His strikeout rate is unimpressive, so his upside may be limited.  However, anyone who can limit walks to the extreme like Stuifbergen has this season (and for the last few seasons actually) has some potential value.  Just look at Kevin Correia‘s crazy April.  The biggest key to that success was a crazy low walk rate.  A walk rate under 1.5% is crazy, and that is where Stuifbergen currently sits.

Cedar Rapids Kernels

We had three pitchers from Fort Myers, so here are three position players from Cedar Rapids.

Dalton (D.J.) Hicks was a 17th round pick out of the University of Central Florida last June.  He did not even approach my top 25 prospect list and was not an honorable mention either.  Hicks has hit very well so far this season, posting a .267/.336/.465 slash line so far.  His power and plate discipline are notable, as was this tweet from Jeffrey Johnson, a writer for the Kernels:

I love rare power feats.

Speaking of power, Travis Harrison has power.  Harrison was a supplemental first-round pick back in 2011.  Harrison is only 20 and experiencing full-season ball for the first time.  He isn’t setting the world on fire, a la Byron Buxton, but he is holding his own at his young age.  His .267/.320/.467 slash line is impressive, although his defense at third base has been pretty shaky.  Harrison has huge power, but might be a first baseman when all is said and done.  However, if his power develops as many thinks it can, he’ll provide value at either corner.

We had a D.J. and now we have a J.D.  JaDamion Williams drew my ire early in the season because he was taking at bats from Romy Jimenez.  Jimenez has struggled immensely while Williams has thrived.  Williams’ batting average is not impressive (.219), but his OBP is very good (.402).  In 2012 in the same league, Williams had 115 strike outs and 39 walks.  This is roughly a 3:1 ratio.  This season, Williams has 20 walks and 19 Ks.  That 1:1 ratio is quite an improvement.  It is still very early, and he is repeating the level, but an improvement like this is something that can completely change a prospect’s outlook.  It certainly makes me feel better about Jimenez riding the pine as much as he has.

Parting Thought

Um, Bryon Buxton has an OBP over .500.  In 120 plate appearances this season, he has taken 23 walks.  He is slugging over .650.  He has 12 stolen bases.  He has scored 29 runs and has 23 RBI.  He has 5 home runs.  There isn’t really a Buxton number that isn’t impressive.  Oh yeah, he’s 19 years old and he will be all season long.  Yep.  He’s special.

That’s all we have this week.  Next week, we’ll try to have some AAA players to discuss.  Have a nice week!

Kevin Slowey won a game on Sunday!  He hadn’t won since 2010, and even if you thought he was a nerd clubhouse demon, you have to be happy after his winding travels the last couple years.  Here is something I wrote the day before his landmark win, which now looks silly solely because he won yesterday.