Minnesota Twins Prospect Octopus: Week 6
By Brad Swanson
Feb 19, 2013; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar (71) poses for a portrait during photo day at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It dawned on me the other day that I never properly introduced everyone to the Prospect Octopus. I just went on and on about his prospect eye and didn’t once think to share the most important of details. Taylor. His name is Taylor. Taylor the Prospect Octopus. Taylor has some prospect reports for you, so let’s waste no more time.
Rochester Red Wings
We have a couple of Minnesota players to discuss today. Caleb Thielbar was an 18th-round selection out of South Dakota State back in 2009. He is currently in his second season at Rochester, and repeating the level seems to be suiting him well. His walks are down and his strikeouts are up. In fact, his K:BB ratio is better than five right now. That level of command is impressive, even at his age (26). Thielbar is looking more and more like a future Twin and has almost certainly passed Tyler Robertson at this point.
Nathan Hanson, a 28th-round pick out of the University of Minnesota in 2008 was recently called up to AAA after spending over 170 games in New Britain. I’m not sure what to call Hanson, as he plays a lot of positions. He’s a corner infielder, but played over 40 games at second last season. He’s been playing some outfield in Rochester as well. Perhaps he is being groomed for some sort of super utility role. Someone who can play nearly every position can be quite valuable. He’s worth keeping an eye on.
New Britain Rock Cats
Here’s a tweet from Baseball Prospectus’ Chris Mellen:
Pinto has been great this season, posting a .333/.410/.558 triple slash. He is basically splitting his time evenly between catcher and DH. His offense has been quite good for the past two seasons, but will his defense progress with his bat? He isn’t a true Ryan Doumit clone, as he doesn’t play the outfield (although Doumit doesn’t really anymore either). If his bat keeps developing, he may not even need to play another position, as he could simply backup Joe Mauer and serve as DH when Mauer catches. Who knows, if he really develops, he could slowly shift that ratio in the other direction.
I wrote about Danny Santana a few weeks back and posited that he might be the Twins’ shortstop as early as next season. Paul Molitor disagrees:
Obviously, I was a bit ahead of myself. It makes sense that Santana was moved to AA, as he does need to play every day and the Twins have younger or less experienced shortstops at lower levels in Niko Goodrum, Jorge Polanco and Levi Michael. Santana hasn’t set the world on fire, but he’s held his own at AA. He may be a couple years away, but he’s certainly still a future Twin.
Fort Myers Miracle
Jason Wheeler was the Twins’ 8th-round pick in 2011. He has made seven starts at Fort Myers this season. In those 36.2 innings, he has 20 strikeouts and 13 walks. His ERA is 4.66 and his WHIP is 1.31. These are all fully mediocre numbers. Wheeler is 22, stands 6′ 8″ and weighs 255 lb. As a lefty, he’ll be given a lot of time to develop and improve. His numbers are mediocre now, but he has projection, due to his size. If nothing else, he could always move to the bullpen, where the Twins could see if his size better translates to stuff.
Adrian Salcedo still has not walked a batter this season. He has 21 strikeouts in 17 innings as well. Salcedo has had a really strange career thus far. He has moved to the bullpen, and early returns are good. I wonder if he will ever get another chance to start. If not, he may develop into a solid middle reliever, albeit one that came through the system in the oddest way possible.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Hudson Boyd was the Twins’ supplemental first-round pick back in 2011. Boyd is interesting because he is a rare high school pitcher in the Twins’ system. As such, he is incredibly young and inexperienced. His stats aren’t even really worth sharing at this point in his development. Boyd is a big man. He has big man stuff and decent command. His control is developing and his big-man stuff has yet to translate into strikeouts, but he’s young and he’ll have that going for him for a few more years.
Romy Jimenez is a young man too, as he’ll turn 22 on Tuesday. That may not sound young for Cedar Rapids, but not every low A team is jam packed with awesome prospects. Jimenez has had a really rough season and has not earned consistent playing time. However, Byron Buxton and Adam Walker are absolutely destroying low A pitching. If either player earns a call-up, Jimenez would slot in for full-time duty. That would be a huge step in his development, but one that oddly depends on other players continuing their development. As is prospect life.
Ask and you shall receive.
I think the #prospectoctopus is the greatest thing on the planet, so if you want to see a prospect highlighted in a future post, please tweet either me directly (@bridman77) or Puckett’s Pond (@puckettspond). The Prospect Octopus is here to serve us all. Never forget that. Me, you, Taylor and all of Twins Territory. Have a nice week, everyone!