Minnesota Twins Prospect Octopus: August 5, 2013
By Brad Swanson
Jun 8, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher RyanEades (37) pitches in the first inning against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Baton Rouge super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Normally, Taylor, the Prospect Octopus, and I have some little theme for the weekly prospect eight-pack. This week, we got nothin’. Even now as I write this, I can’t think of any creative or interesting way to tie these eight players together. But wait! They are all high upside Twins prospects, aren’t they? Isn’t that enough? The fact is that we can cycle through eight different prospects each week, with little overlap because the Twins system is so stacked. I guess that’s better than a silly theme. Here are eight players who caught our eye this week:
It’s very easy to forget about Wimmers. He was a mid-first round pick back in 2010 and he had a stunningly good pro debut with Fort Myers. It looked like he was on the fast-track to the Majors. He was a college arm, command/control guy and he dominated high A right off the bat. Then, in 2011, he suddenly lost his control. He rebounded to pitch at AA in 2012, but then succumbed to Tommy John surgery. He recently returned. In 14.1 innings in the GCL, Wimmers has a 5.02 ERA, but more importantly 17 strikeouts and just 4 walks. Wimmers easily had as much upside as Kyle Gibson and while it will take a lot longer to get to the Twins, he could still turn out to be a number 3 starter. I’ll be very interested to see where the Twins put him in 2014.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this man can hit. No matter where Rosario goes, he hits. Since his AA promotion, Rosario has hit .292/.344/.433 at age 21. He also has 12 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs. I took a step back on Rosario a little while back, when I read reports from Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks that Rosario is a bit of a butcher at second. He’s athletic enough to make it work, but he will need more time. It may be that his bat carries him to the Majors sooner than his glove is ready, but that bat might make it all worthwhile. I know for certain that he will hit, because Eddie Rosario hits. That’s a t-shirt.
The Twins’ fourth-overall pick back in June, Stewart is slowly showing why the Twins were so enamored. He’s only thrown 10 innings, but he’s struck out nine and walked just one. Stewart was considered advanced for a high school pitcher. He has four pitches and advanced command. His stuff is impressive. His performance this year will mean next to nothing. There is a litany of players with gaudy rookie ball stats who do next to nothing upon hitting full season ball. Stewart will post sick numbers this season, but the true test will come when he hits low A. He may make that jump next season and then the clock officially starts ticking on his journey to Minnesota.
Vargas has been great with Fort Myers. He’s hit .278/.357/.500 with 30 doubles, 17 home runs and 79 RBI. With all the players earning promotions in recent weeks, many feel that Vargas should have been promoted to New Britain. I can certainly see that argument. However, Vargas is just 22 and as a first baseman, he will need to really hit to be a part of the future. While there is nothing wrong with his performance, his numbers aren’t so eye-popping that his stagnation at high A is a travesty. He can start next season with New Britain and if he keeps hitting, he could be in Minnesota by September. It’s not out of the question, especially if the Twins do not retain a certain Canadian first baseman and need to use 2014 to audition long-term replacements.
Hey, cool, Luke Bard is pitching again. He’s only thrown two innings, but that’s two more innings than he had thrown all season. Bard’s transition to the rotation has been put on hold, as he is still recovering from injury. He’ll be 23 next season, so that conversion likely needs to get underway this off-season and early next season. Bard has big upside, which is why the Twins took him 42nd overall last season. However, he rarely pitches and his injury issues date back to his college career. Health is the most important part of Bard’s game going forward. He can’t show off his big talent from the trainer’s table.
Earlier this season, Paul Molitor stated that Santana is still a couple years away. He’s got a lot of work to do with his glove, as he still makes far too many errors. However, he has the skills to the play the position and it looks like he might be able to hit enough to provide a little value at the plate. His 2013 season mirrors his 2012 season, although his power has dipped a bit. That being said, if Santana continues to develop, he could be the shortstop of the future. If he can post a .700 OPS in the Majors, he would be an above-average offensive shortstop. Then, it just comes down to whether his glove develops alongside his bat.
Eades was the Twins’ second-round pick back in June. While most college arms look to move quickly, Eades could make a slower climb. He dealt with injuries in high school, so a lot of his development occurred with LSU. Eades profiles as more of a Twins style “pitch-to-contact” back of the rotation starter. That doesn’t excite Twins fans, but would be an extremely valuable player down the line. Eades has only thrown 7 innings for Elizabethton, so there is little to gleam from the numbers. He should start next season with Cedar Rapids and I’m guessing he’ll have good success at low A.
The man on the milk carton. A second-round pick in 2012, Chargois has still not thrown a pitch in a game for the Twins this season. It seems more and more likely that he will not throw a pitch at all this season. Perhaps he will get ready for some Winter Ball, but losing a full season of development is never a good thing. It delays everything: his transition to the rotation, his command, his development of secondary pitches. It might be that this lost season will seal his fate as a bullpen arm. Or, maybe it won’t. Hopefully, Chargois can get back from his injury and throw a few meaningful pitches, sooner rather than later.
With that, we end our theme-free week of prospecting. Perhaps next week we will just look at prospects who are exactly 6 feet tall. Not terrible. Or maybe Taylor and I will just keep working hard, reading reports, scouting videos and checking box scores to bring you great updated information about the future of the Minnesota Twins. That’s better. Have a nice week, everyone!