Sep 10, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks (62) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back, everyone! I apologize for the missed week. When an octopus is in danger, it sprays ink to get away from its enemies. When an octopus is being a prankster, he sprays ink on your laptop, which is hilarious until the time you need to use the laptop for typing and prospecting. Then…not so funny. Anyway, I have a new computer and a new set of eight prospects to share with you. Let’s get it.
The Twins drafted Grimes in the 5th round of the 2011 draft. Grimes is a diminutive infielder-turned-catcher out of Kansas. If you’ve read previous installments, you know how much I value a catching prospect. Grimes also appears to have some plate discipline, although low Minors stats aren’t extremely reliable. Last season, Grimes posted a 87:45 K:BB ratio, in just 356 plate appearances. That’s a ton of strikeouts (one in every four at bats), but also a ton of walks. Grimes has now played 236 games in Low A. It’s probably time to move him up and see what he can do. If he can stay at catcher, then he’ll keep me at least somewhat interested.
Gruver was the Twins’ seventh-round selection in 2011. Gruver is a reliever, and posted a nice strikeout rate with Cedar Rapids in 2013. He pitched well enough in his second season in the Midwest League and earned a promotion to Fort Myers. With Fort Myers, his strikeout rate dropped, his walk rate almost doubled and he generally did not impress. He’s 24, so he’ll really need to impress in 2014 to remain in the Twins’ organizational plans.
You probably remember Guerra as the Crown Jewel of the Johan Santana trade. At that time, the 19-year-old Guerra was a low Minors starter with huge upside. Cut to six years later and Guerra has not appeared in the Majors and only threw 4 innings in the Minors in 2013. He had surgery to repair a circulation problem in March and did not return until the end of the Minor League season. Guerra is no longer a starter and some think that he could be a reasonably good reliever. He really just needs innings to see if that is true. It’s possible that if he remains in the organization, he could make his Twins debut in 2014. It’s also possible that he’ll never pitch for the Twins at all.
Ok, a real prospect! Harrison was the Twins’ supplemental first-round pick in 2011. Much like Miguel Sano, Harrison has immense power. Much like Miguel Sano, Harrison is a third baseman that many feel will have to move to first at some point. Unlike Sano, Harrison doesn’t have quite the fanfare. Although, Harrison had a really nice season with Cedar Rapids in 2013. He hit .253/.366/.416, with 15 home runs, 28 doubles and did all of this at the age of 20. Harrison turns 21 on Thursday (Happy B-day, Trav) and will likely be in our top ten Twins prospects. He walked over 10% of the time and while he did strike out a lot, most sluggers do. He’s a very solid prospect and one who could start to climb various lists as he shows what he can do against more advanced pitching.
Hauser is a relief pitcher who the Twins drafted in the seventh round back in 2010. Over the past two seasons, Hauser has improved his walk rate and maintained a decent strikeout rate. He had a pretty rough season with New Britain, posting a 6.00 ERA in 39 innings. He did have a decent 35:12 K:BB ratio though. Reliever samples are so small and when you consider the lack of reliability in Minor League stats, I’m not sure a lot can be determined about Hauser as a prospect. He’ll be 26 next season and he’s never pitched in AAA. We’ll just leave it at that.
Ah, so frustrating! Hendriks was the Twins’ Minor League pitcher of the year in 2011 and looked to be a safe 4-5 starter in the Majors. He’s been nothing close to safe and nothing close to even a 5th starter. Hendriks appeared in 10 games with the Twins, starting 8. He had a 6.85 ERA and now sits with a 6.06 ERA in 156 career MLB innings. Unlike previous years, Hendriks didn’t dominate the Minors. His 4.67 ERA in 98.1 innings at Rochester are more than concerning. All that being said, Hendriks will be just 25 years old in 2014 and he does have good control. His low walk rates will always be intriguing, but he might be too much of a nibbler to achieve any actual MLB success.
Hermsen had a disaster of a season in 2013. He was 1-10 with a 4.81 ERA in 86 innings. His strikeout rate dipped from really low to terminally low and his walk rate increased as well. This was all while repeating AA after dominating that level the year prior. Hermsen went from the Twins’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year to a non-prospect who may never reach AAA. He’ll be just 24 next year, but he never had good velocity and relied very heavily on low walk rates and pitching to contact. As much as the Twins may value those traits, they rarely result in a quality long-term MLB pitcher. That being said, if he can get his command back, he could change his perception back to where it was before this lost season.
Speaking of soft-tossing, pitch to contact pitchers, Pedro Hernandez saw about 56.2 innings more of MLB time than I would have preferred. Hernandez at least has the advantage of pitching with his left hand, so I can see some of the appeal. He’ll be 25 next year, he doesn’t get strikeouts, he hasn’t brought elite walk rates with him on trips to Minnesota and he can’t be relied on to be any part of a successful Twins team. There are many pitchers like Hermsen and Hernandez in every system, but it seems like guys with this profile reach the Majors a lot more frequently in Minnesota. I’m sure Hernandez will get a handful of starts in 2014 and I’m sure they won’t be pretty.
That’s all we have for this week. Next week, we’ll have another fresh, delicious batch of home-cooked prospects to discuss. See you then!