Jul 28, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (32) hits a sac fly against the Seattle Mariners during the 6th inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to The Octopus! Taylor and I have been breakin’ it down over the last few weeks, in an attempt to share his wealth of knowledge on Twins prospects. If you missed the first five installments, click on my name (Brad Swanson) and peruse my archive. They’re all there. Week 1. Week 2. Week 3. Week 4. And more. Today, we have eight more prospects, seven with names that start with “H.” How hwonderful!
I had once labeled Herrmann as a potential Ryan Doumit replacement. I saw his ability to play the outfield and pass as a catcher and made that comp all by myself. Looking at Herrmann as a hitter, I’m not sure it is a fair comp. Doumit is a good hitter. In fact, he was once a great hitter. He slipped in 2013, but I’d be shocked if Herrmann ever reaches the 96 OPS+ that Doumit provided in that down season. Herrmann has struck out a lot as an MLB player, much too often for a player with limited power. He’s had some good flashes and he could still be a useful backup catcher. I’m not sure he can hit enough to play outfield consistently and he almost certainly was passed by Josmil Pinto last season.
Ah, my beloved. I adopted 2013 Aaron Hicks in a sense. I defended him mercilessly against the pleebs who couldn’t see that he was a young player with upside and thought he sucked and needed to be sent to Gitmo. By July, I was exhausted. When he was finally annexed to AAA in early August, I had lost the will to defend. I still hold out a lot of hope for Hicks’ future. Even as a poor MLB hitter, he flashed impressive power. He has always been slow to adjust to new levels and might need some time at AAA in 2014. I see Hicks as the team’s long-term right fielder. His arm is crazy strong and his range added to Byron Buxton‘s range in center will bring back fond memories of the Span-Revere days (ah memories). They’ll be better though. Defense won’t be an issue for Hicks and I think he can still hit enough to be a major part of the Twins future dynasty. Don’t sleep on him; that would be weird.
Somehow, Dalton has become the more popular of the two Twins Hicks. Hicks was great at Cedar Rapids, hitting .297/.355/.494 and earning a promotion to Fort Myers. He was more pedestrian from there, only hitting .270/.364/.405. Pedestrian is harsh. He improved his walk rate but showed less power. Trade-offs! Hicks is a DH/1B and will be 24 next season. There isn’t any reason to discount his achievements or ignore his production, but tempering expectations would be wise. I saw someone suggest that he should be a top 10 Twins prospect. That’s loco. If he continues to hit, he could play for the Twins one day. With his 17th-round pedigree, that’s pretty good.
I really want to like him. He’s a switch-hitter. He’s 150 lbs. He’s got a cool name. However, he can’t hit. .190/.300/.252 in 577 pro plate appearances. He’ll be 21 on Wednesday (Happy B-day, Jonatan!) and he hasn’t reached full-season ball. Did I mention that he can’t hit? He’ll draw a walk and he doesn’t strike out a ton, but what does that really mean if you can’t hit? Oh well, he’s still about 5 million times better at baseball than I ever was.
Hu made his pro debut with the GCL Twins in 2013, after signing out of Taiwan in 2012. I’d say his debut was a success! Yay! Hu threw 36.2 innings, struck out 39 and only walked 8. According to sources, he can throw in the low-90s, has a great changeup and he has a fairly large frame at 6’1″ and 210lb. He’s 19 and it’s far too early to know what to expect from Hu. However, good rookie ball stats are certainly better than bad rookie ball stats, so we’re off to a good start with Hu.
Hurlbut, like Hicks, was so good for Cedar Rapids that he earned a promotion to Fort Myers. Like Hicks, Hurlbut was still good with the Miracle, but not quite as good. It’s almost as if baseball gets harder as you move up levels!?! Like Hicks, Hurlbut will be 24 next season and has not reached AA. His strikeout and walk rates look pretty good and he seems to get outs as a reliever. Relievers can come along slowly and still have effective careers. Perhaps Hurlbut will be a 6th or 7th inning reliever in Minnesota one day.
His name sounds like a threat. He certainly wasn’t threatening GCL pitchers though! Right? Right?!? Hurt was the Twins’ 16th-round pick in 2012 and he splits his time at second and short. In 53 GCL games, he has hit .191/.307/.211, although he did improve in his second season. He went from .141/.221/.141 in 2012 to .243/387/.284 in 2013. He had some extra-base hits, walked a fair amount and just generally improved. He’ll probably move to Elizabethton in 2014 and hopefully he can continue to improve as a hitter. You can never have too many middle infielders!
C.K Irby was the Twins’ 2013 tenth-round selection out of Sam(don’t call me Stan)ford University. Irby has now thrown 13.2 pro innings and I don’t know. He didn’t look great. He only struck out 10 and he walked 8, but that sample is so small. He’s got a low- to mid-90s fastball, a cutter/slider and a change. The report I read after the draft had him pegged for the bullpen, which is fine. He’s just 21 and will have plenty of time to develop as he continues his pro career.
That’s all we have for today. We’ve highlighted 48 prospects and we have another 72 to go. What will next week bring? If you know the alphabet, you can make a pretty strong guess. If you don’t, then, 57156478463168712287453 to you.
Have a great week, everyone!