Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects: Honorable Mentions
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
Over the past six weeks, I’ve unveiled my top 30 Twins prospects. I stopped at 30, but I really could have done a top 40 or even a top 50. The Twins’ system is loaded and there were many players I wanted to give the top 30 treatment, but they just didn’t fit. I have identified 10 additional prospects who I feel are worth noting. Some appear on prominent top prospect lists and others are personal favorites. Each has the potential to contribute to a future Twins team if all goes right.
Why he was considered – Eades was the Twins’ second-round selection this past June. He was the hardest omission from the top 30 because he’s an advanced Minor League arm and injuries have been his undoing, not necessarily poor performance. He has four pitches, including a fastball that can touch 95. He’s a college arm, so he could move quickly.
Why he wasn’t selected – Eades has good stuff, but it didn’t translate to strikeouts in college. He also lacks the command and control to truly harness his pitches at this point. He can’t work off his fastball because he can’t command it. He had a terrible pro debut, where all fears manifested. He threw 15.2 innings in the Appy League. He struck out just 13 and walked 12.
Will he be top 30 next year? – Not sure, but he has the potential to be top 20. If the Twins can help him improve his command, he could really take off.
Why he was considered – Jones was part of the Twins’ run on college relievers during the 2012 draft. Unlike others, he has not been given time in the rotation, but he has pitched well as a reliever. He has a mid-90s fastball and he generates a lot of strikeouts. He’s thrown 68.2 professional innings and struck out 104 batters. In 48.2 innings with Fort Myers in 2013, he struck out 70 and finished the season with a 1.85 ERA.
Why he wasn’t selected – Walks. Jones has walked 39 batters in his 68.2 pro innings and he walked 28 last season. He has a hits per nine rate of 5.1. That figure is comically low and simply will not be possible as he moves up the ladder. Extra hits will lead to extra runs. In addition, he’s a reliever and he’s never pitched above High-A.
Will he be top 30 next year? No. He’s still a right-handed reliever and his stuff isn’t so dominant that he belongs in a top 30. However, if he absolutely kills AA, then I’ll have to reconsider.
Why he was considered – Baxendale has good command/control of his three pitches. He blew through the low Minors, reaching AA after less than a full pro season. When he was promoted to AA in May, he had posted a 1.10 ERA in 57.1 innings, with 48 strikeouts and just 11 walks.
Why he wasn’t selected – His ceiling is low, as his fastball sits low 90s and there were concerns that he’d struggle against more advanced hitters. Those concerns were legitimate, as Baxendale had a 5.63 ERA in 92.2 innings with New Britain, managing just 64 strikeouts with 22 walks. He’ll almost certainly need another season in AA, although his overall trajectory has been nice.
Will he be top 30 next year? Probably not. He’s a right-handed number five starter at best. He’s more of a pitch-to-contact guy and he hasn’t missed a lot of bats since reaching High-A.
Why he was considered – Hicks flexed his massive raw power with Cedar Rapids in 2013, posting a .494 slugging percentage in 89 games with the Kernels. He played first base adequately and generally impressed considering his 17th round profile.
Why he wasn’t selected – After being promoted to High-A, Hicks didn’t hit for much power, posting a slugging percentage of just .405, with just four home runs and only eight doubles. Without power, Hicks is barely a prospect, as he’ll be 24 next season and has yet to have success above Low-A.
Will he be top 30 next year? No. I imagine that his power will recover somewhat, but for a power-only prospect to really make waves, they should be slugging .500 or better. It’s arbitrary, but it’s logical too.
Why he was considered – Duffey, like Baxendale, was part of the Twins’ college relievers binge in 2012. Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospectus wrote that he felt Duffey had the best chance of all those relievers to make a successful conversion to the rotation. So far, not bad. He’s posted a 3.34 ERA in 140 pro innings, striking out 118 and walking just 25.
Why he wasn’t selected – Duffey was promoted to High-A Fort Myers around mid-season and his numbers dropped off considerably. In 62.2 innings, he struck out just 44 and walked 17. He finished with a 4.45 ERA, although he did reach a career-high with 121 total innings in 2013.
Will he be top 30 next year? I’m going to say yes. Duffey scuffled in June, right after being moved to Fort Myers. He rebounded nicely in July and August and I think he continues to make adjustments and improve in 2014.
Why he was considered – Roberts dominated the Arizona Fall League in 2012, leading many to believe that he was a breakout candidate in 2013. In addition Roberts is an OBP machine, posting a career .438 career figure. He also controls the strike zone very well, walking more than he struck out in 2012.
Why he wasn’t selected – Well, he played just one game in 2013, so that kind of hurts. Roberts finally returned from an meniscus injury in mid-May, only to suffer another injury and miss the rest of the season. This is all too common for Roberts, as he has only played 180 games in four professional seasons.
Will he be top 30 next year? If healthy, yes. That said, he’ll be 25 next year and has exactly one game above Low-A. I think every Twins prospect wonk would love to see if his high OBPs will translate against better competition. He’s going to need to show it in 2014, or he might be out of the organization. I’ll remain positive.
Why he was considered – Rogers was brutal in three starts with Cedar Rapids, but was promoted to Fort Myers in late April and really took off. He threw 130.2 innings for the Miracle, finishing with a 2.55 ERA and limiting batters to just 32 free passes. Rogers doesn’t throw hard, but he’s left-handed and durable.
Why he wasn’t selected – Rogers doesn’t throw hard and he doesn’t generate strikeouts. Even in his successful 2013 season with Fort Myers, he struck out only 15.7% of the batters he faced. Rogers has a very low ceiling.
Will he be top 30 next year? He’ll probably be right around here again. I imagine he’ll be moderately effective in 2014 but he won’t be impressive enough to leap anyone or slot ahead of new draftees.
Why he was considered – Honestly, he wasn’t, until I saw Keith Law had ranked him 11th on his Twins list because of his outstanding defense at short. He made 11 errors in 2013, posting a .924 fielding percentage. Of course, stats are less important with prospects than tools, and Vielma has great defensive tools and he’s just 19.
Why he wasn’t selected – He can’t hit. Or, he hasn’t hit anyway. He currently owns a .251/.336/.296 career batting line and he hasn’t reached full-season ball. In addition, those errors at short scare me. At some point, tools have to create production
Will he be top 30 next year? I’m very torn. I’m going to say no, unless he can crack a .300 slugging percentage. Pedro Florimon is the very definition of replacement-level, and even he managed that at age 19 in Rookie Ball.
Why he was considered – He has a first-round pedigree. He’s still very young, entering his third professional season at just 21. He can pump his fastball into the mid-90s and he has a sharp breaking ball.
Why he wasn’t selected – His results have been less than impressive. in 2013, he made his full-season debut with Cedar Rapids. He threw 103 innings, struck out 72 and walked 56. Yep, a 12.2% walk rate. Not surprisingly, he finished with an ERA just shy of 5 and was moved to the bullpen for a good two months.
Will he be top 30 next year? His move to the bullpen was likely part-performance, part-arm preservation, but it’s certainly not a great sign. I’ll say no, but he certainly has the talent. He might emerge as a late-inning reliever if he does move permanently to the bullpen.
Why he was considered – Chargois was a closer for Rice University (a role he shared with Tyler Duffey, actually) and the Twins took him in the second round of the 2012 draft. He dominated in his 2012 pro debut, throwing 16 innings, striking out 22 while walking just 5. He has a fastball that can touch 97 and was seen as a guy who could move through the system very quickly as a reliever.
Why he wasn’t selected – Nate Roberts played infinitely more games than Chargois in 2013. Chargois missed the entire season and then had Tommy John surgery in September, putting his 2014 season in major doubt.
Will he be top 30 next year? Very unlikely, considering he is very unlikely to pitch in 2014. However, he could emerge as a top 30 prospect in 2015, when he’ll be 25 and hopefully healthy.
We’ve now covered 40 Twins prospects and we could really go another 20-25 deep. Instead, I’m going to focus on the young Twins next week. I haven’t selected an age cutoff yet and I might actually organize by service time instead. Regardless, we’ll look at the top ten young Twins next week. We’ll be looking at the core of the franchise and regardless of how I create the list, the names are impressive. See you next week!