What do you think of my big glove? Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few weeks, I’ve focused on players who have performed really well or performed well below expectations. However, there are plenty of guys in between. This week, we’ll look at some of the better Twins’ prospects who we haven’t looked at closely in the past few weeks. There’s a lot of talent on the list today, including a guy who might be inching closer to his MLB debut. In fact, let’s start there.
May has been excellent in 2014. His ERA is 4.11, which is hardly excellent but every other stat looks great to me. His strikeout rate was always good at AA, but now it’s great at AAA. At 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings, May is posting his highest strikeout rate since 2011. His walk rate is down as well and improvements in strikeouts and walks is a great combination. By keeping his walks down and limiting hits like a champ, May has a WHIP of 1.11. With Kevin Correia looking completely unworthy of his spot in the rotation, May might be on the cusp of taking over that spot. May has the talent to stay in the rotation for a very long time.
Berrios is probably my favorite Twins’ pitching prospect. He’s short (relatively) but he throws with a lot of confidence. Berrios has been fantastic as a pro, pitching at an age well below the average for each league. As a 20-year-old in High-A, Berrios has more than held his own. Through seven starts, Berrios has a 2.72 ERA and a 1.349 WHIP. His strikeout and walk rates have remained stable compared with his 2013 season in Low-A. The Florida State League is certainly a pitchers’ league, but it’s still great to see Berrios having success.
Scouting box scores is a pretty dangerous endeavor. I know, I do it every week. That said, I do look at scouting reports and I try to engage people who actually watch the players as much as I can. If you just look at box scores, Walker is a monster prospect. He crushed Low-A pitching last season. He hit 27 home runs and 109 RBI. However, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was nearly four and that figure is terrifying because players often cannot overcome that lack of plate discipline as they move up. Walker is struggling so far with Fort Myers, although he did hit a huge grand slam on Sunday. He still has monster power and his strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved. His stats might not look great, but it could be that Walker has developed in other less noticeable areas.
When the Twins acquired Gilmartin for Ryan Doumit, I was more impressed that the Twins actually got a player for Gilmartin than I was impressed with who they got for Ryan Doumit. Gilmartin doesn’t throw hard and his AAA numbers were unimpressive. The Twins moved Gilmartin down to AA for 2014 and it appears that was the best thing for his career. Gilmartin’s strikeout rate has jumped and his walk rate has fallen. He has a 3.63 ERA in seven AA starts. He’s not dominating, but he isn’t getting worked either. He’s almost certainly going to move to AAA at some point this season and hopefully he will be more equipped to handle that level in 2014.
Wimmers has been very up and down in 2014. He’s been mostly good though, especially considering the fact that he is coming off of his second major arm surgery. Wimmers was originally set to fly through the Minors, but at age 25 now, it hasn’t worked out that way. Even so, his career is hardly over. Wimmers was great in his last start on Friday. He went six innings, gave up just one run on two hits and two walks, while striking out eight. When Wimmers generates strikeouts, he gets good results. If he can manage a decent strikeout rate, his overall command could lead him to the Majors one day.
When Melotakis was drafted, the Twins seemed interested trying him as a starter. He started 18 games with Cedar Rapids in 2013 and he was pretty good. That said, he did make some relief appearances as well and he was even better. This season, he’s been used mostly as a reliever with Fort Myers. His strikeout rate has jumped, but so has his walk rate. If you take away the two starts he made in April, his overall performance looks much better and his peripheral stats look pretty good. If Melotakis is a reliever as it appears that he is, his ceiling is lower, but he might move levels much quicker.
Duffey put himself on the map in 2013 with a fantastic set of starts with Low-A Cedar Rapids. He earned a promotion to Fort Myers, but he didn’t have the same success. His peripheral stats all dipped and his ability to handle more advanced hitters was called into question. He went back to Fort Myers to start 2014, but it didn’t take long for Duffey to earn another promotion to AA New Britain. In fact, he was up with New Britain after just four effective High-A starts. Duffey has looked good with New Britain so far. His stuff won’t generate a ton of strikeouts, but his command is very good. If he can limit walks at an elite level, he’ll keep moving up the ladder.
Koch is following up a very solid 2013 season with Fort Myers with an equally impressive season with AA New Britain. Koch is currently hitting .271/.354/.386 with five doubles and one home run. Koch is 25, so he’s not someone who the Twins are planning for, but if he can keep hitting and reaching base, he could work his way into the backup catcher conversation in the near future.
Next week, I’ll be back with eight more prospects to discuss. Have a great week, everyone!