Baseball America on Tuesday released its Top 100 prospects list. Six Twins prospects are on the list -- Minnesota was one of three organizations with six, and nobody had more -- and it was the same six who top everybody's Twins prospects lists, with only the order in question:
Miguel Sano, 3B (9)
Byron Buxton, OF (10)
Oswaldo Arcia, OF (41)
Alex Meyer, RHP (59)
Kyle Gibson, RHP (68)
Aaron Hicks, OF (72)
Somewhere on the outside looking in is Eddie Rosario, who was likely held back by concerns over his defensive position; J.O. Berrios, who has only a couple dozen professional innings under his belt; and Trevor May, who has to demonstrate that he has command of the strike zone to get back on the list.
BA, as I've said repeatedly, is a good reflection of the industry consensus. If BA ranks Arcia that far above Hicks, it indicates that the two are generally seen that way -- that Arcia, a corner outfielder who figures to hit in the middle of the lineup, is more valued that Hicks, a center fielder who profiles as a top-of-the-order guy.
The Twins have a well-regarded stockpile of hitting talent in their minors, and some pitchers of promise, but little of it figures to be a factor in 2013.
Hicks is the most likely to matter in the coming season; he may well open the season in center field, even though that would mean skipping Triple A. Gibson should get some time in the big league rotation this year, but his innings will be limited as they monitor his reconstructed elbow. Sano and Buxton, of course, are high-ceiling players scheduled for A ball this year, as are Rosario and Berrios -- and, for that matter, Max Kepler, the consensus No. 10 prospect in the system.
Somewhere between the Hicks-Gibson "they matter this year" duo and the A ball buys are Meyer,Mays and Arcia, who all got at least some Double A time last year. They might rise to the majors at some point in 2013, or they might not.
Arcia is, at the moment, blocked by Josh Willingham and the Chris Parmelee/Justin Morneau duo; since Arcia has yet to play in Triple A, the Twins aren't in any hurry to unblock his route to the majors. Arcia's arrival depends as much on what moves the Twins make with the veteran sluggers as with how well he performs in the minors,
Meyer and Mays are in a different space. The Twins need quality starters, and they have as high a ceiling as anybody in the organization. Unlike Gibson, there are no physical restrictions; unlike Barrios, they are advanced in their development. If they perform, they'll move up. There is nobody ahead of them, majors or minors, who should be allowed to block them.
Which is another reason to expect the Twins to ultimately regret the $10 million committed to Kevin Correia.