Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dissecting the Bill Smith era: Draft and develop

Let's look at how Twins draftees of the past half-decade -- the men drafted and/or developed by the organization under Bill Smith -- have fared. Keep in mind: the more recent they are, the less certain we can be about them. The early drafts are the ones that should have produced major league and Triple-A players by now.

Chris Parmelee
impressed in a
September callup.
2006: Chris Parmelee was Minnesota's first round pick, Joe Benson their second rounder. Both were taken out of high school. We saw quite a bit of each in September, and Benson in particular needs more minor league time. They may not have developed as quickly as we'd like, but there's still promise there.

Other notables: Danny Valencia (19th round), collegian, is the Twins third baseman.  LHP Tyler Robertson (3rd) has had arm problems, is now seen as a bullpen possibility, not as a starter,but is still viewed highly enough to be added last week to the 40-man roster. RHP Jeff Manship (14th) was a collegian who has reached the majors but is not an impact player. Brian Dinkleman (8th) re-signed with the Twins as a minor league free agent.

2007: Ben Revere, first round pick, figures to be a regular in the major league outfield in 2012. You know the story there: His tools are either outstanding (speed, contact hitting) or very weak (power, throwing arm). Angel Morales (3rd) is a Puerto Rican outfielder who has displayed great talent but has been stalled by injuries. He was not added to the 40 last week and is eligible for the Rule V draft.

Dan Rohlfing split
2011 between High A
and Double A.

The 2007 draft is heavy on catchers named Daniel: Danny Rams (2nd round), Danny Lehmann (8th), Dan Rohlfing (14th). Rams has power but has contact issues; Lehmann has defensive skills and is the closest to getting to the majors but figures to be a Drew Butera-type backup.

2008: The first draft of the Bill Smith era, and the first conducted by scouting director Deron Johnson, featured two first round picks and a supplemental first rounder.

  • Aaron Hicks, outfielder, has made slow progress that included two seasons in low A ball. Scouts still love his tools, and his plate discipline is outstanding, but the switch-hitter continues to fail from the left side. The Twins are being outwardly patient with that, but it's becoming an issue.
  • Carlos Guterriez, college pitcher, has yet to master a secondary pitch to go with his high-quality sinker and had some arm problems late last season. He may be a bullpen factor this season. He was added to the 40 man roster.
  • Shooter Hunt, college pitcher, lost the strike zone completely in his second season and hasn't gotten it back enough to be reckoned a prospect. 

Others of note: Tyler Ladendorf, college shortstop (2nd round), was traded to Oakland in 2009 for Orlando Cabrera. ... Kolten Wong (16th) went to college; the infielder was a first-round selection last summer and is thought to be on a fast track to the majors.

2009: Kyle Gibson slipped to the Twins because of injury concerns. He figured to be a rotation factor in 2012, but instead will spend it rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Catcher Chris Herrmann
also plays in the outfield.
Supplemental rounder Matt Bashore also has had ligament replacement surgery. Billy Bullock (2nd) was traded for Scott Diamond last spring. Brian Dozier (8th) may wind up in the Twins infield by midseason. Chris Herrmann (6th) may be the best catching prospect in the system, with sterling OBPs; he finished 2011 in Double A. Eric Decker (27th) didn't sign, is now playing wide receiver for the Denver Broncos.

As I noted at the time of the draft, the Twins drafted heavily early that year on power arms with injury concerns. The risk so far has not been rewarded.

2010: Alex Wimmers, college pitcher, lost most of 2011 to wildness issues that appeared to be corrected late in the season. Control was his strong suit; if that isn't back fully, it was a lost pick.

Niko Goodwin (2nd) is a raw high school talent a long, long ways away. He's a shortstop now, but that may change. Eddie Rosario (4th) had a big year in the Appy League playing center field, and the Twins, always long on outfielders and short on infielders, are testing him at second base.

2011: Levi Michael (1st round), Travis Harrison (supplemental) and Hudson Boyd (supplemental) all signed at the deadline and didn't play in the minors last season. Harrison Boer (2nd) looked good in the Appy League, but as a college pitcher should.

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