Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Top 15 Twins prospects

It seems everybody with a baseball-oriented blog at one point or another does some sort of prospect ranking. I've resisted the urge to compile my own list of Twins prospects, arguing to myself that I have little if anything to add to the discussion. I've seen very little of the players, I don't routinely talk to scouts or player development people.

What I can do is make a decent evaluation of the numbers and form opinions from the stats and what I read and hear from other sources. Which is pretty much what I do on every topic in this blog anyway.

So ... The Baseball Outsider Top 15 Twins prospects:

1) Byron Buxton (of)
2) Miguel Sano (3b)
3) Oswaldo Arcia (of)
4) Alex Meyer (rhp)
5) Aaron Hicks (of)
6) Kyle Gibson (rhp)
7) Eddie Rosario (2b/of)
8) J.O. Barrios (rhp)
9) Trevor May (rhp)
10) Max Kepler (of)
11) Levi Michael (ss/2b)
12) Chris Herrmann (c/of)
13) Mason Melotakis (lhp)
14) Luke Bard (rhp)
15) Joe Benson (of)

A few comments:

The general consensus has Sano ahead of Buxton, because 1) Sano is slightly ahead of Buxton in the process and 2) Sano has top-of-the-line power, which is the most important tool. I'm going with Buxton because he has a much wider range of tools and because he's clearly capable of playing a premium defensive position. If I were convinced that Sano will make it as a third baseman, I'd join the crowd and put him at the top.

Similarly, I would have Rosario higher if I were sure he'll be a major league second baseman. And if I were sure he won't be a second baseman, I'd likely put him behind Kepler. I don't know that Rosario's bat is going to be good enough to be a corner outfielder.

You can make a case for putting Meyer, Gibson, Barrios and May in almost any order among the pitchers; the only thing I'm absolutely sure of is that Meyer has to rank above May. Barrios is the furthest from the majors, Gibson the closest; Gibson may have the lowest ceiling but the highest floor.

I think there's pretty clear dividing line between No. 10 and No. 11. After Kepler, we have high draft picks who had difficult 2012s (Michael and Benson); pitchers who were relievers in college (Melotakis and Bard); and a likely No. 2 catcher (Herrmann) who's nearly ready. Expectations in all cases are somewhat dampened.

I could have replaced any of those five with the likes of middle infielders Niko Goodrum, Jorge Polanco and Danny Santana or corner infielder Travis Harrison. But they have their own question marks.

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