Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The missing names

Ryan Eades pitched collegiately for LSU.
Baseball America's ranking of the Top 30 -- really, 32 -- Twins prospects is notable in a sense for the names not there.

Ryan Eades, for example. He was the Twins second-round draft pick last June. The third-round pick, catcher Stuart Turner, is in the book at No. 30. The fourth round pick, left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves, is in the book at No. 13. But Eades isn't.

With J.T. Chargois listed as the 31st prospect in the bonus supplement and Sean Gilmartin ranked among the Atlanta Braves prospects, there are at least 17 pitching prospects Baseball America ranks above Eades, including a half dozen age 20 or younger.

When it comes to pitching prospects, the more the merrier; they have a frighteningly high attrition rate. It's just .. odd ... to see a second-rounder not listed in the Top 32. But this hardly means Eades is not a prospect after fewer than 16 professional innings.

I'm not sure the same can be said for a pair of first round picks whose careers have floundered.

Right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, who the Twins took with the 21st overall pick in 2010, threw just 15 innings last year. Infielder Levi Michael, another collegian (30th overall in 2011) has hit just .239 in 211 games in High A and played himself from shortstop to second base.

Neither is in the Handbook. Neither should be. It's not certain (yet) that these were busted picks, but it sure looks that way.

In case anybody thinks I should be mentioning Kyle Gibson in this context, Gibson "graduated" from prospect status last year with 51 major league innings. Gibson is in that awkward space somewhere between "prospect" and "established big leaguer." He's got a better chance than Wimmers or Michael to justify his first-round pick, but he'll never be good enough to justify (in retrospect) being drafted ahead of Mike Trout.

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