Wednesday, August 6, 2014

BA's annual tools issue

Alex Meyer in spring training. The newest issue of
Baseball America says he has the best fastball and
best breaking ball in the International League.
Every year Baseball America runs a "Best Tools" feature. There are some interesting things about the Twins and their system in this year's model.

Notable from the major league listing is the lack of Twins. For the big leagues lists (one for each league), the magazine polls the major league managers and lists a top three for each tool. The only Twin listed is Phil Hughes, third for best control in the American League.

For all the bragging locally about Brian Dozier's defense, he wasn't listed among the top three defensive second basemen (Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler were 1-2-3). And, no real surprise, Joe Mauer, traditionally listed in the strike-zone judgment category, is absent this year.

Things are a good bit better in the full-season minor league rankings, even with Bryon Buxton and Miguel Sano unlisted. For the minors, BA lists just the first place winner.

International League (Triple A): Alex Meyer is deemed to have the best fastball and the best breaking ball in the league. (But Marcus Stroman, already called up by Toronto, is named the best pitching prospect.) (Another parenthetical: former Twin Liam Hendriks wins for best control.)

Eastern League (Double A): New Britain was shut out.

Florida State League (high A): Adam Brett Walker, best power. Jose Berrios, best pitching prospect, best breaking ball, best changeup. Tim Shibuya, best control. Jorge Polanco, best defensive shortstop. Niko Goodrum, best infield arm. Doug Mientkiewicz, best manager

Midwest League (low A): Kohl Stewart, best pitching prospect. Nick Burdi, best fastball.

Much of these rankings are no real surprise. The one that jumped out at me was Polanco being deemed the best defensive shortstop in the FSL. He certainly struggled with the position early in the season. This suggests that the attempt to groom him as a shortstop may be successful.

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