Josh's Thoughts: Top 55 Twins Prospects for 2008
* 1. Carlos Gomez | Outfielder | Born: 12/4/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'4'' | Weight: 185 lbs.
Carlos Gomez was recently acquired in the Johan Santana trade from the Mets. Gomez is in my opinion without a doubt the team's top prospect. The Twins didn't make him the centerpiece of the Santana trade for nothing. He is a very raw player at the plate, and I know there will be "growing pains" while he learns to hit major league pitches, but the rest of his game is very exciting nonetheless. Despite being 6'4'' he is one of the league's fastest players and should be able to swipe at least 40 bases per year, and I'm probably be conservative with that number. He also plays very good defense and you can imagine the type of ground he can cover in center field with his speed. I originally compared him to a young Carlos Beltran, but with his questionable power potential, I think a more suitable comparison is a right-handed Carl Crawford. If the Twins can get the type of production that would be even remotely close to that of Crawford, I think the Twins will feel pretty good about their decision to trade for Gomez while giving up a possible future hall of fame pitcher......ETA: 2008
2. Deolis Guerra | Pitcher | Born: 4/17/89 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'5'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Deolis Guerra was also recently acquired in the Johan Santana trade. He was the second main piece to the package the Twins received. At just 18 years old, he held his own in the very tough FSL with the St. Lucie Mets. In 89.2 innings, he had a 4.01 ERA and 66 strikeouts. He already has 23 career starts in the FSL, but he'll probably start there in 2008 as well. That's not necessarily a bad thing for him either. At 19, he'll still be one of the youngest players in the league, and I also think that it'd be good to have him in a strong rotation that is likely to include Tyler Robertson, Cole Devries and Alex Burnett among others......ETA: 2010
3. Anthony Swarzak | Pitcher | Born: 9/10/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 195 lbs.
Anthony Swarzak was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft. His 2007 season definitely got off to a horrendous start. After pitching quite possibly the worse ball of his life, he found out in April that he had tested positive for a "drug of abuse", which isn't a steroid, and was at that point suspended for 50 games. Upon his arrival back in New Britain, he made several starts with the Ft. Myers Miracle and from that point on he was "lights out." Swarzak went 5-4 with a 3.23 ERA in '07. He also collected 76 strikeouts in his 86+ innings of work. He went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA and 69 strikeouts after he returned. With the surplus of arms that will likely be in Rochester, he may be forced to start in New Britain to start the season......ETA: 2009
4. Tyler Robertson | Pitcher | Born: 12/23/87 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'5'' | Weight: 225 lbs.
Tyler Robertson was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft. After a good season in the GCL in '06 Robertson turned the corner in '07 into one of the Twins top young prospects. He was simply amazing with the Snappers in the Midwest League last season, posting a 2.29 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP to go along with his 10.8 K/9 through 102.1 innings. He throws a low 90's fastball with a good, hard slider and a solid curveball. The one thing that raises concern is that his delivery is considered "stiff" which makes him more susceptible to arm problems down the road. Nonetheless he's still one of the minor leagues best, young left-handed pitchers......ETA: 2011
5. Kevin Mulvey | Pitcher | Born: 5/26/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 170 lbs.
Kevin Mulvey was also acquired by the Twins in the Johan Santana trade with the Mets. He was very successful in Double-A as he posted a 3.18 ERA to go along with his 120 strikeouts through 164 innings. He has four pitches to his repertoire; a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His fastball sits comfortably in the low 90's, but he's been known to reach the mid-90's on occasion. He throws all of his breaking balls for strikes and the fact that he has 4, solid pitches as a 22-year-old is one of the reasons scouts rave about him. He should be in Rochester to begin this season, but some feel he's a "dark horse" candidate to win a spot in the Twins rotation out of spring training......ETA: 2008
6. Jeff Manship | Pitcher | Born: 1/16/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 165 lbs.
Jeff Manship was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2006 draft. After a very successful career at Notre Dame, the Twins were fortunate enough to get one of the '06 drafts top pitchers in a mid-teens round. One of the reasons scouts were 'turned off' by Jeff was because he underwent Tommy John Surgery before his freshman season at Notre Dame, despite having great seasons both his sophomore and junior year. He has made a tremendous recovery and was one of the organizations top pitchers in 2007. He started the season in Beloit, and after completely dominating the Midwest League through 13 starts, Jeff was promoted to Ft. Myers where he'd continue to succeed in his next 13 starts in the Florida State League. His 2007 numbers look very promising, in 26 starts between both stops he posted a 15-6 record to go along with his 2.30 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. Jeff is a promising pitcher who possesses middle-of-the-rotation 'stuff' and has a very good chance of succeeding in the big leagues. It's been said that he throws one of the best curveballs in the minors and his 4-1 K/BB ratio in '07 shows that while he has the ability to strikeout a batter, he does it while keeping the command of his pitches. Jeff should be in New Britain this season, and it shouldn't be too long before more and more Twins fans start hearing about him as he gets closer to the majors. Jeff was nice enough to do a Q&A for the site last August. Make sure to check it out......ETA: 2009
7. Ben Revere |Outfielder | Born: 5/3/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 5'9'' | Weight: 165 lbs.
Ben Revere was taken by the Twins in the first round of the 2007 draft. Many people were skeptical of the pick, as many thought there were definitely better players available and that the Twins shouldn't be adding more speedy outfielders with low power potential. However, Ben shut a lot of those critics up(at least for the time being) and now many think (at least, so far) that it may have been a great pick for the Twins. Of course, it's really too soon to tell. In 191 AB's, Ben hit .325/.388/.461 with zero home runs. That's right, a .461 slugging percentage without a home run. The reason for this is that Ben possesses amazing speed which allowed him to hit 16 extra-base hits, 10 of which were triples. He also stole 21 bases in 50 games and displayed solid plate discipline as well. He projects as a potentially great left-handed lead-off hitter with great defense. Right now, again it's probably too soon to compare him, but I'd say he's a potential Jacoby Ellsbury clone. Ben should be in Beloit this season, and will likely spend the entire season there, sink or swim......ETA: 2012
8. Trevor Plouffe | Shortstop | Born: 6/15/86 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 175 lbs.
Trevor Plouffe was drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft. After 3 disappointing seasons in the organization, Trevor turned the corner in '07 and delivered his best season as a pro. In 497 at bats with the New Britain Rock Cats, he hit .274/.326/.410 with 48 extra-base hits and 50 RBI. Obviously, those numbers don't look amazing, but he definitely made a lot of people optimistic again about his future as he finally delivered with a solid season. He also has gotten his defense (somewhat) under wraps, however it's still something he needs to work on as he gets closer to the big leagues. With the stockpile of middle-infielders in Rochester, Trevor may be forced to start the season in New Britatin, but still as a 21-year-old, he'll still be one of the leagues younger players, despite it possibly being his second go around......ETA: 2009
9. Phil Humber | Pitcher |Born: 12/21/82 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'4'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
Phil Humber was the fourth player acquired in the Johan Santana Mets trade last week. A former first rounder, who had a solid 2007 season after missing the entire '06 campaign recovering from Tommy John Surgery. In 25 starts in Triple-A, he had a 4.27 ERA with 120 strikeouts through 139 innings. Of course, those numbers aren't great, especially for a 24-year-old, but you must remember that a pitcher generally struggles his first year back from TJ surgery and his second year is usually much better. Well, if he can improve his ERA while continuing to strikeout nearly 8 batters per game as his velocity increases, I think he should be able to have a successful career with the Twins. I expect Humber to claim a rotation spot out of Spring Training, but if he doesn't, he'll likely go to Rochester where he can continue to start every 5th day......ETA: 2008
* 10. Glen Perkins | Pitcher | Born: 3/2/83 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 5'11'' | Weight: 190 lbs.
Glen Perkins was taken in the first round of the 2004 draft. Moved quickly through the Twins system, Perkins hit a snag in his development in 2007 when he missed almost 3 1/2 months due to a strained muscle in his left shoulder. He was 0-0 with a 3.14 ERA and 20 K's in 28 innings as a reliever last season. He pitched 5 scoreless innings in September to end the season on a high note. He will compete for a roster spot out of spring training, but it's not sure whether it'd be as a reliever or starter. The team still views him as a starter, but his arm strength may not be there and they already know he's been successful as a reliever. I'd like to see him claim a spot in the rotation so we can all see what he's got in the rotation.ETA: 2008
11. Brian Duensing | Pitcher | Born: 2/22/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 5'11'' | Weight: 195 lbs.
Brian Duensing was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft. He's progressed fast through the Twins organization, and is a candidate to land a spot in the rotation, although he's viewed as a long shot. He started 2007 in New Britain, and after 9 successful starts, he moved up to Rochester where he continued his success. Through both levels last year he went 15-6 with a 3.02 ERA and 124 K's in 167.1 innings pitched. I got to see Duensing pitch in a few FSN specials last year when they showed Rochester Red Wings games, and I liked what I saw. He seems like a crafty left-hander who I think will be able to hold his own in the majors, even if it's this season......ETA: 2008
12. Joe Benson | Outfielder | Born: 3/5/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
Joe Benson was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft. He had a promising season in Beloit last year as he continued to get better as the season progressed after hitting just .175 with a .460 OPS in April. He is still pretty raw and if he can cut down on his K rate while polishing his skills, he should be considered as a high-potential prospect. He is a possible 5-tool player, and with time and hard work, I think he'll develop them all. He might start '08 in Beloit, but Ft. Myers seems likely......ETA: 2011
13. Wilson Ramos | Catcher | Born: 8/10/87 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 178 lbs.
Wilson Ramos was signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 7th, 2004. He's one of the systems most intriguing prospects. He hit .291/.345/.438 with 8 home runs and 42 RBI in just 292 at bats. He's been labeled as a young Ivan Rodriguez, which is quite the honor considering he has less than 500 at bats in the minors. His defense has been thought as strong enough to make the Twins consider moving Joe Mauer to another position, if he continues to progress through the system. I'm cautiously optimistic with him. I'd like to think he possesses those tools, but at the same time he still has a lot to do before he makes the majors. He should be calling games from behind the plate for the Ft. Myers Miracle this season......ETA: 2011
14. Jason Pridie | Outfielder | Born: 10/9/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 195 lbs.
The Twins drafted Jason Pridie before the 2006 season in the Rule V Draft. He later returned to the Devil Rays, and in a trade with the Twins this fall, the Twins re-acquired him. 2007 was a great year for Pridie. He started out in Double-A and after he was promoted to Triple-A, he broke out with the Durham Bulls. In just 245 at bats, he belted 10 home runs, 16 doubles, 4 triples and hit .318/.375/.539. Many weren't enthused about the Twins acquiring him, but I think that he has the tools to be an adequate outfielder in the majors. He has good speed and should be able to handle center field just fine this season. Of course, he'll have some competition though, so hopefully he can adapt to (somewhat of) a new organization and play well......ETA: 2008
15. Chris Parmelee | Outfielder | Born: 2/24/88 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 205 lbs.
Chris Parmelee was taken in the first round of the 2006 draft. He had mixed results in 2007. Although his power and RBI numbers were high, he struck out 137 times which as a result lowered his OPS. He possesses a lot of power, but unless he can cut down on his strikeouts, his average and OBP will likely remain low. 2008 will be a very tough test for Chris in the very hard FSL, but I think that he'll handle himself well and I hope he can continue to progress and move back up the prospect rankings......ETA: 2011
16. Danny Valencia | Third Base | Born: 9/19/84 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Danny Valencia was drafted by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 draft. He was one of the reasons why the Beloit Snappers finished first in the Midwest League in the first half of the season. Danny hit an impressive .302/.374/.500 with 11 home runs and 15 doubles in 242 at bats. He was promoted to Ft. Myers and continued his success in the very tough Florida State League by hitting .291/.332/.422 with 6 home runs in 230 at bats. Obviously his OPS took a large dip, but he really helped turn the Miracle offense around the second half of the season. I expect him to be in New Britain this season and if a spot opens up, it shouldn't be long before he's in Rochester......ETA: 2009
17. Oswaldo Sosa | Pitcher | Born: 9/19/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 180 lbs.
Oswaldo Sosa was signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 4, 2002. After a very successful year and a half at Ft. Myers where Sosa went 9-6 with a 2.13 ERA and 109 k's in 139.2 innings. In July, the Twins finally promoted Sosa to New Britain and what he's always done so well - keeping the ball inside the ballpark - hurt him a bit, but I'm sure he'll be fine this season. I expect him to be in New Britain to begin the season, and he'll probably remain there until a spot in Rochester's rotation opens up......ETA: 2010
19. Erik Lis | First Base/Outfield | Born: 3/8/84 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 220 lbs.
Erik Lis was taken in the 9th round of the 2005 draft. After a very successful career at the University of Evansville, he has continued his success with the Twins. He has hit 44 home runs in 1071 at bats and has hit .301/.364/.516 in his 286 minor league games. That's very good as he was the 285th overall pick in the '05 draft. Before 2007, he has been used primarily as a first baseman, but last year he spent most of his time in the corner outfield and that has helped his ranking quite a bit. I'm still not sold that he'll be able to maintain playing the outfield, but regardless would likely end up as a designated hitter with the Twins anyways. He should be with the New Britain Rock Cats next season. The Twins have always handled their prospects carefully, something I sometimes don't agree with, which Lis would be one of those instances, because if he were in another teams organization, I think he'd probably already be competing for a spot on the roster. Now, I know most players benefit from having full seasons at one stop, but I think that should more so pertain to high school prospects and not necessarily college, especially when they've played as well as Erik. Unfortunately for Lis, he'll just have to continue to impress and wait until he gets his opportunity......ETA: 2009
19. Jay Rainville | Pitcher | Born: 10/16/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 230 lbs.
Jay Rainville was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2004 draft. He was very successful in the minors up until 2006 when he missed the entire season recovering from shoulder surgery to repair a nerve problem. He has been compared to Roger Clemens, with his short arm delivery and body frame. He came back in 2007 with something to prove, and he was successful as he posted a 9-11 record with a 3.29 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 142.1 innings pitched. He should be ready for New Britain this season, and with another successful season, Rainville should probably be considered a top 5-10 prospect as we head into 2009......ETA: 2010
20. Nick Blackburn | Pitcher | Born: 2/24/82 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'4'' | Weight: 230 lbs.
Nick Blackburn was drafted by the Twins in the 29th round of the 2001 draft, but he didn't sign until the following May. Before 2007, he had been mediocre throughout his stops in the organization. But something happened last year and he just burst onto the scene. Through 148.2 innings between Double-A & Triple-A he was completely sensational. He went 10-4 with a 2.36 ERA and had a WHIP of just 1.02. When he was first promoted to Rochester, Blackburn went to throw 44 consecutive scoreless innings. He was promoted to the majors, and he didn't pitch too bad, despite what his 7.71 ERA suggests. He was roughed up in his final two appearances which were against two of the best lineups in baseball, the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. He has great command of his fastball, but I don't see him duplicating his 2007 form in the majors, and in fact, I don't see him being anything more than a back-end starter. To be completely honest, I think that he'd be a fine long-reliever. The Twins seem set on using Matt Guerrier in the set-up role more so than in long-relief, so I think Blackburn would fill Guerreir's shoes just fine......ETA: 2008
21. Alex Burnett | Pitcher | Born: 7/26/87 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 190 lbs.
Alex Burnett was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2005 draft. After two unspectacular seasons in Rookie-Ball, Burnett became the staff ace in Beloit and played a major role in their successful season. He won 9 games and displayed a 3/1 K/BB ratio while the opposition batted just .239 against him. He wasn't the most talented pitcher on his team, but he definitely was the leader of the rotation and should help hold a strong rotation together in Ft. Myers this season......ETA: 2011
22. Denard Span | Outfielder | Born: 2/27/84 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 180 lbs.
Denard Span was the Twins first round pick in the 2002 draft. Most thought he'd be the heir apparent of Torii Hunter and take over for him after he left the organization. Many now believe otherwise as he struggled in New Britain and half a season in Rochester. However, his numbers in Rochester are really skewed as he got off to a bad start in April and May hitting .214 & .212 before hitting .301 with 11 doubles, 5 triples, 3 home runs and 39 RBI the rest of the season. He possess a great glove on defense and once he learns how to utilize his speed better on offense, he'll improve immensely. I think that he'll surprise many in Spring Training this season, and I think he'll be a fine outfielder someday. He's a great guy and I wish him the best of luck. And for those who are interested, Denard was gracious enough to do a Q&A for the site back in October. Make sure to check that out......ETA: 2008
23. Jose Morales | Catcher | Born: 2/20/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Both | Height: 5'11'' | Weight: 170 lbs.
Jose Morales was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2001 draft. Originally a middle infielder, Morales has been focusing on catching since 2003. He broke out in 2007 with the Rochester Red Wings by hitting .311 through 376 at bats. He also played in one game with the Twins and went 3-3 with a double before an ankle injury ended his season. He doesn't have the power someone would like, and his defense isn't great either, but he makes good contact with the ball and should be a great backup or a serviceable starting catcher in his career. With Mike Redmond already penciled in as the backup catcher to Joe Mauer, Morales will likely need to wait in Rochester until a spot opens up. There's a possibility that Ron Gardenhire goes with 3 catchers on the roster, but I think that's unlikely......ETA: 2008
24. Deibinson Romero | Third Base | Born: 9/24/86 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 170 lbs.
Deibinson Romero was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004. Romero struggled mightily at the plate while he played with the Twins DSL team in 2005. He had a great 2006 with the GCL Twins where he hit .313/.365/.460 in 176 at bats. As a 20-year-old he hit 316/.406/.506 with 16 doubles, 9 HR, and 52 RBI’s for the Elizabethton Twins. He was called up by the Beloit Snappers late in the season, but only got a handful of at bats in. He should be in Beloit to begin the 2008 season and many feel that he'll be a legitimate offensive prospect as he goes through the Twins system. If he produces, I think he'll go through the system fairly quickly and should be ready by late 2010 to take over the hot corner......ETA: 2010
25. David Winfree | Third Base | Born: 8/5/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
David Winfree was drafted in the 13th round of the 2003 draft. After a successful year with the Beloit Snappers in 2005, Winfree continued to progress with a good year in '06 with the Miracle. He played all of 2007 with the New Britain Rock Cats and regressed quite a bit. His power numbers are still there, but his horrendously low OBP that is factored with his terrible plate discipline, he's beginning to fall on many prospect lists. He would probably benefit from another half season in Double-A before being promoted to New Britain, however he will likely need to move to first base full time with Danny Valencia slated to take over the hot corner for the Rock Cats. I still see quite a bit of upside with him, so if he can cut down on his K/BB ratio which will ultimately improve his OBP, he should be fine......ETA: 2009
26. David Bromberg | Pitcher | Born: | 9/14/87 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'5'' | Weight: 225 lbs.
David Bromberg was selected in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft. He spent all of 2006 with the GCL Twins in rookie ball, before repeating rookie ball with the Elizabethton Twins. Both years he was very productive. In '07 he completely dominated his opponents with a 12.5 K/9 ratio to go along with his 9-0 record and the Appy League Pitcher of the Year award. He will start '08 in Beloit and should help an expectingly strong rotation be even stronger......ETA: 2011
27. Ozzie Lewis | Outfielder | Born: 3/21/86 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'5'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
Talk about a surprise. When the Twins drafted Ozzie Lewis in the 21st round of the 2007 draft, I don't think they were expecting to get the kind of production out of him as they've seen. Lewis was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins after he left Fresno State. In 235 at bats, he hi .323/.375/.523 with 9 home runs and 50 RBI. His K/BB ratio is alarming, but he's young and will likely improve in that area. He should probably start the season in Beloit, but if there are too many players in the outfield, the organization may consider being aggressive with him and move him to Ft. Myers. I won't justify having a player skip a level, however it does intrigue me to see what a player such as Lewis could do if he were to be challenged in that kind of way......ETA: 2010
28. Brock Peterson | First Base | Born: 11/20/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 220 lbs.
Brock Peterson was drafted by the Twins in the 49th round of the 2002 draft. Once considered a third baseman, Peterson now spends his time at first base or designated hitter. He showed his great power potential in 2007 as he belted 15 home runs in 389 at bats, but he also struck out 90 times. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, I think Peterson will be able to have a fairly successful career in the big leagues. My justification for his lower rating is because of his position. He's viewed as a future DH, and unless he is hitting 20+ home runs while displaying good plate discipline, I can't justify rating him any higher. He should be ready for a start in Rochester, and may be a late-season call-up......ETA: 2009
29. Mike McCardell | Pitcher | Born: 4/13/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'5'' | Weight: 220 lbs.
Mike McCardell was drafted by the Twins in the 6th round of the 2007 draft. A college pitcher who first started his pro career with the GCL Twins, but later moved to the Elizabethton Twins to anchor their already strong rotation. He has a low-mid 90's fastball and he shows great control as he had a 95/8 K/BB ratio. That's insane, regardless of what level you're playing at. McCardell is definitely a guy to watch out for this season. He may be close to making the big leagues and should impress many as he gets there. I've thought of him as the Twins version of Ian Kennedy, but is that a ridiculous comparison? Both are college pitchers and have good control with their pitches. We'll have to wait and see, but he's definitely a player to keep an eye on......ETA: 2010
30. Rene Tosoni | Outfielder | Born: 7/2/86 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 205 lbs.
Rene Tosoni was actually drafted by the Twins twice. Once in 2004 in the 34th round, and then again in 2005 in the 36th round. He decided to attend a junior college instead of play with the Twins and later signed with the Twins in 2006. Tosoni definitely proved he was worth all the 'trouble' in 2007 as he starred for the Elizabethton Twins in route to an Appalachian League Championship. He hit .301/.407/.428 with 3 home runs, 4 triples and 13 doubles. He was later promoted to Beloit where he played just an couple games. He should be in Beloit to start the season, but many predict that he'll fly through the Twins system and should make it to the Big Leagues in no time. Some think that if there's a logjam of outfielders in Beloit, that it may be a consideration to start him in Ft. Myers. But again, I won't justify having a player skip a level. My 2010 prediction is fairly conservative. I expect him to make at least the jump to Ft. Myers this season, if not New Britain. His polished tools will help him adapt to each level better than most players......ETA: 2010
31. Yohan Pino | Pitcher | Born: 12/26/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 158 lbs.
Yohan Pino was signed as a non-drafted free agent on May 12, 2004. He had a great season in '07 with the Ft. Myers Miracle. He started off in the bullpen and after he made the switch to the rotation, he took off. The highlight of his season came on June 30th when Pino threw a no-hitter against the St. Lucie Mets. After dominating Ft. Myers, he moved up to New Britain in the Eastern League and struggled through 9 appearances (8 starts). After a very successful season in the VWL, this lanky right-hander plans on becoming a big part to the Rock Cats rotation in '08. Many may be wondering, "Why so low?" And my reason is that I see him as a long-reliever, and not a starter. His body frame and the fact that he's been primarily used in the bullpen suggests that he won't make the majors as a starter......ETA: 2009
32. Jose Mijares | Pitcher | Born: 2/12/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 180 lbs.
Jose Mijares signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent on March 22, 2002. He has a blazing fastball that's been recorded in the high 90's and he also has a solid curve and change-up as well. He had a great '07 season in Double-A and even made a few appearances in Triple-A, however they were disappointing. Mijares was unfortunately involved in a car accident this winter after a very successful showing in the VWL. He broke his left elbow and is expected to be out for 4-6 months. Before his injury, he was in my top 20 list as I saw him as a potentially dominant left-handed setup man. But now, I have to say that the season will possibly be a wash for him as he'll likely just be trying to get to the point that he was in before his accident. I wish him well and hopefully he can come in and recover 100%......ETA: 2009
33. Juan Portes | Infielder/Outfielder | Born: 11/26/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 5'11'' | Weight: 170 lbs.
Juan Portes was taken in the 15th round of the 2004 draft. He plays a variety of positions, but primarily he was used as an outfielder in '07. But with the glut of outfielders the Twins have in the minors, I think his best chance of making it will be as an infielder, especially third base. He's shown a lot of power through the minor leagues, and if he can work on his plate discipline, I think he has a good chance of making it in the majors someday. Unfortunately for him, there may be a surplus of infielders at New Britain and since he really has no need to play anymore in the Florida State League, he will probably have to start as a corner outfielder before being able to switch to the infield, but at least he gives the team multiple options......ETA: 2010
34. Ryan Mullins | Pitcher | Born: 11/13/83 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'6'' | Weight: 180 lbs.
Ryan Mullins was drafted by the Twins in the third round of the 2005 draft. He continued his success from Vanderbilt to the pro's. In 2007, he started the year off in Ft. Myers and eventually made it to New Britain. After that he bounced between Rochester and New Britain for the remainder of the season, only to end the season in New Britain. After a successful showing in the AFL, he should be ready to start out in Rochester......ETA: 2008
35. Kyle Waldrop | Pitcher | Born: 10/27/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'4'' | Weight: 190 lbs.
Kyle Waldrop was chosen with the 25st pick in the 2004 draft by the Twins. After starting out well in Ft. Myers, he was promoted to New Britain, but after struggling mightily in the Eastern League, Kyle found himself back in Ft. Myers. He came back to the Miracle and struggled a little before the end of the season, but wasn't nearly as bad as he was in New Britain. He still has a lot to prove as he's still only 22-years-old and will be playing in a league where most players are 24 years old, so nobody should be too worried about him, I expect him to have a solid season in '08 and hopefully will again climb the ladder in the Twins pitching-heavy prospect lists......ETA: 2010
36. Dustin Martin | Outfielder | Born: 4/4/84 | Throws: Left | Bats: Left | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
Dustin Martin was acquired along with Drew Butera by the Twins in the Luis Castillo trade with the Mets last July. Martin has solid potential at the plate, which he showed by hitting .288/.360/.425 with 8 home runs and 71 RBI's in 482 AB's in the tough Florida State League. He will more than likely start the season in New Britain, but if a spot in Rochester opens up, expecting he plays well, he should be able to make the jump to Triple-A this season......ETA: 2010
37. Brandon Roberts | Outfielder | Born: 11/9/84 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 185 lbs.
Brandon Roberts was acquired by the Twins from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for shortstop Juan Castro in 2006. Roberts best asset to a team is his incredible speed. His base running took a major step back in 2007 after stealing 49 bases in 2006, he managed to just swipe 14 last season. One plus for Brandon was that after he got off to a miserable start in April where he hit a disappointing .149, he then went on to hit .313, .303, .359 and .327 between May and August. He doesn't posses much power, but he should be an adequate fourth outfielder in the majors, and if he continues to make good contact with the ball, he may be a possible lead-off hitter someday, unfortunately it likely won't happen with the Twins. With all the outfielders that Rochester is likely to have this season, center fielders especially, Roberts may be forced to start the season in New Britain if he wants to play everyday......ETA: 2009
38. Danny Rams | Catcher | Born: 12/19/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 220 lbs.
Danny "Bam-Bam" Rams was the teams 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft. He was assigned to the Twins GCL team where he struggled at the plate, having just 25 hits in his 97 at bats. He's considered the teams top power prospect and will probably serve as a DH down the road. Some may rank him higher, since he is a great hitter and plays behind the plate, but I seriously doubt he makes the majors as a catcher as the team has several better defensive catchers ahead of him, one of which is already on the team. He will likely be in Elizabethton in '07, but there's a chance he goes to Beloit if they need depth at catcher, or want another bat for DH......ETA: 2012
39. Armando Gabino | Pitcher | Born: 8/31/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Armando Gabino, formerly known as Armando Gabino Gar, was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians as an non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He was later selected by the Twins in the 2004 Rule V Draft and was assigned to Elizabethton where he posted a horrible 8.10 ERA in 30 innings. He also struggled a little at Beloit in 2006 before posting great numbers at Advanced-A Fort Myers and was "lights out" in New Britain, granted it was only 16 innings. He was re-signed by the Twins this off-season and was invited to Spring Training. He may begin the season at Rochester. He could also be sent to New Britain, but as a 24-year-old reliever, he probably would handle Triple-A, just fine......ETA: 2008
40. Brian Buscher | Third Base | Born: 4/18/81 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 185 lbs.
Brian Buscher was one of the organizations biggest surprises in 2007. He came to the Twins as a Rule V Draft choice out of the San Francisco Giants organization. He started the season in AA and hit .308/.391/.478 with 7 home runs and 37 RBI's. He was then promoted to AAA where he hit .311/.374/.523 with another 7 home runs and drove in 22 RBI's. He later made a brief appearance with the Twin, before landing on the DL with a leg infection. He came back and showed a bit of power and promise at plate, but his definite downfall is his defense which is why the team asked him to work on it in the VWL. He played well in his brief time, before having to leave to take care of 'family business'. It will be interesting to see if his defense has improved much at all when he comes to Spring Training in a couple weeks. I view him having a solid career as a backup corner infielder, however I don't see him being a starter. If he were 22, he'd probably be one of the teams top 10 prospects, however he's going to be 27 this season. The signing of Mike Lamb likely means that Brian Buscher will not be considered an answer at third in the future. Unless of course he shows great improvements with his leather......ETA: 2008
41. Brian Dinkelman | Second Base | Born: 11/10/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Brian Dinkelman was taken with the 246th pick of the 2006 draft. This 8th round draft choice made the jump from Low-A to Advanced-A in '07 and might have been able to play a little for the New Britain Rock Cats, but he hit a snag in the Florida State League. His home run and RBI's totals were very similar in both of his stops, but his average and OPS both took big hits with the jump. Before his second-half slump, he was becoming one of the Twins top infield prospects, and I think he still has quite a bit of upside. If the Twins stick with him at second base, he could have a bright future with good power and good plate discipline. However his age for his level is probably his biggest downfall. He'll likely be in New Britain this season, and hopefully can make it to Rochester whenever there is an opening in the infield......ETA: 2009
42. Cole Devries | Pitcher | Born: 2/12/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'1'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Cole Devries was signed as a non-drafted free agent after pitching for the Minnesota Gophers. This Eden Prairie native pitched very well for the Beloit Snappers in '07 and looks to be a prospect who could ride quickly through the system. He posted a good 9-5 record to go along with a 3.41 ERA through 148 innings to help the Snappers make it to the playoffs. He will likely start the season in Fort Myers, but should end up in New Britain when a spot opens up......ETA: 2010
43. Zach Ward | Pitcher | Born: 1/14/84 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 235 lbs.
Zach Ward was acquired by the Twins in a trade with the Reds which sent pitcher Kyle Lohse to Cincinnati. He had a rough year in the Florida State League in '07. He posted a respectable 4.08 ERA, but a lack of run support by one of the worst offenses in the league, made him a 17 game loser. He still posted a 7.41 K/9 ratio, but he allowed batters to hit .260 against him. He was very good before the All-Star break, and was pretty dreadful after, which is something he'll have to work on this season in either the Eastern League or if he should need to repeat the Florida State League......ETA: 2010
44. Matt Macri | Infield | Born: 5/29/82 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 200 lbs.
Matt Macri was acquired last summer in a trade with the Rockies for Ramon Ortiz. Primarily viewed as a third baseman, he's also played his fair share at both second base and short stop. He will likely be a solid utility bench player in his career, but some view him as being better than Brian Buscher at this point. I have to disagree. Buscher showed quite a bit of promise with the Twins, however he needs work on his defense. Macri only has a handful of at bats in Triple-A, but looked lost at the plate, besides being able to crack a few home runs in his limited time. I think that he's not too far behind Buscher, but I don't see him having the edge just yet......ETA: 2010
45. Angel Morales | Outfielder | Born: 11/24/89 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 185 lbs.
Morales was the Twins' 3rd round pick in the 2007 draft out of Puerto Rico. He's considered the highest regarded Puerto Rican to come to the U.S. since Carlos Beltran, and many compare him to the All-Star center fielder as well. Unfortunately for Morales, the biggest factor that may stunt his growth is not necessarily his own talent, but the surplus of outfielders the Twins have in the lower-levels of the minors. He probably is not ready for Beloit just yet, but he already has been labeled the "best outfield arm" in the Twins system, according to BaseballAmerica.com. He will probably end up in extended spring training this season, and will probably wind up with the Elizabethton Twins. He's only 18-years-old, so there's no rush for him. A season in the competitive Appy League will probably be best for him......ETA: 2010
46. Anthony Slama | Pitcher | Born: 1/6/84 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'4'' | Weight: 190 lbs.
Anthony Slama started '07 with the Elizabethton Twins, and after Rob Delaney was promoted, the Snappers needed a closer and called up Slama. Slama picked up where Delaney left off in the closing role, and he compiled 10 saves with a very good 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings in the Midwest League. He also 'wowed' teams while striking out 14.42 per 9. He will probably start '08 with the Fort Myers Miracle......ETA: 2010
47. Matt Tolbert | Infielder | Born: 5/4/82 | Throws: Right | Bats: Both | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 177 lbs.
Matt Tolbert was one of the Twins top minor leaguers last season, before he had a late-season drop off which lowered his statistics significantly. Early in the summer, the Twins planned on moving Tolbert to third base in hopes that he'd become a serviceable replacement for the struggling Nick Punto. However, the emergence of Brian Buscher and the promotion of Tommy Watkins derailed that scenario and he seemed to let it affect his play. Many fans were extremely optimistic of Tolbert and many thought he'd become the Twins long-term answer at third base. He will likely never be an everyday player in the majors, but he does project to be a relatively good option off the bench as a utility infielder and hopefully a better offensive version of what Luis Rodriguez provided for us......ETA: 2008
48. Rene Leveret | First Base | Born: 11/19/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 224 lbs.
I know I could probably catch some 'heat' with projecting Rene Leveret so low. And rightfully so, he was a major contributor to the Elizabethton Twins season success by hitting .307/.399/.463 with 8 home runs and 65 RBI's. I fail to see him having a successful career in the majors though, as it took him 3 years to make one of the minor league rosters, after playing on the Dominican League team for 3 years. He has a nice bat, but playing first base limits his upside. If he can cash in a good year in the Midwest League, I think we could all see him climb the charts a considerable amount......ETA: 2010
49. Rob Delaney | Pitcher | Born: 9/8/84 | Throws: Left | Bats: Right | Height: 6'3'' | Weight: 225 lbs.
Rob Delaney had a remarkable season in '07. He started with the Beloit Snappers and compiled a ridiculous 28 saves while maintaining a very low 0.77 ERA through 46.2 innings. He moved up to the Florida State League and continued his dominance with 7 saves in 23.1 innings. He averaged more than 10 strikeouts every 9 innings in both of his stops in '07. If he can have another fantastic season in '08 like he did in '07, we could all see him near the top 10 come this time next year......ETA: 2010
50. Steven Tolleson | Infield | Born: 11/1/83 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 5'10'' | Weight: 180 lbs.
Steven Tolleson was selected by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2005 draft. He's never been able to live up to the hype after he was drafted, however he's slowly progressed through the Twins system and put up some fairly respectable numbers at Fort Myers this season over the last year and a half. One thing that you could say that Tolleson has going for him is his good discipline at the plate. He's walked 156 times opposed to 182 strikeouts in nearly 1,000 AB's at the minor league level, definitely could improve, but still nice to see that out of a minor leaguer. His speed allowed him to steal 27 bases this last season, but he did ground into 10 double plays. He should start the season in New Britain......ETA: 2009
51. Matt Moses | Third Base | Born: 2/20/85 | Throws: Right | Bats: Left | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
Matthew Moses was the Twins' 21st pick in the first round of the 2003 draft. He had minimal success before reaching Ft. Myers as a 20 year old when he hit .306 with an .829 OPS and 7 home runs in 265 AB's. He still poses quite a bit of power in his bat, but his horrible plate discipline and low career OBP of .312 has held him down. He also has struggled to find a position in the infield and has been a liability at third base. The Twins may choose to move him to second base this season, however his "top propsect" status is diminishing very fast (even though he's going to be only 23) and unless he gets off to a good start in New Britain (or Rochester), he will likely be casted aside for incoming players who are rising through the system......ETA: 2008
52. Brad Tippett | Pitcher | Born: 2/11/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'2'' | Weight: 176 lbs.
Brad Tippett is a non-drafted free agent who signed on January 4th, 2006 out of Australia. He has been a reliever through both levels of rookie league, and has faired well in both. He allowed only 4 walks through 38 innings while striking out 51 in '07. He had a sub 1.00 ERA as well and allowed only 1 home run on 20 total hits. He will most likely be a reliever through his career, however he's been known to pitch 2 or 3 innings at a time while holding other teams to minimal damage. He's only 20 years old, so the Twins will not rush him at all through the minors. He'll likely be in Beloit this season, but could move up fairly quickly if he continues to dominate his opponents......ETA: 2012
53. Danny Rondon | Pitcher | Born: 6/21/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 161 lbs.
Danny Rondon was signed by the Twins out of Venezuela and was selected to the Rookie League All-Star team in 2007. He had a good season with the GCL Twins team as a 19-year-old in '07 and compiled a respectable 1.14 ERA through 23.2 innings. He also struck out 16, but walked 11 en route to picking up 12 saves. His K/BB rate is alarming, however he's still young and will likely get better control of his fastball before he comes close to making the major leagues. He should be ready to pitch for the Beloit Snappers this season, but may be in Elizabethton. We'll have to wait and see with this one......ETA: 2012
54. Daniel Berlind | Pitcher | Born: 12/3/88 | Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'7'' | Weight: 210 lbs.
"Big Berlind" was drafted by the Twins out of L.A. Pierce College with the 242nd overall pick in the 2007 draft. This 7th round pick has a great frame and was able to dominate the GCL this season as a 19-year-old. He compiled a 6-2 record while holding a respectable 1.92 ERA. His size suggest that he'll add more to his fastball which currently sits around 90 MPH. He is more so a ground ball pitcher, which may surprise people with his frame. However if he can add a little velocity, he should have good success through the Twins system. Don't expect him to sit low on my prospect list for long, he can climb my list quite a bit with a solid season in '08......ETA: 2012
55. Greg Yersich | Catcher | Born: 10/7/86 |Throws: Right | Bats: Right | Height: 6'0'' | Weight: 205 lbs.
Greg Yerisch was drafed by the Twins in the 7th round of the 2005 draft (225th overall). He had a lot of success for the Elizabethton Twins in 2007 as he hit .312/.373/.409 with 14 extra base hits and 30 RBI's. He'll likely start the season as the Beloit Snappers starting catcher, but with success in the first half of the season, we could be seeing him in Ft. Myers before the end of the season. I expect him to move up fairly quickly. He's another guy I don't expect to sit in the 50's for long on my prospect list. He will likely climb a substantial number this season if he can duplicate anything near his number in Elizabethton......ETA: 2011
(* - This indicates that the player is no longer considered an "official prospect", however I wanted to stay consistent with other prospect lists such as Baseball America's and John Sickel's who also include these players. The criteria the league uses to indicate who's still a prospect is this. 45 days of MLB service, 130 at bats, or 50 innings pitched. A lot of people disregard the 45 days of MLB service and focus primarily on the 130/50 criteria. That's what I do as well. Hopefully that explains it well enough.)