February 4, 2008

Josh's Thoughts: Top Twins Prospects 2008 (41-55)

Hello everyone. To jump start this week, I'm giving you all a little bit of my top 50 Twins Prospects list. Today, I'm going to be posting my "almost" list, which are guys who almost made my list and four were actually on the list, before the Johan Santana trade. So essentially, I'm giving you my top 55 Twins Prospects for 2008.

Here we go:

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

Let me know your thoughts!