February 5, 2008

Josh's Thoughts: Top Twins Prospects 2008 (31-40)

Yesterday, I posted my first installment of my top 55 Twins prospects for 2008. Hopefully you enjoyed that, and hopefully you'll enjoy the rest of the weeks posts being similar. So with that said, here are #'s 31-40.

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

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think.