February 7, 2008

Josh's Thoughts: Top Twins Prospects 2008 (11-20)

Hey everyone. Hopefully you've enjoyed my Top Twins Prospects list so far. Today I'll be displaying my 11-20 prospects. Which means, yes, my top 10 will come tomorrow (which is my birthday as well!!!!). Anyways, hopefully you'll enjoy this segment of the list, and as always, feel free to share your opinion.

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

Have a great day!