February 8, 2008

Josh's Thoughts: Top Twins Prospects 2008 (1-10)

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

(* - 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.)