May 3, 2009

Minor League Report: April (pt. deux)

As I mentioned yesterday, I am going to be doing monthly Minor League reports throughout the season. However due to some things that came up, I had to change the format of the reports a bit. Instead of focusing on each team, I decided to just choose a few Minor League players who impressed me through the first month of the season. Today, I will choose a few players who disappointed me through the first month.

The Not-So-Hot List
(In no particular order)

After nearly making the roster out of Spring Training, Matt Tolbert expected his time in Rochester to be short-lived. He was expected to be the first guy the Twins would call-upon in case of an injury to any of their current infielders, but if he continues to play like he did in April, that probably won't be the case. Tolbert hit .194/.289/.284 through 69 April at-bats. On the bright side, he played good defense and showed good plate discipline, but if he wants to seperate himself from the Nick Punto-clone comparisons, he'll have to hit better than he did in April.

* Tolbert is no longer considered a prospect, therefore he did not appear anywhere on my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list.

Steven Tolleson - 25 - Shortstop/Second Base : New Britain Rock Cats

After a great 2008 season in the Eastern League, a crowded infield in Triple-A Rochester forced Steven Tolleson to start the 2009 season back in New Britain. Although his poor April could be attributed to a lack of motivation, he'll need to step it up if he wants to prove the Twins wrong for making this decision. Tolleson hit .169/.234/.203 in 59 April at-bats. He also caused three errors on defense. Keep in mind, he committed just 12 errors through 93 games last season. At this pace, he's on track to commit 19 errors through 93 games already. He has been praised for playing fundamental baseball throughout his career, but he'll have to get back to that to move forward.

* Tolleson ranked 21st on my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list.

Despite an injury-plagued 2008 campaign, Deibinson Romero moved up to the Florida State League where he (theoretically) should be if he wanted to keep up with the one level up per year "system." But after a strong start, Romero took a steep drop-off in the month of April and finished the month with a .655 OPS but more importantly the strong-gloved third baseman committed seven errors. Romero was once listed as the "Best Defensive Infielder" in the Twins system (according to Baseball America), but he lost that title this year and doesn't look to be making a case to win it back.

* Romero ranked 35th on my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list.

Shooter Hunt - 22 - Right-Handed Pitcher : Beloit Snappers

When Shooter Hunt was drafted in the Supplemental 1st Round of the 2008 draft, his biggest flaw was his lack of control. Even The Baseball Cube showed his lack in control with a "Scouting Report" rating of 29. For reference, his K-Rating and Efficiency were both ranked in the mid-to-high 90's. Well Hunt struggled in April, with a 0-1 record to go along with a 10.80 ERA. He walked 23 batters opposed to striking out only 10. He has a few mechanical issues he needs to work on, but many people are suggesting that he should be put into the bullpen to work on his control. It's not too far-fetched to think that he could end up in Extened Spring Training or back in Elizabethton if that's what the team thinks will help him figure things out.

* Hunt ranked 8th on my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list.

Angel Morales flew onto the radar during the 2008 season where he hit 15 home runs with an OPS of 1.036 through 54 games with the Elizabethon Twins. A five-tool potential outfielder, everyone was getting anxious to see how Morales would fare in a full-season league like the Midwest League. So far, it hasn't gone as planned for the 19-year-old Puerto Rican native. Through 58 April at-bats, Morales hit .172/.200/.328 with a 9/1 K/BB ratio (18/2). His OPS of .528 is .508 points lower than his OPS last year (1.036). He has also committed two errors, half as many of his 2008 total.

* Morales ranked 6th on my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list.

Five others worth mentioning (in no particular order): Jeff Manship (RHP, New Britain), Daniel Osterbrock (LHP, Beloit), Reid Santos (LHP, Rochester), Michael Allen (RHP, Beloit), Ben Julianel (LHP, Rochester)