Young prospects key to future success

  • Updated: March 30, 2012 - 2:48 PM
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Miguel Sano

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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When asked to grade his team's farm system, Terry Ryan gave it a B-minus. The GM began ticking off the names of top prospects, including a highly touted trio from the low minors -- Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Oswaldo Arcia.

"We don't have the top five or six prospects in the game, like we did when we had Mauer and Morneau [coming through the system]," Ryan said. "But we've got some guys."

Last year was difficult because the Twins didn't have much major league-ready talent to fill all the injury-related holes that opened in the majors. Meanwhile, four of the team's recent first-round draft picks -- Alex Wimmers, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks and Carlos Gutierrez -- either slumped or battled injuries.

But the Twins feel better about their contingency plans now. If Morneau suffers another concussion, Chris Parmelee could be ready to take over first base. In fact, Parmelee made a strong case all spring to be part of the Opening Day roster. Last September, he made the jump from Class AA to the majors and looked terrific.

Teams are careful not to put too much stock in September success or strong spring training showings, but Parmelee had both. The Twins are equally excited about shortstop Brian Dozier, outfield prospect Joe Benson and Gutierrez. A 2008 first-round pick, Gutierrez has an outstanding sinker and could be a force in a big-league bullpen if he can throw more strikes.

As the Twins learned last year, anyone on the 40-man roster could be called upon to help, perhaps by May.

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