Twins' growth rate of prospects is high on the farm

The Twins have retooled their minor league system -- adding both hitting and pitching -- and piled up a talented group of prospects.

hide

Minnesota Twins first-round draft pick Byron Buxton.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

To get an idea of how far the Twins farm system has come in the past couple of years, take a look at player No. 7 on one slightly husky sportswriter's ranking of the top 10 prospects in the organization.

Outfielder Aaron Hicks, the 14th overall draft pick in 2008, has held the top spot before but is seventh this year. Part of the reason for his drop is that he hasn't had a season of eye-popping numbers that teams like to see from top prospects. But another reason is that, through drafting and trades, the Twins have made their future look promising with more top-end prospects.

Six Twins could be listed among Baseball America's top 100 prospects when rankings are released in the spring -- and that's a lot. Plus, the Twins farm system is a lock to crack the top 10 of all of baseball and could push for a top-five spot. It's a farm system on the rise.

With Hicks, third baseman Miguel Sano, second baseman Eddie Rosario and outfielders Byron Buxton and Oswaldo Arcia, the Twins have several impressive hitting prospects.

Sano's power potential makes him one of the game's top prospects, especially if he can stick at third base. He spent the offseason with Estrellas of the Dominican winter league, batting .265 with four homers and 14 RBI in 20 games.

"To be able to hold his own in that league at his age [19] is encouraging," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said.

Rosario could be in for a big season, especially if he can speed up his transition to second base from the outfield. He opened eyes this offseason by batting .338 in the Puerto Rican winter league. It helped Rosario land a spot as an outfielder on the island's World Baseball Classic roster. It won't hurt him to be around Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan and Alex Rios.

Buxton, the No. 3 overall pick last year, is an excellent athlete with big-time speed and a strong outfield arm. The Twins are excited about his potential as he learns how to drive the ball.

And Arcia, who has drawn praise from manager Ron Gardenhire, could bring his smooth swing to the majors sometime this season after batting .320 with 17 homers and 98 RBI between Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain last season.

What has really helped the Twins' stock are trades for righthanded pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May.

Meyer, who came from Washington in exchange for Denard Span, was considered the Nationals' second-best prospect before the deal.

May, who came from Philadelphia with Vance Worley in exchange for Ben Revere, was the Phillies' No. 1 prospect, according the Baseball America, before the 2012 season.

Their arrivals have given the Twins a deep and more diverse top 10 -- although their love of toolsy prep outfielders remains evident.

"We like the players that we have," said Brad Steil, the new director of minor leagues for the Twins. "As you mentioned, adding May and Meyer has added a little different spin to our starting pitching situation in the minor leagues.

"Developing these guys, obviously, will be a challenge for us going forward, but we're looking forward to getting them to the big leagues."

For years, the Twins had a reputation for preferring pitchers with polish over power. It's not necessarily true, as they have either traded power arms (Matt Garza), have drafted talented arms that have broken down and failed to develop (Jay Rainville, Matt Fox) or simply have drafted poorly.

But the Twins examined their organization a couple of years ago and decided to stock it with more swing-and-miss pitchers. Last year, they added power and nastiness in relievers such as lefthander Mason Melotakis (has touched 96 miles per hour), righthander J.T. Chargois (has touched 97) and righthander Zack Jones (has touched 100). Jose Berrios is a starter who can reach the mid-90s. Luke Bard doesn't have the 100-mph fastball of his brother, Daniel, but he can throw 93-94 with a good, hard slider.

To move up the ladder, they need to add good secondary pitches -- a couple of them already have -- and show good command. A 97-mph heater, of course, gives them some leeway on the command scale.

Now the Twins have better pitching prospects to go with their position prospects. While fans are fretting over the major league team and its 195 losses over the past two seasons, the farm system is on the verge of pumping out several prospects who could form a talented core of players with whom to move forward.

A wave of new talent is coming.

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7 1st Qtr 4:53
Jacksonville 0
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 26 2nd Qtr 9:35
Chicago 36
New Orleans 10 1st Qtr 6:04
Houston 10
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 1 3rd Prd
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 3rd Prd
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 1 3rd Prd
Carolina 2
Washington 2 3rd Prd
Columbus 2
Anaheim 1 1st Prd :20
Montreal 0
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 45 2nd Half 3:45
Canisius 43
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 2nd Half 0:10
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 2nd Half 0:38
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 52 2nd Half 0:35
Richmond 64
Seton Hall 80 2nd Half 6:02
South Florida 59
Ga Southern 76 2nd Half 0:19
Stetson 67
Yale 57 2nd Half 0:02
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 49 2nd Half 0:55
Virginia 69
Wright State 68 2nd Half 0;24
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 38 2nd Half 12:36
Louisiana Tech 57
Morgan State 28 2nd Half 15:22
Rider 37
Idaho State 39 2nd Half 10:37
South Dakota St 42
Oakland City 16 2nd Half
Austin Peay 35
Eureka 23 1st Half 0:20
Bradley 44
Appalachian St 30 1st Half 1:39
Charlotte 27
Connecticut 21 1st Half 2:56
Duke 26
Southern Miss 11 1st Half 6:41
Jackson State 26
Coastal Carolina 41 1st Half 0:10
Ole Miss 28
Montana State 13 1st Half 13:45
South Dakota 7
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Loyola Marymount 54 2nd Half 0:59
USC 94
St Francis-PA 47 2nd Half 2:22
Duquesne 86
Delaware State 49 2nd Half 2:18
Detroit 70
Jacksonville 56 2nd Half 3:48
Tennessee St 57
Tenn Tech 38 2nd Half 9:20
Lipscomb 46
Samford 9 1st Half 11:59
Tulane 8
New Orleans 21 1st Half 1:01
Tulsa 35
Incarnate Word 25 1st Half 0:20
TX-Pan American 28
Ark-Little Rock 15 2nd Half
South Dakota St 29
CS-Northridge 9 1st Half 15:14
Northern Ariz 12
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close