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Organizational Review - Twins Hitters

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: June 14, 2010 - 1:17 AM

With the recently completed draft, the Twins replenished their farm system with many new players. Some have signed already and several more will sign over the next two months. Today, I will post Part 1 of a two part series on the Twins system. Today, I will discuss the hitters in the Twins minor leagues. Tomorrow I’ll show the pitchers. To me, it is interesting to look at the full system to determine the organization’s areas of strength or weakness. I’ll express some of my thoughts, and hopefully after looking through the system, you can express your opinions as well in the comments section.

Below, you will see the positions and the names of all of the Twins minor leaguers at their positions. The charts allow us to get an overview of each position. You can see which positions have top prospects, serviceable prospects or non-prospects. You can see where the Twins current organizational needs are. Be sure to note all of the names in parentheses are currently on the Disabled List.
 
So today, I am going to look at the hitters in the organization by position (NOTE - I won't include players at Extended Spring Training, although it is important to remember that several players (Miguel Sano? Jorge Polanco? Rory Rhodes? Max Kepler?) could certainly potentially be good). So please be sure to check out this analysis and offer any of your thoughts.
 
CATCHERS

Twins
Joe Mauer, Drew Butera
Rochester
Jose Morales, Wilson Ramos
New Britain
Danny Lehmann, Jair Fernandez, (Alexander Soto)
Ft. Myers
Chris Herrmann, Allan de San Miguel, Dan Rohlfing
Beloit
Danny Rams, Josmil Pinto, Tobias Streich

 
The Twins $184 million man is doing a great job in 2010 to bring back discussion of him being the team’s second-place hitter. Another batting title is certainly possible, but the power is non-existent. That said, he is set up for the next eight years, so the rest of these names are fighting for a backup role or to be considered trade bait. That may be the case for Wilson Ramos, the immensely talented 22 year old who made an impressive big league debut but has struggled at Rochester most of this year. Morales is healthy and doing little at Rochester to take the job from defense-minded Drew Butera. Other very good defensive catchers include Danny Lehmann, Allan de San Miguel and Tobias Streich. Rams and Pinto have serious power potential, and Herrmann may be the best all-around hitting catchers in the lower levels of the minor leagues, although he is also playing a lot of LF. The Twins drafted Gopher catcher Kyle Knudsen in the 9th round.
 
FIRST BASE

Twins
Justin Morneau
Rochester
Brock Peterson,
New Britain
Chris Parmelee, Erik Lis, (Whit Robbins)
Ft. Myers
Nate Hanson, Nick Romero
Beloit
Michael Gonzales, Rams, Liddle

 
The Twins signed Justin Morneau and he will be around through the 2013 season, hopefully longer. So again, hopefully the Twins would be looking for a backup option out of this group. It is always important to note, for any position but specifically the 1B position, that the Twins will be in need of a DH and pinch hitting options as well. Brock Peterson could contribute now if needed, at least with some right-handed power. Erik Lis can hit, although he struggled at AAA and even more in the field. Chris Parmelee really struggled to start the season at AA, but after a demotion, he played much better and was quickly promoted back to the Rockcats. Gonzales and Rams both have a ton of power, but both struggle immensely to make contact. The Twins selected prep 1B Tyler Kuresa, who was expected to go much higher and will be a difficult sign.
  
SECOND BASE

Twins
(Orlando Hudson), Punto, Matt Tolbert
Rochester
Toby Gardenhire, Dinkelman (Luke Hughes)
New Britain
Steve Singleton
Ft. Myers
Brian Dozier, Nick Romero, (Drew Thompson)
Beloit
James Beresford

 
This has been known as a position of need. Orlando Hudson, before he was injured, provided great on-base percentage and very good defense. Although there are no sure-fire, All-Star caliber prospects at the position, there are some good, solid players. Beresford needs to get bigger, but if he does, he could be a very good player. Singleton is the one among the group that at least has some gap power as a hitter. Dozier has shown he can hit for average. And, if he could just stay healthy, Hughes could be a decent bat off the bench. 
 
THIRD BASE

Twins
Nick Punto, Danny Valencia, Brendan Harris
Rochester
Matt Macri
New Britain
Yangervis Solarte
Ft. Myers
Deibinson Romero,
Beloit
Anderson Hidalgo, Reggie Williams

 
The combination of Nick Punto and Brendan Harris has provided very good defense for the Twins so far this season, but their offense has been putrid, at best. Danny Valencia was hitting over .290 at Rochester when he was promoted, and has held his own with the Twins. His defense has been better than advertised. Solarte has been one of the surprises of the Twins minor league season. Hidalgo and Williams have both been solid, but have a long way to go. On the other side of the spectrum, Deibinson Romero has really struggled.
 
SHORTSTOP

Twins
Trevor Plouffe, Punto, (JJ Hardy, Alexi Casilla)
Rochester
Yancarlos Ortiz
New Britain
Chris Cates
Ft. Myers
Estarlin de los Santos, Dozier, (Paul Kelly)
Beloit
Danny Santana, James Beresford

 
When the Twins acquired JJ Hardy, their long-time need for a regular shortstop seemed over. Hardy was coming off of a bad season, and yet, was a very good defensive player. When healthy, he has been a solid contributor, but he is now on his second DL stint of the year. Fortunately, Trevor Plouffe was seemingly putting it all together in Rochester and is ready for a big league opportunity. Unfortunately, that leaves the upper levels of the Twins farm system very weak at shortstop, at least offensively as both Ortiz and Cates are good with the glove. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano are in the DSL as shortstops, although most believe that Sano will move to another position over time. The Twins drafted several shortstops in last week’s draft. That is normal since they are usually great athletes who can move to 2B, 3B or even the OF. Niko Goodrum was selected in the 2nd round. He is a tremendous athlete, a switch-hitter who can play SS and the OF.
 
OUTFIELD

Twins
Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, Denard Span
Rochester
Dustin Martin, Jason Repko, Jacque Jones, Brian Dinkelman
New Britain
Brandon Roberts, Juan Portes, Ben Revere, Mark Dolenc (Rene Tosoni)
Ft. Myers
Joe Benson, Evan Bigley, Jonathan Goncalves, Chris Herrmann <Michael Harrington>
Beloit
Angel Morales, Aaron Hicks, Steve Liddle, Wang-Wei Lin

 
The perception is that the Twins have a ton of outfielders in the system and on the horizon, but do they? The team has just four outfielders on their 40 man roster, but all four are everyday players and playing very well. At AAA, there is not a top prospect. Jones and Repko are former big leaguers, and Martin and Dinkelman are both already 26 years old, although “Dink” could probably be a solid top of the order, big league hitter in the right situation. Juan Portes had a nice showing in spring training. Ben Revere is playing well at AA. Unfortunately Rene Tosoni’s season will come to an end after shoulder surgery. Joe Benson and Chris Herrmann both have good upsides. Aaron Hicks and Angel Morales have the highest upside in the Twins farm system. Max Kepler has spent the season at Extended Spring Training and is considered a five-tool prospect. Oswaldo Arcia and Daniel Ortiz are also at EST and have a ton of all-around talent. The Twins continued their tradition of taking a high-ceiling outfielder from Puerto Rico when they took Eddie Rosario in the 4th round.
 
SUMMARY
So, there you have a very quick overview of the Twins organization. What does it show us? The Twins have some high-ceiling hitting prospects, like Wilson Ramos, Aaron Hicks, Angel Morales, Joe Benson and Miguel Sano. There are several others who could help the Twins if called upon without hurting the team. Players like Luke Hughes, Brian Dinkelman, Steve Singleton, Jose Morales and Brock Peterson could help very soon, if needed. What we have seen is that the Twins have been able to fill in young players without missing a beat, and that speaks to player development.   
 

So which positions would you consider strong, or weak? Feel free to discuss, and ask questions if you like. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with the Pitchers.

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