Today, we continue our trek through my Top 50 Twins Prospects list by looking at my choices for prospects 21 through 30. Yesterday we looked at prospects 31-40, and the day before I presented prospects 41 through 50. I think that this 21-30 group is interesting. You still have some young players who have great potential but haven’t quite reached it... yet. You have a couple of players who have been ranked quite a bit higher who, for whatever reason, have fallen and are looking to move back up.
Without further ado, let’s get to the list. Here are my choices for Twins Prospects 21-30:
#30 –Jason Wheeler, LHP
Those that follow the Northwoods League may remember that Wheeler was the Pitcher of the Year in 2010 when he pitched for the St. Cloud River Bats. The Twins made the 21-year-old their 8th round pick last year out of Loyola Marymount. At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he has a strong build and a very good delivery. His fastball touched 93 and due to his height, he gets a good downward plane. He has an improving changeup in the low 80s and an above average slow curveball. He didn’t sign in time to pitch last year, but in his first nine starts for Beloit, he is 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA.
#29 – Miguel Munoz, RHP
The Twins signed the now-23-year-old Munoz as a 17 year old in 2005 from Caracas, Venezuela. His 2011 season was lost due to elbow problems. The Twins went the rest-rehab route with Munoz, and he has been able to avoid Tommy John surgery. He did have some surgery to remove bone chips. He has recently returned to the Ft. Myers Miracle and pitched in seven games, making two starts. He has a four-seam fastball that reaches into the mid-90s. His two-seam fastball sinks and generates lots of groundballs. He has a decent curveball, and continues to work on a slider/cutter as well.
#28 – JD Williams, OF
Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario got all of the attention in Elizabethton in 2011, but JD Williams quietly put together some impressive numbers. He hit .324/.406/.465 with 12 doubles, a triple and four home runs. He was drafted as a shortstop out of his Florida high school in 2010. He is all about speed, one of the fastest players in the Twins organization. He moved up to Beloit this year where he is currently hitting .227/.308/.311 after a very slow start. He has eight doubles and a triple. He has already stolen eight bases.
#27 – Max Kepler, OF
It appears that Kepler will be returning to the Appy League for the 2012 season. In 2011 at Elizabethton, he hit .262/.347/.366 with 11 doubles, three triples and a home run. Solid, but unspectacular numbers in the hitter-friendly atmosphere. He was signed by the Twins in July of 2009 out of Germany. At 6-4 and 200 pounds, the 19-year-old is very strong and very fast. He has one of those classic left-handed swings. He can play all three outfield positions.
#26 – Logan Darnell, LHP
Darnell was the Twins 6th round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky. In 2011, he pitched in Beloit, Ft. Myers and made five starts in New Britain. In total, he recorded 11 wins and threw an impressive 150.1 innings. The 23 year old has the ability to throw four pitches for strikes. The southpaw’s fastball sits between88-91, occasionally hitting 93. He has a good changeup, a slider (81-84) and a slow curveball (75-76). He is currently 5-2 with a 4.53 ERA in nine starts with the Rock Cats this year.
#25 – Tom Stuifbergen, RHP
If Stuifbergen can get back on the mound soon, he could be a top 15 prospect again by the end of the season. If there has been one thing that has slowed Stuifbergen in his career, it has been injuries, and he is fighting some shoulder issues now. However, the 23 year old from the Netherlands has been very successful when he has been healthy. At 6-3, he has great control of a 2-seam and 4-seam fastball (touches 94), a curveball and a changeup. He has had a lot of success in international competition since making his name in the last WBC in a game against the Dominican Republic. Last fall, he led The Netherlands to the World Cup championship in Panama when he threw 17 shutout innings. Later, he was knighted in his homeland, so you can call him Sir Tom Stuifbergen.
#24 – Angel Morales, OF
Things started out so well for Morales, the Twins 3rd round pick in 2007 out of Puerto Rico. In 2008 in Elizabethton, he posted a 1.036 OPS with 12 doubles and 15 home runs. Since then, he has had his moments of success and still has glimpses of 5-tool talent. He missed most of 2011 with an elbow injury that finally required arthroscopic surgery. In 2012, things started out so well for Morales. Through April 24, he was 23-67 (.343). Since that date, he is 10-83 (.120). His season average is down to .220 (through 150 at bats). He has just seven extra base hits and has struck out 50 times. However, I still believe in his talent and his tools. He won’t turn 23 until late November, so I’m far from giving up on him.
#23 – Corey Williams, LHP
The Twins used their 3rd round pick last June on Vanderbilt lefty-reliever Corey Williams. At the time, there was some concern about signability. However, the Twins went $250,000 over slot to sign him. He throws a fastball between 92 and 94 mph. He has a very good changeup. He is very smart, and has very good stuff. He is currently with the Beloit Snappers where he has six saves. In 18.2 innings, he has walked ten but also struck out 21.
#22 – David Bromberg, RHP
Bromberg ended the 2010 season by making nine starts in Rochester. He was an easy choice to add to the 40 man roster following the season. In 2011, he started back with the Rock Cats in New Britain, but in late April, he took a liner and broke his forearm (which he was using to protect his face). He had surgery and missed over three months, but when he came back, he was still affected by it. He was removed from the 40 man roster after the season, cleared waivers and remains with the Twins. The 24 year old started this season with New Britain, in the bullpen. In five games as a reliever, he posted a 20.25 ERA in 4 innings. In six starts for the Rock Cats, he is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA. In 31.2 innings, he has given up 20 hits, 13 walks and struck out 33 batters. At one point, he threw 20 consecutive scoreless innings. I’d expect him to move up to Rochester soon, and he is definitely back in the Twins picture.
#21 – Pat Dean, LHP
Dean was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2010 out of Boston College. He was hurt at the start of the 2011 season and yet he still pitched at Beloit, Ft. Myers and New Britain, although not to his talent level. He began 2012 back with Ft. Myers. He has made 10 starts and is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA. The lefty has a fastball between 90-92 mph. He has an above average curveball and a very good changeup. He is barely striking out a batter every other inning, which is concerning, but he does have three good pitches, so those numbers should improve. I think he profiles pretty similarly to Brian Duensing.
So, there you have my choices for Twins prospects 21-30.Later this week, I’ll be back tomorrow with my next installment which will be prospects 11-20).
If you have any questions or comments on any of these prospects, please feel free to ask.
There is a ton of great content today at Twins Daily. John wrote a great article describing the Twins right field situation. Parker wrote that Teams are throwing Justin Morneau a wrinkle. Twins Fan from Afar wrote about what happened in the Twins minor leagues on Wednesday. Jim Crikket wrote about "Purpose" Pitches. Cody Christie wrote more about Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni moving the wrong way.
Thrylos has been working on a series, looking at the Top 22 Pitchers eligible for the June draft. Today he writes about Clate Schmidt, but he's been working on these for a couple of weeks. Your House is My House wrote a blog on Ben Revere and Denard Span.
In the Forum, there is a lot of talk about the draft, including discussion on Puerto Rican SS Carlos Correa, who the Twins worked out yesterday. Of course, there is the occasional forum thread on moving Joe Mauer to 3B.