Midseason Top 10 Prospects

I’ll eventually go to a top 50, but wanted to do a quick update on a midseason top 10 prospects list. A brief explanation on my methodology: I tend to favor higher ceiling guy if their is a tiebreaker, but for the most part I use a combination of floor and ceiling to figure out a player’s probable career path, and then factor in the likelihood of him reaching it. To do so I use a combination of scouting and statistics, with statistics receiving more weight the more a player moves up the ladder.

1. Miguel Sano, 19 years old, 3B

Sano is just a teenager, and so Twins fans shouldn’t be tremendously concerned about the error totals piling up. What he does offer is prodigious power. He’s one of only a few prospects in the minors who can boast having 80 power. There’s still a lot of swing and miss there, but Sano has the potential to hit 4th in a championship lineup. As for his defense, I think the worst case scenario is right field due to his strong throwing arm, but I think there is something to the idea of letting him be a third baseman with not a lot of range. If he can clean up the error totals – and reading scouting reports regarding his hands it should be doable – then it’s maybe not a bad idea to let him be Miguel Cabrera with less batting average. Continue reading

Twins Sign Australian Lewis Thorpe

The Twins have always been active in Australia, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports that they’ve done it again, inking Australian LHP Lewis Thorpe. Torpe was widely considered the best July 2 prospect from Australia. Thorpe got 500k, leaving the Twins with 900k left in their international FA budget.

Thorpe is a prototypical Twins pitcher, standing 6′, 175 lbs with a high 80s-low 90s fastball. He has a good feel for pitching and can already throw a decent breaking ball. Hopefully he will continue growing and fill out his frame (remember he’s just 16) and can add a few MPH to his fastball while retaining that feel for pitching.

Goodrum’s Breakout Weekend Could Signal Breakout Year

Niko Goodrum was taken with the 71st pick in the 2010 draft out of high school in Georgia. Like a lot of athletic Georgia prepsters (Tim Beckham, Donovan Tate) he struggled in his pro debut, hitting just .161/.219/.195 in 36 games in the GCL. He showed marked improvement in his second pro season, however, hitting .275/.352/.382 in Elizabethton, but with only 15 extra base hits.

Repeating Elizabethton this year, Goodrum has had a fantastic start to the season. Saturday was the culmination of all those efforts as Goodrum hit for the cycle for Elizabethton, going 4-5 on the evening. For the year he is at .306/.443/.735 in his second go around in Elizabethton.

Expectations should be tempered a bit of course: it is only rookie ball, and plenty of Twins have had hot starts in rookie ball and then flamed out, plus it is Goodrum’s second trip through the league and while he’s not seeing many of the same players, he is a year older.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to be excited: he might not stick at short (I would bet he gets put in center field) but he is a toolsy athletic player who has the best position player arm in the system, can fly both around the bases and in the field, and has good hands. He has made quite a few errors so far in his minor league career, but he’s still learning how to play the position at the pro level. He’s played some second base and third base this year as well, but for the most part the Twins are letting him figure it out at short, which is the right plan. Even if he sucks there, it’s better for him to keep playing short and figure out on his own that he’s not a pro shortstop vs. the Twins telling him to move and them him having animosity about it.

Goodrum is 6’3″ and while most scouts think he will have to move, there is at least a chance that he will stick at short, making his potential value sky high. If he doesn’t collapse at the plate or get hurt (crosses fingers) Goodrum will definitely be a top 10 prospect in the system at year’s end, and potentially even top 5 thanks to how toolsy he is and how high his ceiling is.

Twins Sign Amaurys Minier

It has long been reported, and now it is official: On the first day of the international FA signing period the Twins have signed 16 year old Dominican SS Amaurys Minier for $1.4 million, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Minier ranked 12th on BA’s top international prospects available.

I gave a mini scouting report on Minier last week when I did my July 2 primer, and I’ll re-hash a bit of it below, with a couple of light edits:

Minier is a 6’2″, 200 lb shortstop who is a shortstop pretty much in name only at this point. Scouts are in near universal agreement that his frame will portend a move to third base, and his bat is what teams are really after. If it sounds a lot like Miguel Sano to you, perhaps you know why the Twins are so interested in Minier. Though he doesn’t have good range, and won’t in the future, scouts say he has soft hands and a rocket arm, making it more likely that he will be able to stick at 3B (though Sano has gotten more positive reports for his hands this year as well, so who knows).

Minier is currently a switch hitter, though he’s much better from the left side currently (scouts do say he can generate the same bat speed and power from both sides of the plate). He’s struggled against breaking balls thus far, but he’s a 16 year old kid and thus there are much worse sins to have at that age. Speaking of youngster sins, he can get pull happy at times, but he’s also shown good power to both alleys. Minier has a lot of holes in his swing that needs to get fixed, but he’s also probably one of the highest ceiling guys on the international FA market.

Twins Prospect All Star Team

The major league all star game is just around the corner, and while some short season leagues just got going, I nonetheless figure it’s close enough to half way through the minor league season to dial up a Twins prospect all star team. This team is mostly a look at which prospects are having the best 2012 seasons, but I’ll tend to give a tiebreaker of sorts to the guy I think is the better prospect:

C – Chris Herrmann (AA)

Herrmann has gotten a lot more comfortable behind the plate (and already had a good arm back there) which has helped assuage some of the concerns about his bat. Unfortunately, his hitting has gotten worse repeating AA, as his OBP has gone from .380 to .334. Herrmann walked almost as often as he struck out last year, but this year he’s walked 31 times next to 49 strikeouts. They aren’t awful numbers, especially if he can still catch, but one does have to wonder why his numbers are so much worse repeating the level.

Others of note: Matthew Koch, a 2011 12th rounder, is hitting .299/.421/.522 in Beloit. On one hand, he’s a college kid playing against younger competition, but on the other hand it is the midwest league, so those numbers are impressive regardless of his age. He’s also hit 6 homers in 130ish at bats. Continue reading

Florimon Named AAA All-Star

Rochester Red Wings SS Pedro Florimon was named to the International League’s all star team today. Florimon is Rochester’s only representative, which speaks to the overall lack of talent on the club. Claimed off waivers in the offseason from Baltimore, Florimon has spent half of 2012 at AA. While in AAA (47 games), Florimon is hitting .260/.323/.370 for the Red Wings. He’s hit just 3 homers and walked 15 times, but has struck out about once per game.

Florimon is an average defender and at 25 his offensive potential has pretty much been realized. He has just a .323 career OBP in the minors, so I don’t expect he’ll be making an impact in the majors anytime soon.

July 2 Primer

Once the calendar flips to July 2nd, MLB teams will once again be free to sign 16 year olds from Latin America, but this year there will be a twist. Thanks to the new CBA, teams are limited to $2.9 million in spending, which prompts a couple of interesting shifts in strategy. First, no longer will teams be priced out of Latin America. It used to be where teams could make the excuse (though not a good one) that there was no point in signing international FAs because the richer teams could afford to buy all of them. Now everyone is on the same budget and, assuming the top prospects still take up much of a team’s budget, can afford to sign some players. As such, teams will likely have to face the difficult decision of whether to sign one of the better prospects available and then have their budget sapped, or whether to spread it around and sign some lower profile guys. (I’d go with the lower profile guys, but more on that later).

For now, let’s look at some of the players the Twins are rumored to be interested in: Continue reading