June 4, 2007
Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2007: Round Up (Hitters)
Today I'll focus on the 18 hitters among my top 40, with an update on the 22 pitchers coming later. In an effort to keep things relatively succinct while still being somewhat detailed, I've included "good news" and "bad news" for each prospect. For some players there's a lot more of one than the other, but hopefully the approach gives a feel for how they've each performed thus far. Also shown alongside each prospect is where he ranked among hitters and on the overall list, plus a link to his write-up.
A quick warning for those with weak stomachs: The vast majority of the hitting numbers you're about to see below are extremely ugly. In part because of pitcher-friendly leagues and in part because of an almost complete absence of good hitting prospects through the organization, the Twins' four full-season minor-league affiliates have combined for a .683 OPS. To put that in some context, Nick Punto has a .661 career OPS.
High Single-A Fort Myers ranks dead last in the Florida State League with a .598 OPS, which is slightly lower than Juan Castro's .607 career mark. Triple-A Rochester ranks 11th in the 14-team International League with a .698 OPS. Low Single-A Beloit ranks 10th in the 14-team Midwest League with a .671 OPS. Only Double-A New Britain avoids being among the worst offensive teams in its league, yet still manages a modest .758 OPS (again, to put that in some context, Lew Ford has a .748 career OPS).
You've been warned ...
Chris Parmelee - Hitter Rank: 1 - Overall Rank: 2 - Profile
Good News: Has shown plenty of power for a 19-year-old at low Single-A with five homers and 17 total extra-base hits in 165 at-bats. Bounced back from a horrible April by hitting .247/.343/.449 in May.
Bad News: A total of 48 strikeouts in 50 games helps explain his .234 batting average and an overall hitting line of .234/.317/.418 is awful even for a teenager in a pitcher's league.
Alexi Casilla - Hitter Rank: 2 - Overall Rank: 6 - Profile
Good News: Sports a .360 on-base percentage in his first taste of Triple-A, including 17 walks in 146 plate appearances, and has gone 13-for-17 swiping bases.
Bad News: Batting just .264 with a .333 slugging percentage. Perhaps most surprisingly, has already struck out 25 times in 129 at-bats after whiffing a total of 56 times in 493 at-bats last season.
Joe Benson - Hitter Rank: 3 - Overall Rank: 11 - Profile
Good News: Not much. Bumped his OPS up 300 points in May after a brutal April at low Single-A.
Bad News: Just about everything else. Even with the 300-point increase, his OPS in May was just .739. Hitting .197/.289/.306 overall with 48 strikeouts in 157 at-bats. Caught on 5-of-12 steal attempts.
David Winfree - Hitter Rank: 4 - Overall Rank: 13 - Profile
Good News: Hitting .273 with a .453 slugging percentage at Double-A, including 14 doubles in just 39 games.
Bad News: Just three homers in 150 at-bats. Continues to struggle drawing walks and controlling the strike zone, with a 38-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Paul Kelly - Hitter Rank: 5 - Overall Rank: 14 - Profile
Good News: None.
Bad News: Has yet to play in 2007 after undergoing season-ending knee surgery last July.
Erik Lis - Hitter Rank: 6 - Overall Rank: 15 - Profile
Good News: Moved up to high Single-A and batted .310/.402/.488 in April.
Bad News: Batted .225 in May and is hitting just .256/.330/.372 overall despite being a 23-year-old who destroyed low Single-A in 2006.
Whit Robbins - Hitter Rank: 7 - Overall Rank: 16 - Profile
Good news: Among the league leaders at high Single-A with 26 walks in 51 games.
Bad news: Hitting just .224 with a .273 slugging percentage and zero homers in 165 at-bats.
Alex Romero - Hitter Rank: 8 - Overall Rank: 18 - Profile
Good News: Batting .332/.380/.449 with 20 extra-base hits and an 18-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53 games at Triple-A.
Bad News: His Triple-A home is Tucson rather than Rochester, because the Twins lost him on waivers to the Diamondbacks this winter when they "needed" a roster spot for Ramon Ortiz.
Matt Moses - Hitter Rank: 9 - Overall Rank: 19 - Profile
Good News: Had a two-homer game in early May.
Bad News: Those are his only two homers in 160 Triple-A at-bats. Batting just .231/.253/.319 overall, with a pathetic 41-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 games. Nine errors at third base.
Trent Oeltjen - Hitter Rank: 10 - Overall Rank: 23 - Profile
Good News: Hitting .277 with a .352 on-base percentage and 11 steals in 41 games at Triple-A.
Bad News: Has managed just four walks while striking out 23 times in 116 plate appearances and is slugging .357.
Garrett Olson - Hitter Rank: 11 - Overall Rank: 26 - Profile
Good News: Has struck out a somewhat reasonable 22 times in 157 low Single-A at-bats (sorry, you only get a "none" if you literally haven't played all season).
Bad News: Hitting a measly .268/.327/.369 overall, including just 10 walks and 10 total extra-base hits in 45 games. Nine errors at third base.
Denard Span - Hitter Rank: 12 - Overall Rank: 29 - Profile
Good News: Walking at a decent rate and still very fast, going 12-for-15 stealing bases in 51 games at Triple-A.
Bad News: Hitting just .218/.280/.294 while striking out 40 times in 197 at-bats. After batting .212 in April, followed it up with a .214 May.
Trevor Plouffe - Hitter Rank: 13 - Overall Rank: 31 - Profile
Good News: Got off to a tremendous start at Double-A, hitting .310/.365/.552 with three homers in 14 April games.
Bad News: Hitting .265 with just one homer in 132 at-bats spread over 32 games since then, dropping his season totals to .279/.330/.432. Thrown out on 6-of-13 steal attempts. Fourteen errors at shortstop.
Danny Valencia - Hitter Rank: 14 - Overall Rank: 33 - Profile
Good News: Hitting .310 while among the low Single-A Midwest League's top five in homers (10), slugging percentage (.529), and OPS (.915).
Bad News: Saw his OPS drop nearly 200 points from April to May and has struck out 41 times in 187 at-bats.
Brandon Roberts - Hitter Rank: 15 - Overall Rank: 34 - Profile
Good News: Has drawn 13 walks in 41 games at Double-A after walking a total of just 36 times in 131 games at high Single-A last season.
Bad News: Everything else. Batting .252/.315/.304 with zero homers and six total extra-base hits. After stealing 50 bases last season, he's gone 4-for-6 on the bases this year.
Doug Deeds - Hitter Rank: 16 - Overall Rank: 35 - Profile
Good News: Finally moved up to Triple-A after spending two years at Double-A.
Bad News: Hitting just .234/.305/.355 with a 37-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36 games there.
Garrett Guzman - Hitter Rank: 17 - Overall Rank: 36 - Profile
Good News: Hitting .269 with just 19 strikeouts in 175 Double-A at-bats.
Bad News: Has managed just four homers and 13 total extra-base hits while drawing only 10 walks, which adds up to a .309 on-base percentage and .394 slugging percentage.
Steven Tolleson - Hitter Rank: 18 - Overall Rank: 38 - Profile
Good News: Sporting a .357 on-base percentage with 30 walks in 52 games at high Single-A.
Bad News: Hitting just .253 with a .300 slugging percentage and has struck out 38 times in 190 at-bats while managing just one homer. Thrown out on 6-of-14 steal attempts. Twelve errors at shortstop.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.