February 18, 2011

Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2011: 15, 14, 13, 12, 11

Also in this series: 1-5, 6-10, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40.

15. Pat Dean | Starter | DOB: 5/89 | Throws: Left | Draft: 2010-3

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2010     RK-     4      0     0.00       5.0       3      0       5      0
         RK+     5      5     2.59      24.1      17      3      32      1

Going into last year's draft Baseball America compared Boston College left-hander Pat Dean to Glen Perkins, so the Twins picking him in the third round may seem strange given how Perkins has fallen out of favor. Of course, Perkins was once a good college southpaw and first rounder himself, so the comparison is meant as a compliment. Dean followed up a standout sophomore season by struggling with injuries as a junior, but proved healthy after signing for $320,000.

He debuted in the Gulf Coast League and was quickly promoted one step up the ladder to the Appalachian League, combining for a 2.15 ERA and remarkable 37-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29 innings between the two levels of rookie-ball. Dean also showed pinpoint control at BC, walking just 30 batters in 173 innings as a starter, and the 6-foot-1 southpaw is also capable of missing bats with a four-pitch repertoire that includes a low-90s fastball and plus changeup.

As an experienced college starter who faced quality competition in a top conference and then breezed through rookie-ball lineups Dean figures to move quickly through the Twins' system. Much like Perkins he doesn't project as a top-of-the-rotation guy, but Dean has mid-rotation upside and can hopefully keep the comparison going by developing into the pre-2009 version of Perkins who began his career 12-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 185 innings.

14. Rene Tosoni | Right Field | DOB: 7/86 | Bats: Left | Draft: 2005-36

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2008     A+     170     .300     .408     .414      1     11     21     30
2009     AA     490     .271     .360     .454     15     44     45     98
2010     AA     219     .270     .369     .422      4     16     25     52

Rene Tosoni had a strong 2009, batting .271/.360/.454 in 122 games at Double-A and winning MVP honors in the Futures Game during the All-Star break, yet the Twins sent him back to New Britain to begin last season. He got off to a solid start, basically duplicating his 2009 numbers with a bit less power through 52 games while repeating the level, but then suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in June that required surgery.

Between repeating Double-A and shoulder surgery Tosoni's chances of reaching the majors in 2011 took a hit, but he could still get to Minnesota in the second half after being added to the 40-man roster this winter. His production in the minors has been solid rather than spectacular, as the former 36th-round pick from Canada has consistently been above average at each stop without really flashing any standout skills.

He's hit .270/.363/.444 with 19 homers and a 150-to-70 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 174 games at Double-A and turns 25 years old in July, so Tosoni projects as more of a platoon starter or fourth outfielder than everyday player unless his glove proves to be a major asset. He's spent some time in center field, but most of his action has come as a right fielder. If he bounces back well at Rochester he could be in line to replace Jason Kubel or Michael Cuddyer in 2012.

13. David Bromberg | Starter | DOB: 9/87 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2005-32

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2008     A-     27     27     4.44     150.0     149     10     177     54
2009     A+     27     26     2.70     153.1     125      6     148     63
2010     AA     17     17     3.62      99.1     105      4      65     35
         AAA     9      9     3.98      52.0      47      9      47     13

David Bromberg was named Twins' minor league pitcher of the year in 2009 after going 13-4 with a 2.70 ERA at high Single-A while leading his league in strikeouts for a third straight year, but he made the jump to the high minors last year and struggled to miss bats with just 112 strikeouts in 151 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. As he's climbed up the minor-league ladder Bromberg's yearly strikeouts per nine innings have dipped from 10.6 to 8.7 to 6.7.

His control has also improved while the strikeouts have declined, but with 48 walks and 10 hit batters in 151 innings last year Bromberg's command is hardly a strength. He's done a nice job keeping the ballpark in the ballpark, allowing just 13 homers in 151 innings last season and a total of 35 long balls in 564 career frames, but that will be nearly impossible to maintain given that Bromberg has proven to be an extreme fly-ball pitcher.

Bromberg has a pitcher of the year award and track record full of low-minors success, making it easy to assume he's a top-notch prospect. However, the numbers show a fly-baller with so-so control and a declining, mediocre strikeout rate, which isn't a common recipe for success. He's certainly a solid prospect and simply holding his own at Double-A and Triple-A as a 22-year-old was a plus, but Bromberg's upside is in more question than his name recognition suggests.

12. Oswaldo Arcia | Right Field | DOB: 5/91 | Bats: Left | Sign: Venezuela

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2008     DSL    248     .293     .343     .432      4     20     16     27
2009     RK-    187     .275     .337     .455      5     18     15     18
2010     RK+    283     .375     .424     .672     14     42     19     67

Oswaldo Arcia was the Twins' breakout prospect of 2010 with a monstrous half-season in the rookie-level Appalachian League, batting .375 with 14 homers and 42 total extra-base hits in 64 games. History is filled with hitting prospects who knocked around rookie-ball pitching only to flame out against tougher competition, but even keeping that in mind the degree to which the 19-year-old Venezuelan stood out is incredible.

Arcia had an amazing .375/.424/.672 line in a pitcher-friendly league that hit just .258 with a .384 slugging percentage overall, leading in batting average by 52 points, on-base percentage by 44 points, slugging percentage by 62 points, and OPS by 122 points. He hit .398 off righties and .330 off lefties, won the sabermetric triple crown, finished just three homers short of the traditional triple crown, and not surprisingly won Appalachian League player of the year.

Despite that remarkable production he did a poor job controlling the strike zone, and while not being patient enough to walk much is excusable from a teenager hitting .375 his 67 strikeouts in 259 at-bats are a potential red flag. Arcia split time between center field and right field for Elizabethton, but profiles as a corner outfielder long term. He'll move up to low Single-A for his full-season debut and could have an impressive year at Beloit even if his OPS falls 300 points.

11. Angel Morales | Center Field | DOB: 11/89 | Bats: Right | Draft: 2007-3

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2008     RK     218     .301     .413     .623     15     28     26     72
2009     A-     418     .266     .329     .455     13     40     30    104
2010     A-     247     .289     .381     .474      4     24     24     65
         A+     301     .272     .347     .349      1     15     28     75

Angel Morales was the Twins' third-round pick in 2007 out of Puerto Rico and had an Arcia-like half-season at Elizabethton in 2008, batting .301/.413/.623 with 15 homers in 54 games as an 18-year-old. Amid those monster numbers Morales struggled to make consistent contact and his shaky strike-zone control has been exposed further as he's moved up the ladder, although he hit .274/.348/.462 in 175 games at low Single-A despite a 169-to-54 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Morales was asked to repeat low Single-A last season and improved his production the second time around, but then saw his power vanish following a midseason promotion to high Single-A. It was a solid season overall, as Morales hit .280 with 29 steals in 133 total games between the two levels and upped his walk rate by 30 percent, drawing 52 free passes in 513 plate appearances. The bad news is that he struck out 140 times while managing just five homers.

Through four seasons Morales has shown big power, good plate discipline, the ability to hit for a nice batting average, and 30-steal speed, but he's yet to put all those skills together at the same time and the only constant has been the strikeouts. He's still just 21 years old and will have strong defensive value whether he winds up in center field or a corner spot and the star potential is still there even if the flaws have become more prominent since his rookie-ball days.

  • Shane

    It will be very interesting to see where each of these 5 end their seasons. Hopefully Bromberg and Tosoni are big leaguers somewhere next year. Dean ending in Ft. Myers? Arcia in Beloit? Morales in New Britain?

  • chris

    some interesting guys here..just missed that we even have a player named Pat Dean..:)

    but i also think from guys 11 to 15…here are not the big things in this group
    Bromberg looks really solid to be a 5th starter in majors some years.
    Morales power times are gone…maybe he can steal 20 bases in majors as a utility man.

    Arcia has to go through the systems soon and hopefully will be at AA or even AAA in 2012.

    Deans numbers were only solid if you consider he was playing in a BCS-college-.league. He had to dominate rookies…beeing older then the mostly players there!

  • mike wants WINS

    Tosoni was one I thought was held back last year, in my personal perception of them being slow to promote sometimes. He seemed like the most natural next OF to come up if someone was hurt. I’m hopeful he’s healthy this year, and ready to be that next OF. He’s probably not a great player, but he’s probably a guy that could/should be on some MLB roster right now (KC, Seattle…..others) as a 4th OF, maybe even a 3rd OF.

    I never know how to feel about major college pitchers facing rookie league hitters. That’s got to be a level where stuff is as important as stats.

  • Clyde

    The outfields at all levels of the minors next year should be fun to monitor (Arcia/Roberts at Beloit, Hicks/Morales at Fort Meyers, Benson/Tosoni at New Britain, Revere at Rochester). Definitely the organization’s strength. But, Aaron, please don’t put Benson in your top 5 until he can (1) recognize a curveball/slider then (2) hit a curveball/slider. He was really exposed in the AFL.

  • stevethumb

    hey aaron, google david bromberg doing “hesitation blues”…a little generation gap to be sure but maybe it will make your friday music someday

  • Kram

    Great stuff, and wonderful to get the low-down on future pieces of the Twins’ march to unseat the Evil Empire in Manhattan. When I read these, particularly about the positional players, I can’t help but notice that there is always at least one glaring flaw for each, usually the high amount at which they strike out when they go up a level. I wonder how this compares historically with other organizations and with some of our best hitters. Did Mauer have this problem as he rose up through the ranks? Morneau? Then to compare other organizations- do their prospects have the same seemingly glaring flaws?

  • wrong em

    There’s no professional baseball team in Manhattan.

  • birdofprey

    It could be that Tosoni’s production was hampered by a bad shoulder. In any case, he wasn’t held back. His splits against LHP is a clear sign of that.

  • Sean

    Yes! David Bromberg is totally medicore. Even at #12 that seems high along with Angel Morales at #11. But at least not in the top 10.

  • http://thebatshatters.blogspot.com AK

    Aaron, you think the Twins would ever have some of these big power, big strikeout hitters work with Mauer a bit on plate discipline? High-K hitters aren’t always bad, I know, with Thome being a good example, but if you’ve got a guy like Mauer in the organization, why not try and teach some of these very young hitters? Just a thought.

  • http://twins.gearupforsports.com/blog/ Steve L.

    Bromberg – “and a declining, mediocre strikeout rate”. That’s a misleading statement, as his 47 K’s in 52 innings after being promoted to AAA was a pretty good uptick from AA, and much closer to his lower-level K-rates (and 8.13 K/9IP is a pretty good number history-wise from a Twins starter at AAA).

    Clyde – In Benson’s defense, he didn’t get much playing time in the AFL, as he was not a regular starter for the Saguaros. There were things to like in the small-sample-size sense too though, like 7 of his 13 hits being for Extra Bases. Outfields will definitely be fun to watch this year!

  • DJL

    I have seen Bromberg compared to Boof Bonser. It’s not a bad comparison.

  • Mike Green

    David Bromberg’s I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning is a favourite of mine.

    It should be noted that the FSL numbers were really low last year. Morales’ .272/.347/.349 sounds pretty bad, but Fort Myers as a club hit .249/.327/.344. For comparison, in 2009, the club hit .265/.341/.365.