February 14, 2013

Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2013: 25, 24, 23, 22, 21

Also in this series: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40.

25. Nate Roberts | Left Field | DOB: 2/89 | Bats: Left | Draft: 2010-5

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2010     RK+    153     .336     .444     .547      5     16     21     29
2011     A-     283     .302     .443     .446      4     20     28     48
2012     A-     352     .299     .433     .427      4     25     44     37

Nate Roberts has moved very slowly through the system since being drafted in the fifth round out of High Point University in 2010, in part because the Twins have refused to promote him and in part because he's rarely stayed healthy. He'll turn 24 years old before playing a game above low Single-A and spent back-to-back seasons in Beloit despite hitting .302/.443/.446 there as a 22-year-old the first time around.

That might suggest the Twins don't think much of Roberts' potential, but they gave him a spot in the Arizona Fall League and he hit .446/.565/.662 in 19 games. He led the country in on-base percentage as a college junior and has gotten on base at a .439 clip in the minors, combining patience and strike zone control with an amazing ability to get hit by pitches. Dating back to his final college season Roberts has been plunked 81 times in 235 games.

Along with being an on-base machine Roberts also has 41 steals in 179 games as a pro, but his power has been limited with just 13 homers and he's strictly a corner outfielder defensively. It's tough to get too excited about Roberts' future until he stays healthy and faces more advanced competition, but hopefully the dominant AFL stint convinces the Twins to at least push him aggressively at age 24.

24. Daniel Santana | Shortstop | DOB: 11/90 | Bats: Switch | Sign: Dominican

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2010     RK+    144     .264     .285     .421      4     13      3     30
         A-     144     .238     .289     .315      0      7      7     40
2011     A-     409     .247     .298     .373      7     27     25     98
2012     A+     547     .286     .329     .410      8     38     29     77

Daniel Santana all but fell off the prospect map following a 2011 season in which he hit just .247/.298/.373 and moved around the diamond defensively at low Single-A, but the switch-hitter from the Dominican Republic stepped up to high Singe-A last year and showed enough promise to think he can have a big-league future. Santana batted .286 with 38 extra-base hits in 121 games, swiped 17 bases, and struck out in just 14 percent of his plate appearances.

With that said, his overall .286/.329/.410 line wasn't particularly impressive and he drew just 29 walks in 547 plate appearances while being thrown out on 11 of 28 steal attempts. In other words Santana is still pretty rough around the edges and there isn't much in his track record through age 22 to suggest he's capable of being more than a bottom-of-the-order bat. He's hit .266/.313/.398 for his career and hasn't cracked a .750 OPS since rookie-ball in 2008.

Defensively, however, Santana gets positive reviews as both a shortstop and second baseman. He alternated middle infield spots with 2011 first-round pick Levi Michael for much of last season, but Santana eventually emerged as Fort Myers' primary shortstop. If he can remain an asset at shortstop Santana could hit enough to be a decent starter there, but right now he seems to be on the utility infielder track.

23. Zack Jones | Reliever | DOB: 12/90 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2012-4

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2012     RK+     6      0     0.00       6.0       2      0       9      4
         A-     12      0     3.21      14.0       9      1      25      7

Zack Jones had mediocre results in three years at San Jose State, posting a 4.11 ERA in 138 innings spent mostly as a reliever, but his mid-90s fastball and high strikeout rate convinced the Twins to make him their fourth-round pick in June. Jones started eight games in his final college season, but Baseball America's pre-draft scouting report noted that "scouts view him as a reliever" because he lacked a quality third pitch to go with a fastball and slider.

Jones debuted at rookie-level Elizabethon and then moved up to low Single-A Beloit, throwing 20 total innings while working exclusively out of the bullpen. He overpowered hitters, holding them to a .159 batting average and striking out 34 of the 81 batters he faced, but also walked 11. While the Twins are hoping some of the college relievers they drafted in June can become starters, it sounds like Jones and the organization both prefer him in the bullpen.

Even in short outings his control needs a lot of work. He limited walks in his final season at SJSU, but Jones' overall walk rate in college was 4.4 per nine innings and he issued 5.0 walks per nine innings in his admittedly brief pro debut. Still, as a hard-throwing reliever Jones potentially could move very quickly through the minors and has a decent chance to be the Twins' first 2012 draft pick to reach to the majors.

22. Amaurys Minier | Shortstop | DOB: 1/96 | Bats: Switch | Sign: Dominican

As part of MLB's new collective bargaining agreement the Twins were allowed to spend a total of $2.9 million on international prospects last year and they gave $1.4 million of that to 16-year-old Amaurys Minier, a switch-hitting infielder from the Dominican Republic. Ranked by Baseball America as the 12th-best international prospect in last year's signing class, Minier is currently a shortstop but is expected to move to third base once his 6-foot-2 frame fills out.

According to David Rawnsley of Perfect Game he "has immense power from both sides of the plate" but "doesn't have the athleticism" to stick at shortstop. Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Minier "has drawn attention for his bat speed and plus power from both sides of the plate" with "one of the sweeter swings in the Dominican." However, he added that "scouts have reservations about his ability to hit in games, so his pitch recognition skills will have to improve."

Three years ago the Twins signed Miguel Sano out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old for $3.15 million, but making that type of investment is no longer feasible under the CBA and the $1.4 million they spent on Minier is more than all but three international prospects got in 2012. That doesn't mean he's destined for stardom, but Minier is definitely a high-upside prospect and it's always nice to see the Twins adding a potential impact bat to the system.

21. Michael Tonkin | Reliever | DOB: 11/89 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2008-30

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2010     RK+    10      0     1.08      25.0      18      1      26      4
         A-     13     12     4.29      65.0      76      7      40     18
2011     A-     48      3     3.87      76.2      82      3      69     24
2012     A-     22      0     1.38      39.0      29      1      53      9
         A+     22      0     2.97      30.1      24      2      44     11

Michael Tonkin is a former 30th-round pick for whom "Jason Kubel's brother-in-law" was once his claim to fame, but he's thrived since moving to the bullpen full time in mid-2011 and last year dominated between two levels of Single-A to emerge as someone to watch. Tonkin racked up 90 strikeouts in 69 total innings while holding opponents to a .209 batting average and three homers, posting a 2.09 ERA at age 22.

Plenty of relievers put up great numbers in the low minors every season, but few are 6-foot-7 with mid-90s fastballs like Tonkin. He's moved methodically through the farm system, finally reaching high Single-A midway through his fifth pro season, but that was in part because Tonkin was trying to stick as a starter early on and now that he's in the bullpen to stay there's the potential to rise pretty quickly.

His time as a starter helped develop a three-pitch fastball/slider/changeup repertoire that misses lot of bats and induces a decent number of ground balls. And for a big guy with a big fastball his control isn't bad either, with 20 walks in 69 innings last season and 2.3 walks per nine innings for his career. It's usually silly to get excited about Single-A relievers, but Tonkin's combination of raw stuff, size, and performance since shifting to the bullpen is very encouraging.

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March 1, 2012

Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2012: 25, 24, 23, 22, 21

Also in this series: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40.

25. Carlos Gutierrez | Reliever | DOB: 9/86 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2008-1

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2009     A+     11     10     1.32      54.2      37      1      33     22
         AA     22      6     6.19      52.1      62      6      32     24
2010     AA     32     16     4.57     122.0     136      7      81     50
2011     AAA    43      0     4.62      62.1      60      2      57     31

From the moment they took him 27th overall in the 2008 draft the Twins have talked up Carlos Gutierrez as a future late-inning reliever, touting his "power sinker" and closing experience at the University of Miami. Unfortunately there hasn't been much about his actual performance to match those high hopes, as his impressive ground-ball rate comes attached to terrible control, just 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 4.07 ERA in four pro seasons.

Gutierrez missed more bats at Triple-A last season, but 57 strikeouts over 62 innings is hardly encouraging for a 24-year-old reliever with high-leverage aspirations, and his control actually regressed with 4.5 walks per nine innings. When he threw the ball over the plate Gutierrez's sinker did its job, as he allowed just two homers and induced 62 percent ground balls. To put that in some context, Jake Westbrook led the majors in grounders last season at 60 percent.

Throwing hard and inducing 60 percent ground balls is enough to make Gutierrez a future big leaguer, but without more missed bats or dramatically improved control it's currently difficult to envision him as a successful setup man or closer. At age 25 he's running out of time to turn his raw stuff into results, but Gutierrez will likely begin this season back in Rochester and figures to crack the Twins' bullpen at some point.

24. Nate Roberts | Left Field | DOB: 2/89 | Bats: Left | Draft: 2010-5

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2010     RK+    153     .336     .444     .547      5     16     21     29
2011     A-     283     .302     .443     .446      4     20     28     48

Knee problems limited Nate Roberts to 68 games last year in his full-season debut at low Single-A, but when healthy he showed the exceptional on-base skills that allowed him to lead the country in on-base percentage as a junior at High Point University. Roberts won Big South conference player of the year by hitting .417 with 19 homers, 36 steals, and a ridiculous .573 OBP, which got him selected by the Twins in the fifth round.

Roberts hit .336 with a .444 OBP in his 35-game debut at rookie-ball after signing and then batted .302 with a .443 OBP in Beloit last season. In addition to a combined .314 batting average and 49 walks in 436 plate appearances he's also been hit by 33 pitches, which is a total high enough to seem like a fluke if not for the fact that Roberts was plunked 25 times in just 56 games for High Point in 2010.

Getting hit by pitches is definitely a skill, and players like Craig Biggio, Carlos Quentin, Jason Kendall, and Chase Utley boost their on-base percentages by routinely getting plunked 20-plus times per season. Along with the high batting average, solid walk rate, and plus speed that makes Roberts an underrated prospect, but he's too old to be stuck in the low minors much longer and as a corner outfielder he'll need to develop more power than he's shown.

23. Matthew Summers | Reliever | DOB: 8/89 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2011-4

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2011     RK+    20      0     0.87      20.2      11      0      36      5

Matthew Summers began his college career as an outfielder, but moved to the mound full time last season and became UC-Irvine's best starter, throwing 116 innings with a 2.02 ERA and 99-to-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing just one homer. That got him a $172,000 signing bonus as the Twins' fourth-round pick and Summers predictably dominated rookie-ball hitters in his pro debut.

Working out of the bullpen in Elizabethton he posted a 0.87 ERA and 36-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 21 innings, allowing no homers and inducing 57 percent ground balls while opponents hit just .153 off him. Letting college pitchers toy with rookie-ball hitters is standard operating procedure for the Twins and typically doesn't mean much, but in Summers' case his own lack of experience as a pitcher at least made it more of a fair fight.

His long-term role is unclear, as Baseball America reports that he works in the low-90s as a starter and the mid-90s as a reliever. He also has the unorthodox delivery and rudimentary off-speed pitches of a former position player, so the 6-foot-1 right-hander may be destined for the bullpen despite winning Big West conference pitcher of the year honors as a starter. Regardless of the role, Summers will make his full-season debut this year.

22. Tom Stuifbergen | Starter | DOB: 9/88 | Throws: Right | Sign: Netherlands

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2009     RK+    13     13     3.28      79.2      79      4      69      6
2010     A-     19     17     2.98      93.2      99      5      88     23
2011     A+     23     22     4.40     116.2     151     10      75     19

Tom Stuifbergen signed with the Twins out of the Netherlands as an 18-year-old in 2006, missed all of 2008 following shoulder surgery, and missed time with elbow problems in 2009 and 2010, but he's still managed to establish himself as a solid prospect and potential mid-rotation starter. Long term his success may hinge on inducing ground balls in bunches, however, because Stuifbergen's strikeout rate plummeted while stepping up to high Single-A.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio remained excellent in Fort Myers, but that was mostly due to just 1.5 walks per nine innings. His strikeout rate fell from 8.5 per nine innings to 5.6 per nine innings, and he also served up 11 homers in 117 frames after allowing a total of just nine career homers in 189 innings coming into the year. And while his sinker kills plenty of worms, his ground-ball rate of 47 percent during the past two seasons isn't anything special.

Stuifbergen has pitched well in international competition, including thriving on a big stage in 2009 while being coached by Bert Blyleven in the World Baseball Classic. Last year in this space I compared Stuifbergen to Nick Blackburn and that still looks pretty accurate. Blackburn logged 131 innings in Fort Myers, striking out 76 and walking 23 with a 4.19 ERA. Stuifbergen has thrown 119 innings in Fort Myers, striking out 78 and walking 20 with a 4.53 ERA.

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

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
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
2011     AA      8      7     6.08      37.0      50      3      23     15

David Bromberg led his league in strikeouts in 2007, 2008, and 2009, the latter of which got him named Twins minor league pitcher of the year, but his performance dropped off while making the jump to Double-A in 2010 and he missed most of last season when a line drive broke his forearm. Between the injury and struggles his stock dropped so far in such a short time that the Twins trimmed him from the 40-man roster and no team claimed him off waivers.

That doesn't mean Bromberg won't go on to have a big-league career, but it does suggest that his perceived upside isn't strong and most teams don't view him as being MLB-ready. He's still just 24 years old and Bromberg can be given a pass for getting knocked around after the injury, but even before last season his strikeouts per nine innings had plummeted from 10.6 to 8.7 to 6.7 and he's totaled just 137 strikeouts in 188 innings above Single-A.

Bromberg is 6-foot-5 and hefty even after dropping 30 pounds last year and some more weight this winter, but his fastball tops out in the low-90s. His off-speed stuff gets positive reviews and prior to being derailed by the broken forearm he'd sliced his walk rate from poor to mediocre, but as a fly-ball pitcher who doesn't seem likely to miss many bats his upside is limited. He's capable of being a mid-rotation starter, but this year will be key for his chances.

February 7, 2011

Top 40 Twins Prospects of 2011: 30, 29, 28, 27, 26

Also in this series: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 31-35, 36-40.

30. Nate Roberts | Left Field | DOB: 2/89 | Bats: Left | Draft: 2010-5

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2010     RK+    153     .336     .444     .547      5     16     21     29

Taken by the Rays in the 48th round of the 2009 draft after leading his junior college team to a national title, Nate Roberts opted against signing and headed to High Point University, where a monstrous junior season led to the Twins picking him in the fifth round last June. Roberts hit .416 with 19 homers and 36 steals in 56 games, leading the country in on-base percentage (.573) and runs (88) while taking home Big South conference player of the year honors.

Despite that spectacular production Baseball America's pre-draft report on Roberts noted that "scouts were concerned that he lacks a standout tool and for some teams he was considered more of a senior sign" than a junior worth drafting as high as the fifth round. That may still prove true, of course, but so far so good as Roberts debuted at rookie-level Elizabethon after signing for $150,000 and hit .336/.444/.547 with five homers and five steals in 35 games.

Thanks to great plate discipline and pitchers being scared of him Roberts drew 53 walks in 56 games at High Point and was also hit by a remarkable 25 pitches so not surprisingly he led the Appalachian League in on-base percentage and ranked 12th in walks despite playing only 35 of a possible 65 games. Dominating in a lower-level college conference and then beating up on rookie-ball pitchers hardly guarantees future success, but it does make Roberts very intriguing.

29. Dakota Watts | Reliever | DOB: 11/87 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2009-16

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2009     RK-     6      0     0.00       9.1       1      0      10      3
         RK+    10      0     2.70      13.1       9      0      12     12
         A+      5      0    14.85       6.2      10      0       6     10
2010     A-     30      0     2.31      46.2      31      2      55     30
         A+     17      0     3.19      31.0      26      2      29     12
         AA      2      0    12.27       3.2       4      0       5      2

Dakota Watts had a 3.65 ERA and 68-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 67 innings spread over 12 starts as a junior at Cal-State Stanislaus and the Twins picked him in the 16th round of the 2009 draft, shifting the 6-foot-5 right-hander to the bullpen. Watts hasn't stayed very long at any one place, spending time at five different levels despite logging a grand total of just 111 pro innings in less than two full seasons, and reached Double-A at age 22.

His overall performance has been strong, with a 3.50 ERA and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings, but Watts' numbers would look a whole lot better if not for being clobbered in a pair of brief but ugly stints as part of his frequent level changes. Between his five outings at high Single-A in 2009 and two appearances at Double-A last season he allowed 17 runs in 10.2 innings. In his other 63 games Watts has allowed 29 runs in 100 innings, which works out to a 2.60 ERA.

Watts will definitely need to dramatically improve his control at some point, as he's handed out 5.6 walks per nine innings, but he's missed a ton of bats with a mid-90s fastball that Baseball America ranks as the best in the Twins' system and projects as a potential late-inning reliever if things break right. If nothing else he's worth keeping an eye on as one of the rare pitching prospects not to fit the Twins' preferred mold and is capable of approaching triple-digit heat.

28. Anderson Hidalgo | Third Base | DOB: 9/88 | Bats: Right | Sign: Venezuela

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2008     RK-    107     .364     .453     .466      1      7     15     13
2009     RK+    205     .291     .379     .469      6     19     25     38
2010     A-     315     .316     .375     .443      3     29     24     50

After putting up impressive numbers in the Venezuelan summer league and rookie-ball during his first four pro seasons Anderson Hidalgo moved up to full-season ball last year and hit .316 with 29 extra-base hits in 81 games at low Single-A before missing the final two months with a fractured right forearm. He had the third-best OPS in the Beloit lineup behind Angel Morales and Aaron Hicks, and only 21 players in the entire Midwest League topped his .818 mark.

He hasn't shown a ton of home run power yet, but Hidalgo has batted at least .290 in each of his five professional stops while showing decent plate discipline and control of the strike zone for a young hitter and averaging 40 doubles per 550 at-bats. As a 21-year-old at low Single-A last season his overall production was 15 percent above the Midwest League average and in 2009 he was 20 percent above average in the rookie-level Appalachian League.

Hidalgo isn't close to the big leagues despite being signed out of Venezuela way back in 2006, but he's consistently thrived versus low-level competition and potentially could reach Double-A by the end of this season if he continues to play well. Hidalgo has played exclusively third base in the past two years, which is interesting since he's 5-foot-9 and only two active big leaguers 5-foot-10 or shorter have even 300 games at third base: Chone Figgins and Placido Polanco.

27. Kane Holbrooks | Reliever | DOB: 6/87 | Throws: Right | Draft: 2009-21

YEAR     LV      G     GS      ERA        IP       H     HR      SO     BB
2009     RK+    17      1     5.04      25.0      33      0      29     12
2010     A-     33      2     1.67      54.0      47      2      71     13
         A+      8      7     2.27      43.2      37      2      36     15

In the span of just 18 months Kane Holbrooks went from being a 21st-round pick out of Texas State University to solidly on the prospect map following a breakout 2010 season that saw him begin the year at low Single-A and end it at Double-A while posting a 2.10 ERA and 110-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103 innings. Statistically he had the third-best season of any pitcher in the Twins system with at least 100 innings, behind only Liam Hendriks and Kyle Gibson.

Holbrooks has racked up 139 strikeouts in 128 pro innings, which is remarkable for someone who didn't miss many bats in college. As a senior at Texas State he went 10-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 16 starts, but Kolbrooks managed just 57 strikeouts in 101 innings. He's nearly doubled that strikeout rate as a pro and has the raw stuff to match, as the 6-foot-3 right-hander's fastball was regularly clocked in the mid-90s while he split time between the rotation and bullpen.

He was used primarily as a reliever prior to arriving at high Single-A in the second half and to stick as a starter Holbrooks needs to develop his offspeed offerings, but Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff told Phil Miller of Baseball America that his fastball "is a tent stick that can be a foundation for a good career" and also noted he "got our attention" and "is in our plans now" even if "we might not have had high expectations when we drafted him."

26. Eddie Rosario | Center Field | DOB: 9/91 | Bats: Left | Draft: 2010-4

YEAR     LV      PA      AVG      OBP      SLG     HR    XBH     BB     SO
2010     RK-    213     .294     .343     .438      5     16     16     28

Selected in the fourth round of last year's draft, Eddie Rosario was born in Puerto Rico on the same day the Twins clinched the division title on the way to the World Series in 1991. Prior to the draft Baseball America called Rosario "the best pure hitter on the island" and compared him to Bobby Abreu for his "sound approach at the plate" and solid left-handed bat. He signed for $200,000 and debuted impressively in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Rosario batted .294, drew a fair number of walks, showed some pop with 16 extra-base hits in 194 at-bats, and swiped 22 bases in 51 games. Those raw numbers aren't jaw-dropping, but he topped the GCL average by 111 points of OPS as an 18-year-old and also saw most of his action in center field, although the consensus seems to be that Rosario will eventually move to a corner spot full time once his six-foot, 170-pound frame fills out.

While not quite a success story yet Angel Morales has developed into one of the Twins' best outfield prospects since they nabbed him out of Puerto Rico in the third round back in 2007, so hopefully Rosario can follow a similarly methodical path to top prospect status. He's a long way from the majors and may not even get his first crack at full-season competition until 2012, but Rosario is definitely among the low-minors hitters worth keeping an eye on.

June 9, 2010

Twins’ draft is heavy on college arms and high school bats

After selecting Ohio State right-hander Alex Wimmers with the 21st overall pick Monday night, the Twins' draft continued yesterday with their now-standard mix of college pitchers and high school hitters. Second-round pick Cartier Goodrum was listed as a shortstop, but the Georgia high schooler is considered a near-lock to move to the outfield and also goes by the nickname Niko, which is a shame because "Cartier Goodrum" is an absolutely amazing name.

Raw and toolsy at a lanky 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Goodrum is a switch-hitter with what both Baseball America and MLB.com describe as "raw power" and trouble making consistent contact. I noted yesterday that Wimmers fit the Twins' preferred mold for pitchers as a college guy with better control and off-speed stuff than velocity, and as an athletic high schooler with far more tools than polish Goodrum fits their preferred mold for hitters equally well.

Going into the draft BA compared Boston College left-hander Pat Dean to Glen Perkins, so the Twins picking him in the third round may seem odd given how Perkins has fallen out of favor. Of course, Perkins was once a good college lefty and first rounder, so the comparison is meant as a compliment. Dean struggled with injuries this year, but is said to be healthy and works at 88-92 miles per hour with a good changeup and what BA calls "an excellent feel for pitching."

In the fourth round the Twins selected another high school outfielder in Eddie Rosario from Puerto Rico, who BA tabbed "the best pure hitter on the island" while comparing him to Bobby Abreu for his "sound approach at the plate" and solid left-handed bat. Hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of Angel Morales, who's emerged as a good prospect after the Twins picked him out of Puerto Rico in the third round back in 2007.

Breaking from the college pitcher/high school hitter approach, the Twins took college outfielder Nate Roberts in the fifth round. Roberts won Big South conference player of the year honors after hitting .416 with 19 homers and 36 steals in 56 games for High Point, leading the country in on-base percentage and runs scored, yet BA's very limited scouting report on him concluded with "lacks a standout tool."

Diving back into the college pitcher pool, the Twins took Kentucky left-hander Logan Darnell in the sixth round and San Diego right-hander Matt Hauser in the seventh round. Darnell moved from the bullpen to the rotation this year, but struggled and missed some time with shoulder problems. Darnell is a fastball-slider guy and BA suggests that he "profiles better as a reliever because ... his arm action and the effort in his delivery are better suited for shorter stints."

Hauser is another reliever, saving eight games with a 37-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 3.67 ERA in 42 innings as a senior. BA notes that he throws 88-92 mph with his fastball and "adds a nice slider and an excellent spilt-fingered fastball which acts as his change." Eighth-round pick Lance Ray is a first baseman who led Kentucky in batting average (.356), on-base percentage (.458), and slugging percentage (.720) while walking as many times as he struck out.

Maple Grove native and Gophers star Kyle Knudson was the Twins' ninth rounder as an all-Big Ten catcher who ranked among the conference's hitting leaders and threw out 40 percent of steal attempts. Some other picks with intriguing scouting reports and histories are high school bats J.D. Williams and Tyler Kuresa, college arms Steven Maxwell, Ryan O'Rourke, Thomas Girdwood, David Gutierrez, and Dallas Galant, and their first prep pitcher DeAndre Smelter.

All in all a pretty typical draft for the Twins, who as usual went heavy on college control artists and toolsy high school athletes. Every year I hope for a college middle infielder mixed in since that has long been an organizational weakness, but not surprisingly none fit that description. In terms of where this year's picks would rank among the Twins' top prospects it's really tough to say this early, but Wimmers would perhaps slot either before or after Ben Revere at No. 5.