Friday, April 25, 2008
There are a lot of Twins' prospects you hear about, and quite a few who you really don't. Since we pretty much know Carlos Gomez is a poor man's Vince Coleman, Delmon Young is really Jacque Jones, Boof Bonser's only chance is as an innings eater type, Kevin Slowey gives up too many homeruns, Scott Baker is boring, and Nick Blackburn is the new Jesus, I'm going to attempt to take a look at some guys who haven't hit the bigs yet.
1. P Deolis Guerra. You probably recognize Guerra's name, as he was the other key piece to the Santana deal. Guerra is currenly ranked the #1 prospect in the Twins system, and is putting up the numbers to back it up at Fort Myers. In 19 innings over 4 starts, Guerra has given up 14 hits and 9 walks for a WHIP of 1.21 and only three runs, leaving his ERA at 1.42. He's struck out 15 (good) and given up two homeruns (ok). He's also impressed scouts, despite a fastball that is currently hitting only about 88 on the gun. He has a plus curveball and a plus-plus changeup, which is already considered an average changeup for a big league pitcher. Considering Guerra is just 19 years old, if he picks up some speed on the fastball he could be a star. Even as is, he has the tools to be a big league pitcher, if just a 4/5 type - which the Twins are loaded with.
2. OF Ben Revere. The Twins' 2007 first round pick ran through the Gulf Coast League last year, to the tune of 21 steals in 30 tries in just fifty games. He was already known for his speed, but showed a excellent ability to drive the ball (.461 slugging including 10 triples in just 191 ABs), plate patience (13 BB/20 K, OBP of .388), and hit for average (.325). All these stats point to an excellent player, and hopefully in about 2-3 years he'll be playing CF and leading off for the Twins.
3. P Anthony Swarzak. With all the hype surrounding Garza, Baker, Slowey, and Bonser you never heard much about Swarzak, but he's turned into a top prospect while putting up excellent numbers each year. Swarzak followed up last year's 1.18 WHIP between A and AA with a hot start at AA New Britain, posting a WHIP of 1.00 and an ERA of 1.35 in four starts covering 20 innings. He doesn't give up many HRs (0 this year), he strikes out a good amount (24 in 20ip) and doesn't walk many guys (4 this year). Keep your eye on Swarzak, either this year or next he should be making his big debut.
4. P Tyler Robertson. A big (6-5) lefty down at Class A Fort Myers, Robertson is a guy jumped up Twins' prospect lists last season. After an uninspiring initial season in Rookie Ball, Robertson pitched very well at Class A Beloit last year. At just 19 years old, he pitched 102 innings, giving up just 87 hits, 3 homeruns, and 33 walks compared to 123 strikeouts on his way to a 1.17 WHIP and a 2.29 ERA. He's been a bit shakier so far this season at High A Fort Myers, posting a 1.60 WHIP through four starts and 19 innnings, but he still hasn't given up a homerun this year and posts an excellent K/9 of 9.94. Big lefties are always good to have around, so rest assured Robertson will get his chance.
5. SS Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe is a guy I'm very interested in, seeing as he's a shortstop and the position has pretty much been a black hole for the Twins for years and years, other than a handful of average seasons from Jason Bartlett, Greg Gagne, and Pat Meares and one hellaciously awesome season from Cristian Guzman. Of course, other than being a SS, Plouffe is fairl unremarkable. However he is an excellent fielder, with good range either way and a great arm. His hitting is suspect at best, as he's never hit better than .283 in a full minor league season, although he's up to .284 this season so far in AA. He shows decent plate patience and has fairly good speed. If he can develop a better bat, he could be a nice player. Ranked as the #11 prospect in the system, he has potential.
Other names you may not know: P Jeff Manship, P Jeff Duensing, OF Joe Benson
Oh, and if you're wondering about the other two 'tards from the Santana trade, they're both at AAA Rochester, where Kevin Mulvey has been lights out (1.16 ERA/1.16 WHIP) and Phil Humber has gotten absolutel lit up (5.09/1.70).