Minnesota Twins 2011 Minor League Review
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:
2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6) | 2009 (22) | 2008 (15) | 2007 (8) | 2006 (6)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [63-99] AL Central
AAA: [53-91] International League – Rochester
AA: [72-70] Eastern League – New Britain
A+: [63-76] Florida State League – Fort Meyers
A: [69-69] Midwest League – Beloit
R: [42-26] Appalachian League – Elizabethton
The Run Down
Much of the Twins best talent is years away from its arrival in the big leagues. The club’s top prospect, Miguel Sano, is not yet 19. He headlines a handful of talented prospects beneath the Double-A level, including Eddie Rosario, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia. With their first round pick in the June Draft, the Twins added Levi Michael out of UNC. They hope the shortstop will add some polish to their system’s hitting prospects and climb the ladder quickly, though he’s yet to step foot on a ball field as a pro.
While the bulk of its talent remains distant, the system isn’t void of big league-ready prospects. Joe Benson will try to earn a spot in the Twins outfield this spring. Given Justin Morneau’s injury woes (see Aaron Gleeman’s Twins Preview), Chris Parmelee could see the field often. Right-handed starter, Liam Hendriks, is on the verge, too. Beyond that, there isn’t much here to draw excitement. Not for a few years, at least.
Arizona Fall League Players – Mesa Solar Sox
Players of Interest
Benson will compete for a spot in the Minnesota outfield at Twins camp this spring, but he’s skipped Triple-A to this point, and it seems more likely that he’ll end up with Rochester for opening day. With great power potential, he could be a 25 HR guy if he can keep improving on plate discipline, although he’ll probably struggle in AVG and OBP throughout his career. Even so, Benson should bring quite a bit more fantasy value than Ben Revere, so keep an eye on that battle during the coming weeks.
Parmelee’s first stint with the big club was impressive: .355/.443/.592 including 10 XBH (4 homers) in 88 trips to the plate. Granted, that’s a tiny sample, but it’s reflective of his ability to swing with confidence versus major league pitching. He’ll need to improve his approach against lefties, but with Justin Morneau’s injured brain tissue and all, Parmelee is in good position to collect significant AB’s in 2012.
Hendricks was forgettable in four starts with Minnesota last year, but the Aussie maintains a great competitive demeanor and he shouldn’t be deterred. He’s a command-first righty and he needs to keep his pitches down in order to be effective. When he’s on, though, he works quickly and induces weak contact. Hendricks is probably ready for a backend role in the Twins’ rotation, but he’ll begin 2012 in Triple-A.
Dozier broke out in 2011, slashing .320/.399/.491 between High-A and Double-A. The 24-year-old has never been highly touted, but it’s hard to ignore his numbers. With Jamey Carroll signed through 2013, don’t expect to see Dozier in a full time role ‘til 2014. He could certainly be used in a utility role at some point this year, though.
Aaron Hicks | OF:
Hicks is an extremely toolsy prospect, but his numbers hardly reflect his potential. After posting a worrisome .722 OPS in a full season at High-A, the Twins are hoping he’s ready for Double-A in 2012. With his level of talent, Hicks should move quickly once he’s figured it out.
Arcia, like Hicks, is yet to reach Double-A. He hit 23 homers across three levels in 2011, and that figure should only grow in the coming years. 9 BB as opposed to 53 K’s at High-A is concerning. The Twins would like to see him draw more walks in 2012 in order to justify his spot on the 40-man.
Herrmann is positioned to step in as Joe Mauer’s backup in 2013, which is to say: Herrmann stands to see plenty of AB’s in 2013. He’s at least a year away, and his numbers have never been spectacular, but he’s worth noting for his potential to land a near-regular role next season. Keep an eye on him as he pushes through to Triple-A in 2012.
Gibson was Minnesota’s #1 prospect just a year ago, but his stock has dropped significantly after the righty underwent Tommy John surgery last July. With excellent secondary pitches to go along with a low-90s fastball with movement, Gibson profiles nicely as a #2 or #3 starter. Unfortunately, it’s not likely that we’ll see him in the Majors until 2013.