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Written by Shawn Berg | 30 March 2012

 

source: acc.blogs.starnewsonline.com

11. Levi Michael, Shortstop, 21 years old

2011 Stats: .289/.434/.434 with 4 HRs and 14 steals in 15 attempts at the University of North Carolina.
Last year's rank: N/A
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1st round (Number 30) of the 2011 June Major League Draft out of UNC.

Last June, the Twins departed from conventional draft wisdom (at least for the Twins) by drafting a Michael in the first round. You see, Michael was a college shortstop, the Twins don't draft college position players in the first round. They draft college control pitchers or high school position players, mostly toolsy outfielders. The Twins hadn't deviated from this formula since they drafted high school pitchers Kyle Waldrop and Jay Rainville in the first round of the 2004 draft. The Twins hadn't drafted a college position player since Matty Lecroy was drafted as a catcher out of Clemsen way back in 1997.

So, why the change of philosophy? The Twins have a system full of toolsy outfielders and plenty of strike throwing pitchers, but as I pointed out way back in September of 2010, the Twins have a real dearth of middle infielders. I identified there were only 6 SS on the 40 man roster at that time and all 6 of them have moved on. The Twins really need SS depth that can play in the majors soon.

So, the Twins changed their ways and drafted for need. Michael's abilities and polish suggest the got what they needed. From ESPN's Keith Law: "Levi Michael is a 20-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who can run; unless the ankle is somehow worse than I've heard, it makes no sense to me that he fell out of the top 20, and the Twins are very fortunate that they could grab him." and Baseball America had him ranked as there 22nd prospect. So, the Twins got value at #30.

So, what did the Twins get in Michael? As a freshman, he showed decent power with 13 HRs and a .290/.382/.527 line. As a sophomore he had a great numbers with a .346/.484/.575 line including 9 HRs, 20 SBs and only 26 K's in 214 ABs. His junior year he struggled a bit, especially near the end of the season. After his great sophomore season, his .289/.434/.434 line with only 5 HRsand 47 K's looks like a real drop off, but his struggles, especially at the end of the season could be tied to his ankle injury.

Michael is very polish and almost completely developed. He has decent speed and some gap power. He's a switch hitter that can hit from both sides of the plate and he is adept at working walks. He's considered decent defensively but he may have to move to second due to lack of range. He may not have much upside, but the ability he already possesses could be good enough to become a decent major league player.

Ideal scenario: Although he signed late, Michael will most likely start his pro career in Fort Myers. There are very few middle infield prospects in the Twins system and given his ability and polish, Michael move up to New Britain mid-season.

Path to the majors: Michael has the luxury of decent ability and polish at a position of great weakness in the Twins system. If he can play decent defense at the pro level and show any on-base and gap power, Michael could be with the Twins before the end of the 2013 season. He could very well be the Twins starting shortstop or second baseman opening day 2014.


Prospect #12 and the rest of the top 50 starts here.

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Written by Shawn Berg | 27 March 2012

Bromberg(courtesy mlb.com)

12. David Bromberg, Right-handed Starter, 24 years old

2011 Stats: 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA 23/15 K/BB in 37 innings for AA New Britain.
Last year's rank: 10
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 32nd round of the 2005 June Major League Draft.

Coming into 2011, David Bromberg was on the verge of making his MLB debut. He'd just been added to the 40-man roster. He'd had a decent 2010 in New Britain and Rochester, had even more impressive numbers at every level prior to 2010 and he had decent stuff. He was right there, ready to make his pro debut, just one problem, he got hurt.

He started the season a little slow. Going 1-1 and giving up 8 earned runs in 17.1 innings with just 4 Ks and 3 BBs. He was doing well in his 4th appearance on April 26th. He had 7 Ks with just 1 BB and 5 hits given up in 5.1 innings when his forearm was broken by a come-backer to the mound. He missed nearly three months and wasn't the same post injury, eventually shutting his season down. As an extra kick to the head, he was removed from the 40 man roster and went unclaimed.

I had high expectations going into last season. I figured he'd start the year in AAA and predicted he'd be one of the first Twins pitchers called up. Well, I missed the boat there, due to his injury. If he can get back to his pre-injury form, he certainly has a chance to be a decent major league starter. He was the 2009 Twins "minor league pitcher of the year" and had 3 years of better than 8.5 K's per 9. He's also only 24 years old and he always had a decent fastball and secondary pitches. The fact that he has lost a lot of weight over the past couple of years shows his commitment and could have positive benefits in his game management and velocity. Hopefully, I am just a year behind on my prediction.

Bromberg is in a similar position as #13 prospect Alex Wimmers. Both have seen their prospect luster dip compared to where it was and like Wimmers, Bromberg will need a good year to get back on track. While, I have him ranked #12 now, another lost season could spell the end of his time in the organization, the way the Twins have been cutting players.

Ideal scenario: Bromberg gets back on track, has a good start in New Britain and Rochester and is a factor for the Twins by the end of the season. Last year, I had him as top choice for a starter prospect call-up, but he is not on the 40 man roster at this time.

Path to the majors: If he pitches well and avoids injury, he will reach the majors in 2012.

Prospect #13#14#15the rest. Only 2 of my top 50 have been cut in the last week. :/

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Written by Shawn Berg | 25 March 2012

Source: minnesota.twins.mlb.com
 

13. Alex Wimmers, Right-handed Starter, 23 years old


2011 stats: 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA 39/22 K/BB in 40.2 innings for Fort Myers.
Last year's rank: 5
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins 21st overall in the 2010 June Major League Draft.

Alex Wimmers was the Twins top pick in the 2010 draft. Wimmers coming out of college was the "stereotypical Twins starting pitcher" or "stereotypical pitching draft pick" as I wrote last year.He was the 2010 National collegiate pitcher of the year and was also the first Big Ten pitcher to win the conference's pitcher of the year in 2 consecutive years, in 2009 and 2010 Wimmers was a strike throwing college pitcher and also had a good start to his pro career, striking out 23 and walking 5 in 15.2 innings in 2011. He looked poised to have a good year something happened. Wimmers lost the strike-zone. 

Wimmers started his season on April 11th by walking the all 6 batters he faced. He also threw three wild pitches and a total of four strikes in 28 pitches. That was very Shooter Hunt like.... in fact it was about as accurate as I am, the first time I throw every spring. The Twins stopped his season right there and he didn't appear in another game until July 1st. "When you see that happening, you better slow a guy down and try to get him on track before he goes out there again," said Eric Rasmussen, Twins minor league pitching coordinator. "So we kind of took some time and worked him through it." Wimmers returned as a reliever and started the last 3 games of the year. His last start, he threw a 7 inning no hitter, walking only 2.

So what to make of Wimmers? Reports are that his control is back. He ended the season pitching a lot like we figured he would all along. I ranked him #5 last year and predicted his ideal scenario; "He could follow the model established by Baker, Slowey, Gibson etc... and pitch in three levels in one season. I see him probably spending the bulk of the season in AA New Britain." That didn't happen. Prospects can be fickle. Last year, we had Kane Holbrooks as our #11 prospect and this year, Holbrooks was cut. Wimmers came to the Twins with the first round pick fanfare, so he will be given more rope. If he goes the way of Shooter Hunt though, he could soon be found elsewhere, like Shooter Hunt. At just 23 years old, I believe he can bounce back enough to rank him #14.

Ideal Scenario: Wimmers will start 2012 back at Fort Myers. Assuming he has regained his control he should end the season in AA New Britain.

Path to the majors: Wimmers needs to establish that he can still throw strikes and that his first start was just a blip and isn't a Rick Ankiel, Shooter Hunt related disaster. Assuming he is the guy we thought he was last year, he should be in the mix to make the Twins out of spring in 2013. If he isn't that guy.... the path could continue to be as bumpy as it was in 2011.


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Written by Shawn Berg | 10 March 2012

14. Chris Herrmann, Catcher/OF, 24 years old


2011 stats: .269/.385/.399 with 8 HRs and 10 steals in 13 attempts between Fort Myers and New Britain.
Last Year's Rank: N/A
Acquired: Drafted by the Twins in the 6th round out of the University of Miami in 2009.

Herrmann had a breakout year for the Twins in 2011 after compiling a .219/.310/.301 line in 408 plate appearances in 2010 for Fort Myers. Even though he had a rough first full professional year at the plate, he did throw out 36% of attempted base-stealer's. Herrmann started 2011 back at Fort Myers, but after a good start, posting a .310/.404/.425 line, he was promoted to New Britain in early May. His batting average dropped at New Britain but overall he had decent numbers, going .258/.380/.392. He also stole 9 bases. To top off his season, he was very impressive in the Arizona Fall League, going .380/.456/.620 in 57 plate appearances.

Herrmann put himself in the conversation as a top Twins prospect in 2011 and finally gave the system some decent catching depth since Wilson Ramos was traded in 2010. With Mauer's injuries in 2011, the lack of  system depth at catcher was really exposed. Herrmann's line at AA as a 23 year old is similar to Ramos' .317/.341/.454 line as a 21 year in New Britain. Herrmann is not the prospect that Ramos was, he is not as big, nor does he have the power or defensive ability but he gets on base and doesn't strikeout too much. He has also shown to be healthier at this stage of his career. 

Herrmann's skill-set will provide the Twins with a good back-up option to Joe Mauer. An option who is athletic enough to play other parts of the field. Herrmann, as a hitter, is a poor man's Joe Mauer. He is left-handed, a doubles machine and he gets on base. He just isn't as good of a hitter, nor is he as big. Herrmann is a better offensive catcher than Drew Butera right now, but given the signing of Ryan Doumit, the Twins can give him another year of seasoning. 2012 will be an important year for Herrmann. Another solid year would give him and the Twins options. He could either be a solid back-up to Mauer or a decent starter to replace Mauer, given Mauer's injury history or that he may have to replace Justin Morneau at first.

Ideal scenario: That Herrmann will spend 2012 in AA or AAA and the Twins won't need him . He will continue to develop his bat and his catching ability and be ready to play in the MLB in 2013.

Path to the majors: Herrmann has enough of a bat at catcher to backup right now in the system right now, but there are several short-term catcher options in front of him for 2012 and he would probably be better served spending the season in the minors. He can debut as a back-up catcher/bench bat/Joe Mauer insurance in 2013.

Check out #15 here and 20-16 and all of the rest here.

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Written by Shawn Berg | 04 March 2012

source: mlb.com

15. Carlos Gutierrez, Right-Handed Reliever, 25 years old

2011 stats: 2-3 4.62 ERA 57/31 K/BB in 62.1 innings for AAA Rochester.
Last year's rank: 43
Acquired: Drafted in the first round (27th overall) out of University of Miami in 2008

Gutierrez has been a highly thought of prospect in the Twins system since he was drafted in 2008, though considered a little bit of a stretch as the 27th pick. (Shooter Hunt drafted 31st was actually considered the better pick) He has steadily climbed the Twins minor league ladder to the point where he was added to the 40 man roster this off-season and is on the cusp of making his MLB debut.

Gutierrez is sometimes ranked as a top 10 prospect in the Twins system but hasn't ever really backed that lofty ranking up. He's generally had high ERAs and he generally gives up more than a hit an inning. His FIP is usually a little lower than his ERA and BABIP is often high, suggesting he's been a little unlucky. As a ground ball pitcher, Gutierrez will need good fielding behind him to maximize his ability.

Gutierrez has been tried as both a starter and a reliever with the Twins. In 2009 and 2010 he was often used as a starter with mixed results. His K/9 innings in 2009-2010 were under 6 per inning while walking nearly 4 per inning. In 2011, he was only used in relief and his K/9 rate shot up to 8.23 per inning, but his BB/9 rate was 4.48. He has a good fastball, I have seen him hit 96 MPH and he can be dominant, but generally he doesn't sustain his dominance for long periods of time. His stuff has been compared to the former Fausto Carmona and I'd like to believe in him more, but unless he can keep that sinker over the plate. If he can walk less and mix his pitches to induce a few more strikeouts, Gutierrez could be a set-up guy or closer. Right now, he looks like a 6th or 7th inning reliever and ranks this high on my list due to probable 2012 major league impact and potential top-end.

Ideal scenario: Gutierrez will start the year hot in Rochester and get a promotion to the Twins sketchy bullpen. Once promoted, if he can strikeout at least 7.5 per/9 and keep his walk rate down, he could be a really solid set-up guy and have a long major league career.

Path to the majors: Gutierrez will make his Twins debut in 2012 assuming he stays healthy and doesn't completely fall apart in Rochester.

Please checkout prospects 50-16 starting here 

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Written by Shawn Berg | 03 March 2012

I have been counting down My top 50 Twins prospects over at my other space, www.ontheroadwithshawn.blogspot.com. I recently tried to convince Joel Zumaya not to retire. I have also been posting at TwinsDaily. I recently posted 40-31 and now I have 30-16.

 30. Lance Ray Outfield/First Baseman 9/2/1989.
Ray was drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Kentucky. He hit .253/.335/.432 with 16 HRs, 34 doubles and 10 steals in 16 attempts.  Ray's numbers were decent, but it was also a tough year for him in Beloit. His power came a little but he struck out 132 times in 539 plate appearances. Ray has the reputation of being a good hitter with some power, but his huge spike in strikeouts could be a problem if he doesn't get it corrected. His season was decent, just not completely fitting his reputation. I ranked him #39 last year.2012 Outlook: He'll probably spend a full season at Fort Myers.

29. Daniel Rams Catcher/Outfield. 12/19/1988.Rams was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft out of Gulliver Prep HS in Miami. He hit .239/.310/.388 with 8 HRs in 342 plate appearances for Fort Myers. He also threw out 33% of would-be base-stealers. Rams came into Fort Myers with a power reputation and a strikeout reputation. Unfortunetly, it was the strikeouts that were more prevelant in 2011. As a catcher, Rams numbers still profile decent enough, but it looks like the Twins will move him to the outfield. If the Twins switch him to outfield, he will have to improve his contact if he has any chance of making the major leagues. His power potential at catcher is the only thing that keeps him ranked in my top 50. 2012 is a make or break year. I ranked him #28 last year.
2012 Outlook: He'll probably move up to New Britain and split time between outfield and catcher.

28. Hudson Boyd Right-Handed Pitcher 10/18/1992.
Boyd was drafted 55th overall in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Bishop Verot High School, in Fort Myers, FL. He signed too late to make his professional debut in 2011. He went 12-0 with a .46 ERA as a senior in high school. He also struck out a Whopping 123 in 73 innings. Being down the road from the Twins facility probably gave the team an advantage while scouting him. It also went against the Twins usual draft strategy. They took a high school power pitcher high in the draft instead of a polished college control guy. Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Kyle Gibson etc.... are the typical high draft pick pitchers the Twins draft. Usually a guy who throws strikes and is 2 years or less from the majors. It was refreshing to see the Twins grab a power arm due to the dearth of powerful starter arms in their minors. There are very few in this list. He has a fastball that can reach 95 with a potential dominant curve ball. Keith Law had him as his 40th best prospect pre-draft.
2012 Outlook: Will start in extended spring training before shipping out to either GCL or Elizabethtown.

27. Travis Harrison Third Base 10/17/1992.Harrison was drafted 5 spots ahead of Boyd, #50 overall in the 2011 draft out of Tustin California High School. He also signed too late to make his professional debut in 2011. He hit .481/.643/1.130 with 13 HRs as a senior in high school. Harrison was considered "one of the best pure bats in the high school class" by Keith Law. A powerful hitter, Harrison once hit a 504 foot HR. Harrison may eventually out-grow third, or just might not be good enough to play there defensively. If his power progresses, he will still be valuabel at first base. Law had Harrison as his 37th best prospect pre-draft.  Below is video of his swing in 2010.
2012 Outlook: Will start in extended spring training before shipping out to either GCL or Elizabethtown.





26. Jose Gonzalez Left-Handed Reliever 2/3/1990.
Gonzalez was signed out of Tucupita, Venezuela in 2007. He went 5-3 with 13 saves and a 2.47 ERA in 48 appearances for Beloit. He struck out 63 and walked 23 in 62 innings. Gonzalez is pretty small and he doesn't throw super hard, though reports lead me to believe his fastball velocity increased, but he's had incredible numbers at every level. His numbers and ability seem similar to those of Nelvin Fuentes (without having ever seen either pitch), who I ranked 35th, but Gonzalez is 10 months younger and was the closer at Beloit. If he can keep striking out guys and keep his walk rate down, he has a good chance of being a relief option  for the Twins sooner than later. I ranked him #20 last year#37 in 2010.
2012 Outlook: Probable closer for Fort Myers.

25. Tyler Robertson Left-Handed Reliever 12/23/1987.
Robertson was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft out of Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, California. He went 10-3 with 16 saves and a 3.61 ERA in 55 appearances for AA New Britain. He struck out 88 and walked 29 in 89.2 innings. Robertson was considered a solid starting prospect coming into 2010. I had ranked him #20 as a 22 year old starter prospect in Fort Myers and some (more reputable sources) had him even higher. Unfortunately, his 2010 was miserable. He went  4-13 with a 5.40 ERA for New Britain, though his 4.80 FIP  suggests he wasn't quite as bad as his ERA. Even with the bad numbers, he was one of the Twins sent to the Arizona Fall League where he was used as a reliever. My half-assed scouting report on 2010 AFL Twins is here. Robertson had a really nice first year as a late inning reliever and it has jump started his career. He saw his K rate jump up more than 3 strikeouts per 9 innings and his walk rate improved as well. His season was good enough to get his career on track and was added to the 40-man roster. If Robertson can keep it up in his second year as a reliever, he could help the Twins in 2012. Especially in light of Joel Zumaya's latest injury.
2012 Outlook: Will spend the season in Rochester unless the Twins need some extra bullpen arms.

Robertson admiring my "Viva La Stache" shirt in 2010.


24. Tyler Grimes Shortstop 7/3/1990.
Grimes was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2011 draft out of Wichita St. He hit .225/.316/.406 with 4 HRs and 5 stolen bases in 7 attempts in 159 plate appearances for Beloit. He also had 4 triples. He got on base a ton his junior year of college but he also struck out a lot. The strikeouts carried over to his pro debut but his on-base skills haven't yet. He struck out 53 times and walked just 13 in 159 plate appearances. He may not stick at short, he has a strong arm at SS, but he committed 30 errors his junior year in college. He  also had 6 in 40 games in Beloit. If Grimes can stick at short, he could move up quickly in a system with few middle infield prospects. If he can hit for more average and cut the strikeouts, he will be elite.
2012 Outlook: He should start at Fort Myers and has a chance to move to New Britain, depending on #1 pick Levi Micheal's growth.

23. Niko Goodrum Shortstop 2/28/1992.
Goodrum was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft out of Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. He hit .275/.352/.382 with 2 HRs in 230 plate appearances plus 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts for Elizabethtown. Goodrum's numbers improved over his disastrous first pro season numbers. He's tall and skinny with a big arm but right now, Goodrum is still mostly tools. Most scouts feel his skill-set and body will eventually lead him to the outfield. Goodrum is predicted to add power as he fills out and he also has some speed. He's an intriguing prospect and it will be interesting to monitor his progress as he grows and plays in full-season leagues.
2012 Outlook: Goodrum may start in Extended spring training but should eventually report to Beloit.


22. Manuel Soliman Right-Handed Starter 8/11/1989.
Soliman was signed by the Twins in 2007 out of La Romana, Dominican Republic. He went 7-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 28 appearances (25 starts). He struck out 120 and walked 50 in 136 innings. Originally, Soliman was signed as a third baseman with some expectations, but he just couldn't hit. After 2 seasons of not hitting, topping out at a .640 OPS as an 18 year old in the Dominican Summer League, his live arm was converted to pitching. Soliman is a couple years behind in his pitching development and even though he throws hard, he hasn't been able to harnass his secondary pitches. As a 22 year old in High A ball, it will be time for him to start pulling everything together if he to become a good or even great pitcher. I ranked him #13 last year and Andrew Kneeland wrote it here.
2012 Outlook: Will probably spend all season starting for Fort Myers.

21. Max Kepler-Rozycki Outfield 2/10/1993.
Kepler was signed by the Twins in 2009 out of Berlin Germany. He hit .262/.347/.366 with 1 HR in 221 plate appearances for Elizabethtown. Max moved up a level of rookie ball and did modestly better than his first season. As an 18 year old, he was still very young for the level and he should continue to improve. He was regarded as one of the greatest prospects signed out of Europe, two years ago when the Twins signed him for $750,000, and there is nothing yet to doubt that. The one worry I have at this stage, is his strikeout rate went up a ton in 2011. I'm looking forward to seeing his continuing development. I had him at #15 last year. Andrew Kneeland wrote about him here.
2012 Outlook: Like Niko Goodrum, Kepler May start in Extended spring training but should eventually report to Beloit.

20. Madison Boer Right-Handed Pitcher 11/9/1989.
Boer was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Oregon. He went 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 11 saves in 23 appearances with Elizabethtown and Beloit. He struck out a whopping 43 and walked just 3 in 25.1 innings. Despite his great numbers after as a reliever in 2011, (especially in E-town) the Twins will try him out as a starter. He has a fastball that reaches 95 and a potential plus slider or splitter. As a starter, he looks like a back of the rotation guy but could be a closer as a reliever. He's also a Minnesota kid, which certainly goes a long way for this Twins fan.
2012 Outlook: He'll start the season as a starter for Beloit with a potential mid-season promotion to Fort Myers.

19. Jairo Perez Third Base 6/10/1988.
Perez was signed by the Twins in 2006 out of Acarigua, Venezuela. He hit .337/.413/.580 with 15 HRs and 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts in 316 plate appearance for Beloit. Perez missed all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery and hadn't done much other than a .338/.437/.525 line in the Dominican League in 2009. The Twins started Perez in extended spring training before sending him to Beloit. If his monster 2011 is a pre-cursor of things to come, he should rocket through the system. He is going to turn 24 in 2012 and not a very good defender so, improved competition is needed to see if Perez's bat plays at an elite level. At only 5'10" 160 lbs, it will be interesting to see if Perez can replicate those numbers at his size or if he is indeed a one year wonder. I like a little guy with a big swing and we share a birthday.... so I will definitely be rooting for Perez.
2012 Outlook: Perez will start the year in fort Myers, if he hits like he did in 2011, he'll move up sometime during the season.

18. Nate Roberts Outfield 2/25/1989.
Roberts was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round in the 2010 draft out of High Point University. He hit .302/.443/.446 with 4 HRs in 283 plate appearances for Beloit. He also stole 9 bases in 13 attempts. Roberts missed about half the season due to knee problems but was an on-base machine when he was in the lineup. Roberts had 28 walks and also was hit by a pitch an absurd 29 times. Roberts has a blend of speed, batting average, power and on-base skills that make him a very solid prospect, but he is 23 years old coming out of low A ball. It's time for him to start moving through the system. I ranked him #16 last year.
2012 Outlook: Roberts will start in Fort Myers and could move to New Britain, depending on his play and the organizational depth ahead of him.

17. Angel Morales Outfield 11/24/1989.
Morales was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School. He hit .264/.326/.388 with 3 HRs and 3 SB in 5 attempts in 138 plate appearances for Fort Myers. Morales had a breakout season in 2008 with Elizabethtown with a .301/.413/.623 line. He's been pretty decent since but he has fought injuries and inconsistency. Morales has plenty of tools and is just 22, but he still strikes out once a game and his on-base skills have declined as he has leveled up, though reports say he has improved his plate discipline. He only got into 37 total games in 2011 due to an elbow injury. I have been really high on Morales for a long time, ranking him #5 in 2010 and #12 last year and hope to see him play for the first time this year.
2012 Outlook: Hopefully, Morales can have an injury-free season in New Britain and I will get a chance to see him play.

16. Tom Stuifbergen Right Handed Starter 9/26/1988.
Stuifbergen was signed by the Twins in 2006 out of Breda, Netherlands. He went 5-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 23 appearances (22 starts) for Fort Myers. He struck out 75 and walked 19 in 116.2 innings. He also had a 5 inning win at Rochester. Stuifbergen battled injuries early in his career but it seems to be getting healthier every year since missing all of 2008. Stuifbergen always has a really good walk rate (Twins kind of guy) but his strikeout rate plummeted in 2011. His numbers have him looking more like a back of the rotation starter but I really like his experience and how he has pitched in international play. I see a him as solid middle rotation MLB starter. I ranked him #8 going into 2010#14 last year.
2012 Outlook: Will probably spend most of the season in New Britain.

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Written by Shawn Berg | 26 February 2012

Recently, I posted my prospects 50-41, today I will post 40-31. Originally posted at Ontheroadwithshawn.

40. Michael Gonzales First Base 6/16/1988.
Gonzales was drafted by the Twins in the 9th round of the 2008 draft out of Diablo Valley College. He hit .289/.371/.468 with 15 HRs in 477 plate appearances in his second year at class A Beloit. His walks have increased his strikeouts have decreased as he has matured. He looks to be rounding into a good all around hitter but in his age 24 year, he really needs to start moving up. Last year he did not make my top 50, but in 2010, I ranked him #39.
2012 Outlook: Will probably spend most of the season at Class A Fort Myers with potential promotion to AA.

39. Kennys Vargas First Base 8/1/1990.
Vargas was signed in 2009 out of Canovanas, Puerto Rico. He hit .322/.377/.489 with 6 HRs in 191 plate appearances for Elizabethtown. Vargas has shown a decent bat in both levels of rookie ball and at 6'5", he sure has the size. The interesting test will be once he plays a full season. He will not have a chance to play a full season in 2012, due to a 50 game suspension handed down in August for taking phentermine. Rumors are, he has problems keeping his weight down. Hopefully, he can shake off the suspension when he returns and continue his progression.
2012 Outlook: Should get to Beloit eventually upon completion of his suspension.

38. Matt Summers Right-Handed Pitcher 8/17/1989.
Summers was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 draft out of UC Irvine. He went 1-1 with a .87 ERA in 20 appearances at Elizabethtown. He struck out a whopping 36, walked 5 and only gave up 2 runs in 20.2 innings. He started in college, throwing a no-hitter and going 11-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 2011. Big West pitcher of the year is one of the accolades he has earned.
2012 Outlook: Will probably head to Beloit or Fort Myers probably as a starter.

37. Kane Holbrooks Right-Handed Pitcher 6/8/1987.
Holbrooks was drafted in the 21st round of the 2009 draft out of Texas State University. He went 5-9 with a 4.87 ERA in 19 appearances for Fort Myers, 16 of them starts. He struck out 47 and walked 26 in 94.1 innings. He really struggled in his first full year as a starter, though injuries probably played a part. He might be better served as a reliever. 2012 will be a big year for Holbrooks who rocketed up the prospect charts last year and back down this year. I ranked him #11 last year and Andrew at TwinsTarget wrote the prospect profile here.  I also wrote something about him and Dakota Watts here. Holbrooks is a real character and the Twins could us someone like him on the big club to add personality to the room.
2012 Outlook: I would look for the Twins to send Holbrooks to New Britain and try him as a starter a little longer.

36. Bruce Pugh Right-Handed Pitcher 7/18/1988.
Pugh was drafted in the 19th round of the 2008 draft out of Hillborough (Florida) Community College. He went 2-7 with a 5.91 ERA and 17 saves in 43 appearances between Fort Myers and New Britain. He struck out 75 and walked 32 in 64 innings. His ERA was pretty ugly, but some of it can be traced back to the 8 earned runs in 1.1 innings he gave up on June 1st. This was his maiden voyage in AA. Pugh has a chance to be a useful pitcher, he has a good fastball and decent breaking pitch but he walks too many. He could be a decent starter or dominant reliever if he could control the walks. I ranked him 26th last year.
2012 Outlook: A full year at New Britain unless he starts really strong.

35. Nelvin Fuentes Left-Handed Reliever 4/7/1989.
Fuentes was drafted in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School. Fuentes went 3-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 29 appearances for Beloit. He struck out 43 and walked 11 in 28.1 innings. He strikes out a lot of guys, even though his fastball is merely average. He is helped out be a good change up. I ranked him #19 last year and #43 in 2010. It will be interesting to see how he does as he continues to move up. Junk pitchers generally get more exposed as they move up, but he could become a crafty lefty in the vein of his namesake Brian Fuentes.
2012 Outlook: He'll spend most or all of 2012 in Fort Myers.

34. Michael Tonkin Right-Handed Pitcher 11/19/1989.
Tonkin was drafted in the 30th round of the 2008 draft out of Palmdale, California High School. Tonkin went 4-3 with 2 saves and a 3.87 ERA for Beloit in 48 appearances (3 starts). He struck out 69 and walked 24 in 76.2 innings. Tonkin is a big guy with a low 90s fastball and change up. He is probably better suited as a reliever who could use his size to intimidate even if his stuff doesn't fully back it up.
2012 Outlook: He'll start the season in Fort Myers.

33. Matthew Hauser Right-Handed Reliever 3/30/1988.
Hauser was drafted in the 7th round of the 2010 draft out of the University of San Diego. Hauser went 5-6 with 12 saves and a 1.98 ERA between Beloit and Fort Myers with one appearance in New Britain. He struck out 75 and walked 29 in 63.2 innings. He has a decent fast-ball, slider and also has a split finger. The split is supposed to be his dominant pitch. There aren't many prospects (anymore) that have the split in their arsenal. I look forward to seeing that picth as he moves to AA and AAA. (Where I can watch him pitch live)
2012 Outlook: Will probably start the season in New Britain and may stay there most of the season.

32. Pat Dean Left-Handed Starter 5/25/1989.
Dean was drafted was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft out of Boston College. He went 5-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 starts for Beloit, Fort Myers and New Britain. He struck out 76 and walked 25 in 108 innings. Dean missed some time due to injury in his first full season with the Twins franchise. He dominated in Beloit but struggled when he moved up. He has four pitches including a low 90s fastball and doesn't walk too many guys. He definitely fits the Twins mold of pitching prospects. I ranked him #21 last year.
2012 Outlook: start the season at Fort Myers with a mid-season promotion.

33. JaDamion Williams Outfield 11/20/1990.
Williams was drafted in the 10th round of the 2010 draft out of Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate HS in Tampa, FLA. He hit .324/.406/.465 with 4 HRs in 212 plate appearances with 10 stolen bases in 15 attempts for Elizabethtown. Williams has tools! He hit, walked, hit for some power and stole some bases. Reports are, he is lightning quick. He had a great season in E-town hidden beneath Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario's monster seasons. It will be interesting to see how he does when he levels up and plays a full season. He will have to work on reducing his strikeouts as he moves up.
2012 Outlook: He'll move to Beloit where his numbers may very well be hidden under Sano and Rosario's again.

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