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Spring training is almost upon us and as such, it is time to look at 2012's batch of Minnesota Twins prospects. I have been posting these 5 at a time at my other space, OntheroadwithShawn but figured I'd bring them here in groups of 10. 

The Twins may have lost 99 in 2011 but on February 15th, the slate is clean and what prospects provide is hope of better days.

50. Luis Nunez Left Handed Reliever 9/26/1991.
Nunez was signed as a free agent out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2008. Repeating Gulf Coast ball in 2011, Nunez continued to improve. He went 5-0 with 5 saves with a 1.67 ERA in 16 appearances. He struck out 37 and walked only 6 in 32.1 innings. He's a hard thrower. He's small at 5'11" 160, but is only 20. He could be a closer someday.
2012 Outlook: Will probably start the season in extended spring training and either report to Elizabethtown or Beloit.

49. Dakota Watts Right Handed Reliever 11/16/1987.
Watts was drafted in the 16th round of the 2009 draft out of Cal State-Stanislaus. He went 3-4 with 10 saves and a 6.30 ERA in 48 appearances between High A Fort Myers and AA New Britain. He struck out 53 and walked 33 in 65.2 innings. His strikeouts have slipped as he's moved up the system but he still walks WAY too many batters. I ranked him #33 last year. I also wrote about him here. He still has late inning big league reliever potential because throws hard, but he has to throw more strikes.
2012 Outlook: Will return to AA New Britain.

48. Matt Bashore Left Handed Starter 4/6/1988.
Bashore was drafted #46 in the first round of the 2009 draft out of Indiana University. He has pitched very little since being drafted and has just recently come back from Tommy John surgery. He went 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 appearances and 3 starts for rookie league Elizabethtown. He struck out 15 and walked 8 in 16.2 innings. If he can regain the form that made him a first round pick, he will move through the system quickly.
2012 Outlook: Will probably start in extended spring training and then report to Beloit.


47. Darin Mastroianni Center Field 8/26/1985.
Mastroianni was claimed off waivers today (February 9th) from Toronto Blue Jays. He hit .268/.353/.370 with 3 HRs and also stole 34 bases in 44 attempts for AA New Hampshire and AAA Las Vegas. Going into his 26th year, Mastroianni is almost as major league ready as he is going to be. He made his major league debut in 2011, playing in one game. He enters an organization set at starting OF in the majors and with many highly rated OF prospects that will be seen later in my countdown. Where he provides value is at the 4th OF spot. A backup who can play CF, get on base, steal some of those bases, be a late inning defensive replacement to Josh Willingham and provide a right handed bat off the bench (backing up two lefties) certainly has value. I like the pickup. If nothing else, he is younger and strikes out less than Jason Repko.
2012 Outlook: He is on the 40 man, so he may break with the Twins or spend time in AAA.

46. Jorge Polanco Shortstop 7/5/1993.
He was signed in 2009 out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic for $750,000. He hit .250/.319/.349 with 1 HR in 193 plate appearances for Elizabethtown. He also stole 6 bases in 10 attempts.  I ranked him #37 last year. He is still very young and an excellent defensive prospect, but hasn't yet found a bat. He is the elite fielding SS prospect in the Twins system. If he finds a bat, he could become one hell of a ballplayer some day.
2012 Outlook: Due to his young age, I'd expect the Twins to start him in instructional league before sending him back to Elizabethtown or Beloit. 

 45. Rory Rhodes Third Base 7/28/1991.
Rhodes was signed in 2008 out of Brisbane, Australia for $220,000. He hit .261/.363/.389 with 2 HRs in 182 plate appearances for Elizabethtown. He's very tall, he strikes out a lot and he has a lot of power. He plays in the Australian Baseball League during the winter, where he was runner-up Rookie of the year in 2010-2011. He will eventually transition to first base due to his height, but his bat could someday make him a real force. Will be interesting to see how he he does in a full season league.
2012 Outlook: He should start the season in Beloit.

44. Phillip Chapman Catcher 3/28/1989.
Chapman was drafted in the 35th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Memphis. He hit .308/.392/.442 in 124 plate appearances for the Gulf Coast Twins. He proved to be a doubles machine in college and had 12 in just 124 plate appearances in his first pro season. A catcher with gap power and a good on base percentage comes in pretty handy but, Chapman was pretty old for the GCL, so, it'll be important for him to continue to hit at the next level and move up pretty quick.
2012 Outlook: He may start in extended spring training, but should spend at least a decent amount of time in Beloit.


43. Lester Oliveros Right Handed Reliever 5/28/1988.
Oliveros came over to the Twins organization late in the 2011 season in the Delmon Young trade. He went 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA between AA Erie and AAA Toledo & Rochester. He struck out 58 and walked 21 in 48 innings. He struggled in his 21.1 major league innings for the Tigers and the Twins as he probably isn't yet major league ready. He has a good hard fastball and a good slider and has struck out more than one batter per inning every step of his minor league career. With his age and stuff, he could soon become an elite reliever in the majors, but he needs to improve his command.
2012 Outlook: Has a good chance of making the Twins out of spring training, though he could use more time in AAA. He will impact the major league club in 2012.

42. Deolis Guerra Right Handed Pitcher 4/17/1989.
Guerra has been in the Twins system since 2008. He came over in the Johann Santana trade and has never come close to the prospect hype (hope) that was bestowed on him. Many had him as a top 50 prospect at the time of the trade, but his fastball and raw numbers have never come close lived to the early hype. His 2011 stats look like a lot like those from 2010 on first blush. He was 8-7 with a 5.59 ERA for AA New Britain. Taking a deeper look, maybe the numbers really say more about Guerra as an awful starter. He gave up 43 earned runs in 10 starts and 43 innings, striking out 30 and walking 15. That's a 9.00 ERA. Since converting to reliever full time, Guerra was much better. He gave up only 16 earned runs, struck out 60 and walked 13 in 52 innings for a 2.25 ERA. I think Guerra's time as a starter has passed and he should stay in the pen! If he is used primarily as a reliever, he should move up the rankings as well as provide a late inning reliever for the Twins relatively soon.  I had him #47 last year and #19 in 2010.
2012 Outlook: Should spend most or all of the season at AAA Rochester in the bullpen.


41. Anthony Slama Right Handed Reliever 1/6/1984.
Slama was drafted by the Twins in the 39th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of San Diego. He went 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA for AAA Rochester. He struck out 42 and walked 16 in 37 innings. Slama continued to have great strikeout numbers with average stuff in AAA. For the second straight year, he spent some time in the majors. He didn't get much of a chance to show what he could do in the majors because of an elbow injury. After the season, he was dropped from the 40 man roster and at 28 years old, 2012 is probably Slama's last chance to find his way into the Twins bullpen. I ranked him #29 last year and #31 in 2010.
2012 Outlook: Will start at AAA, but will be available for a call-up if the Twins need a reliever added to the 40 man roster.