Here is part 4 of my prospect list I hope you enjoyed parts 1, 2, and 3. Today I will be bringing you prospects 35-31. I will be bringing you 5 a day until we get all the way to number one. This will take awhile so keep checking back here for daily looks at who I have in certain spots and what I think of them. I am sure you will disagree with some and if so by all means leave me a comment in the comment section. If you prefer you can also shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also if you prefer you can hit me up on twitter @texastwinsfan so whichever way you prefer let me know what you think of my list.
35. JD Williams 11/20/90 23 10th round pick in 2010 draft from HS in Tampa, Florida
2013 stats: .265 avg 9 hr 58 rbi 17 doubles 6 triples 26sb 82 runs .372/.403/.775
2013 teams: Cedar Rapids, Fort Myers
2014 team: Fort Myers
JD Williams is the typical toolsy outfielder that the Twins love to take. When the Twins drafted Williams in the 10th round in 2010 out of high school in Florida he was very raw. It took him a while to figure it out. He struggled his rookie year in the GCL hitting only .214 in 37 games. He moved up to Elizabethton for 2011 and did very well hitting .324 in 50 games. That led him to move up to Beloit in 2012 and I was excited to see him and see how he would do. I came away disappointed because I did not see anything exciting in him. He struggled in 2012 with the Snappers hitting only .234 in 97 games with Beloit. Going into the 2013 there were real questions if he could turn it around and be someone or if he was an also ran prospect that did not have much of a future. He came back in 2013 with a vengence especially in Cedar Rapids where he hit .281 with a .852 OPS. Williams is fast as he was named fastest runner in organization in 2012 so he needs to use his speed to his advantage. The thing about J.D. is he is such a tremendous athlete that his athleticism is ahead of his baseball skills right now. There are some guys that are good baseball players that are athletic and others that are great athletes that play baseball and that is where JD falls into. He has a quick bat that allows him to make good contact. He has gap power, but sometimes he tries he hit homeruns. I think when at his best he will hit the ball on the ground and beat it out. He has tremendous potential that it will be interesting to see if he can live up to that potential. JD is definately someone who could fly up this prospect list if he can turn his tools into skills as he is that talented.
34. Luke Bard 11/13/90 23 1st round pick in 2012 draft out of Georgia Tech
2013 stats: 1-0 3.65 era 12 games 12.1 innings 7 hits 9bb 9k
2013 teams: GCL Twins, Elizabethton, Fort Myers
2014 team: Cedar Rapids
Luke Bard was a risk when he was drafted because he first started getting injured while still in college. With that risk in mind the Twins decided to draft Bard in the first round of the 2012 draft from Georgia Tech. The injury bug followed him to the Twins as he was limited to 19 innings in his first two pro seasons. He has dealt with bicep tendinitis and shoulder soreness, but the positive is to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t had surgeries which is a big deal for a pitcher. If the injuries are muscular instead of structural there is no reason to believe that he can’t overcome the injuries. When healthy Bard has first round pick type of stuff as he hits 93-94 with movement. The comparable that I have heard if he can get healthy is Derek Lowe and that would be awesome if he can get to that level. Put that with a very good slider and you can see why Twins were excited about him. The key to him being a starter instead of a reliever is if he can control and improve his curveball. If he can do that he has every abilty to stay a starting pitcher. At the worst case he turns into a reliever who can throw 96-97 with a hard slider. Of any of the college relievers the Twins took in 2012 I really think Bard is the one who has the best chance to remain a starter. His slider and curveball are already pretty good and if he can remain healthy and keep his command there is no reason he can’t start. I look for Bard to fly up the prospect lists this summer because he is that talented.
33. Brett Lee 9/20/90 23 10th round pick in 2011 draft out of St. Petersburg College
2013 stats: 8-4 2.95 era 23 games 19 starts 2CG 116 inn 117 hits 26bb 89k
2013 team: Cedar Rapids
2014 team: Fort Myers
Brett Lee was not someone that Twins fans were that excited about going into the 2013 season. He had been a 10th round pick out of St. Petersburg College not exactly known as a baseball hotbed. That is why you don’t base guys on scouting reports as he has been excellent in every spot he has been at so far. After pitching to a 2.68 era in just under 44 innings in Elizabethton in 2012 there were questions if this was a fluke or if he was a prospect. Lee followed it up with an even better 2013 season as he went 8-4 with a 2.95 era at Cedar Rapids. Lee is a pitch to contact pitcher as he gives up about a hit an inning and that could be his undoing going forward. He throws between 88-92 with very good control and has very good movement. He gets a ton of ground balls as his movement is unbelievable. The comparable I have is someone that Twins fans are not fond of now, but was a very solid starting pitcher for quite a while and that is Nick Blackburn. I think that would be a very good comparable for Lee. He also throws a very good curveball that he gets his strikeouts on. He also throws an ever improving changeup that he needs to improve if he is going to remain a starting pitcher. Its big for him because he doesn’t have the big arm that would play well in the bullpen. His value is that as a starting pitcher so it is big that his changeup continues to improve and he becomes the three pitch pitcher they are counting on. 2014 will be a big year for Lee as he moves up to Fort Myers and sees a new challenge. I really think he can be a major league pitcher if he can improve that changeup and continue to get ground balls with his cutter. It will be interesting to see how Lee does in 2014.
32. D.J. Baxendale 12/8/90 23 10th round pick in 2012 draft from Arkansas
2013 stats: 12-7 3.90 era 25 starts 1CG 150 inn 144 hits 33bb 112k
2013 teams: Fort Myers, New Britain
2014 team: New Britain
D.J. Baxendale really came out of nowhere in 2013 after being a 10th round pick in 2012. He dominated in 2012 after being drafted, but being a college guy it was probably to be expected. In only 18 innings between Elizabethton and Beloit he only gave up two earned runs. So going into 2013 you did not know what to expect out of Baxendale. The 2013 season was a tale of two season for the right hander out of Arkansas. At Fort Myers he was absolutely dominant as in nine starts he went 7-0 with a 1.10 era. In 57.1 innings he only gave up just seven runs which is unbelievable. He moved up to New Britain and boy did Baxendale struggle for the Rockcats. Baxendale went 5-7 with a robust 5.63 at New Britain. In just under 93 innings at New Britain he gave up 110 hits. So the question becomes is he the pitcher that dominated in Fort Myers or the pitcher that struggled in New Britain? I think he is a combination of the two as he is not as good as he was in Fort Myers, but not half as bad as he was in New Britain. The thing that I love about Baxendale is he knows how to pitch and has a good ability to change speeds as it is not often that two pitches are thrown the same speed. He has a four pitch mix that helps him get guys out. He throws from different angles to get the movement that makes him effective. His four seamer goes in the low 90’s and then he has his cutter that has tremendous movement. He throws a good changeup and his slider which is his strikeout pitch is probably his best pitch. He mixes each of those pitches effectively and keeps hitters off balance. He reminds me of a righ handed version of Mark Buherle who adds and subtracts to get hitters out. I think Baxendale will do much better in 2014 with New Britain than he did in 2013 with them. I feel 2014 is a huge year to determine what the future holds for Baxendale going forward.
31. Logan Darnell 2/2/89 24 6th round pick in 2010 draft out of Kentucky
2013 stats: 10-10 3.22 era 26 starts 1CG 1SO 153.2 inn 159 hits 45bb 120k
2013 teams: New Britain, Rochester
2014 team: Rochester
Logan Darnell really came on the scene in 2013 which led to him being added to the Twins 40 man roster this winter. He has always been a solid starter moving up and you kept asking yourself when is he going to hit the wall. Every season I kept asking myself well he is good, but this year he is going to get lit up. There is nothing about him that you go wow that is awesome, but he does a ton of things well. 2013 was really his breakout year as he won ten games with a very good 3.22 era between AA and AAA. He was excellent at New Britain pitching to a 2.61 era before being promoted up to Rochester. He had a few hiccups at Rochester, but for the most part he pitched very well throwing to a 4.26 era. The question now is can he make it to the big leagues and I think the answer is yes. As good as a starter as he is I think his future is as a reliever. The Twins have a dearth of left handed pitching at the upper levels and that is where he will excel. If something were to happen to Brian Duensing or Caleb Thielbar I think Darnell would be the first guy to get a call up for the Twins. The reason behind his success is his four pitch mix and the abilty to throw any for strike in any count. The reason that I view him as a reliever is he doesn’t have a big arm as he rarely hits 90 on the radar gun so its important for him to hit his spots or he will get rocked. When he doesn’t have command those are the starts that he struggles. Darnell also throws a very good slider that he can throw to leftys or righty’s. He has a nice slow curveball and an ever improving changeup. He is a strike thrower, but the biggest thing with him is command cause when he doesn’t command the strikezone its ugly, but the reason he is rated this high is he usually does command it. I really look for Darnell to make his Twins debut this year and leave a favorable impression with the Twins.
Check out some of my other sections of the list