Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Twins Prospects: 30-26

Here is part 5 of my prospect list I hope you enjoyed parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.  Today I will be bringing you prospects 30-26.  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 travis.aune@gmail.com.  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.

30.  Dalton Hicks 1B  4/2/90   23 17th round pick in 2012 draft out of Central Florida
2013 stats: .289 avg  17 hr  110 rbi  39 doubles  68 runs scored  56bb 123k  .358/.468/.826
2013 teams: Cedar Rapids, Fort Myers
2014 team: Fort Myers
ETA: 2016

When the Twins drafted Dalton Hicks out of Central Florida in the 17th round in 2012 there were not many Twins fans that expected this kind of production.  He has been dominant at to different levels first at Elizabethton in 2012 where he hit .270 and had 25 rbi’s in 31 games.  The thing though is he really dominated in 2013 especially at Cedar Rapids.  In 89 games with the Kernels, Hicks hit .297 with 13 home runs and a whopping 82 rbi’s and a OPS of .850.  His 110 rbi’s on the season led the Twins organization.  I know rbi’s are not the be all end all stat as it is based on things you can’t control, but maybe I am old school, but 110 rbi’s to me is very impressive.  Hicks is not a power hitter as he only hit 17 home runs on the season as he is more a doubles hitter as he hit 39 of them.  He can hit from gap to gap and was equally consistant vs left handed pitching versus right handed pitching.  Hicks is a big guy at 6’5 and weighing over 230 lbs.  His main problem is he has a long swing that as he goes higher in the organization could be exposed if he doesn’t cut it down a bit and make it more compact.  He is a very good defensive first baseman as he can move good to either side which is surprising considering his size.  A big thing also he needs to cut down on are his strikeouts as he struck out 123 times in 2013.  As he moves through the system that will only increase unless he makes some changes.  Overall, though Dalton Hicks has established himself as a prospect someone that if he can remain consistant has a chance to make it up to the Twins time will tell.

29.  Randy Rosario SP    5/18/94   19   Signed by Twins as Free Agent in 2010 out of DR
2013 stats: 4-3  2.82 era 9 starts  44.2 innings  42 hits  18bb  37k
2013 team: Elizabethton
2014 team: Cedar Rapids
ETA: 2017

The young lefthander out of the Dominican Republic made a very good impression in 2013.  Rosario was one of the big 3 in Elizabethton along with Yorman Landa and Felix Jorge that many are projecting to be the future for the Twins when it comes to starting pitching.  The southpaw since coming over to the United States at age 18 has been very good.  He had a 1.64 era in just over 38 innings in 2012 with the GCL Twins.  Some have a hard time adjusting from the GCL when they go to Elizabethton, but Rosario had no problem.  He went 4-3 with an outstanding 2.82 era in just under 45 innings and about 8 strikeouts per nine innings.  He gave up more hits than a guy with his talent should, but you got to remember most guys in the Appalacian League are 22-23 years old and Rosario was only 19.  He is not very big as he is only six feet tall and weighing a thin 160 lbs so he definately needs to bulk up.  I don’t think that will be a problem as he is a tremendous athlete.  He sits in the low 90’s, but has been known to hit 94-95 and if he can strengthen up I think he can consistantly hit that so velocity will be a strength for him.  He has a nice curveball and a changeup that he keeps hitters off balance with.  Both his curveball and his changeup are ever improving and the harder he throws the fastball the more his change up will keep guys off balance.  I really like him and think by this time next year he will be a borderline top 10 prospect for the Twins.  The big thing with him is to bulk up and get more experience.  He will go to Cedar Rapids and start the year at only 19 years old so Twins fans need to be patient and I think the patience will be worth it.

28.  Yorman Landa    SP 6/11/94   19 Signed as Free Agent in 2010 from Venezuela
2013 stats: 3-4 2.78 era 12 starts  55 innings  46 hits  29 walks  46 strikeouts
2013 team: Elizabethon
2014 team: Cedar Rapids
ETA: 2017

Yorman Landa much like his teammate Randy Rosario is just 19 years old and is part of the big three that Twins fans should be excited about.  Landa made his United States debut in 2012 in the GCL and pitched to a 2.43 era in just over 33 innings.  He moved up to E-town in 2013 and continued his strong pitching as he had a 2.78 era in 55 innings.  He walked a few too many batters in 2013 so that is something that he is going to have to work on as he walked 20 in 33 innings in 2012.  He followed that up with 29 walks in 55 innings in 2013.  What I really like about him along with being so young is his ground ball rate.  He is a ground ball machine and that is going to be huge for him going forward.  He struck out about eight batters per nine innings much like Rosario, but if he can get guys to bang the ball into the ground that is another weapon at his disposal.  Just like Rosario, Landa has some growing to do as he is six foot tall, but only 175 lbs.  He sits in the low 90’s, but again when he gets more strength that should improve as he has touched 94 and I think he can sit there consistantly once he gets stronger.  He has a solid curveball that is solid, but he needs to work on getting it over for strikes more often.  He has a nice changeup that he can improve to being a dominant pitch.  I really think that Landa has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher it just is he needs to work at it.  Randy Rosario for being the same age is more advanced, but in my opinion Landa has higher upside.  I think Landa if he reaches his potential can be a one or a two going forward.  The key with him is getting stronger, walking fewer guys, and improving his secondary pitches because he has all the tools to be dominant.  That is the key with most young players is turning those tools into skills.  If Landa can work on those things I really think he is another high upside guy that can be really good.

27. Niko Goodrum SS 2/28/92   21   2nd round pick in 2010 draft from HS in Georgia   2013 stats: .260 avg  4hr  45rbi  22doubles  4trip  62runs 20sb  60bb 105k .364/.369/.732   2013 team: Cedar Rapids
2014 team: Fort Myers
ETA: 2016

The 21 year old shortstop from Fayetteville, Georgia had a very solid 2013 for Cedar Rapids.  He has proven to be a high on base guy as he has moved forward.  When he was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010 the Twins knew they were getting a very raw shortstop, but someone that has lots of potential.  After struggling in the GCL he moved up to Elizabethton in 2011 did ok hitting .275 with an obp of .352.  Those kind of numbers you would think would get you a promotion to Beloit for the 2012 season.  However, the Twins decided to send him back to E-town and he struggled offensively there hitting only .245 although he got on base at a .349 clip.  The Twins moved him up to Cedar Rapids for 2013 and he had a very good year drawing an incredible 60 walks and stealing 20 bases with his .364 obp.  He missed some time to injuries that hampered his season, but overall he did very well when he was on field.  There is a couple things that he did struggle with that needs to be corrected.  He struck out 105 times which is way too many times for someone that is not a homerun hitter.  The other thing is his defense as he committed 27 errors mostly at shortstop who also can play second base.  The defense is something he needs to improve on the most as he has the skills to be a very good shortstop, but he needs to make the plays.  Goodrum displays solid range for his size with a very good arm.  There are questions whether he will be able to stay at shortstop, but for my money there is no reason to think that he can’t stay at shortstop.  As a switch hitter he hits equally well left handed as right handed so that definately is a plus.  What I like about him most is his disciplined approach at the plate as he walks a ton and gets on base which can mask a lower batting average.  His total in 2012 in E-Town was a good example of this when he hit just .242 but had a obp of .349 which is very good.  He has decent power, but I would not call it homerun power, but moreso gap power and as he continues to get stronger I think his doubles totals will go up.  If Goodrum can lower his strikeouts and keep his walk total solid he will be good.  The big thing for him is his defense if he can cut the errors in half there is no reason to think that Goodrum won’t be the Twins shortstop of the future.  In a couple years I think he will be battling Danny Santana for the starting shortstop job for the Twins and my money is on Goodrum.

26. Taylor Rogers SP   12/17/90   23 11th round pick in 2012 draft out of Kentucky
2013 stats: 11-7  2.88 era  24 starts  3CG  2SO  140.2 inn  133 hits  36bb  93k
2013 teams: Cedar Rapids, Fort Myers
2014 team: New Britain
ETA: 2015

When the Twins drafted Taylor Rogers in the 11th round of the 2012 draft they had no idea the University of Kentucky alum would be this good.  After doing well in 2012 as he went 4-3 with a 2.27 era in 63.1 innings most thought he was headed for Fort Myers to start the 2013 season.  The Twins decided otherwise and started him at Cedar Rapids, but he did not last there long.  After just three starts with the Kernels that were not very good he got promoted up to Fort Myers.  It was there where Rogers became absolutely dominant going 11-7 with a 2.88 era.  It was those numbers that would earn him Twins minor league pitcher of the year for 2013.  The question becomes how did a guy this good drop to the 11th round in the 2012 draft?  The answer to that is he doesn’t have lights out stuff and as a college guy he was thought to be older than most prospects.  Another reason he dropped so far is he doesn’t light up a radar gun and teams covet velocity, but he sits in the 90-91 range with good movement.  He is 6’3 and only 175 lbs so he is tall and lanky that can lead to a herky jerky delivery.  The key to his success though is his ability to keep the ball down because when you don’t throw in the mid 90’s if you get the ball up you get hurt so thats what makes him effective is his ability to keep the ball down.  He has a nice changeup and a very good curveball.  He throws the changeup to righty’s and his curveball to lefty’s.  He is exactly the type of pitcher that the Twins love as he works quick and has good control who keeps his defense active.  He is very smart on the mound and knows how to pitch and how to get guys out.  I think his future will be better served in the bullpen eventually.  However, for right now I think the right decision was to keep him starting.  He will eventually hit that wall and then move into the bullpen, but right now starting is the right move.  Also who knows if he can keep the ball down like he did in 2013 maybe he will prove the naysayers wrong that a soft tossing lefty cannot be successful as a starter.  At worst case he can be an effective loogy out of the bullpen.  I really believe he has a chance to make it with the Twins and Twins fans should see how he does in 2014 against tougher competition.    
Twins Prospects: 50-46
Twins Prospects 45-41
Twins Prospects 40-36
Twins Prospects 35-31

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