FanPost

The Twinkie Town 2010 Top 50!

It has been nearly two months since Seth Stohs and I began this year's polling for the Twinkie Town Top 50.  During that time we have had a bit of controversy and many run-offs before closing it out Friday with the selection of fan favorite Erik Lis as our 50th ranked prospect.

Your comments about our selections and what can be done next year to improve this process are encouraged.  I would also appreciate your including in your comments the one prospect who you believe should have been included in the Top 50 and was not.  That selection for me is easy as I had Cesar Ciurcina in my Top 20, yet, he was unable to ever get close in any of the rounds in which he was listed.  I would also appreciate your commenting on what player you believe we made the biggest mistake, either to high or to low.  That is also easy for me...Jeff Manship stayed on a fast track from the time he was drafted until he reached the Twins late this past summer.  The starter of a critical game the last weekend, Manship is destined to be a solid starter for the Twins beginning sometime in 2010.  Ranking him as our 18th best prospect doesn't do justice to the only young man in our Top 50 who actually has made it to the Twins with some success in his brief time with them. 

Personally, I would like to thank all of you for sticking with this process.  For me, it was a lot of fun! 

Following is our Top 50.  The age listed for each is his age as of the beginning of the 2009 season.  The team listed for each is the highest level played at in 2009, excluding callups for a few games.  (# denotes player is currently a member of the 40-man roster)

1   - Miguel Jean (aka Miguel Angel Sano), 16, DNP

2   - Aaron Hicks, 19, Beloit Snappers

3   - # Wilson Ramos, 21, New Britain Rock Cats

4   - Kyle Gibson, 21, DNP

5   - Ben Revere, 20, Ft. Myers Miracle

The top prospect in the organization according to the readers of Twinkie Town, is sixteen year old International signee Miguel Angel Sano (aka Miguel Jean).  Much was written about Sano last summer as Major League Baseball and the Twins attempted to determine if he was in fact 16 years old.  Following his signing the largest bonus given by the Twins to an International player ($3,150,000), much is expected of this young man.  Our second prospect is Aaron Hicks.  A first round pick in 2008, Hicks is a "five tool player" who Baseball America has rated as the Twins top prospect and included him in their overall Top 50.  Wilson Ramos, who is one of the better catching prospects in all of baseball, was ranked third and my personal choice for the top spot.  Last year's Caribbean Series MVP, Ramos has a wonderful combination of power, hitting for average and an arm as good as any in baseball.  Last spring the Twins selected right handed starter Kyle Gibson with their first selection of the draft.  Gibson, who was thought by many to be a Top 5 selection, fell to the Twins after it was disclosed he had a stress fracture in his right forearm.  The Twins signed him shortly before the August signing deadline for about 50% over the suggested slot amount.  Reports from the Fall Instructional League indicated that the Twins made a wise choice in signing this young man who has the potential to become a staff Ace.  The Twins Player of the Year the past two seasons, Ben Revere, rounded out our Top 5.  The Twins were widely criticized for selecting this young man in the first round three years ago, yet, he continues to make believers out of all those critical fans as some within the organization believe he could be ready to help the big club as early as sometime this summer.

6   - # Danny Valencia, 24, Rochester Red Wings

7   - Angel Morales, 19, Beloit Snappers

8   - David Bromberg, 21, Ft. Myers Miracle

9   -  Rene Tosoni, 22, New Britain Rock Cats

10 - # Deolis Guerra, 19, New Britain Rock Cats

Danny Valencia may be the Twins third baseman of the future.  Yet, they believe he needs more work in AAA.  This spring training will be critical for this young man who had a month to remember after his callup early last summer to AAA.  Angel Morales has the raw talent to become the best player of anyone currently in the minor league system.  A young man who didn't turn 20 until two months ago has already enjoyed a very successful season in A ball followed by an excellent winter in Puerto Rico.  Morales, who can play all outfield positions, could reach the Twins before his 22nd birthday.  David Bromberg struck out more batters than anyone in minor league baseball two years ago and led the Florida State League in strikeouts last summer, a performance that earned him the Twins Pitcher of the Year award.  Rene Tosoni is that rare player who the Twins are pushing through their system.  With only 40 games above rookie ball on his resume, Tosoni began his season in AA in a terrible slump.  But like all great young players, he adjusted to become one of the teams top hitters the second half.  Tosoni's season was topped off by being named the Future's All-Star game MVP and playing for his native Canada in last fall's World Cup.  Deolis Guerra is the lone player remaining from the Santana trade.  After starting his third year in the FSL, Guerra seemed to take-off following his promotion to AA where he excelled.  He will likely begin the 2010 season as a 20 year old as the Rock Cat Ace before a summer promotion to AAA Rochester.  

11 - Chris Parmelee, 21, Ft. Myers Miracle

12 - Anthony Slama, 25, Rochester Red Wings

13 - Max Kepler-Rozycki, 16, DNP

14tie - Carlos Gutierrez, 22, New Britain Rock Cats

          - Adrian Salcedo, 18, GCL Twins

Former first round pick Chris Parmelee is developing into the player the Twins thought he could become, a power hitting first baseman/right fielder.  Parmelee, who was amongst the league leaders with 16 home runs and 73 RBI, should bring added power to the Twins in a couple years.  The saying "lights out" best describes Anthony Slama who led the organization with 29 saves.  Slama also led the Eastern League with 25 saves even though he moved up to Rochester in early August.  Max Kepler-Rozycki is the son of a world class ballerina who married one of the world's leading ballerinos.  Kepler-Rozycki has been given a gift of size, athleticism and grace, physical attributes that could enable him to become a very special player.  Carlos Gutierrez was a first round pick in 2008 who was as good as any pitcher in the FSL the first half.  The Twins are concerned with his innings following surgery while at the University of Miami, thus, he was moved to the bullpen shortly after his promotion to AA.  Adrian Salcedo is a 6'4", 18 year old, who struck out 58 batters in 61.2 innings with only 3 walks.  Many believe he could be the best pitching prospect in the organization.        

16 - Joe Benson, 21, Ft. Myers Miracle

17 - # Alex Burnett, 21, New Britain Rock Cats

18 - # Jeff Manship, 24, Minnesota Twins

19 - B. J. Hermsen, 19, GCL Twins

20 - Tyler Robertson, 21, Ft. Myers Miracle

Joe Benson was a highly recruited running back while in high school.  He shunned a scholarship to Purdue while he continues to progress as a baseball player.  Another 5-tool outfielder, Benson had his best season by far for Ft. Myers.  Alex Burnett was moved from a starter to a reliever in the FIL a year ago.  He began his season as the Miracle closer before moving up to New Britain where he was as good as any short reliever in the Eastern League the second half.  Burnett was added to the 40-man roster following the season and some believe he is the Twins future closer.  Jeff Manship began his season in New Britain, moved on to Rochester where he was one of their best starters before getting that special call to the Twins.  The starter of a critical game the last weekend of the season, Manship proved to Twins management that he can win at the highest level.  B. J. Hermsen was a member of the Gulf Coast League's finest pitching staff.  Look for Hermsen to move quickly through the organization and is the one GCL Twins starter who could make the jump to Beloit out of spring training.  Tyler Robertson was highly ranked by everyone following a spectacular 2007 at Beloit and start to the following season at Ft. Myers.  Unfortunately, he missed most of 2008 with a shoulder injury.  He recovered to have a nice season in 2009 and 2010 should tell us whether he can return to the player he was pre-injury.

21 - Billy Bullock, 21, Beloit Snappers

22 - # Trevor Plouffe, 22, Rochester Red Wings

23 - Tom Stuifbergen, 20, Elizabethton Twins

24 - # Rob Delaney, 24, Rochester Red Wings

25 - Michael McCardell, 23, New Britain Rock Cats

Billy Bullock was the Twins second round pick last spring.  A talented short reliever, Bullock should move rapidly up the ladder towards the Twins.  Trevor Plouffe has been young for his league since the Twins drafted him in the first round of the 2004 draft.  He will begin his third season in AAA this spring as a 23 year old before joining the Twins next September at the latest.  Tom Stuifbergen, who missed all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, saw his star rise the day he was the starting pitcher for the Dutch team versus the Dominican Republic in last spring's WBC...a game the Dutch team won to move on to the second round.  Following the WBC, Stuifbergen had a very nice season at Elizabethton.  Rob Delaney was added to the Twins 40-man roster and together with Anthony Slama, should give the Twins two quality options for short relievers when callups are needed during the coming season.  Michael McCardell was USA Today's Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2008.  He followed his excellent season at Beloit with a very good first half at Ft. Myers and after a brutal first game in AA, settled down to be one of the Rock Cats top starters during their run for the playoffs. 

26 - # Luke Hughes, 24, Rochester Red Wings

27 - Matt Bashore, 21, Elizabethton Twins

28 - Danny Rams, 20, Beloit Snappers

29 - Ben Tootle, 21, GCL Twins

30 - Brian Dinkelman, 25, New Britain Rock Cats

Luke Hughes is one of the better power options in the organization and could battle Danny Valencia for the third base position.  Hughes had 12 homes runs at Rochester and New Britain last summer in an injury shortened season.  Matt Bashore was the Twins supplemental first round pick last year.  After pitching just 2.0 innings in Elizabethton, Bashore was shut down as the result of an injury from his college season.  Danny Rams was considered one of the top high school power prospects when the Twins selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft.  His first two years had to be considered disappointing, however, 2009 was not.  Rams hit 6 home runs in 62 at bats for Elizabethton before moving up to Beloit where he hit another 7 home runs in 175 at bats......that is 13 home runs in about half a season.  Ben Tootle is another highly thought of short reliever the Twins drafted last spring.  Tootle was also shut down to deal with an old injury after 6.1 innings in Elizabethton.  Brian Dinkelman was the Rock Cats lone post season all-star.  A second baseman who has played some left field, Dinkelman finds himself in a mix of utility type players in the upper levels of the organization.  

31 - # Loek VanMil, 24, New Britain Rock Cats

32 - Wander Guillen, 16, Dominican Summer League

33 - Shooter Hunt, 22, Beloit Snappers

34 - # Estarlin De Los Santos, 22, Ft. Myers Miracle

35 - Steve Singleton, 23, New Britain Rock Cats

Loek VanMil is 7'1".  That and some very raw talent was enough for the Twins to not take a risk as they added him to their 40-man roster last fall.  Wander Guillen led the DSL Twins in hitting as a 16 year old last summer.  This young third baseman could move up to the GCL this summer where we will learn more about a young prospect, who unlike last summer's big signings, has put up fantastic numbers in a professional league.  Shooter Hunt is believed to have as much "stuff" as any pitcher in the organization.  Whether or not he can throw the ball over the plate is the question that until answered, will hold him back from realizing his potential.  Estarlin De Los Santos is an excellent shortstop prospect who was a surprise addition to the 40-man roster last November.  De Los Santos had an excellent first half in the Dominican Winter League and should move up to New Britain next spring.  Steve Singleton, like Dinkelman, is a solid middle infielder who should make it to the major leagues sometime during the next couple years. 

36 - Kyle Waldrop, 23, New Britain Rock Cats

37 - Jorge Polanco, 16, DNP

38 - # Steve Tolleson, 25, Rochester Red Wings

39 - Blayne Weller, 19, GCL Twins

40 - Brad Tippett, 21, Beloit Snappers

Kyle Waldrop is a former first round pick who was on the fast track to the Twins.  Unfortunately, he missed all of 2008 with a shoulder injury.  He got back on track last year as a reliever who was as good as any reliever in the Eastern League the last half of the season when he had a 1.46 ERA in 55.2 innings of long relief.  Jorge Polanco is another 16 year old who was signed last summer.  Considered a defensive whiz, it remains to be seen what type of offensive player Polanco can become.  Steve Tolleson is a utility type player who has been on the 40-man roster for the past year.  Blayne Weller is the third starter for the GCL Twins to be included in this Top 50.  Together with his two teammates, Weller was one of the top ten starters in the league.  Brad Tippett is a young Australian who led the Snappers in just about every category.  Tippett led the Midwest League with a 1.07 WHIP while finishing in the top five with a 3.21 ERA and 146.0 innings pitched.    

41 - Steve Hirschfield, 23, Ft. Myers Miracle

42 - Brian Dozier, 22, Elizabethton Twins

43 - Dustin Martin, 25, Rochester Red Wings

44 - Oswaldo Arcia, 17, GCL Twins

45 - Derek McCallum, 21, Elizabethton Twins

Steve Hirschfield began his season in the Miracle bullpen before moving into the starting rotation where he was one of the top pitchers in the FSL, finishing with the league's best WHIP (1.06) and second best ERA (2.23).  Brian Dozier stepped into the Elizabethton shortstop spot that was vacated by Tyler Ladendorf.  Dozier proceded to put up the league's second highest batting average, .353/.417/.431 in 218 at bats.  Dustin Martin had an excellent 2009 spring training with the Twins.  Martin was then assigned to Rochester where his numbers weren't outstanding.  He did however, lead the Red Wings with 26 stolen bases in 34 attempts.  Martin has to be considered a darkhorse in the race to fill the vacant fourth outfielder spot the Twins will have open this spring.  Oswaldo Arcia moved up from the DSL to be the GCL Twins top hitter in 2009.  Derek McCallum is a local Minnesotan who was a star for the Gophers before being a fourth round pick in last spring's draft.  McCallum didn't excel at Elizabethton, thus, 2010 will be an important year for this young man. 

46 - Matt Fox, 26, New Britain Rock Cats

47 - Bobby Lanigan, 21, Ft. Myers Miracle

48 - Andrei Lobanov, 19, GCL Twins

49 - Josmil Pinto, 20, Elizabethton Twins

50 - Erik Lis, 25, New Britain Rock Cats  

Matt Fox may be the feel good story for the Twins in 2009.  A former supplemental first round pick, Fox missed all of 2005 and part of 2006 to an injury he had coming out of college.  Fox is old for a prospect, but missing nearly two years will do that.  He has been working hard on the comeback trail and was one of the Eastern League's top starters in 2009.  Bobby Lanigan is considered by many scouts to have the ability to be very good.  He spent much of 2009 working as a starter in Beloit before moving up to Ft. Myers where he worked out of their bullpen late in their season.  Andrei Lobanov is a young Russian lefty who struck out 35 batters with only 1 walk in 22.0 innings.  Combined with a 0.82 ERA and 0.68 WHIP, one can't disregard those type of numbers even if they were only in a low rookie league.  Josmil Pinto is a young hitter who was very good a year ago in the GCL who had another big year when he led the Appy League with 13 home runs and a second best 55 RBI while hitting .332/.387/.610.  Our final selection in this poll is a young man who has been a favorite of many of us for several years, Erik Lis.  Some say he is a man without a position, yet, his fielding stats at first base are solid.  His strength however, is his bat as he continually hits around .300 Average while always being amongst the organization's leaders in doubles (29 last season), home runs (17) and RBI (69).     

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