As Luke pointed out in the FanShot below, Baseball America released their top 10 Twins prospects for 2011 today. One of the really fun things they do every year is to post what they believe the starting nine, rotation and closer will look like in four year's time (Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Kyle Wimmers and Carlos Gutierrez all feature for the 2014 Twins). Of course, as these things go, you'll never get every guess right. But how close did they get?
This is just a fun exercise, and it's not meant to point out how wrong BA was in their predictions. More than anything it's fun to see A) who they got right, and B) who they thought would be ready to contribute, and contribute well. Keep in mind that their '10 predictions were made after the 2006 season, and the '11 predictions after the 2007 (after Torii left but before we traded Johan, by the way).
|Position||BA 2010 Twins||Actual 2010 Twins||BA 2011 Twins||Actual 2011 Twins|
|Catcher||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer|
|First Base||Justin Morneau||Justin Morneau||Justin Morneau||Justin Morneau|
|Second Base||Alexi Casilla||Orlando Hudson||Alexi Casilla||TBD|
|Third Base||Matt Moses||Danny Valencia||Brendan Harris||Danny Valencia|
|Shortstop||Jason Bartlett||J.J. Hardy||Trevor Plouffe||TBD|
|Left Field||Chris Parmelee||Delmon Young||Michael Cuddyer||Delmon Young|
|Center Field||Torii Hunter||Denard Span||Joe Benson||Denard Span|
|Right Field||Michael Cuddyer||Michael Cuddyer||Delmon Young||Michael Cuddyer|
|Designated Hitter||Jason Kubel||Jason Kubel/Jim Thome||Jason Kubel||Jason Kubel|
|#1 Starter||Johan Santana||Francisco Liriano||Johan Santana||Francisco Liriano|
|#2 Starter||Francisco Liriano||Carl Pavano||Francisco Liriano||Scott Baker|
|#3 Starter||Matt Garza||Scott Baker||Kevin Slowey||Kevin Slowey|
|#4 Starter||Glen Perkins||Kevin Slowey||Nick Blackburn||Nick Blackburn|
|#5 Starter||Kevin Slowey||Nick Blackburn||Scott Baker||Brian Duensing|
|Closer||Joe Nathan||Jon Rauch/Matt Capps||Joe Nathan||Joe Nathan|
In 2010, BA managed to guess right on four position players and two starters (plus a reliever if Nathan hadn't gotten hurt). And in 2011, they already have five position players right with a chance for six if Casilla ends up being our second baseman. Tack on four starters and the closer, and that's about as accurate as you could ask for.
We'll continue the fun after the jump, where we look at what BA has seen for the Twins past 2011.
|Position||BA 2012 Twins||BA 2013 Twins||BA 2014 Twins|
|Catcher||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer|
|First Base||Justin Morneau||Justin Morneau||Miguel Sano|
|Second Base||Alexi Casilla||Alexi Casilla||Alexi Casilla|
|Third Base||Danny Valencia||Danny Valencia||Danny Valencia|
|Shortstop||Trevor Plouffe||J.J. Hardy||Jorge Polanco|
|Left Field||Ben Revere||Delmon Young||Delmon Young|
|Center Field||Aaron Hicks||Denard Span||Denard Span|
|Right Field||Delmon Young||Aaron Hicks||Aaron Hicks|
|Designated Hitter||Jason Kubel||Jason Kubel||Justin Morneau|
|#1 Starter||Francisco Liriano||Kyle Gibson||Francisco Liriano|
|#2 Starter||Scott Baker||Scott Baker||Kyle Gibson|
|#3 Starter||Kevin Slowey||Kevin Slowey||Liam Hendriks|
|#4 Starter||Nick Blackburn||Nick Blackburn||Alex Wimmers|
|#5 Starter||Glen Perkins||Brian Duensing||Brian Duensing|
|Closer||Joe Nathan||Carlos Gutierrez||Carlos Gutierrez|
Obviously this is just for fun and you can't really base any analysis off this, but there are a couple things I should bring up...
- Notice how Liriano just disappears in 2013? I guess after last year, BA wasn't too optimistic for him. Oh, how a year can change things...
- BA has been predicting that Casilla would be our starting second baseman for YEARS.
- I had this conversation in another thread, but I have to believe that if Span and Hicks are ever in the same outfield, Hicks will be in center.
- A lot of new names influx starting in 2014, particularly in the infield and rotation.
- BA loves Gutierrez as the closer.