Kyle Gibson absolutely blew out the competition in Round 7 of the community Twinkie Town prospect vote, garnering 68% of the vote while J.O. Berrios flew in a distant second with just 17%. With the official ranking of Gibson, the biggest names are now off the board. We now move onto players who may have some fantastic upside but also come with caveats that have kept them from the top spots: unknown, unproven, very young, too far away from the Majors, or quite probably, a combination of those things.
Joining Berrios, Trevor May, Max Kepler and Travis Harrison are Luke Bard and Joe Benson. Let's get to it!
J.O. Berrios, RHP
2013 Age: 19
2012 Top Level: Elizabethton, 14 IP (Rookie)
Trevor May, RHP
2013 Age: 23
2012 Top Level: Reading, 149.2 IP (Double-A)
Max Kepler, OF
2013 Age: 20
2012 Top Level: Elizabethton, 269 PA (Rookie)
Travis Harrison, 3B
2013 Age: 20
2012 Top Level: Elizabethton, 253 PA (Rookie)
Luke Bard, RHP
2013 Age: 22
2012 Top Level: GCL Twins, 4 IP (Rookie)
Bard merits consideration for such a high office, in spite of throwing just seven innings last season, is because of how "complete" scouts see him. He has a solid fastball-slider combination and has the potential to move quickly, and in spite of being drafted in June of 2012 could be pushing for a bullpen job by sometime in 2014. There is potential for an impact relief arm in Bard.
Joe Benson, CF
2013 Age: 25
2012 Top Level: Rochester, 108 PA (Triple-A)
|Rk (4 seasons)||Rk||248||57||13||5||12||13||26||45||.261||.343||.436|
|A (3 seasons)||A||816||178||34||9||36||27||73||203||.252||.338||.370|
|AA (3 seasons)||AA||1052||234||54||42||31||21||108||267||.256||.349||.479|
|A+ (3 seasons)||A+||461||110||24||10||23||7||59||104||.289||.404||.451|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||108||17||3||2||4||0||11||27||.179||.269||.316|
This is a huge year for Joe Benson. It's not entirely fair to judge him off of his performance last season because of his injuries, but the fact remains that he is a 25-year old who has a lot of tools but has yet to prove they will consistently play for him. The departures of Denard Span and Ben Revere have played to Benson's advantage, as he will get a legitimate chance to compete for the starting job in center field. Which was will Benson's career go? We'll get a pretty good idea this summer.