Ten Un-Ranked Twins Position Player Prospects to Watch

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

All summer long we've been giving you updates on the community-ranked Top 25 prospects in the Twins' farm system. This is part one of a two-part series, looking at some of the un-ranked prospects in the system. Some you will have heard of, others possibly not. Here are the position players.

Ranking prospects is a dubious practice at best, because prospects are real people and performance is volatile. But now that the minor league seasons are mostly wrapped up, we can take a look through the Twins' farm system to see which players had seasons worth talking about.

I've tried to discern a bit for age on this list, so there will be no Antoan Richardson. It would also be easy to go through the Rookie league rosters and pick out the solid performances there, but that could be an entire list on its own. I've attempted to pick out a couple of the best performers.


In no particular order, here are ten prospects (that didn't make our Top 25 list) worth noting from 2013.

Kennys Vargas, 1B
2013 Age: 22
Levels: Fort Myers (High-A)
Signed: Peurto Rico

After the Herculean numbers he put up in Beloit last season, Vargas nearly cracked our Top 25 list last winter. He made one or two ballots, but was unable to secure a spot. This season the Twins naturally bumped him up a level and he rewarded them, cranking out 19 home runs (fifth in the organization) while also smacking 33 doubles en route to a .267/.344/.468 triple slash. The walk to strikeout ratio dipped a bit, taking 50 free passes compared to 105 strikeouts in 125 games, but it's not a massive red flag at this point.

Vargas turned 23 on August 1, so he's right on the cusp of being in his age-23 season instead of his age-22 season. Regardless, he should have a chance to show what he's made of at Double-A next season. Here's hoping that he can stay in good enough shape and that his defense allows him to stay on the field. He's an all-bat prospect, but he can't be a black hole at first or he'll disappear.

Dubal Baez, CF
2013 Age: 20
Levels: Dominican Summer League (F-Rook)
Signed: Venezuela

In his first three seasons in the DSL, Baez really didn't impress. Good walk rates in short seasons helped keep his on-base percentage high, but this season he broke out in an entirely new way. He hit .335 in 57 games, drawing 29 walks compared to 37 strikeouts for a .447 OBP - good enough (holy hell amazing enough) to lead the whole of the Minnesota farm system. He also stole 27 bases in 38 attempts, numbers which suggest he could be a threat on the bases if he can be a bit more refined out there.

Is Baez an actual prospect? At age 20 and still not having made his state-side debut with any Twins affiliate, it doesn't seem likely. But he had a fantastic 2013 campaign worth noting. Let's see how the Twins handle him next summer.

J.D. Williams, LF
2013 Age: 22
Levels: Cedar Rapids (A) and Fort Myers (High-A)
Drafted: 10th Round, 2010

After a disappointing 2012 campaign in Single-A, Williams came back in a big way this summer. He played 80 games in Cedar Rapids, batting .281/.391/.461, including 26 extra-base hits with 47 walks and 67 strikeouts. That performance earned him a promotion to Fort Myers, where he didn't fare particularly well (.236/.333/.293) in 42 games. If he gets himself back on track next season he could project to be a useful, if minor, piece in the future. His performance with the Kernels this year was impressive across the board.

Dalton Hicks, 1B
2013 Age: 23
Levels: Cedar Rapids (A) and Fort Myers (High-A)
Drafted: 17th Round, 2012

Hicks actually started the season in Cedar Rapids, where he continued the trend from his rookie season and put up good numbers. Really good, in fact: .297/.355/.494 in 400 plate appearances. The power was there and, for a 23-year old, looked like he deserved a shot at the next level. He got it. And the only thing to really suffer was his power, with the slugging dropping to .405 at Fort Myers.

It's a long road ahead for Hicks. Vargas will probably get the first base job in New Britain next spring, which means Hicks will be with Fort Myers in his age-24 season. He could certainly leapfrog Vargas at some point, considering Vargas' size and defensive issues, but Hicks' bat will need to set the pace.

Zach Larson, LF
2013 Age: 19
Levels: GCL Twins (Rook) and Elizabethton (Rook)
Drafted: 20th Round, 2012

He's still a long ways away from anything, but after the season he had I'd be surprised if he didn't at least get considered for our Top 25 rankings for 2014. Starting the season with the GCL Twins, Larson hit .317/.382/.467 in 35 games, and then was promoted to Elizabethton where he batted .301/.407/.438 in 20 games. Obviously we're dealing in small sample sizes in both places, but on the season the sample size was 223 plate appearances for a player who owned his league while still being age appropriate for that league.

We've seen a number of Twins outfield prospects with a flash-in-the-pan performance over the last few seasons, and there's every chance that Larson could just be the next in a long line of players who burn out when the competition gets stiffer. Even if that is the case, he's worth watching next season to see what happens. Larson had a very good summer.

Josmil Pinto, C
2013 Age: 24
Levels: New Britain (Double-A) and Rochester (Triple-A)
Signed: Venezuela

Seeing Pinto with the Twins is like seeing our newest glimpse of the possible future. It's certainly feasible that we see Pinto transition into the catcher for Minnesota over the next two or three seasons. His bat has the potential to play as an above average weapon at catcher, and even if he doesn't develop a little more power that's fine for a backstop. But even without the pop, if his ability to hit for average and get on base translate to the Majors then the Twins will find a spot for him in their lineup whether he's catching or not.

Bryan Haar, 1B/3B
2013 Age: 23
Levels: Elizabethton (Rook) and Fort Myers (High-A)
Drafted: 34th Round, 2012

It's a bit disingenuous to say Haar played at Fort Myers, since he only logged a single game. For the rest of the season he was with Elizabethon, where he hit .293/.341/.474 over 60 games. Haar was only in his first full season with the Twins' farm system, but he was also a 34th round draft pick; if he's been a third or fourth rounder from 2012 you'd have expected the Twins to move a collegiate player along a bit more aggressively. Clearly, they aren't ready to do that yet.

Haar won't (and shouldn't) make our prospect list next spring, but continuing to rake at the next level might force the Twins' hands a bit. He's a former teammate of Cubs' first round selection Kris Bryant, and he has the strength and athleticism that at one point some thought he might start at third for USD while Bryant slid to first. Can the Twins unwrap that potential?

Rafael Valera, Utility
2013 Age: 18
Levels: Dominican Summer League (F-Rook)
Signed: Venezuela

In his second run through the DSL, Valera's plate discipline is the reason I'm drawing your attention to him. He hit just .257 with no power and wasn't particularly effective stealing bases, but he drew 42 walks in 55 games, compared to just 28 strikeouts. His on-base percentage was .417, which was fourth in the system among players with at least 200 plate appearances, behind the aforementioned Baez, as well as Chris Colabello and Byron Buxton. Not bad.

Deibinson Romero, 3B
2013 Age: 26
Levels: New Britain (Double-A) and Rochester (Triple-A)
Signed: Dominican Republic

After spending all of 2011 and 2012 in Double-A, Romero started there again this season. He raked so hard in eight games that he earned his bump to Triple-A, and in his first go-round more than held his own with a .266/.369/.421 triple slash. Romero was a third base prospect at the same time as Danny Valencia, so suffice it to say that for a good two or three years it looked like he was just going to flame out. Instead, the Twins stuck with him, and he adjusted.

This season, Romero drew 47 walks compares to 75 strikeouts, swatting 10 homers and 15 doubles in 358 plate appearances. Right now he certainly doesn't profile as a player who could push for the starting third base job next spring, but at some juncture it looks like we could see him in a bench role.

Amaurys Minier, 3B
2013 Age: 17
Levels: GCL Twins (Rook)
Signed: Dominican Republic

Minier was an exciting international signing last year; certainly it was exciting enough that the Twins put a 17-year old into their domestic rookie league instead of the DSL. Minier struggled, but in 119 plate appearances flashed part of the reason why he's a promising prospect by slugging .455. He only hit .214 with a .252 on-base percentage.

Will Minier crack our Top 25 for next season? He might. The talent is there. Even if he doesn't, he's one more guy that you should definitely be keeping an eye on.

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