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Twinkie Town 2012 Top 50...This year's rules!

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With the Winter meetings behind us, its time to begin the process of selecting the Twinkie Town 2012 Top 50. The rules have been changed a bit so that we can move this along more quickly than last year.

We will begin by having a preliminary first round of twenty-one players, including players who were in last year's Top 10, this year's first round picks, today's Rule V pick, players added to the 40-man roster and others who had exceptional seasons. The top five or so (depending on natural break in votes) in the initial vote will proceed to the 'final round' for the top prospect in 2012. That round will be posted Saturday afternoon and remain open until Monday. Beginning with the third round, we will eliminate players who receive less than 2% of the vote. We will not add any new players until we are down to ten prospects for each round of voting. After the first round, ties (same # of votes) will have a runoff with the losing player taking the next slot in the ranking. I will also post the next round of voting that same day.

All players in the organization are eligible, except: 1) Players who no longer have rookie status, ie, 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days on the roster prior to September, players such as Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, Ben Revere, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Rene Tosoni. [Lester Oliveros, Liam Hendriks, Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee remain eligible]; 2) Players who have been removed from the 40-man roster (outrighted and cleared waivers), players such as David Bromberg, Deibinson Romero adn Brian Dinkelman; 3) Players who have become six year minor league free agents, players such as Kyle Waldrop; and 4) Players who will be 28 years old or older on opening day, 2012.

If there is a clear example of voting fraud, I retain the option to have a revote of that round. Finally, we will not begin any new rounds on Sunday, ie, Saturday rounds will remain open from Saturday until Monday afternoon.

I will try to have all rounds posted around 3pm every day. If I have a conflict, I will note the change the previous day. The 21 players we will be voting on for the top spot are listed following the jump. The preliminary first round will be posted at 3pm today.

Oswaldo Arcia (7th ranked in 2011) - After being the Appy League MVP in 2010, Arcia moved up to Beloit where he hit .352 average with a 1.124 OPS in 71 at bats before going on the DL with elbow surgery. When he returned, he was promoted to Ft. Myers where he didn't hit for his usual high average, however, tied for the Miracle lead with eight home runs in only 213 at bats. Following the season, he was added to the 40-man roster.

Joe Benson (6th) - After leading the organization in home runs in 2010, Benson repeated his year at New Britain, improving in nearly every statistical area except for the drop off in home runs to 16. He ended his season hitting .239 average in 71 at bats for the Twins. His brief stay with the Twins enabled all of us to see his tremendous athleticism.

Hudson Boyd (x) - A first round sandwich pick this year, this big hard throwing starter began his career with the Twins in their fall instructional league.

Scott Diamond (26) - The Twins traded Billy Bullock to the Braves so they could send last year's Rule V pick out to Rochester. After a solid season with the Red Wings Diamond was effective in seven starts with the Twins, pitching 39.0 innings with a 1-5 record and 5.08 ERA.

Terry Doyle (x) - Today's Rule V pick out of the White Sox organization was a 37th round pick in 2008 out of Boston College. Doyle had a very good 2011 season, finishing with a 7-5 record and 3.24 ERA with 73K/22BB in 100.0 innings in the AA Southern League. He later was a teammate of several Twins with the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL where he was the only starter who pitched better than Cole DeVries. Doyle had a 4-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in 27.1 innings in Mesa.

Brian Dozier (29) - It was tough getting Twinkie Town voters to support Dozier last year. After being selected the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, I doubt that will be the case this year. Dozier hit a combined .320 average with a .890 OPS in 491 at bats at Ft. Myers and New Britain.

Carlos Gutierrez (12) - The former first round pick had a solid year at Rochester while also dealing with a sore arm late in the season. Prior to the all-star break, Gutierrez had a 3.88 ERA in 48.2 innings with 38 strkeouts.

Kyle Gibson (1) - Last year's top ranked prospect didn't pitch as we hoped, which was likely due to an arm problem he was dealing with. He was shut down on July 22nd with Tommy John surgery following in September. Gibson will likely miss all of 2013, however, should be ready for spring training 2014.

Travis Harrison (x) - Harrison is a power hitting third baseman who was selected with a first round sandwich pick last summer. Like Boyd, he began his professional career in the Fall Instructional League.

Liam Hendriks (8) - When the Twins called up Hendriks in September, he likely moved to the front of the line as far as starting pitcher prospects are concerned. After a dominating spring at New Britain (8-2 record with a 2.70 ERA in fifteen starts), Hendriks moved on to AAA where he had a 4-4 record with a 4.56 ERA. In four starts with the Twins, he was 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA. Hendriks likely needs another half season at Rochester before he will be ready to begin his quest to become a Brad Radke type front of the rotation starter.

Chris Herrmann (unranked) - No one did more this year to further his position in the organization than Herrmann. An excellent defensive catcher and corner outfielder, he hit .258 average with a .771 OPS in 337 at bats for the Rock Cats. He finished his year in the AFL where he hit .380 average with a 1.076 OPS and was one of the most talked about prospects in the league.

Aaron Hicks (2) - Ever since he was drafted in the first round in 2008, fans have been waiting for this very talented athlete to have a break-out season. After two seasons in Beloit, Hicks moved up to Ft. Myers where he hit .242 average with a .722 OPS. After the season, he moved on to the AFL where he hit a respectable .294 average with a .959 OPS while reducing his strikeouts to about 20%. That performance in the AFL just may be the beginning of the break-out everyone has been waiting for.

Max Kepler (9) - Kepler moved up a level, playing for the Elizabethton Twins as an eighteen year old. In only his second professional season, this talented young German hit a respectable .262 average with eleven doubles, three triples and a home run in 191 at bats.

Levi Michael (x) - This year's first round pick out of UNC didn't begin his professional career until the Florida Instructional League.

Angel Morales (10) - One of the most talented young men in the organization missed nearly all of last season with an elbow injury. Morales, who was only twenty years old, joined the Miracle late in the season. He went on to hit .264 averege with three home runs in only 121 at bats.

Chris Parmelee (14) - After perhaps his best season in the minors (.287 average with a .801 OPS in 530 at bats) at New Britain, Parmelee joined the Twins in September where he would hit .355 average with a 1.035 OPS in 76 at bats. Like Benson, Parmelee likely needs at least a half year at AAA.

Eddie Rosario (18) - Rosario finished his second season as a professional as the co-MVP of the Appalachian League where he was amongst the league leaders in nearly every offensive category. Rosario led the league with 21 home runs while hitting for a .337 average with a 1.068 OPS, nine triples and seventeen stolen bases.

Adrian Salcedo (13) - Some think that Salcedo has what it takes to become that rare commodity, a big league Ace. Those who believe that weren't disappointed this year as the twenty year old put up a 6-6 record with a 2.93 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 27 walks in 135.0 innings at Beloit.

Miguel Sano (3) - Can Sano live up to the expectations surrounding his signing for $3.15mm as a sixteen year old? In his second professional season Sano continued to play as well as hoped for, hitting for a .292 average with a .988 OPS and league second best twenty home runs for Elizabethton.

Tyler Robertson (40) - After spending his entire career as a starter, this lefty moved to the bullpen this year. He went on to lead the Rock Cats with ten wins (10-3) while saving sixteen more ballgames. He finished with a 3.61 ERA in 55 games (89.2 innings). What may be more impressive, he posted a 5-0 record with a 2.29 ERA following the all-star break. The Twins expect a lot of him as he was added to the 40-man roster last month.

Alex Wimmers (5) - Wimmers struggled out of the gate this spring, dealing with a sore arm in spring training and not getting an out in his first start. To make certain 2010's first round pick didn't destroy his confidence, they shut him down for much of the season. Wimmers returned to the Miracle in mid-July where he posted a 2-3 record with a 4.20 ERA in 40.2 innings. He continued to improve throughout August, pitching a seven inning no-hitter on the last day of the season.