2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Minnesota Twins

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Minnesota Twins.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago

Houston
(11/18)

Atlanta
(12/5)

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland

Los Angeles
(11/21)

Miami
(12/9)

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York

Detroit

Oakland
(11/25)

New York
(12/12)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay

Kansas City

Seattle
(11/28)

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto

Minnesota
(Today)

Texas
(12/2)

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Andrew Ball(@andrew_ball)

2013 was another abysmal season for the Minnesota Twins at the major league level. They finished with just 66 wins for the second straight campaign and they were one of six teams to lose 90+ games. Moreover, only the Houston Astros had a worse run differential than the -174 tallied by the Twins.

That said, there are some positive takeaways from the season, as well as some things to get excited about heading into 2014. First of all, it appears that Minnesota has found two solid regulars at up the middle positions in Brian Dozier and Josmil Pinto. In his second big league season, the 26-year-old Dozier played in 147 games, hitting .244/.312/.414 with 18 home runs and 14 steals. Long-regarded as a quality defender, the pop that Dozier displayed last year sets him up to be an above-average player at second base for the next several years, and he should be a nice sleeper in fantasy leagues this spring. Pinto's time in Minnesota was considerably shorter as he still retains his prospect eligibility and ranks number eight on our list below. Despite limited playing time however, Pinto was extremely impressive posting a .418 wOBA and 169 wRC+ and looks to be the catcher of the future.

Past those two, however, the youngsters in Minnesota struggled to reach expectations. Long-time top prospect Aaron Hicks parlayed a hot spring training into the opening day centerfield job, but the 23-year-old never got comfortable against major league pitching, hitting under .200 in about a half season of playing time. The same problem rang true for former Can-Am League standout Chris Colabello who also failed to get over the Mendoza line in his 55-game rookie season. Rounding out the rookies, Oswaldo Arcia fared a bit better, hitting 14 long balls in 97 games, but he also struck out 117 times, while walking just 23 times. Arcia could be a really nice source of cheap power in 2014 -- just make sure you monitor the strikeouts, especially in a points league.

On the pitching side, the Twins were...well, the Twins. The staff ranked dead last in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (6.11), and their average fastball velocity (90.8 mph) topped only three other clubs, staying true to their reputation as soft-tossing pitch- to-contact hurlers. Offseason acquisitions Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey were atrocious, both compiling ERA's over 5.00 with Worley's season cut short due to arm problems. Filling in, top-prospect Kyle Gibson was actually worse with a 6.53 ERA in ten starts. Really, the only bright spot on the staff was closer Glen Perkins, who was one of the most dependable relievers in the game last year.

The good news? There's help on the way. Minnesota's farm system is one of the best in the game, offering both high-end talent and depth. At the top is Baseball America's 2013 Minor League Player of the Year Byron Buxton, arguably the top prospect in all of baseball and easily one of the most exciting fantasy prospects in any system. Right on his heels is third baseman Miguel Sano, another probable top-ten if not top-five prospect that has immense power and an idea at the plate. Past the two headliners, the Twins have compiled a healthy dose of high end arms that don't resemble typical Twins' pitchers (Kohl Stewart, Alex Meyer, Lewis Thorpe, Trevor May, etc.) and some intriguing bats. The improvement won't be in 2014, but trust us Twins fans, it will get better soon.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Chris Herrmann (at bats), Chris Colabello (at bats), Oswaldo Arcia (at bats), Aaron Hicks (at bats), Wilkin Ramirez (service time), Casey Fien (innings), Andrew Albers (innings), Caleb Thielbar (service time), Ryan Pressley (innings), Kyle Gibson (innings), Pedro Hernandez (innings)

Major League Opportunities in 2014
By Andrew Ball(@andrew_ball)

As I just alluded to, the Twins shouldn't look all that different on the field in 2014. Well unless, they're a factor in free agency, which MLB Trade Rumors' Tim Dierkes thinks that they will be, predicting them to sign left-handed starter Scott Kazmir and first baseman James Loney this offseason. Of course that was before this week's big announcement that Joe Mauer will no longer catch for the Twins, The 30-year-old Mauer had another strong season, posting 5.4 rWAR, but concussions limited him to 113 games and it seems that Minnesota feels the best way to keep their best player on the field is by moving him to first base. For 2014, that won't affect his fantasy value (in a negative way), but those in dynasty formats should take note.

What it does mean, though, is a guaranteed job for Josmil Pinto entering the season, making him a nice option at catcher even in standard formats. Outside of that, the Twins don't have much ready to contribute this year, outside of Alex Meyer and Trevor May. Neither figures to be up early, but given the lack of overall talent in the rotation and the attrition rate of big league pitchers, it wouldn't be a surprise to see both get a shot around the All-Star break or at the very least in September.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
By Jason Hunt(@jasonsbaseball)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

20131108_mjr_su5_045.0
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

#1 Byron Buxton (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.334

109

12

77

55

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

574

0.424

0.520

13.2%

18.3%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

R/R

Not on 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A, A+

It takes a pretty special prospect to keep a top 10 prospect from being the top prospect in his system, and Byron Buxton definitely fits the bill there. The second overall pick from last year's draft, Buxton came into the 2013 season with lofty expectations and then went out and destroyed them. He started the season at Low-A Cedar Rapids, and after 68 games had hit .341/,431/.559 with 8 home runs, 15 doubles, 10 triples, 55 RBI, and 32 stolen bases. The Twins strayed from their previously established pattern, and promoted Buxton at midseason to High-A Fort Myers. The 19 year old didn't miss a beat, as he hit .326/.415/.472 with another 4 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 57 games.

As great as the performance was, the scouting reports are the stuff dreams are made of. Buxton is a true five-tool talent with the practical guarantee of playing in the middle of the diamond. He's expected to hit for an excellent batting average, and has already shown an excellent approach at the plate. The power has not been fully realized yet, but as he matures that number is expected to climb into the 20+ range, with the possibility of seasons with even more.

He stole 55 bases this year, while also hitting 18 triples across both levels. As he moves up toward the majors, the speed should continue to play and provide fantasy owners with excellent stolen base totals. The speed grades out easily at 80, and helps him on both sides of the ball. It definitely helps his defense, which is considered elite in center field now, and potentially Gold-Glove caliber when he reaches the Majors. As if that weren't enough, he also has one of the better arms in the minor leagues as well.

The biggest question for Buxton really is... well... I guess it's whether he can live up to the expectations and the glowing descriptions. Baseball America's Therron Brockish noted that he sees the potential to "be a perennial All-Star", and graded out all five of his tools as at least above-average. John Sickels noted that despite it almost always being the case, comparing him to Mike Trout at that point in his career isn't completely insane. The more reports that come out about Buxton, the greater the mythology gets, and literally my only concern is that he doesn't end up being the best player in the game, which is a description that has been thrown around as well.

He's going to be a five-category contributor, providing above-average or elite level production in the outfield, and honestly it wouldn't particularly surprise me if he was in the Majors by the end of the season. It's worth noting that he was shut down in the Arizona Fall League due to a shoulder strain, but I wouldn't change his value in the slightest as a result of that at this time.


20130321_jla_sv7_688.0
Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

#2 Miguel Sano (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.280

86

35

103

11

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

519

0.382

0.610

12.5%

27.4%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

R/R

Not on 40-Man Roster (Must Protect This Offseason)

A+, AA

We've been reading about Miguel Sano since the 2009 season, but he may have done more to improve his stock during the 2013 season than any other. The subject of some controversy and even a very well done documentary (which you should absolutely check out if you haven't yet) when he signed out of the Dominican Republic, the Twins were able to get Sano for $3.15 million, which was a discount on expectations at the time.

The Twins took it slow with Sano, sending him to short-season rookie ball for both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, during which he hit a ridiculous 20 home runs in just 66 games at Elizabethton. The organization gave him his first full season assignment in 2012, as he spent the full season destroying baseballs at Low-A Beloit. He led the league with 28 home runs, and although his batting average fell some (.258), both his strikeouts (144) and walks (80) were excellent for someone with his power potential.

And then 2013 came. Sano was promoted to High-A Fort Myers, in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He proceeded to go out and crush everything in sight, hitting .330 with 16 home runs in just 56 games before moving up to AA. But he didn't stop hitting home runs there either, clubbing another 19 in 67 games.

Sano's carrying tool is easily his power, as he is one of the few prospects in the minors that has 80 grade power right now. He could be a 35-40 home run hitter at his peak, and should provide fantasy owners with a ton of home runs. That won't be all he'll provide, either, as he is expected to be at least solid in the batting average, and will be even more helpful in leagues with on base percentage.

The big concern surrounding Sano coming into the season was his defense at third base, to the point that we ranked him as a first baseman in our prospect position rankings last offseason. However, multiple reports at this point note that Sano is substantially more likely to be able to stay at third base for at least his first few years in the major leagues, and that his defense has improved to the point that he should be average at the position.

The team must add him to the 40 man roster before the deadline this year, and will happily do so. With Trevor Plouffe being the only thing currently blocking Sano at the Major League level, look for Sano to debut during the 2014 season, and I would be looking to target him late in drafts this year, as he could come up and hit 10-15 home runs over a half season.


#3 Kohl Stewart (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

0

0

1.35

0.85

24

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

20

0.00

1.50

4.8%

28.6%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2017 Season)

Rk

The upside of having a poor season in 2012 was the Twins having the #4 overall pick in this year's draft, and selected Houston high school pitcher Kohl Stewart. The Twins paid him just over $4.5 million to keep him from playing college football at Texas A&M, and sent him to their GCL affiliate to start his professional career. He made six appearances there, throwing 16 innings and unfortunately missing nearly three weeks due to a fluke injury (he cut his foot walking on the beach in Fort Myers). Regardless, he was still promoted to the team's other rookie level affiliate in Elizabethton, and struck out 8 in his one start there during the regular season.

Stewart receives high marks for his athleticism as well as his overall repertoire. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s currently, and also features a changeup and slider, of which the slider is considered a strikeout offering already. There are reports that he has also been using a curveball, although it's not clear yet whether the changeup or curveball will be above-average offerings as of now. They both have the potential to do this, which could give him four above-average offerings.

Stewart could very well be sent to full season ball for the 2014 season, but given the Twins' history in this department it would not surprise me if he returned to Elizabethton instead. Stewart is considered an extremely polished pitching prospect that is expected to move through the system quickly. I wouldn't expect to see him in the Majors until at least 2017, but he has the potential to be a #2 starter for the Twins and a top 25 starter for fantasy owners.

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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

#4 Alex Meyer (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

4

0

3

1.27

100

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

78.1

0.35

2.12

9.6%

30.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

Rk, AA

Acquired by the Twins last offseason in exchange for Denard Span, Alex Meyer was formerly a first round draft pick by the Nationals back in the 2011 draft. The University of Kentucky standout signed for a cool $2 million, but did not debut until the 2012 season. After a solid season split between Low and High-A, the Twins acquired Meyer and sent him to AA for the start of the 2012 season. His performance was a mixed bag from start to start, and he ended up missing nearly all of June and July due to a shoulder injury. He returned from the injury in late August, making two starts in AA and has also been pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

Meyer features an absolutely electric fastball, dialing it up to 99 at times, as well as dropping it in as a two-seamer with heavy sink at times as well. He also features a slider which sits in the mid 80s and has been pegged as a potential plus offering, and continues to work on a changeup. The changeup has been the pitch that even he has stated needs the most work, but it potentially could be a plus offering as well. The numbers to this point have been excellent, and the high groundball rate jumps off the page. His walk rate has been a bit high, but given the delivery concerns that's not a big surprise.

With Meyer, there are questions regarding both his ability to repeat his delivery as well as whether the changeup will continue to improve beyond where it is at now. Meyer is unique in that he's extremely tall (6'9"), and as a result the ability to repeat his delivery could take longer to develop completely. If these improvements can occur, he profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher that will likely debut in 2014. If he can't, he still has value to fantasy owners as he would likely fit as a high-strikeout relief option that could close out games for the Twins in the future.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#5 Eddie Rosario (2B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.302

80

10

73

10

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

544

0.350

0.460

7.0%

17.6%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

L/R

Not on 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A+, AA

A 4th round draft pick out of Puerto Rico back in 2010, the Twins left Rosario at his original position in the outfield for his first two seasons before starting the conversion to second base with his full season debut in 2012. He had previously announced himself to the prospecting world after keeping pace with teammate Miguel Sano with 21 home runs in just 67 games at short-season rookie ball in 2011.

A bat first prospect, Rosario has hit around .300 with solid power and solid stolen base totals at every stop so far. The bigger question for Rosario stems from his defense, as his transition to second base has not been without its' bumps. His value to fantasy owners is definitely improved if he can stay at the position, as he profiles as a high batting average, moderate power/speed producer long-term. I could see a .280/10 HR/7 SB type on a consistent basis, with the potential for higher in some seasons. Obviously this plays better at second base than in the outfield for fantasy owners, and with the Twins' outfield being a source of strength currently, there's no place really for him to play out there either.

A year ago, Rosario's path to the Majors appeared more clearly, as second base continued to be a struggle as Brian Dozier had not performed in his call up in 2012. However, with Dozier emerging as the clear-cut starter at the position as well as an excellent fantasy option, the path to playing time is a bit murkier for Rosario. The Twins will be able to give him even more time to develop at the position should they decide to keep him there, although it isn't clear that he won't return to the outfield either. Either way, his bat will likely be ready for the Show by the end of the 2014 season, regardless of where he plays on the field.

20130219_jla_ah6_107.0
Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#6 Jose Berrios (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

7

0

4.01

1.41

100

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

103.2

0.52

0.98

8.8%

22.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A

The Twins' supplemental first round draft pick from 2012, Berrios made his full season debut this year with the Twins' Low-A affiliate after spending the spring with Puerto Rico's WBC team. While he threw just 4 innings in the WBC, the team was impressed with the performance, which included a strikeout of Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano. Berrios averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, while getting a solid number of groundballs, although his WHIP and ERA were elevated in part due to a high BABIP (.330) as well as a walk rate of nearly 3.5 per 9 innings.

There were multiple reports that Berrios wore down as the season progressed, which isn't a huge surprise given that he hadn't pitched a full season yet and also added the time at the WBC to his workload, even if it wasn't a lot of innings. That said, the reviews have been very positive to date on Berrios, and would likely rank higher in a different system.

He features a fastball which sits in the mid 90s, a changeup in the high 70s/low 80s, and a curveball that sits in the high 70s with a solid 11-5 break to it. For Berrios, the key is that he has the potential for all three pitches to grade out as plus, which would lead him to a mid-rotation profile long-term. There are some concerns about his size, specifically that he is only 6'0" tall, but it's not entirely inconceivable that he could still grow given that he's still just 19 years old.

Berrios receives high marks on his maturity and poise, specifically that he is more mature in terms of his pitching approach than your typical 19 year old. Bob Sacamento of Twinkie Town was able to ask him a few questions during Instructional League, and noted this:

According to Jose, the biggest parts of his game that he is working on is his changeup and continued arm strength. He said at the end of the season he got tired quicker and the team wants to build up his arm for more work next year. Berrios also says he is working on locating his fastball better in the zone.

The Twins will likely send Berrios to High-A Fort Myers for the 2014 season, and I believe it is possible that we see him in the Majors by 2016. He has been young for the level at every stop, so even if he needs to repeat a level at some point in the future he will still be on an advanced path.

#7 Lewis Thorpe (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

4

0

2.05

0.86

64

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

44

0.41

1.06

3.6%

38.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

Rk

Thorpe was a name that I did not have really other than as another guy when I started this process. However, doing more research and reading more reports (as well as some prodding from Andrew Ball) has led him to this spot in our rankings. A J2 signing in 2012 out of Australia, Thorpe was viewed entirely as projection at that point. With another inch to his height (now at 6'2") and adding 55 pounds to his thin frame (now up to 215), he also saw an uptick in his velocity as he is now in the mid 90s with his fastball.

The performance in the Gulf Coast League was excellent, especially the strikeout rate coupled with the low walk rate. He features a fastball which is now sitting in the low-to-mid 90s and has been touching 95 on some reports. In addition, the pitch plays up to even higher velocity due to the movement it has already. He also throws a changeup, curveball, and slider, but admitted himself that he needs to improve his control on the breaking pitches. That said, Baseball America ranked him as their #7 prospect in the Gulf Coast League, behind only Lucas Giolito on the pitching side, and noted that his command is excellent for a teenager.

There's not a ton of information on Thorpe yet, but that will likely change this offseason. John Sickels ranked him as the Twins' #7 prospect (ahead of some very well known names among prospect followers), and there's a lot to be excited about. In his GCL top 20 chat, Ben Badler noted that "had [Thorpe] been born in the United States, he'd be a first-round pick," high praise for a player who would have been a part of a very deep 2014 draft class.

If everything goes as planned, Thorpe could be a mid-rotation type starting pitcher, with the potential for a bit more at times. He's definitely a name worth watching, as he could jump up this list with another great performance in 2014. He will be 18 for the entirety of the 2014 season, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Twins sent him to short-season ball again, perhaps Elizabethton this time.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#8 Josmil Pinto (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.314

75

19

86

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

611

0.401

0.724

11.8%

17.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

24

R/R

On 40-Man Roster (2 Options Remaining)

AA, AAA, MLB

Pinto came almost completely out of nowhere this year, as he was protected on the 40-man roster last offseason with an excellent performance between High-A and AA. He wasn't ranked in Baseball America's top 30 Twins prospects last year, and did not make John Sickels' top 20 either, and it seems in part due to age versus level concerns (he was 23 at High-A). Fast forward to this season, when Pinto successfully repeated the performance between AA and AAA, hitting .309 with 15 home runs and 74 runs batted in before a September call-up.

The few reports on Pinto that were available prior to this season point to a hitter who happens to catch, and the numbers bear out the hitter part. He's hit .295 or better in each of the last two seasons, and shown consistent power production with 43 and 48 extra base hits in the same time frame. In addition, he has shown a solid approach at the plate, and has posted walk rates at or above 10% as well.

The knock on Pinto in the past has been his defense behind the plate, although there are reports that his defense has reached the point where it is at least passable there. It was expected that Pinto would be the likely backup catcher for the Twins in 2014 after this season, with his bat being good enough to play a few days a week at DH if needed as well. However, with the announcement on Monday that the Twins' perennial All-Star catcher will be officially transitioning to first base for 2014, Pinto appears to be the most likely recipient of the additional playing time, as he could split time behind the dish with Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann.

Pinto's upside could be a .280 hitter with a solid on-base percentage and 10-15 home runs, which will absolutely play in nearly all formats and especially in 2 catcher leagues. I can see him playing 100-115 games next year, so I would probably put him closer to the 10 homer number than 15 with that playing time, and should be a nice sleeper in a lot of formats.

#9 Travis Harrison (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.253

66

15

59

2

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

537

0.366

0.416

12.7%

23.3%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Harrison was a player that I had actually not anticipated ranking in the top 10 of the system when I started my research, and the more I read (and was told), the more interesting he became. A high school draftee out of California back in 2011, Harrison made his full-season debut this year at Low-A Cedar Rapids. He finished up the season with 15 home runs in the Midwest League, and showed the ability to take a walk as well.

Harrison's ticket to the Majors will be punched with his bat, as he is known for his power potential. Not in the same class as fellow Twins' prospect Miguel Sano, Harrison still profiles to be a 20-25 home run hitter if it all comes together. There are questions about his ability to utilize his hit tool enough to let the power play as he moves up, but in general he is viewed as being a potential above-average hitter with above-average power. Whether he can reach that potential is still an open question, and while he did show some improvement this year, it's not clear that he will get there just yet.

My biggest question coming into this process for Harrison was his home on the diamond. Considered a below-average defender at third base, it had been my understanding that he would likely have to transition to first base down the line. However, reports from this year point to him potentially being able to move to an outfield corner, which would still allow his bat to play in nearly all formats. Given that Miguel Sano is the long-term plan at third base for the Twins, a move would likely have occurred at some point in the future anyway.

I would look for Harrison to move to High-A for the 2014 season, and likely the Twins continue to work with him at third base until they just can't anymore. If his bat continues to improve, we could see Harrison in the Majors during the 2016 season, although it will most likely be elsewhere on the diamond.

#10 Adam Walker (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.278

83

27

109

10

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

553

0.319

0.526

5.6%

20.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Another interesting low-level prospect, Adam Brett Walker led the Midwest League with 27 home runs and 109 runs batted in this year. Walker was taken by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft after a standout collegiate career at Jacksonville University, and signed quickly enough to hit 14 home runs in 58 games with short-season Elizabethton.

Ranked by Baseball America as their #31 prospect in the Twins' system last year, Walker has shown the potential to be an impact bat with regard to power, as they noted that he has similar raw power to Sano. Unfortunately, that's where the similarities end for Walker, as he struggles to make consistent contact and has shown issues with adjusting for offspeed pitches and also with plate discipline in general. His strikeout rate has dropped this year, although his walk rate is still not what you would hope for.

Extremely athletic, Walker has played primarily in the outfield, and would likely be able to stay in a corner outfield spot long-term. He played first base in college, but it seems unlikely that he will have to return there as a professional. He has shown in-game, usable speed, hitting seven triples and stealing 10 bases this year without being caught. It's not likely to translate into high stolen base totals down the line, but more likely a token few for fantasy owners.

2014 will be a key season for Walker, as he could move into the upper half of this list with another solid performance at High-A. He stands out to me as a prospect that is likely to have to prove it each year for prospect enthusiasts, but his power potential jumps off the page and could give him a lot more chances than other prospects.

Other Interesting Prospects
By Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)

Trevor May - The main prospect acquired from the Phillies for Ben Revere, May is a prospect that I'm not personally a big fan of. He has posted excellent strikeout totals at AA each of the last two years, but has matched them up with high walk totals as well. He'll likely get a shot to make the rotation out of Spring Training, and honestly he seems like a reasonably good shot to win one. As of right now, he's likely to be a streaming option if that happens, as the risk to your WHIP seems a bit high.

Danny Santana - Already on the 40-man roster, Santana could get a shot at the starting shortstop job during the 2014 season having already reached AA. He stole 30 bases last year there, but with 13 failed attempts he may not be able to use all that speed effectively as he moves up. There are concerns about his defense at shortstop, if only because he seems to struggle with routine plays, and may be better suited for second base instead.

Jorge Polanco - Another middle infield prospect, Polanco hit .308 in a full season at Low-A this year, although it comes up pretty empty with just 5 home runs and 4 stolen bases. At the moment, he's more of a wait and see type prospect, as he will only have value (for now) in the deepest of dynasty formats.

Max Kepler - Signed out of Germany in the 2009 J2 signing period, Kepler remains an interesting prospect for the Twins, albeit one that is still a long way from contributing for the team. He has shown the tools on multiple occasions to be an impact talent in the outfield, but may not get there until 2016. The team will need to start pushing him a bit faster, as he will need to be added to the 40 man roster this year and start using options to remain in the minor leagues.

Michael Tonkin - A reliever who debuted at the end of the season, Tonkin has posted solid strikeout numbers out of the pen at every stop, including 10 in 11 relief innings in the Majors at the end of the season. He's worth keeping an eye on, if only to see whether the Twins might make current closer Glen Perkins available via trade.

For more on the Twins, be sure to check out SBNation's Twinkie Town. For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
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Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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Matt Mattingly is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Brooks Baseball
Fangraphs
MLB Farm
Twinkie Town
Twins Daily
Vimeo
Youtube

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