Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Good morning! I had volleyball last night and tried to maintain a social existence. So, today I will have a real short entry. I would like to ask you to take two seconds to participate in my Demographic Survey. I would really appreciate the knowledge about who reads the site. I want to know where you're from, and no, I don't need as much details as the new Angels name (the Angels changed their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). I simple state would be fine.
I want to link you to two sites with Prospects lists. Those who have been reading this site for awhile know how much I like prospects and minor leaguers. A couple months ago, I ranked the Twins Top 25 prospects in my opinion, so it is interesting for me to see how others rank them as well.
First, I need to point out The Minors First, a great site, that annually do a Top 100 list. I really think they do a nice job of ranking and would trust their rankings. Like any lists, I may disagree with some, but overall, I think this is a fair list. Here are how the Twins prospects ranked:
1. Joe Mauer- C Min (4/19/83) Mauer retains the top spot again this year and it's not just by default. He proved he could hit Major League pitching and that he deserves to stay there. He also showed he's taken strides toward being a longball threat. In over 1,000 Minor League AB, he only hit a total of 9… making some think he's not going to hit homers in the Majors. But, in just over 100 Major League AB, he's already hit 6. He continued to play his normal very good defense, until a knee injury cut his season short. You'd hate to think this injury could linger and force Mauer from behind the plate, but I guess it's possible.
27. Jason Kubel- OF Min (5/25/82) There's no longer any questioning his bat… it's just a matter of getting the knee healthy again. He's always had a good idea of the strike zone and made consistent contact. Let's hope his hitting skills don't deteriorate with his injury downtime. At the moment he went down, it appeared that he was in the Majors to stay.
43. Jesse Crain- RHP Min (7/5/81) Relief pitchers don't usually rank high on these lists. I had Crain at #53 last year and he pitched very well again in 2004… in Triple A and the Majors. If Nathan wasn't ahead of him, I'd call him a definite closer candidate for the Twins right away. For now, we'll have to watch him as one of the better setup guys.
50. JD Durbin- RHP Min (2/24/82) Durbin is an intense competitor on the mound. He'll get every opportunity to make it as a starter, even though his great stuff profiles well as a closer. I bet he see quite a bit of time in Minnesota this summer.
Of course, I think that more Twins, specifically Francisco Liriano should be listed in the Top 100, but four of the Top 50 is pretty good!
The Baseball Notebook is another site. They actually break down the Top 100 hitters and Top 100 pitchers by league. So, where did they rank some of the Twins farmhands? First, let's look at their Top 100 AL Hitters:
4. JASON KUBEL, OF, MINNESOTA: Once again Kubel makes our lists and unlike when we listed him in the top five overall in baseball a few years ago, now he's on everyone's radar. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious injury in the Arizona Fall League this off-season and he's expected to miss all of the 2005 season, which pushes back his arrival as a full-timer to at least 2006. Up until the injury, he was the favorite to be the right fielder for Minnesota next year. He looks to me to be a hitter who will one day consistently hit better than .300 with 20 home runs, 10 steals and 55-60 walks, over a full season.
8. JUSTIN MORNEAU, 1B, MINNESOTA: I'm not sure there's much more that can be said about him that hasn't been already, especially because we got to see him so much last season. He's got the job at first base going into 2005 and while he shouldn't be expected to immediately have the best seasons of his career, I expect he's going to show immediate power and while not winning a batting title typically, hit for a respectable average.
24. ALEX ROMERO, OF, MINNESOTA
39. GARRETT JONES, 1B, MINNESOTA
44. DANNY MATIENZO, 1B, MINNESOTA
66. BROCK PETERSON, 1B, MINNESOTA
72. KYLE PHILLIPS, C, MINNESOTA
88. J.R. TAYLOR, SS, MINNESOTA
OK, so, I completely agree with Jason Kubel ranking that high. I have no idea how Justin Morneau with over 1/2 season of big league experience, could possibly rank in any prospect list. I like Alex Romero and think highly of Garrett Jones. But how is it possible that Matienzo, Peterson, and JR Taylor are on this list. Nothing against them, but when I see these guys ranked higher than Dallas McPherson (92) and Curtis Granderson (96), it makes you really question the list. Also, how are those guys ranked and other Twins prospects like Matt Moses, Jason Bartlett, Terry Tiffee and others is laughable.
So, where did the Twins pitchers rank in their Top 100 AL Pitchers:
1. SCOTT BAKER, MINNESOTA: The former Oklahoma State University pitcher is already blessed with exceptional control. Minnesota's second round pick in the 2003 draft, I know I've rated him higher than virtually every other publication, as I have sometimes done with other number one rated picks in previous years. He struggled after moving up to Triple-A Rochester in 2004, which actually helps him go a bit unnoticed, and he's probably going to start the season at that level but prior to that, he was eating up Double-A hitters, allowing just 44 hits in 70.1 innings while walking 13 and striking out 72, this all over 10 games started. Some other publications have said that he doesn't have "dominant" stuff and I suspect this is because his strikeout numbers have "only" been around one per inning, which is actually below your typical top so-called top prospect. In fact, Baker's velocity, which still isn't in his prime, has peaked in the mid to high nineties on occasion and what impresses me about him is how well he mixes up his pitches. He already has a big league slider and curve and he throws every pitch for strikes and changes speeds as well as any pitcher I've seen in the minors in the past couple of years. Definitely underrated, Baker's a rare sleeper that takes my number one prospect spot in the American League this year.
9. TRAVIS BOWYER, MINNESOTA: Somehow he's developed a lightning fastball that he didn't have when he first started his professional career and I've heard at least one report of him hitting triple digits on the "fast" gun. He's going to be someone's closer within four years, though I suspect his control problems may keep him from becoming Eric Gagne.
10. BEAU KEMP, MINNESOTA: Kemp's stock fell for a little while in 2004, enough so that he was even dropped from Minnesota's 40-man roster in mid-summer. This is the same guy who posted a 0.66 ERA in 59 games at the Single-A level in 2002 and who's never had a year with an ERA of 4.00 or higher but he had been charged with assault during a fight a year earlier and the organization was rumored to have soured on him. He's still going to be a good pitcher as long as he gains still-lacking control.
44. JASON MILLER, MINNESOTA
53. ADAM HARBEN, MINNESOTA
67. PAT NESHEK, MINNESOTA
81. SCOTT TYLER, MINNESOTA
89. JANNIO GUTIERREZ, MINNESOTA
94. LEVALE SPEIGNER, MINNESOTA
99. JULIO DEPAULA, MINNESOTA
I have no problem with Scott Baker being ranked #1. I think that's great. Where is JD Durbin? Where is Francisco Liriano? They didn't include 2004 draft picks, or else you'd have to ask where Glen Perkins, Kyle Waldrop, Matthew Fox, Anthony Swarzak and Jay Rainville are. I have no problem with Bowyer and his triple-digit fastball ranking that high, but Beau Kemp ranked #10? I don't care what his numbers say. If he was dropped from the 40 man roster AND wasn't claimed by another team, does that not say something. Harben is going to be a stud. But it is very clear that this ranking puts relief pitchers in high esteem. Neshek is on the 40 man roster, but won't be great. Gutierrez, Speigner and DePaula all had great seasons as relievers and threw a lot of innings.
Again, not to downplay these rankings, they are fun to look at, but a little perspective has to come into play when we see Felix Hernandez ranked #17 and Scott Kazmir coming in at #24!
But hey, I have no problems with Twins minor leaguers getting any mention anywhere! It makes me happy. When you consider that the Twins probably have one of the top two or three minor league systems, and players that no one else even mentions get mentioned, that just tells you how much depth there is in the organization. And Twins fans, that is something to feel good about.
And well, that is it for today. Again, please send me an e-mail if you have any thoughts on the Twins prospects. But also, take just a minute to e-mail me regarding the Demographic Survey.
Have a great day!
A year ago, I asked readers here to send me a quick e-mail. I want to find out a little bit about who is reading this site. I would like to update that information as I know the readership has nearly tripled in the last year. So, please send me a quick e-mail and answer just a couple of questions for me. Please just tell me where you are from and your age. Feel free to tell me any more about yourself that you think I would be interested in. I will keep this question on the site this week and post results next week. So, please help me out. Obviously I won't share any of your information with others, so please e-mail me.
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