Wednesday, June 6, 2007


SethSpeaks Top 50

Twins Prospects

Part 5 - #1-10


Good Morning! Today, I am going to post part five of a five part series on my choices for the top fifty Twins prospects. This, is the Top 10! So far, I have posted my choices for #s 41-50 and for #31-40 and for #21-30. and for #11-20. If you have any questions or comments on any of these players or their rankings, I would love to hear your thoughts. Who would you rank in your top 10? Slowey or Garza? Oeltjen or Span? Who is ranked too high? Who should be ranked higher? Was anyone left off the list completely that you would have included? Maybe Johnny Woodard? Ask away. If you have thoughts, or if you have a Top 10, 20, 30, or 50 Prospect list, I would love to see it and share it with other Twins fans, so please e-mail me or leave Comments below.


And, when you've e-mailed me and Commented below, then you should go to Aaron's Baseball Blog where he is looking at his Top 40 Twins Prospects and giving Good News and Bad News on each.



SethSpeaks Top 50 Twins Prospects




#10 Trent Oeltjen OF 24

2007 Teams: Rochester Red Wings
: signed as free agent in 2001 out of Australia

In 2006, Oeltjen started the season as the fourth outfielder for New Britain. Not long after, he was playing every day throughout the Rockcats outfield. This season, Oeltjen began the year as the Rochester fourth or fifth outfielder, but again, it wasn't long before Oeltjen was playing every day. He may be a step or two slower than Denard Span, but he is a better base runner and base stealer. This year he is 12 for 16 in stolen base attempts. This year, he has just seven extra base hits in 116 at bats, but he has shown some pop in his bat. He is a great bunter. He plays a strong OF, in all three positions. Oeltjen has recently been going through a slump that has dropped his average from .320 to .258, but he has a .331 on-base percentage which is surprising as he has just four walks in 124 plate appearances. That is something that he will need to improve over the rest of the year to maintain this spot on the prospect list. This ranking is not as much on this year, but on previous performance as well. I don't think that the Twins organization sees him as a prospect and yet every season, he goes out and produces. He has certainly outperformed Denard Span at every level. 

2007 Projection: playing OF in Rochester
: good glove, good bat, good speed OF
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2008

#9 Chris Parmalee OF/1B 19

2007 Team: Beloit Snappers

Acquired: Twins 1st round pick in 2006 out of Chino Hills (CA) High School

Like Joe Benson and Alex Burnett, Parmalee is a 19 year playing in a league where the average age is over 22. That is why looking at his straight numbers has to be done carefully, and we should not make too much out of it. On the year, Parmalee is hitting .233/.309/.413 with 10 doubles, three triples, five homers and 22 RBI. The batting average is low, but 18 walks has given him a solid Isolated Discipline of nearly .080. That is a good measurement for a young player. He has struck out 50 times in 172 at bats (1 every 3.4 at bats). That is certainly not good, but first, it is a great improvement from earlier in the year, and secondly, it is not unusual for players this young in this league. I also like the fact that he has 18 extra base hits. As you know, I like doubles, and he has plenty of those. And five home runs don't stand out, but again, in context, it is a positive. In terms of prospect status, you look at ceiling, and when it comes to Twins minor league bats, there may not be a higher ceiling in the organization. 

2007 Projection: playing some 1B and lots of OF in Beloit.

Potential: middle of the lineup run producer

Could be in Minnesota in: 2010

#8 Jeff Manship RHP 22

2007 Team: Beloit Snappers

Acquired: Twins 14th round pick in 2006 out of Notre Dame University

Jeff Manship is a guy who the Twins were very lucky to draft where they did. The former Notre Dame pitcher fell to the Twins in the 14th round, likely because he had Tommy John surgery in his first year of college. He is certainly best known as having an absolute hammer for a curveball. However, he is able to mix other average or better pitches with excellent control. Top college pitchers usually dominate the Midwest League, so his numbers are not too surprising. So far this year, he is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 10 starts. In 60.1 innings, he has walked just seven and struck out 61. A recent groin injury has cost him a start or two, but as soon as he can come back and prove his health, you would have to think that he should soon be promoted to Ft. Myers. Personally, I think that he should spend the rest of the season pitching for the Miracle. He is ready.

2007 Projection: Should soon be promoted to Ft. Myers

Potential: #2 starter

Could be in Minnesota in: late 2009

#7 Kyle Waldrop RHP 21

2007 Team: Ft. Myers Miracle/New Britain Rockcats

Acquired: Twins 1st round pick in 2004 out of Farragut (Knoxville, TN) high school

I've said it before, but I really think that spending time back at Beloit in 2006 was very important for Kyle Waldrop. He had a solid but unspectacular 2005 season in the Midwest League. By starting 2006 there, he was able to gain confidence which carried into his midseason promotion to Ft. Myers. That is where he began the 2007 season and he pitched very well. He made eight starts for the Miracle and threw 44 innings. He went 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA. He walked ten and struck out 41. The fact that his strikeout rate really increased this season is another reason that he moved up this list as well. He has always been a control pitcher, but finding that ability to get outs without the assistance of his defense is an important trait. Reports say that he has continued to grow and get stronger and that his velocity is up. All that earned him a promotion to New Britain. Although he is 0-3 with the Rockcats, he has shown that he is ready for that level, that he is not overmatched. He has made four starts and thrown 23 innings. He has a 5.09 ERA. Now, he has just 12 strikeouts and an unusual nine strikeouts. However, five of the walks came in one game in which apparently none of the pitchers could throw strikes, so I take that for what it is. I think he should spend the rest of 2007 with the Rockcats. He will need to make some adjustments but we know that Waldrop has the makeup and intelligence to understand the process and work through the necessary adjustments. For what it is worth, which is likely not much at this point, he has certainly passed Jay Rainville and Anthony Swarzak in the rankings.

2007 Projection: starting in New Britain the rest of the year

Potential: potential #3 starter

Could be in Minnesota in: 2009

#6 David Winfree 3B 21

2007 Teams: New Britain Rockcats
: Twins 13th round pick in 2003 out of Virginia Beach (VA) H.S.

In my mind, David Winfree is the Twins minor leaguer with the biggest potential to give the Twins both power and some batting average. In my mind, I am anxious to see him hitting behind Justin Morneau in the Twins lineup for years. I predict his ceiling is what Michael Cuddyer, a fellow Virginia native, did in 2006. Winfree has consistently shown a knack for run production. This year, Winfree did miss 8-10 games with an injury, but he has continued to hit. He is currently hitting .279/.325/.455 with 14 doubles, two triples and three home runs in 150 at bats. He has 11 walks and 38 strikeouts. Obviously you'd like to see more walks and less strikeouts, but with the extra base hits, and power potential, you understand that there will be some strikeouts.

2007 Projection: starting 3B/1B/DH in New Britain
: Potential power hitting big league hitter
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2008

#5 Eduardo Morlan RHP 21

2007 Teams: Ft. Myers Miracle
: Twins 3rd round pick in 2004 out of Coral Park, FL

In a Q&A on this site last month, Morlan said that he definitely prefers working out of the bullpen. In an organization with so much starting pitching depth, it actually makes some sense to start grooming guys like Morlan and Mijares for bullpen duty. Morlan throws hard and has the other pitches to potentially be a very dominant closer. He clearly will need to refine each of his pitches and is learning daily. This year, Morlan has pitched in 18 games for the Miracle. He is 2-2 with a 2.79 ERA and eight saves. In 29 innings, he has given up 21 hits, five walks, and he has struck out 41 batters. Five walks and 41 strikeouts. I have to write that again because for a guy that is that young and throws this hard out of the bullpen, those are an excellent ratio. This guy's ceiling is very high. He could be a very dominant closer after Pat Neshek, or even Joe Nathan. So, although Kyle Waldrop surpassed Jay Rainville and Anthony Swarzak, I still think that Eddie Morlan has the highest ceiling of those 2004 high school pitching draft picks. 

2007 Projection: closing in Ft. Myers, promoted to New Britain
: Potential to be another dominant Twins closer
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2009

#4 Alexi Casilla SS/2B 22

2007 Teams: Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins
: came to Twins in JC Romero trade December 2005

It seems to me that many Twins fans are very quick to give up on a guy who struggles in his first real stint in the big leagues. Casilla came up for much of April because of the injuries to Luis Castillo and Jason Bartlett. He got regular playing time and he did not look overwhelmed. He made several "rookie mistakes" which should be expected from a guy who had spent no time in AAA before this season (and had less than a half season at AA last year). He hit .233 in just 43 at bats for the Twins before being sent back to Rochester. He stole four bases in four attempts. Down at AAA, it took him a while to adjust. He is now hitting .254/.346/.326 with five doubles, a triple, a homer and 13 RBI. He also has 13 stolen base in 17 attempts. In a dream world, the best Casilla comp would be Jose Reyes. That might be a bit lofty, but I can see a very easy comparison between Casilla and the Angels Chone Figgins. Early in his career, he came to the Angels as a pinch running type. He gradually earned more and more playing time, and soon after, he became a key igniter to the team. I can see Casilla hitting for a good batting average, but I mainly care about his on-base percentage because he will create havoc on the base paths (potentially 50-70 stolen bases a season?). And, although he'll never hit a lot of home runs, I can see his speed getting him a bunch of doubles and several triples. If nothing else, he will be very exciting to watch!    

2007 Projection: playing 2B in Rochester, with Twins a bit too.
: #1 or #2 hitter with big SB potential
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2007

#3 Glen Perkins LHP 24

2007 Teams: Rochester Red Wings/Minnesota Twins
: Twins 1st round pick in 2004 out of U. of Minnesota (and Stillwater, MN)

It would be hard for me to put a reliever in the Top 3 of any prospect list... so Perkins is here because I still believe that his future is as a starter. With his recent injury, I think it would be smart, when he is able, to send him to New Britain for a couple of rehab starts. Then I would keep him starting in Rochester for the time being. Perkins can hit 94 with his fastball. He has a big league changeup. He has a solid curveball. Three solid pitches, to me, means that he should be a starter. Obviously the key right now is for Perkins to get healthy. He had his moments working out of the Twins bullpen but was not real consistent. Although I don't know if he would get into the 2007 Twins starting rotation at any point, and could very well be a key bullpen guy for the Twins, I do think that he needs to work some innings and build up his arm as well.

2007 Projection: starting in Rochester hopefully soon, else Twins bullpen
: quality, long-term #3 type starter
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2007

#2 Kevin Slowey OF 23

2007 Teams: Rochester Red Wings
: Twins 2nd round pick in 2005 out of Winthrop U.

What more can be said about Mr. Slowey? Although he likely could have been ready to start the 2007 season in the Twins rotation, I think it was best for his development to start in Rochester. As good as he's been, let's not forget that in 2006, he spent half of the year at Ft. Myers. He spent much of the second half of the season with AA New Britain. He then traveled with Team USA to Cuba to pitch in the Olympic Qualifying tournament. He then came back and pitched in a AAA playoff game. In other words, getting a few AAA starts under his belt was not a bad thing. The exact number was nine... nine more AAA starts. That's all it took. Actually, it probably shouldn't have taken that long, but the Twins did want to wait until June 1st for financial reasons. For the Red Wings, Slowey went 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA. In 64.1 innings, he gave up just 47 hits and five walks for a 0.81 WHIP. He also struckout 57 hitters. All told, that earned him his big league promotion, and last Friday, he made his big league debut in Oakland against the Athletics. In six innings, he gave up just one run. Are there things that he needs to work on? Certainly, and he would likely be the first to admit that. He needs to continue to improve his offspeed pitches. But baseball is about adjustments and at every level, Slowey has shown the ability to make them. I expect nothing different with the Twins. Reading comparisons, the names of Brad Radke and Greg Maddux are brought up. Although any pitcher who attains the career success of either of those guys would have to be very happy. I think that the Radke comparison is good because of his composure on the mound. I think Slowey is the kind of guy that could (with proper/fair run support) win 14-17 games a year for a dozen years. Because of the low walks, he should have a solid WHIP, and I think he can keep his ERA down. 

2007 Projection: hopefully starting for the Twins the rest of the year! 
: long time #2 type pitcher, who really is a #1, who could be the Twins #4!
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2007

#1 Matt Garza RHP 23

2007 Teams: Rochester Red Wings
: Twins 1st round pick in 2005 out of Fresno State U.

Another example of a guy that moved quickly up the system, then got all the way to the Twins and struggled and many Twins fans want to give up on him. He is still so young. Now, this could still potentially be a very controversial selection at #1, and believe me, I went back and forth in my mind for the last few weeks. But even with the promotion of Slowey and the overplayed comments of Garza, I do believe that the ceiling for Garza is a little higher than Matt Garza. Why? Well, it's the old "stuff" argument. The fact is that Garza can hit 97 and 98 mph with his fastball. His slider has tremendous bite to it. Does he need to continue to work on his 'other' pitches to potentially reach that ceiling? Of course he does. Has he displayed some arrogance? Maybe. But at the same time, don't the best pitchers in baseball show that? I think they have to. And, for all the negative talk about Garza, it is important to point out that for the year, his ERA is just 3.19 over 62 innings. That is solid. Early starts in sub-freezing conditions and lack of run support have meant a 3-5 record, but that means nothing. He has struck out 60 hitters in those 62 innings. Clearly the 26 walks are far too many. That is why his WHIP is up at 1.32. I really don't think it will be long before we see Matt Garza back in a Twins uniform, maybe a month. And, as soon as he records one more big league out, he will no longer be eligible for prospect lists as he will have lost rookie eligibility.    

2007 Projection: starting in Rochester, up to Twins at some point
: long time #2 type pitcher, who really is a #1, who could be the Twins #4!
Could be in Minnesota in
: 2007

Twins Thoughts (Twins 1, Angels 5)

  • OK, so, Scott Baker's first start was excellent. His second start was average. His third start was bad. Last night, his fourth start, was average. That means that his next start out to be excellent again, right? I actually thought that Baker looked alright most of the time. Why they pitched to Vlad Guerrero with two outs and a runner on third in the third inning. He needs to be walked there, even if Baker got him to ground into a double play in the first inning.

  • In his post-game interview, Gardy questioned the pitch selection and the location of the home run in the sixth inning to Casey Kotchman. My thinking is that you can argue pitch selection, however, it was a fastball at the knees. It would have been a strike, but it was down within the strike zone, something the coaching staff (and media) are throwing down his throat. So, I don't think you can say it was bad location.

  • Matt Guerrier again did a nice job. Carmen Cali got the two left-handed bats out that he was asked to.

  • The Twins bats are more than a little cold right now! Against Kelvim Escobar, who has been excellent this year, the Twins managed just one run on three hits. Torii Hunter's solo homer accounted for the team's lone run.

  • Two bits of good news though - First, assuming his game in Ft. Myers goes well tonight, Joe Mauer will be back in the Twins lineup on Friday night. Second, he will likely be hitting 2nd in the Twins lineup. Because no one has stepped up to be an on-base guy, putting the best on-base guy in that #2 spot ahead of Cuddyer, Morneau, Hunter and Kubel makes a lot of sense.

  • With Mauer coming back, the Twins will need to send someone to the minors. I don't think it will be Chris Heintz for insurance on Mauer. I can't help but wonder if that is why Luis(!) Rodriguez has been in the lineup the last two games. Or, if that is why Jason Tyner has been in the lineup the last two days. Unless the Twins send down a pitcher, one of those two likely will be demoted to Rochester.

  • Michael Cuddyer is 3-19 on this road trip. Justin Morneau is 2-19. Torii Hunter is 3-16. Not exactly the kind of production that you would want from your 3-4-5 hitters. Of course, Hunter does have homers in his last two games.

  • Kevin Slowey will get to face this Angels lineup this afternoon (at 2:00 central time). He will be matched up against one of baseball's best pitchers, John Lackey. Another tough matchup!   

  • Another new Twins blog... check out Boof! Blogger.    

Minor League Updates

Here are the Twins updates from last night, including game reports of their minor league affiliates.

Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day Erik Lis, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day Julio DePaula, Rochester Red Wings


Tuesday - Red Wings 3, Indianapolis 4  David Gassner fell to 1-5 with the loss in this game. The lefty went the first five innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five. Then Julio DePaula threw three shutout innings. Denard Span went 2-3 with his 13th stolen base. Garrett Jones was 2-4. Glenn Williams knocked his fourth homer, and Matt Tolbert hit his third homer. It is interesting that Tolbert his second in the Red Wings lineup. Even when he was hitting near .400 earlier, they kept him in the 9th spot.

Tuesday - Rockcats 4, Altoona 5
Ryan Mullins was very good in his second AA start. He went seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four. Frank Mata took the loss though. He gave up three runs over the final two innings. He gave up six hits. Felix Molina went 4-5 with an RBI. David Winfree was 2-4. Brock Peterson hit his seventh homer. Matt Allegra, the SethSpeaks Hitter of the Month who was yesterday named the Twins minor league player of the month, and Kyle Geiger each doubled.


Tuesday - Miracle 4, Jupiter 3 (10)
Oswaldo Sosa was back on the mound yesterday. The righty went the first 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out five. Kyle Aselton went the next 1.2 innings without allowing further damage. He struck out three. Eddie Morlan got a blown save. He gave up an unearned run on one hit and a walk in two innings. Angel Garcia pitched the 10th and was perfect. Erik Lis went 4-5 with his 13th doubles and an RBI. Dwayne White went 3-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Whit Robbins went 2-4 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. Caleb Moore hit his first homer to give the Twins the lead in the 10th inning.

Tuesday - Snappers 1, Peoria 9
The Snapper bats managed just five hits in this game. Danny Berg went 2-4 with his fourth double. Adam Hawes fell to 3-6 on the year. He gave up three runs on four hits and two walks over six innings. Matt Fox pitched another perfect inning in relief. Danny Vais gave up six runs on five hits and a walk in his inning.


Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.

That is it for today. Have a gooden!



If you would like to see the complete Top 50 Twins Prospects list, please click here. Again, I would love to hear your comments on it.

Kevin Slowey will take the mound against the Angels today in a game that starts at 2:35 central time.

Be sure to check out Joe Christensen's blog today where you can discuss the team's biggest surprises and biggest disappoinments.

And, on the eve of the MLB draft, check out John Sickels' blog. Each year he shadows the Twins draft and picks who he would have picked in that spot. It's just a fun exercise, but a fun read. I'm sure he will do it again tomorrow afternoon.

And finally, if you check out the Comments from Roger's most recent minor league update at Twinkie Town, you will see that Jesse asked Roger and I a few questions about the Twins system. I think you'll enjoy it and certainly feel free to comment on those as well.     



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