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Minnesota Twins: Top 10 Prospects For 2013

Twins prospectsFresh off back-to-back dismal seasons that saw them lose 99 games in 2011 and 96 last year, the Minnesota Twins launched an off-season strategy to upgrade their rotation. To accomplish this, they continued their familiar habit of trading young veterans who are getting more expensive to other clubs.

This offseason, they dealt outfielder Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for highly regarded starting pitching prospect Alex Meyer and outfielder Ben Revere to the Philadelphia Phillies for right-hander Vance Worley. Worley will join free agents Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey in the starting rotation.

Scott Diamond, a former Rule 5 Draft selection by the Twins, projects to be there, too. Though Meyer and other promising arms like Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios and Trevor May are not yet Major League ready, the Twins are hopeful that they can build an effective rotation that consists of multiple homegrown starters over the next few seasons.

Here are the top 10 prospects in the Twins’ farm system:

1) One of the most prominent international free agents signed out of the Dominican Republic in several years, 19-year-old Miguel Sano features power to all fields and projects to hit for average and power as he grows stronger and climbs the minors. A defensively sound third baseman, Sano was among the leaders in multiple offensive categories in 2011 in the Appalachian League and belted 28 home runs with 100 RBI last year in the low Single-A Midwest League.

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2) The second overall pick of last summer’s draft out of high school, 19-year-old Byron Buxton is a potential five-tool center fielder who gained valuable experience between the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League after he signed. Buxton projects to hit for average and power while stealing bases and providing superb defense.

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3) A Venezuela native, 21-year-old Oswaldo Arcia is prone to striking out, but he possesses raw power and is best suited as a corner outfielder. He batted .320 with 17 home runs, 98 RBI and a .928 OPS between advanced Single-A and Double-A last season. Chris Parmelee, Buxton, Arcia and Aaron Hicks (see below) could give the Twins an array of formidable homegrown outfield options by 2015.

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4) Washington’s first round pick (23rd overall) out of the University of Kentucky in 2011, 23-year-old Alex Meyer stands 6-foot-9 and features a high 90’s fast ball and a power slider. A Futures Game participant last summer, he split the season between low Single-A and advanced Single-A, logging a 2.86 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and a nifty .211 batting average against. He struck out 139 in 129 innings.

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5) A first round selection out of high school in 2008, 23-year-old Aaron Hicks is a switch-hitting outfielder with advanced plate discipline and an aptitude for getting on base. An exceptional defensive outfielder with a strong arm, Hicks had an all-around season in 2012 at Double-A New Britain with a slash line of .286/.384/.460/.844  to accompany 13 home runs, 61 RBI, 11 triples and 32 stolen bases.

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6) On the fast track to the majors after he was chosen in the first round (22nd overall) out of the University of Missouri in 2009, 25-year-old Kyle Gibson underwent Tommy John surgery and saw his career interrupted. The right-hander returned to the mound last July and made 11 starts between rookie league, Single-A and Triple-A. Gibson could be ready for his Major League debut in 2013.

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7) A supplemental first round pick (32nd overall) from Puerto Rico last summer, 18-year-old Jose Berrios has a mid-90s fast ball with movement and a sharp breaking ball. He throws strikes and delivered an impressive pro debut, posting a 1.17 ERA, a 0.62 WHIP and a .140 batting average against overall 11 games (including four starts) in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League in 2012. He struck out 49 in 30.2 innings.

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8)Drafted in the fourth round out of high school in 2010, 21-year-old Eddie Rosario is an advanced hitter with plus speed who is adapting to second base after moving there from center field.

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9 )Boasting a mid-90s fast ball that sinks along with a plus curve ball and change-up, Trevor May was so-so at Double-A Reading last season in the Phillies organization as his 4.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 87 walks in 149.2 innings suggest. Yet the Twins are high on the right-hander they acquired from Philadelphia with Worley in the Revere trade. He struck out 151 batters and has a live arm.

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10) Germany isn’t exactly what you would call a treasure chest for baseball players, but the Twins found a potential gold harvest with Max Kepler, who was signed out in 2009. Just 19, the left-handed hitting outfielder has raw power and the potential to stick in center field.


Jeff Louderback is a professional writer, author, editor and publicist whose work about the Red Sox, the Red Sox farm system and general Major League and Minor League columns and features appear in print and online media outlets.