Before the 2013 season started, MLB.com put together the top 20 prospects for each ball club to give fans some young talent to watch for in their favorite organization. Many times it seems a good portion of these players struggle through their careers in the minor leagues as they try to fulfill their potential (see: Joe Benson, Matt Moses, Adam Johnson, etc.). This year, however, has produced a hot start for many of the future Twins now playing in Rochester, New Britain, Fort Myers, and Cedar Rapids. Check out some members of the Twins minor league system poised to someday make an Opening Day roster.
MLB.com’s #1 Twins prospect is 19 year old third baseman Miguel Sano, who has helped the High-A Fort Myers Miracle to a Florida State League leading 19-4 record. Sano has been no less than dominant, hitting .360 with a league-leading 9 home runs and 24 RBI’s. This includes a 10-game hitting streak in the middle. He’s made just 4 errors (2 in the same game) and reports are that his fielding at third has drastically improved since last season when he made an error every three games.
Sano’s teammate, Eddie Rosario (#8 Twins prospect on MLB.com), is having equally as good of a season in Fort Myers. He’s hitting .351 right now, with 19 RBI’s and has scored 21 runs (which leads the Florida State League) batting in front of Sano and Company. Rosario has a 12-game hitting streak mixed in, and is said to be making the transition from center field to second base very well.
Alex Meyer is the 3rd ranked Twins prospect, and is under the microscope by many Twins fans being the pitcher received in return for Denard Span. Pitching for AA New Britain, Meyer has lived up to all hopes and expectations so far. He’s 2-0 in 4 starts, with a 1.64 ERA. He’s struck out 26 batters in just 22 innings, walked 8, and given up just 4 runs – none of which came on home runs. His best start came a little over a week ago, when he went 6 innings, gave up just 1 hit (although he walked 4), and struck out 5 while pitching shutout baseball. He’s won both of his last two starts, and if he can get his walk numbers down a little more, will hopefully be looking at a promotion to AAA Rochester in the next few months.
Another key trade piece from this off-season, Trevor May, is the #7 Twins prospect. Also pitching for New Britain, May has been almost equally as impressive as Meyer. Through 4 starts, May is 1-1 with a 2.11 ERA, striking out 23 batters in 21.1 innings. He too has struggled with walks with 13, and although he’s given up just 5 runs, he’s given up 3 long balls. In May’s last outing, he pitched 7 strong innings, giving up just 3 hits, 3 walks, and stuck out 4 batters while not giving up any runs. Similar to Meyer, the hope is that May will climb the ladder quickly if his starts continue to go well.
Last year’s #1 draft pick Byron Buxton is the #2 ranked Twins prospect, and could possibly be the most exciting prospect in the farm system. Buxton is currently the leader of the Midwest League’s top team in Cedar Rapids. The 19 year old center fielder leads the league in hitting at .389 and runs scored with 21. He’s hit 5 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs out of the leadoff spot for the Kernels, stolen 8 bases, and has walked more than he’s struck out (18/15). His OBP is an alarming league-leading .511, he’s been on base all 20 games he’s played, and the kid seems to be everything the Twins hoped for when they drafted him out of high school last summer. Look for Buxton to patrol the outfield grass for the Twins in the next 2, probably more like 3 years.
Jose Berrios is just 18 years old, and stands as the #9 prospect in the Twins system. After representing Puerto Rico out of the bullpen in the World Baseball Classic, Berrios finally made his 2013 debut for Cedar Rapids a week ago. Berrios pitched 5 innings, gave up 2 runs, 7 hits, a walk, and struck out 5. Along with May, Meyer, and Kyle Gibson, Berrios could figure into a very strong future starting rotation in the years to come.
Speaking of Kyle Gibson, he’s the #4 ranked prospect in the organization, and at age 25 in AAA Rochester, Gibson is on the brink of making his major league debut this season – following in the footsteps of outfielders Aaron Hicks (#6) and Oswaldo Arcia (#5). Gibson is off to a strong start at the AAA level. In 5 starts, he’s just 1-3, but holds a 3.33 ERA in 27 innings, with 26 strike outs, just 9 walks, and only 21 hits. He’s given up just 1 home run in those 5 outings, and only 10 runs. Gibson seems to have worked out most of his control problems he was dealing with this spring, and was a magician in his last start on Saturday. He went 6.2 innings, gave up just 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 7 while allowing 0 runs in his first victory of the season. Look for Gibson to make his Twins debut very soon, depending on injuries or struggles in the current rotation.
All in all it has been a fantastic start to the season in the Twins farm system. Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers are both in first place, while New Britain and Rochester are starting to heat up. Most importantly the club’s top prospects are living up to their billing. Each of these players have come out of the gates hot, which hasn’t always been the case for some of the guys with the highest expectations. What makes the future of the organization even more exciting is that the big league club is playing much better than expected, and giving Twins fans hope that 2013 may just be a competitive year all around for the Twins.
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