Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Twins Chatter’s Top 10 Prospects List: Part One

First off, thanks for coming by the site today. I know I have been extremely unreliable of late, but school and some other things have been just kicking my butt recently (I’m speaking in the figurative sense of course, although it wouldn’t surprise me if those words proved prophetic, the way things are going right now). Anyway, last week I promised that prospect week was on its way, and I intend to deliver on that promise.

I’ve been contemplating when to do my top 10 Twins prospects lists for quite some time (the post practically writes itself!) but I just haven’t found the most opportune time yet. But I figured with spring training starting and all (minor leaguers will be reporting next week I think) I thought it was high time I gave it the ol’ college try.

The top five will be released today, while I’ll post the next five tomorrow. More analysis and discussion will also be forthcoming over the next few days, but feel free to post your own thoughts and comments as well below.

Twins’ Top 10 Prospects

10. Trevor Plouffe (SS, drafted 1st round 2004) – The Twins have so many solid prospects that this spot could have gone to any number of players, but I particularly like Plouffe. He’s a bit on the spindly side right now (6’1”, 170 lbs) but has an athletic body that projects well. He experienced moderate success at Elizabethton last year, and it will be interesting to see how he fares during his first full pro season in 2005. ETA: 2008

9. Adam Harben (RHP, 12th rd. 2002) – Harben is a guy that neither I nor most other Twins fans know much about right now, as he’s kind of flown under the radar. But people like John Sickels and Baseball America regard him highly (especially as a sleeper) and his stats are very impressive from Quad Cities—3.09 ERA and 10.8 K/9 IP a year ago. Not too shabby at all. ETA: late 2007/2008

8. Jason Bartlett (SS, acq. in Brian Buchanan trade 2001) – Obviously this is a “prospect” list for a reason, as the major league-ready Bartlett is pretty advanced compared to some of the other guys on this list. I like Bartlett’s chances to be a very solid (if unspectacular) shortstop in the major leagues for quite some time. He should hit well enough to keep a job in the long run (this season notwithstanding) and if his defensive issues can be worked out (and I believe the Twins coaching staff was right to be critical of him last year) he could have a good career ahead of him. ETA: 2005

7. Glen Perkins (LHP, 1st rd. 2004) – For whatever reason, Perkins just hasn’t gotten as much recognition as I would have anticipated coming off a strong first pro season. First of all no major baseball card manufacturers produce a rookie card of the ‘U’ product (which might not strike you as particularly noteworthy, but from someone who knows, believe me—it is odd) and then BA leaves him completely off their top-10 prospects list. Who knows why this is the case, but we do know that Perkins is a very advanced and polished pitcher who probably won’t ever been a #1 starter, but should end up as a very solid lefty for the Twins within the next couple of years. Keep an eye out for a Scott Baker-like rise from Perkins in 2005. ETA:2007

6. Scott Baker (RHP, drafted 2nd rd. 2003) – Baker’s rapid ascension in 2004 was pretty unexpected, but exciting. The 23 year-old pitched at three different levels last season (A, AA, and AAA) and dominated the first two during this rather brief stints. However, he did hit up against reality at Rochester, where his ERA jumped up to almost 5.00 and his strikeout rate dipped significantly. I firmly believe Baker will be ready for the Show after a full season at AAA and could possibly help the team later in 2005 if injuries and/or ineffectiveness become a problem. I get the impression that Baker doesn’t quite have the stuff to dominate the majors like he did the minors last year (which is why he’s sixth on this list instead of like two or three), but there’s still no reason that he shouldn’t be a solid #2-4 starter in the very near future. ETA: mid-to-late 2005

TOMORROW:Prospects #1-5