Thursday, September 18, 2014

Twins Prospects in the Arizona Fall League

With opening day just a few weeks away for the Arizona Fall League, Pitchers’ Duel gives a quick look at all seven Minnesota Twins prospects who will be making their way to the deserts of Arizona.  Some will be looking to extend an already solid 2014 campaign while others are looking to make up at bats and innings due to missed time.  The scouting reports are compiled from Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.  For the players’ rankings, the BP ranking is from Jason Parks’ preseason rankings.  MLB Pipeline updates their rankings as deals are made and are current.  The Baseball America rankings are from their preseason reports.

Jason Adam (RHP) 
6’4”  225 lbs

Acquired by the Twins from the Royals in exchange for outfielder Josh Willingham, Adam has split time between AA with the Twins and Royals and pitched eight games (all in relief) at the AAA level for Kansas City.  Between those three stops, he had a 4.70 ERA in 29 games (19 starts).  He totaled 120.2 innings and struck out 103 and walked just 36.  Jason Parks (formerly of Baseball Prospectus and now a scout for the Chicago Cubs) said his ultimate role is a number four starter at best or a long reliever out of the pen.  His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s with an above-average breaking pitch and occasional change up.

2014 Prospect Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: #9 (Royals)
MLB Pipeline: NA
Baseball America: #9

Mason Melotakis (LHP)
6’2”  206 lbs

Drafted by Minnesota in the second round of the 2012 in the First-Year Player Draft, Melotakis has found a home in the bullpen in 2014.  Used as a starter in 2013, he was promoted to Fort Myers (Advanced A) to start the season.  After 25 appearances (just two starts) he was promoted to the AA level.  Between the two levels he had a 3.14 ERA and averaged just under a strikeout per inning in 63 innings.  MLB Pipeline notes he was a closer in college and since moving to the pen, he has focused on throwing a plus fastball (up to 97 mph) and tight slider.  Melotakis finished the season on the DL so he is making up for lost innings this fall.

2014 Prospect Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: NA
MLB Pipeline: #18
Baseball America: #18

Jake Reed (RHP)
6’2”  190 lbs

Reed is making his way up the Twins ranks quickly as he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.  He comes from the University of Oregon where he was a started for his first two seasons.  In his draft year he was moved to the closer role where he thrived.  Baseball America says he gets early contact with his sinker and produces a lot of ground balls with that pitch along with his slider.  His fastball out of the pen is in the mid 90s and if he returns to the rotation in the Twins’ system, it take a step back to the 87-92 range.  In his first professional season he pitched for the E-Town Twins and make four scoreless appearances before moving up to Cedar Rapids where he pitched 16 games covering 25 innings.  He pitched to a spectacular 0.29 ERA this season and struck out 39 while walking just three in 31 total innings.

2014 Prospect Rankings
Baseball Prospectus: NA
MLB Pipeline: NA
Baseball America: NA

Taylor Rogers (LHP)
6’3”  175 lbs

A long and lanky southpaw, Rogers looks to be the only starter in the Salt River Rafters rotation from the Twins.  He spent all of 2014 in AA and in 24 starts he had a 3.29 ERA.  He showed good control by striking out 113 batters while walking only 37.  Baseball America notes that his velocity isn’t overpowering usually sitting at 90-92 mph.  He has good pitchability throwing his curveball and change up for strikes and keeping hitters off balance.  

2014 Prospect Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: NA
MLB Pipeline: NA
Baseball America: #19

Byron Buxton (OF)
6’2”  190 lbs
B/T: R/R

There isn’t much to say about Buxton’s 2014 season as it wasn’t much of one.  Injuries limited him to just 124 at bats and when things were finally looking up for the former second overall selection, a collision in his first AA game forced the young stud to miss the rest of the season with a concussion.  He is familiar with the AFL as he played in 12 games for the Desert Dogs in 2013.  He batted just .212/.288/.404 but it was a small sample and his first time facing pitching at that high of a talent level.  It wouldn’t be a surprise for Buxton to struggle this fall as he hasn’t seen live pitching in a while but this it to make up for the lost season and get his legs under him.  It will be fun for the fans in Arizona to see the top prospect in baseball back on the field.

2014 Prospectus Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: #1
MLB Pipeline: #1
Baseball America: #1

Max Kepler (OF)
6’4”  205 lbs
B/T: L/L

Kepler is already in his fifth professional season and he just became a legal consumer of alcohol in February of this year.  2014 was truly his first full season as he played over 100 games for the first time in his career.  He had a slash line of .264/.333/.393.  Due to an elbow injury, the native of Germany has been limited to first base and left field to make up for his lack of a throwing arm.  He hasn’t shown great power and Baseball America says he struggles against lefties and to project more at those positions, he’ll need to show more out-of-the-park power than the gap power he has shown in games.  Kepler also has experience in the AFL as he played in 18 games last season where he had a slash line of .234/.306/.313.  The parks in the AFL are hitter-friendly so hopefully that can lead to some homers and give him a positive going into 2015.
2014 Prospect Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: NA
MLB Pipeline: #19
Baseball America: #11

Eddie Rosario (OF)
6’1”  180 lbs
B/T: L/R

Rosario is another Twins prospect looking to make up for lost time this season.  However, it is not due to injury rather a drug-related suspension that cost him 50 games.  He was able to play in 87 games this year and he batted a meager .243/.286/.387 in that time.  After breaking out in 2013, this is seen as a setback and people are starting to cast doubt over Rosario’s future potential.  The former fourth-round pick was moved to second base in 2013 but went back to the outfield in 2014.  Scouts say he has above average bat speed that can lead to many doubles but no more than 15 homers.  He also has time in the AFL playing 20 games in the desert last fall.  He hit .238/.262/.275 in those 20 games but when he made contact his BABIP was .279.  At the higher levels, he has a tendency to swing and miss so more contact would be welcomed so he can take advantage of the bat speed.  With the move back to the outfield he will have to show more promise with the bat as he did in 2012-13 so he can find a spot in Target Field where the outfield is becoming crowded.

2014 Prospect Rankings:
Baseball Prospectus: #7
MLB Pipeline: #10

Baseball America: #6

No comments:

Post a Comment