Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 Minnesota Twins Prospects Preview

Top Twins prospect, Miguel Sano. (FoxSportsNorth.com)
Minnesota Twins prospect expert Seth Stohs, of Twins Daily, was kind enough to take some time and answer my questions about the Twins farm system.  We talk about Minnesota's top two prospects, prospects that Sox fans will see see in 2013 with the Twins, underrated/overlooked prospects, and Minnesota's minor league system as a whole.  Again, check out Seth's work over at Twins Daily and keep up with our AL Central rivals by following him on Twitter.

Pale Hose Prospectus: You, and many others, have 3B Miguel Sano as the top prospect in the Twins system. Can you give White Sox fans a little scouting report on Sano? How high is his ceiling? Are the Giancarlo Stanton comparisons warranted?

Seth Stohs: Sano has immense power potential. He had 28 homers in the Midwest League as a 19 year old. He is huge. He is about 6-4 and probably 240 pounds, very strong, very athletic. The question remains about whether he will be able to remain at 3B. I think he can, with a lot of work, but most think he'll move to RF or 1B at some point. He has Stanton-like power, no question. Will he make enough contact, we shall see.

PHP: The Twins spent the #2 overall pick last year on high schooler Byron Buxton from Georgia. You rank Buxton second in your top 30 list. From reports, it seems that Buxton can legitimately be a five-tool player. What else can you tell us about Buxton?

SS: Buxton is a tremendous athlete with tools that are off the charts. His speed is on par with the fastest players in baseball, including Bill Hamilton. He has tremendous range in centerfield and a very powerful arm. In high school, he pitched his team to the state champion with a 98 mph fastball. He is long and lanky, resembling BJ Upton, but he does have power and the belief is that he will develop more power. He will need to make more contact (although we shouldn't make too much of his first season in pro ball) to be able to hit for average. He has a chance to be pretty special, and there are a lot of people who have Sano and Buxton flip-flopped atop the Twins ranking.

PHP: Are there any prospects right now that Sox fans can expect to make an impact with the Twins in 2013?

SS: There are actually several prospects that the Twins and their fans will see in 2013. Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson will both be given a shot to be the Twins starting centerfielder on Opening Day. Both are tremendous athletes with great speed and range and very strong arms. Benson was hurt throughout 2012 which cost him his season. Hicks finally put up numbers that filled the stat line. Also, Oswaldo Arcia was the Twins minor league hitter of the month. He hit well in 2012 at Ft. Myers, but was even better when he moved up to AA New Britain. The right fielder is a pure hitter with power to all fields. We should see him sometime in the middle of the season. On the mound, Kyle Gibson returns from Tommy John surgery and it will be interesting to see how the Twins bring him back. Will he start the season in the bullpen? Will he start the season as a starter and be shut down late in the season like Stephen Strasburg? I guess we'll see. Late in the season, we might see recent acquisitions, RHPs Alex Meyer and Trevor May.

PHP: Are there any prospects that don't get a lot of attention that you really like?

SS: I love the power potential of 1B Kennys Vargas who looks the part of David Ortiz on the field. I've always been high on SS Daniel Santana as a speed, glove, range guy. I think that BJ Hermsen has been undervalued because he doesn't strikeout many batters or hit high velocities, but he is very smart and very successful. Finally, I'm intrigued by the Twins 2012 college relief pitcher draft picks. Some are very hard throwing (Zack Jones) and several will be given an opportunity to start (Luke Bard, Mason Melotakis, Tyler Duffey). How they progress is what intrigues me the most.

PHP: Finally, how do you feel about Minnesota's farm system overall? John Sickels just ranked the system 7th overall, do you agree with that?

SS: I don't really pay attention to the other organizations as thoroughly, so I can't tell you if 7th is about right or not. That said, I haven't been this excited about a group of Twins prospects in at least a half-dozen years. The acquisitions or Alex Meyer and Trevor May to go along with guys like Gibson, JO Berrios and Hermsen give the Twins some pitchers to be excited about. Those 2012 picks are very exciting. But to have a Top 10 that starts with guys like Sano, Buxton, Arcia, Meyer, Hicks, Gibson, Berrios and Eddie Rosario is exciting, and there are a lot more players who look like potential role players in the big leagues too. The system is definitely much improved!

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