Minnesota Twins Pre-Season Top 20 Review
With the season well past us, it is time to review the pre-season top 20 lists and see how these guys turned out.
Remember, this was the PRE-SEASON LIST!!!! generated nine months ago.
1) Jesse Crain, RHP
Successful year in middle relief, going 12-5, 2.71 in 80 innings. However, I am very concerned about his poor 25/29 K/BB ratio. The walk rate is reasonable, but where are the strikeouts? I have doubts about his future unless that improves.
2) Jason Kubel, OF
Rehab from horrible knee injury reportedly is going well. Should return in '06.
3) J.D. Durbin, RHP
Went 5-5, 4.33 in 19 starts for Triple-A Rochester, 90/51 K/BB in 104 innings. Had some problems with his control, and was bothered by shoulder soreness. Status has slipped in prospect-rich system.
4) Scott Baker, RHP
5-8, 3.01 in 22 starts at Rochester, then 3-3, 3.35 in nine starts for the Twins. A solid pitcher who is ready for the rotation in 2006, he has excellent command of slightly better-than-average stuff, and has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. About as safe an investment as you can make in a young pitcher.
5) Glen Perkins, LHP
Pitched well in the first half in A-ball, but slipped after moving up to Double-A, going 4-4, 4.90 in 14 starts with a 67/35 K/BB in 79 innings. It wasn't as easy to fool Double-A hitters with his combination of breaking pitches, changeups, and sinking fastballs. I think he has a good chance to adjust, but his status has slipped a bit.
6) Jason Bartlett, SS
Hit .332 in Triple-A, but just .241/.316/.335 in 74 games in the majors. Don't think they were patient enough with him, but he has nothing left to prove in the minors, and deserves a full shot in '06.
7) Adam Harben, RHP
Went 10-5, 2.66 in 25 starts for Class A Fort Myers, 119/62 K/BB in 135 innings. Harben has plus stuff and is gradually improving his command. He will move to Double-A in 2006, and if his command holds up he could see major league action in the second half.
8) Francisco Liriano, LHP
Began the season as a decent prospect with good upside, ended it as the best LHP prospect in the game. Has always had a live arm, but he improved his command this year, and looks very much like Johan Santana during his breakthrough. Which doesn't mean Liriano will be another Santana, but that is the kind of ceiling Liriano has.
9) Alex Romero, OF
Hit .301/.354/.458 with 15 homers at Double-A New Britain. His power is developing, but it needs to improve further if Romero wants to avoid being a "tweener." At age 21, he has lots of time left on the prospect clock.
10) Trevor Plouffe, SS
Hit just .223 at Class A Beloit, although he hit 13 homers and posted a decent 50/78 BB/K ratio in 466 at-bats. Plouffe needs to make some adjustments, but scouts are still favorably disposed to him. Sabermetrically, the only thing really wrong was his batting average, which can have a lot to do with luck and context.
11) Kyle Waldrop, RHP
Posted a nice 108/23 K/BB ratio, but his other numbers for Beloit weren't good: 6-11, 4.98 ERA in 27 starts, allowed 182 hits in 152 innings. His stuff is better than the H/IP implies, but he needs to do a better job throwing quality strikes. Waldrop is very projectable and impressive to watch in person, but he needs to be handled carefully.
12) Matt Moses, 3B
Overcame back problems that hampered him in 2004. Hit .306/.376/.453 at Class A Fort Myers, but just .210/.275/.366 after moving up to Double-A, a promotion too far. Moses will need another year at least before being ready for the majors, and a consolidation season in Double-A would help.
13) Jay Rainville, RHP
Combined for 12-5 mark with 3.35 ERA, 112/33 K/BB ratio between Beloit and Fort Myers. Showed an excellent curveball. His fastball was actually less impressive this year than it was in high school, down around 88-89 rather than 90-94, but it didn't inhibit his pitching due to his sharp command. Main red flag is high home run rate.
14) Matt Fox, RHP
Injured all year. Status unclear at this time.
15) Anthony Swarzak, RHP
Combined for 12-9, 3.90 ERA, 166/43 K/BB for Beloit and Fort Myers. Swarzak (like Scott Baker above) has good command of stuff that is a bit better than average, and in Swarzak's case he is young enough at age 19 to have considerable projection left. Will rise up the prospect charts quickly as long as he remains healthy.
16) Boof Bonser, RHP
Went 11-9, 3.99 in 28 starts for Rochester, with 168/57 K/BB in 160 innings. Adjusted well to Triple-A. Doesn't throw as hard as he used to, now projecting as more of a number four or five starter, but still has a reasonable chance to have a good career.
17) Travis Bowyer, RHP
Relief sleeper, saved 23 with 2.78 ERA and 96/40 K/BB in 74 innings at Rochester. Very strong K/IP reflects plus stuff. Still needs to refine his control a bit, but another good option as a middle reliever and possible future closer.
18) Scott Tyler, RHP
Another live arm, would be considered a top prospect in some systems. 3.95 ERA with 109/48 K/BB in 118 innings for Fort Myers. Needs to improve the consistency of his breaking ball, and may be better-suited for relief down the road.
19) Terry Tiffee, 3B
Hit .266/.313/.454 in 58 games at Rochester, with 10 homers, then .207/.245/.293 in 54 games for the Twins. Overmatched in major league action, and probably a "tweener" in the long run as a corner player with only marginal power.
20) Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP
Returned to Seattle under Rule 5.Went 6-7, 4.35 in 33 games, 17 starts for Double-A San Antonio with 102/51 K/BB in 122 innings. OK prospect, not spectacular.