Those of you who are Twins fans should be familiar with the work of Seth Stohs, who runs the excellent Minnesota Twins prospect blog SethSpeaks.net. I also strongly recommend Seth's Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.
I'm pleased to announce that Seth has agreed to contribute occasionally here at Minor League Ball. I'm on the disabled list today, so this is the perfect time for Seth to weigh in with a look at Five Twins Prospects You May Not Have Heard Of....Yet.
Five Twins Prospects You May Not Have Heard Of... Yet
By Seth Stohs
The Twins farm system has certainly taken great strides again in the last couple of years. High ceiling draft choices like Aaron Hicks, Angel Morales, Ben Revere, Joe Benson and Kyle Gibson have helped. Their work in the international market has been terrific, and the signings of high-profile players like Max Kepler and Miguel Sano continues that trend. However, it isn't always the high-profile prospects that impact the big league club. Sure, you have to have a few stars to be a great team, but finding other players who are able to fill holes and play well are what make those teams great.
Here are five Twins prospects that you may not have heard of, or at least may not heard enough about... yet. But they are all guys who could find themselves in a Twins uniform when needed.
Kyle Waldrop - The Twins third first round pick in 2004, Waldrop was a starter until he needed to miss the entire 2008 season with shoulder surgery. He returned in 2009, with full range of motion in his arm, in the Ft. Myers bullpen and soon advanced to Double-A New Britain. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp this spring and was among the few that remained with the Twins until the final days. He was supposed to return to New Britain, but when Alex Burnett was promoted to the Twins, Waldrop went to AAA Rochester and has been very good, very consistent. He has very good fastball movement with great sinking action. He won't strike out a lot, but will induce a lot of ground balls. He could be with the Twins as early as this summer.
Brian Dinkelman - Dinkelman was the Twins 8th round pick in 2006 out of McKendree University in Illinois. He left as the all-time leader in most offensive categories in the NAIA. He has continued to hit as he has moved up the Twins system. He played mainly 2B until Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain last year. Dinkelman was moved to the outfield, which is where he is playing this year. Dinkelman is a good top of the order type. He walks more than he strikes out. He uses the whole field and hits a lot of doubles. He is probably ready to play in the big leagues now, if the opportunity came up.
Santos Arias - Although he is currently 0-4 with a 4.22 ERA in seven games with the New Britain Rockcats, he has a chance to be quite good. In 2009, he started the season in the Ft. Myers bullpen, where he pitched very well. He moved into the starting rotation and made nine starts. In all, he was 6-3 with a 2.15 ERA. Although he is very skinny, he has been very durable. He throws 94 mph with a very good changeup. Remind you of anyone?
Chris Herrmann - The Twins drafted Herrmann with their 6th round pick in 2009 out of the University of Miami. In college, he primarily played 2B and 3B. The Twins drafted him as a catcher, but at Elizabethton, he played LF nearly every day. At Instructs, he focused behind the plate. To start this season, he skipped Beloit and jumped to Ft. Myers, something the Twins rarely do in the lower levels (think Rene Tosoni). This year, he is splitting time between LF, CF and catcher. Craig Biggio, anyone? Herrmann can hit for average, has doubles power, and has displayed the ability to get on-base well. Herrmann is a well rounded player with a ton of versatility who could be a top of the order type of hitter.
Liam Hendriks - Through May 1st, Hendriks is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a 0.54 WHIP. In 28 innings (over 5 starts), he has 3 walks and 32 strikeouts. Just 21 years old, he is quickly flying up Twins prospect lists. After signing with the Twins in early 2007, he missed all of 2008 with a spinal cord surgery. He came back in 2009 and pitched at Elizabethton before making 11 starts at Beloit. He has also been a very good representative of Australia in the WBC and the World Cup in the past year. He has the stuff and the baseball IQ to be a legitimate future big leaguer.
In myMinnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook, none of these players ranked in my Top 30 Twins prospects, yet I believe all of them have a chance to contribute to the Twins in coming years.