Scott Baker (AP)
Minnesota Twins Pre-Season Top 20 Prospects in Review
1) Jesse Crain, RHP
The good news: 2.49 ERA, 9-1 record. The bad news: 17/16 K/BB ratio in 47 innings. What happened to the strikeouts? Does it matter? In my opinion, it probably does. I'd be wary of holding Crain long-term and would consider trading him while his value is high.
2) Jason Kubel, OF
Rehabbing from horrible knee injury. At this point his status is unclear for obvious reasons.
3) J.D. Durbin, RHP
3-4, 4.43 with 69/43 K/BB in 81 innings for Triple-A Rochester. Control problems and a sore shoulder are hampering his performance. Status slipping in a prospect-rich system.
4) Scott Baker, RHP
3-6, 3.01 with 81/23 K/BB ratio in 96 innings at Rochester, and has pitched well in 2 Major League starts. He's good and he's ready.
5) Glen Perkins, LHP
2.13 ERA with 66/13 K/BB in 9 starts for Class A Fort Myers. Promoted to Double-A New Britain, has been less effective with 3.96 ERA, 31/23 K/BB in 39 innings. Still a solid prospect.
6) Jason Bartlett, SS
Hit .242/.310/.374 in 26 games for the Twins. I think they should have been more patient with him. Now hitting .330/.399/.467 at Rochester and deserves another chance.
7) Adam Harben, RHP
Underrated power pitching prospect, 2.57 ERA in 18 starts at Fort Myers, 86/41 K/BB in 95 innings. Command still an issue, but has excellent stuff.
8) Francisco Liriano, LHP
3.64 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 77 innings at New Britain, 2.15 ERA with 50/14 K/BB in 46 innings for Rochester, only 26 hits allowed. Pitching great, moving rapidly up prospect lists.
9) Alex Romero, OF
Hitting .297/.346/.470 with 12 homers for New Britain. Power seems to be developing nicely.
10) Trevor Plouffe, SS
Hitting .229/.311/.339 for Class A Beloit. He's played better lately and is making contact, but in general has been overmatched by full-season pitching.
11) Kyle Waldrop, RHP
4.97 ERA, 84/17 K/BB in 112 innings for Beloit, 132 hits allowed. I love the low walk rate, and he is impressive to see in person. But he gives up too many hits right now.
12) Matt Moses, 3B
Hit .306/.376/.453 for Fort Myers, showing that he is fully recovered from '04 back problems. Recently promoted to New Britain, has struggled in 13 games (.200/.273/.300).
13) Jay Rainville, RHP
3.77 ERA with 77/27 K/BB in 88 innings at Beloit. Promoted aggressively to Fort Myers, he has pitched well in his first 2 starts. Excellent stuff and improving command make him a premium guy.
14) Matt Fox, RHP
Hasn't pitched this year, health status is in doubt.
15) Anthony Swarzak, RHP
101/32 K/BB but 4.04 ERA in 18 starts for Beloit. Moved up to Fort Myers with Rainville and has a 13/0 K/BB in his first 12 innings. Another premium arm.
16) Boof Bonser, RHP
9-6, 4.08 ERA with 118/40 K/BB in 121 innings for Rochester. Showing better command this year, strong K/IP ratio. Worthy of a September promotion, would be one of the best prospects in many systems.
17) Travis Bowyer, RHP
1.98 ERA and 19 saves for Rochester, 72/29 K/BB in 55 innings. Another excellent arm, should get a shot in relief next year.
18) Scott Tyler, RHP
4.00 ERA, 85/35 K/BB in 88 innings for Fort Myers. Another live arm, still working on his command. Conversion to relief may come eventually.
19) Terry Tiffee, 3B
.266/.313/.454 for Rochester, .191/.233/.294 for the Twins. Possible Quadruple-A player.
20) Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP
Rule 5 guy, returned to Seattle system. 4.62 ERA, 71/39 K/BB in 99 innings for Double-A San Antonio. Doing OK, not a spectacular guy.
The Twins system remains loaded, with particular depth in power pitching. This helps cover for the inevitable injury attrition. If Durbin is hurt, they still have guys like Baker and Liriano and Bowyer ready for shots. The hitting is less impressive, and adding more offense to the system should be a priority.