You may recall a post I wrote a month back regarding my search for my new favorite Twins prospects, since I recently released former “my guys” Jason Kubel and Kevin Slowey to the public as bona-fide major leaguers.
I started with a list of ten, and each update promised to narrow down the list (I’ve cut three this time around). Here is the first update, in order of current favorites:
1. Anthony Slama, P – New Britain (AA)
Reason: He’s been dominant at pretty much every minor league stop, sure, but the main source of my mancrush is that his arc thus far has mirrored my old pal Pat Neshek’s: an unheralded strikeout machine of a reliever who is held back to an annoying degree by the organization. Carbon copy, at least from my viewpoint.
2009 update: Slama’s been solid thus far in AA, posting a 2.59 ERA with 38 Ks in 24 innings. However, he’s got a so-so 1.37 WHIP due to 14 BBs. If the big league bullpen continues to provide more runs than an undercooked meat convention (???), we may see Slama in the majors yet this season.
2. Luke Hughes, 3B – Rochester (AAA)
Reason: Hughes came on like gangbusters at AA last season, posting a sweet .993 OPS and cracking 15 round-trippers. I started following him then, and when he went mostly ignored when fans started searching for future 3B options, I latched on even harder. He may or may not be the answer, but I’m supporting him anyway.
2009 update: After a slow start, Hughes has upped his OPS in Rochester to .831 with 6 homers and 8 doubles. Though the solid play of Crede makes it less likely he’ll be sent up this year, he’s holding his own while waiting for his shot at the bigs. Tough to claim he’ll be an all-star, but I’ll defend him just due to my perceived underratedness of Hughes.
3. Chris Parmelee, RF – Fort Myers (A)
Reason: Stat guys like me love guys like Parmelee who may get overlooked by the purist lunkheads who see the low batting average (~.240 career) and dismiss him out of hand. However, it doesn’t take a genius to see a 21-year old who hit 14 homers in a half-season in ’08 and has some serious pop in his bat is worth watching. Plus, the guy knows how to draw a walk. Makes stat geeks swoon.
2009 Update: Same old same old for Parmelee. Good power, plenty of walks and a solid OPS (.781 in high-A). He’s got a long way to go, but I’m excited to watch him improve.
4. Ben Revere, CF – Fort Myers (A)
Reason: A 21-year-old who was initially criticized as being a wasted top draft pick, Revere hit .378 last season. Need I say more?
2009 Update: A great on-base guy with almost no power, Revere seems to be the second coming of Denard Span. He’s got an .802 OPS (with a .403 OBP) with 18 SBs thus far at Fort Myers, and is progressing nicely through the system.
5. Aaron Hicks, CF – Location unknown
Reason: The 5-tool athlete worthy of our top draft pick last year is pretty much everyone’s favorite Twins prospect, and for good reason. Lit up E-town last year (.896 OPS) in limited time.
2009 Update: Nothing doing yet as Hicks has been in extended spring training and hasn’t played a game yet this season. I have no idea why he isn’t on Beloit’s roster. Hope to see him soon.
6. Kevin Mulvey, P – Rochester (AAA)
Reason: I’m a fan of Mulva (Seinfeld reference!) mostly because he was the forgotten one in the trio of arms included in the Santana swap (Humber and Guerra being the others), which is too bad because he’s had the best track record of them all. After a solid (if unspectacular) ’08, Mulva will be stashed in AAA again this season.
2009 Update: Mulvey’s been unspectacularly solid in AAA this season, posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Though he’s still been flying under the radar, he may see a call to the bigs at some point in ’09.
7. Angel Morales, CF – Beloit (A)
Reason: Nothing beyond the fact that (a) not many people seem to have heard of him, and (b) he turned in a sick 1.034 OPS last season, including 15 dingers. Angel is one cat to watch for, and it’d be really great if you heard it from me first.
2009 Update: Morales has been terrible this year. He’s got a .706 OPS with strikeouts in about a fourth of his plate appearances in Beloit. There is still plenty of hope for him since he’s just 19, but his piss-poor start to this season has been a cold shower we may all have needed after his torrid ’08.
*** The list below is the players who have been cut from the original ten ***
Shooter Hunt, P
Reason: He was a top draft pick and had an insane 34 Ks in 19 innings last year, which was-actually, no, it was the name that got me hooked. So good it sounds made-up.
2009 Update: I don’t even want to talk about it. Research yourself if you care to read just exactly how awful Shooter Hunt has been this year. Damn shame.
Reason for being cut: For one, he’s been abominable and it seems as if it’s more than just physical struggles. And two, he’s one of the more well-known names, which makes it difficult for me to claim him as my own.
Wilson Ramos, C – New Britain (AA)
Reason: Sure, the kid’s career numbers don’t jump out at you (~.780 OPS), but he’s young as all get-out (21) and is a catcher, which as you know is a primo position. The future’s bright for young Wilson Ramos.
2009 Update: Not a great start for young Wilson, as he’s posted a .633 OPS in his first AA stint. He’s got a decent average, but little power and few walks spell out a subpar start to ’09.
Reason for being cut: While a solid prospect, his ceiling seems relatively low. Not feeling the excitement, so I’m releasing him.
Anthony Swarzak, P – Rochester (AAA)
Original reason: Though he’s still a young buck at 23, Swarzak’s been around the organization for four years and excelled enough to be a recognizable name for those who are paying attention. Knowing Swarzak’s name comes with the territory for us farm-team followers, so cheering for him is essentially cheering for ourselves for being so devoted to the organization. Or something. Or not.
2009 Update: Swarzak had a decent debut in the bigs last weekend while filling in for a wounded-winged Perkins. He isn’t overpowering and probably won’t ever be a Garzalike ace (tear), but he’s a big part of the Twins future.
Reason for being cut: I wasn’t as excited as I thought I’d be for his debut, and I’m not sure he’s got otherworldly potential. Best of luck, but he’s just another arm to me.