Minnesota placed six prospects in the annual top 100 list with two ranked in the top 10. Only two other teams, the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, are tied with them for most prospects listed. This is certainly a step up from last year, when the Twins only had two players ranked in Baseball America’s top 100.
The following are the six Minnesota prospects and where they rank on the list:
– No. 9 third baseman Miguel Sano
– No. 10 center fielder Byron Buxton
– No. 41 right fielder Oswaldo Arcia
– No. 59 right-hander Alex Meyer
– No. 68 right-hander Kyle Gibson
– No. 72 center fielder Aaron Hicks
Sano has not played above Single-A yet, but he has posted decent numbers overall in the minors. Last season, he batted .258 with 28 home runs and 100 RBIs in 553 plate appearances in the Midwest League. The 19-year old Buxton is another prospect with limited action, but he performed well at the Rookie level, batting .248 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 189 at-bats. Both players listed in the top 10 currently have a very small sample size, but a truck load of potential.
The soon-to-be 22-year old Arcia has spent five years in the minors and could be close to getting promoted to the big leagues. He has never played in Triple-A but put up decent numbers last season at the Double-A level. He hit .328 with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs in 299 plate appearances. If Minnesota starting right fielder Chris Parmelee cannot get the job done, look for Arcia to get called up to take over.
Starting right-handed pitcher Meyers still has a long ways to go before he sees the big leagues, but the good news is he tore it up in his first year in the minors. The 23-year old posted a 10-6 record with a 2.86 earned run average, 139 strikeouts and one complete game in 25 starts at two different levels. Expect Meyers to start the 2013 season in Double-A.
Gibson has performed well in the farm system the past few years, but has continuously got lit up in Triple-A. In 2011, he went 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA and this past season, he posted a 0-2 record with a 9.45 ERA. The Twins would like to see Gibson become a starter in the majors, but it looks like he might be better suited as a relief pitcher. One thing is for sure, there is no way he is Major League-ready.
The player that has the most realistic chance of appearing on the Twins roster this season is Hicks. The 23-year old has a legitimate shot at becoming the starting center fielder for Minnesota this season, especially because the organization wants him to be the guy. The switch-hitter has a career .271 batting average with 34 home runs, 204 RBIs, 104 doubles, and 29 triples in 2,110 plate appearances at four different levels that do not include Triple-A.
Center field is one of the biggest position battles this spring training for the Twins, and Hicks will have to beat out two other players to win the job.