13 January 2010
Originally published at TwinsMVB.com.
One of the most trusted and reliable scouting services on the web, Baseball America has a long-standing tradition of accuracy. That said, the release of their Top 10 Twins’ Prospects list this morning raised a few eyebrows. Let’s go over some of their more controversial claims.
Best Defensive Infielder – Jorge Polanco
Without having played a single game in the minors, BA gave the young shortstop from the Dominican Republic the title of “Best Defensive Infielder.” For those not aware, Jorge Polancois a 16-year-old who was signed out of the Dominican Republic this past year by the Twins with a signing bonus of $750,000. He was ranked by BA as the 23rd best prospect to come out of Latin America this year.
The best aspect of Polanco’s game is, indeed, his defense. Despite being just 16, he is projected to have the hands that will allow him to stay at the shortstop position.
Now, as Parker said earlier today, claiming that Polanco is the best infield defender in the system could either be a testament to his incredible defensive prowess, or BA’s tendency to read too much into the hype.
Carlos Gutierrez – 7th Best Prospect
This confuses me. Last year, BA ranked Carlos Gutierrez as the 9th best prospect in the Twins’ system. After putting up a 6.12 ERA in 52 innings (5.02 FIP) at New Britain, BA raised Gutierrez’s ranking two spots. Now, it’s worth noting that quite a few prospects were removed from last year’s list (Mulvey, Hunt, Swarzak, Mijares) but I still don’t understand how pitchers likeBJ Hermsen and Adrian Salcedo were deemed less worthy of a place on this ranking than Gutierrez.
I’m not diminishing Gutierrez’s value at all. I think he is a great pitching prospect (I ranked him 19th) with a very real chance to be a force either in the rotation or bullpen in a few years.
Max Kepler – 10th Best Prospect
This ranking will most likely be the most controversial. Max Kepler, a 16-year-old from Germany, is regarded by most as the best prospect to ever come out of Europe. He has incredible five-tool potential, and is an excellent athlete, but hasn’t finished his junior year of high school yet. He will be unable to complete a full season of rookie-ball until 2011, when he graduates.
I ranked Kepler as the 41st best prospect in the system not so much because of my doubts in his ability to live up to the hype, but because there are so many other deserving prospects. As I mentioned above, Salcedo should have made this list, as should have Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee.
Outside of these few “mistakes,” I think BA did a fantastic job ranking the Top 10 Twins’ prospects. Be sure to check out the list and read an overview of the Twins’ system. If you subscribe to BA, also make sure you read the scouting reports on each of their Top 10.
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