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5. Alex Wimmers, RHP, 22 years old

alex-wimmers-rears-back

courtesy: (baseballrumormill.com)

2010 stats: 2-0 with a .57 ERA 23/5 K/BB in 15.2 innings for Fort Myers.
Last year's rank: N/A
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins 21st overall in the 2010 June Major League Draft.

Alex Wimmers was the Twins top pick in last years draft. Wimmers is the name fans will see on his back, but his uni could just as easily have "stereotypical twins starting pitcher" or "stereotypical pitching draft pick" sewn onto the back. Wimmers was a strike throwing college pitcher, taken high in the draft. Pitchers like Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Kyle Gibson and others fall into the same category. They were all strike throwing college pitchers with decent velocity. It's become clear that the Twins are comfortable using their draft picks on college pitchers that throw strikes.

The above statements aren't meant to diminish Wimmers as a prospect. He is ranked as our #5 Twins prospect for a reason. He was the 2010 National collegiate pitcher of the year. He was also the first Big Ten pitcher to win the conference's pitcher of the year in 2 consecutive years, winning in 2009 and 2010. He has a decent fastball. He hits 91, but it has good movement on his 2-seamer. He also features a good curve and a change up. 

Wimmers signed near the deadline, claiming "I miss pitching too much". The Twins sent him to Fort Myers and he made his professional debut 2 weeks later. In 4 starts, he went 2-0 with a .57 ERA. He only gave up 6 hits and 5 walks while striking out 23 in 15.2 innings. He dominated Florida State League hitters. This is a very small sample size, but these numbers are very exciting for this Twins fan.

Ideal Scenario: Wimmers will probably start 2011 back at Fort Myers. Given his brief success there in 2010, it isn't expected that he'll stay there very long. He could follow the model established by Baker, Slowey, Gibson etc... and pitch in three levels in one season. I see him probably spending the bulk of the season in AA New Britain.

Path to the majors: The Twins have a few pitchers ahead of Wimmers in their system. They have 6 viable major league starters as well as Kyle Gibson and David Bromberg in front of him. Wimmers probably won't be ready or won't be needed to make his major league debut until 2012. With the Twins wealth of pitching, Wimmers will have to perform well to force the Twins to advance him to the major leagues sooner. A solid performance from Wimmers could give the Twins the confidence to trade a starter such as Kevin Slowey. A good 2011 by Wimmers leaves the Twins starting pitching depth in a really nice position.