25 March 2012
13. Alex Wimmers, Right-handed Starter, 23 years old
2011 stats: 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA 39/22 K/BB in 40.2 innings for Fort Myers.
Last year's rank: 5
Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins 21st overall in the 2010 June Major League Draft.
Alex Wimmers was the Twins top pick in the 2010 draft. Wimmers coming out of college was the "stereotypical Twins starting pitcher" or "stereotypical pitching draft pick" as I wrote last year.He was the 2010 National collegiate pitcher of the year and was also the first Big Ten pitcher to win the conference's pitcher of the year in 2 consecutive years, in 2009 and 2010 Wimmers was a strike throwing college pitcher and also had a good start to his pro career, striking out 23 and walking 5 in 15.2 innings in 2011. He looked poised to have a good year something happened. Wimmers lost the strike-zone.
Wimmers started his season on April 11th by walking the all 6 batters he faced. He also threw three wild pitches and a total of four strikes in 28 pitches. That was very Shooter Hunt like.... in fact it was about as accurate as I am, the first time I throw every spring. The Twins stopped his season right there and he didn't appear in another game until July 1st. "When you see that happening, you better slow a guy down and try to get him on track before he goes out there again," said Eric Rasmussen, Twins minor league pitching coordinator. "So we kind of took some time and worked him through it." Wimmers returned as a reliever and started the last 3 games of the year. His last start, he threw a 7 inning no hitter, walking only 2.
So what to make of Wimmers? Reports are that his control is back. He ended the season pitching a lot like we figured he would all along. I ranked him #5 last year and predicted his ideal scenario; "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." That didn't happen. Prospects can be fickle. Last year, we had Kane Holbrooks as our #11 prospect and this year, Holbrooks was cut. Wimmers came to the Twins with the first round pick fanfare, so he will be given more rope. If he goes the way of Shooter Hunt though, he could soon be found elsewhere, like Shooter Hunt. At just 23 years old, I believe he can bounce back enough to rank him #14.
Ideal Scenario: Wimmers will start 2012 back at Fort Myers. Assuming he has regained his control he should end the season in AA New Britain.
Path to the majors: Wimmers needs to establish that he can still throw strikes and that his first start was just a blip and isn't a Rick Ankiel, Shooter Hunt related disaster. Assuming he is the guy we thought he was last year, he should be in the mix to make the Twins out of spring in 2013. If he isn't that guy.... the path could continue to be as bumpy as it was in 2011.
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