Analysis: A review of the Twins' preseason top prospects (Nos. 1-5)
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MINNEAPOLIS -- With the minor league season completed for all Minnesota Twins affiliates, September can be a good time to take a peek at how the top prospects fared this season.
Below is the Baseball Prospectus top-10 list (posted in November), with analysis and an assessment on the player's 2013 progress. Where applicable, preseason (top 101) and midseason (top 50) ranks are noted.
Editor's note: yesterday we looked at the Twins prospects rated 6-10. Today's post looks at the top-5.
5. SP Kyle Gibson (No. 64 overall prospect preseason, unranked midseason)
Level(s): Triple-A, MLB (promoted June 29, demoted Aug. 19)
Stats: 7-5, 2.92 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 1.16 WHIP (Triple-A); 2-4, 6.53 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.75 WHIP (MLB)
Analysis: Gibson's debut was among the most highly-anticipated in Twins recent history, but it went all downhill after that. Since his second start, Gibson had a 7.00 ERA, allowed a .328/.401/.489 line, and only had a 24:20 K/BB ratio. However, some will remember that Scott Baker had an entire rough season of big league adjustment -- he was 24, Gibson is 25 -- and eventually wound up being a pretty good pitcher for the Twins before injuries struck. At this point, the hope would have to be that Gibson can follow a similar career path. Sans injuries, of course.
Prognosis: Slightly down. Looked more like a No. 4 starter than a No. 2 when he was at his best, which wasn't all that frequent. Definitely still a big part of the future.
4. OF Oswaldo Arcia (No. 60 overall prospect preseason, unranked midseason)
Level(s): Triple-A, MLB (multiple stints)
Stats: .252/.311/.426, 11 home runs (MLB); .313/.426/.594, 10 home runs (Triple-A)
Analysis: The Twins promoted Arcia about as aggressively as they've promoted any hitter, and he responded accordingly. The big league line -- including nearly 100 strikeouts -- leaves a bit to be desired on the whole from a corner outfielder, but don't forget he had fewer than 400 at bats above High-A before he was first promoted to the majors. Far more positives can be gleaned from Arcia's 2013 than negatives.
Prognosis: Improved. Has shown glimpses in the big leagues by age 22. Still learning some of the finer points, but he looks like building block.
3. CF Aaron Hicks (No. 46 overall prospect preseason, unranked midseason)
Level(s): MLB, Triple-A (demoted June 25)
Stats: .192/.259/.338, 8 home runs (MLB); .222/.317/.333, 0 home runs (Triple-A)
Analysis: Hicks' big league season got off to a 6 for 64 start (.094), and despite short term bursts, never got a whole lot better. At times, Hicks showed he could glide around centerfield with ease while flashing a plus arm, but he all too often looked tentative. At the plate, Hicks flashed the ability to drive the ball -- especially from the right side -- but he found himself in pitcher's counts too frequently. After playing plenty of offseason ball the past few years, Hicks is going to take the winter to decompress. Only time will tell how that plays out.
Prognosis: Still surprisingly good, but stock is certainly lower. Long-term prognosis still positive.
2. 3B Miguel Sano (No. 21 overall prospect preseason, No. 6 midseason)
Level(s): High-A, Double-A (promoted June 12)
Stats: .280/.382/.610, 35 home runs (70 XBH overall), 103 RBI
Analysis: He'd be the top prospect on at least 20 other teams. Sano is among just a handful of Twins prospects to hit 30-plus home runs since the turn of the century, though that list isn't as exclusive as one might think. Still, Sano showed good plate discipline (.102 isolated on-base percentage) to go with his massive overall production. A big league debut looms in 2014.
Prognosis: See Buxton. Buy some shades, people.
1. CF Byron Buxton (No. 8 overall prospect preseason, No. 1 midseason)
Level(s): Low-A, High-A (promoted June 25)
Stats: .334/.424/.520, 49 XBH (18 triples), 55 stolen bases
Analysis: Buxton is the best prospect in baseball, and could seriously challenge Joe Mauer to be the best Twins prospect in at least the last quarter century. Buxton has more than quieted all the qualms about lack of top-end competition that he faced in high school, and could position himself for a big league call-up within the year or so. He has plus tools across the board, with the production to back it up. That's the only reason he beat out a nearly 40-40 guy for player of the year.
Prognosis: Stock rising, if that's somehow even possible.