Despite his nine losses on the season, Perkins has looked dominating at points this season, and his record should be a lot better than it is. The top left-handed pitching prospect in the Twins organization, Perkins was recently named to the Eastern League All-Star Game, and is currently third in the Twins system with 92 strikeouts. He has had his struggles recently, and has now allowed five or more runs in three of his last five scouts. He is a much better pitcher than his 4.24 earned run average indicates, and he should start to settle down as the season comes to a close. Still, at 2-9, you would have to think this has been a disappointing season for Perkins.
9. Erik Lis, 1B- Beloit Snappers (Preseason Rank: 38)
Lis had a terrific inaugural season of professional baseball in 2005, but this season he has been on another level. Getting his first taste of full-season baseball, Lis is going for the full-season organizational Triple Crown, as he has hit all year long for the Snappers. A Midwest League All-Star, Lis is first in the organization with a .326 batting average, his nine home runs and 44 runs batted in are fourth best, and he batted a ridiculous .376 for the month of May. It is only a matter of time before Lis is suiting up for the Fort Myers Miracle, as he is showing that he has little else to prove at the Low-A level.
8. J.D. Durbin, RHP- Rochester Red Wings (Preseason Rank: NR)
Well, the Real Deal is back, and this season he is tearing up the International League. After a sub-par 2005 campaign, people had figured Durbin had fallen off the prospect radar, especially after putting up an ERA above seven in his call-up to the Big League in 2004. Durbin did not receive a call-up in 2005 and planned to use the 2006 season to get back on track. He has done just that and more, as he has taken over the role of staff ace for a team that has seen many of it's starts plucked away from them. He is currently third in the organization with a 2.33 earned run average, and he has allowed three or more earned runs in only two of his 16 starts this season.
7. Alexander Romero, OF- Rochester Red Wings/ New Britain Rock Cats (Preseason Rank: 10)
Romero is only 22-years old, and is already starting everyday for the Rochester Red Wings. Though he has struggled in his time with the Triple-A team, he has shown that he belongs there, especially after terrorizing Eastern League pitching after he was demoted earlier in the league. He has since returned to Rochester, and is trying his best to get re-acclimated to International League pitching. He is a big-time outfield prospect, who has put the speed back into his arsenal this season and is currently fifth in the organization in stolen bases. If he can start swinging the bat like he did last year, he is going to be a terrific player.
6. Eduardo Morlan, RHP- Beloit Snappers (Preseason Rank: 18)
Morlan is establishing himself as one of the best starting pitching prospects in the Twins organization this season, displaying a nasty arsenal of pitches to go along with poise beyond his years. He has stepped into the role of staff ace for the Beloit Snappers, and has honestly pitched well all season long. After starting out the season a reliever, Morlan has taken his promotion to the rotation in stride, and has a 2.79 earned run average in 12 starts for the Snappers. Overall, he has appeared in 18 games for Beloit, and has posted 78 strikeouts in 65.2 innings of work. Against him, batters are hitting only .209, and his ERA is currently the fourth best in the Twins organization.
5. Alexi Casilla, INF- Fort Myers Miracle (Preseason Rank: NR)
The Twins got Casilla in the J.C. Romero trade, and that trade is starting to look like a steal for the Twins. While Romero has struggled in his first season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Casilla has been a catalyst for the Fort Myers Miracle, and is one of the top leadoff men in the Florida State League. Casilla is a great hitter, who's speed and batting eye makes him one exciting player to watch. A Florida State League All-Star, Casilla is currently third in the Twins organization with a .320 batting average, and his 28 stolen bases are the top mark in the system. He has posted back to back months with a .325 or better batting average, and it looks like the Twins have swindled another team out of a top prospect.
4. Denard Span, CF- New Britain Rock Cats (Preseason Rank: 5)
Span is the top outfielding prospect in the Twins organization hands down, and he is finally starting to look like that as the season wears on. He began the season with a bang, hitting .338 during the month of April, before batting a disappointing .244 in May. Still, Span is the kind of player who does not get caught up in the thought of slumps, and was back in his typical Denard Span form, hitting .313 during the month of June. A speedster who is the best leadoff hitter in the Twins farm system, Span has now lifted his batting average to .283, and is third in the organization with 17 stolen bases. If the left-handed hitting Span can work on his approach against lefties, he is going to one tough out at any level.
3. Patrick Neshek, RHP- Rochester Red Wings (Preseason Rank: 22)
Is there any fan of the Twins farm system who does not want to see Neshek in a Minnesota Twins organization? Neshek is definitely a fan favorite, and was recently the top vote getter in the 2006 International League All-Star Game voting. The best closer in the Twins organization, and maybe Minor League Baseball, Neshek has dominated the International League the same way he dominated the Eastern League in 2005. He is currently fourth in the organization in strikeouts, which is unheard of considering he is a closer, is first in saves, and is third in wins. He has done it all for the Red Wings this season, and is now just waiting for the call-up to help the red-hot Minnesota Twins.
2. Kevin Slowey, RHP- New Britain Rock Cats/ Fort Myers Miracle (Preseason Rank: 13)
Slowey was the best pitcher in the Florida State League at the beginning of the season, as he put up numbers that were almost unbelievable to look at. A Florida State League All-Star, who in fact won Pitcher of the Game honors, Slowey posted a 1.01 earned run average during his time in the Florida State League, and walked only nine batters in 89.1 innings of work. In that time, he struck out 99 hitters, and held the opposition to a .194 batting average. He has since been called up to New Britain, as he tries to help the Rock Cats get out of the cellar in their division. Since his call-up, Slowey has gone 1-1, picking up his first EL win in his last start against Connecticut. In 13.1 innings, he has struck out ten batters, and has only walked one.
1. Matt Garza, RHP- New Britain Rock Cats/ Fort Myers Miracle (Preseason Rank: 12)
Garza got off to a hot start for the Miracle, and never looked back, turning himself into the top right handed pitching prospect in the Twins organization. Impressively, Garza was named to the All-Star Game in both the Florida State League and the Eastern League, after being one of the most dominant pitchers in each league this season. After ripping through the Florida State League to the tune of a 5-1 record to go along with his 1.42 earned run average, Garza was promoted to New Britain, where he showed no signs of slowing down. In nine starts for the Cats, Garza has put together a 5-2 record, and his earned run average stands a 2.92. He is currently first in the Twins organization in wins and strikeouts, and sits in the number two spot in earned run average. It may even be possible that Garza will make his triple-A debut this season, giving him three levels of baseball in one season.