Another great season for Kevin Slowey, who dominated at the Triple-A level, and even got a shot with the big league club. He pitched well in his time with the Minnesota Twins, and should be in the starting rotation to open the 2008 season. An innings eater with pinpoint control, Slowey has been one of the top starting pitching prospects in Minor League Baseball for two straight years. If he can pitch for Minnesota like he did for Rochester this past season, then the Twins may be able to forget about the traded Matt Garza.
2. Anthony Swarzak, Starting Pitcher
It was a whirlwind season for Swarzak, who missed fifty games for violating the drug policy. Once he came back, Swarzak showed the kind of dominance that made him one of the best young righties in the Twins organization. He blazed through High-A, then went on to be dominant at the Double-A level. Add to that a great stint in the Arizona Fall League, and Swarzak has himself back in the running for top prospect status in the Twins organization.
3. Joe Benson, Outfielder
It was a tale of two season for Joe Benson, who had a terrible start to the 2007 campaign. After the All-Star Break, Benson was a different player, and he really turned his season around. Benson is one of the top position player prospects in the Twins organization, and should be a top-ten prospect in the coming years. He is a five-tool player, and he is still very young, leading most scouts to believe that the 2008 season should be a huge one for him.
4. Trevor Plouffe, Shortstop
Plouffe had a breakout season in 2007, shaking off the past two rough years he had in A-ball. In his first season with the New Britain Rock Cats, Plouffe was very impressive in the Eastern League, earning New Britain Player of the Year honors. He hit the ball for gap power, played great shortstop, and proved that he is ready to take on Triple-A ball in 2008. If he does well to start the season with Rochester, then he could be with the Twins sometime during next season.
5. Tyler Robertson, Starting Pitcher
Robertson was stellar for the Beloit Snappers this past season, earning the spot of being the top left-handed starting pitching prospect in the Twins organization. He struck people out at a very high number, and showed poise way beyond his years. He will be in the starting rotation to start the season for the Fort Myers Miracle, and will likely spend the entire year there. The Twins will take their time with Robertson, but it is clear that he is in their future plans.
6. Wilson Ramos, Catcher
Ramos has established himself as the top catching prospect in the Twins organization, mixing a rare blend of batting for average, and for power. He is a great defensive catcher with a great arm, and should be the starting catcher for Fort Myers in 2008.
7. Danny Valencia, Infielder
Valencia was one of the better hitters in the Midwest League to begin the 2007 season, and then he was promoted to High-A Fort Myers. In Fort Myers, Valencia hit well again, and possibly set himself up to start the 2008 season at the Double-A level. He has a very smooth stroke, and can hit the ball for gap power and home run power. He also has the ability to drive in runs in bunches and could be a prototypical number two hitter. Overall, Valencia established himself as one of the top position player prospects in the Twins organization.
8. Jeff Manship, Starting Pitcher
Manship began the 2007 season as a member of the Beloit Snappers, and it did not take him long to establish himself as one of the better starting pitchers in the Midwest League. The Notre Dame product was nearly unhittable during his time with the Snappers, and took home some hardware along the way. He was a mid and post season All-Star in the Midwest League, and also won Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors. After being promoted to Fort Myers, Manship still dominated, as he was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week once as well.
9. Nick Blackburn, Starting Pitcher
Blackburn was another prospect who had an incredible 2007 season, as he was one of the better starting pitchers in a very good International League. He had a string of over 40 innings without allowing a run, and then went on to make his Major League debut. After the regular season was over, Blackburn was one of the better starters in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where he was named to the All-Prospect Team. He could challenge for a spot in the Minnesota Twins starting rotation in 2008.
10. Erik Lis, First Base/Outfield
This kid continues to hit, and he has become one of the better position player prospects in the Twins organization. In a season where most of the Fort Myers Miracle struggled at the plate, Lis was a rock in the middle of the lineup, and he even homered off future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. He was twice named Florida State League Player of the Week, was a FSL Post-Season All-Star, and drove in nearly 100 runs in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
11. Chris Parmelee, Outfielder
Though widely considered one of the top position player prospects in the Twins organization, Parmelee struggled in his first season of full-season baseball in 2007. As the season wore on, Parmelee appeared to lose some pop in his bat, as he hit only 5 of his 15 home runs in the second half of the season. He encountered a few problems in 2007, one being batting against lefties, and the other being striking out. Still, Parmelee is very young, and possesses the most power potential of any other prospect. It will be interesting to see how he does in the Florida State League next season.
12. Yohan Pino, Starting Pitcher
Coming into the 2007 season, Pino was kind of flying under the radar as far as most publications go. However, Pino exploded onto the scene in 2007, tossing a no-hitter against the St. Lucie Mets. After moving to the rotation for Fort Myers, Pino's season took off, and he was promoted to New Britain after posting a 1.73 earned run average in 19 FSL games. He will be looked at to anchor the New Britain rotation next season.
13. Brian Buscher, Third Baseman
Buscher began the season as the third of three third base prospects. Starting the year in the shadow of Matthew Moses and David Winfree, Buscher emerged as the number one guy, making his way from New Britain to Minnesota. When all was said and done, Buscher was named Twins Minor League Player of the Year, and put himself in position to start at the hot corner for Minnesota in 2008. He has the ability to hit for average, can hit the home run ball, and plays decent enough third base to play everyday in the Majors.
14. Oswaldo Sosa, Starting Pitcher
Sosa's season mirrored that of Pino, with the only exception being that Sosa was in the starting rotation for Fort Myers for the entire season. Sosa was dominant at the Florida State League level, posting a 2.23 earned run average in 19 starts. He pitched well for New Britain, but struggled with his command a bit towards the end of the season. Like Pino, Sosa will be counted on heavily in the New Britain rotation next season, and the two of them will give New Britain a solid front of the rotation.
15. Ben Revere, Outfielder
Some people may be shocked that I ranked Revere so high in the rankings, but this kid has shocked everyone since being drafted in the first round in 2007. Most thought Revere was not a first round draft pick, but he proved everybody wrong, being a table-setter for the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2007. With a great batting eye, blinding speed, and the ability to go the other way with the ball, Revere will likely be the leadoff hitter for Elizabethton next season. He has all the tools to one day be patrolling the outfield for Minnesota one day.
16. Robert Delaney, Relief Pitcher
Delaney had the quintessential breakout season in 2007, as he set the Beloit Snappers single-season save record in a little over a half a season. A Midwest League All-Star, Delaney was arguably the best reliever in all of Minor League Baseball in 2007, and would eventually be promoted to the Fort Myers Miracle midway through the season. He was stellar for Fort Myers as well, and will likely anchor the New Britain bullpen in 2008. He is a guy who could make a fast rise through the organization next season.
17. Jay Rainville, Starting Pitcher
Rainville was arguably the feel good story of the 2007 season, after he came back from missing the 2006 season due to injury. The Twins were worried about his arm holding up, but Rainville silenced all those worries, as he was an innings eater for the Fort Myers Miracle in 2007. The young right-hander, who some have compared to Roger Clemens, was an anchor for the Miracle pitching staff, and will be a front of the rotation starter for New Britain next season. If his arm holds up, then soon that missed season will just be a memory.
18. Brock Peterson, First Baseman
Brock Peterson is having the kind of career that every late draft pick dreams of having. A 49th round selection, Peterson has gone on to be one of the better power hitting prospects in the Twins organization, and has put himself in position to possibly make his Major League debut next season. He was tied for fourth in the organization in home runs in 2007, and showed that he can hit the ball at the Double-A level, which is a level that makes or breaks prospects. Peterson is a great kid, who I believe deserves a shot at Minnesota if he hits for Rochester next season.
19. David Winfree, Third Baseman
Winfree struggled with the strikeouts in 2007, but he actually did put up some good run producing numbers. After struggling to start the season, Winfree actually hit 12 home runs in his first stint with the New Britain Rock Cats, and showed why he is considered such a big-name prospect. After batting only .251 in the first half, Winfree batted over .300 in August and September, matching his 6 first half home runs in 90 less second half at-bats. I expect him to get off to a hot start in 2008.
20. Alex Burnett, Starting Pitcher
Burnett had a great season for the Beloit Snappers, as he helped guide the team to the Midwest League finals. As good as his first half of the season was, Burnett actually had better numbers in the second half, and finished the year with an earned run average just over 3.00. The young right-hander has some of the better stuff in the organization, and has shown the ability to get out lefties early in his career. He will be only 20 years old when the 2008 season opens up, which will be fairly young for the Florida State League.
21. Kyle Waldrop, Right-Handed Pitcher
Waldrop had a very solid 2007 season, as he started the year off with the Fort Myers Miracle. He was dominant during his time in the Florida State League, leading to a promotion to Double-A New Britain. Though he struggled in New Britain, he showed that he is one of the top pitching prospects in the Twins organization, and is likely to get another shot at the Eastern League in 2008.
22. Matthew Moses, Third Baseman
It was another trying season for Moses, who was once considered the top prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization. After beginning the season terribly in Rochester, Moses did show signs of life with New Britain, playing for the Rock Cats for the third straight season. He seems to have stalled in his development, but is still young and has time to develop. If there was not so much thrown on his plate so early in his career, he might not be labeled a bust.
23 Brandon Roberts, Outfielder
Roberts really turned around his season in the second half of the year, leading to some great numbers in his first season with the New Britain Rock Cats. The young speedster finished the season batting close to .300, which is remarkable considering he was batting near the Mendoza Line early on. He led the Rock Cats with 14 stolen bases, and had 20 extra-base hits. He will likely be a starting outfielder in Rochester in 2008.
24. Matt Tolbert, Infielder
Like many other Twins insiders, I felt that Tolbert should have gotten his first taste of Major League Baseball this past season. The young infielder had one of the better seasons of any of the Twins prospects, as he batted close to the top of the International League leaderboard for the majority of the season. He ended the season with a very good .293 batting average, coming in only second to teammate Denard Span with 122 hits.
25. David Bromberg, Right-Handed Pitcher
Bromberg had a perfect 2007 season, going a remarkable 9-0 on the mound for the Elizabethton Twins. The young right-hander garnered Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year honors, as he was stellar in his 13 appearances. He struck out an incredible 81 batters in only 58.1 innings of work, holding the opposition to a .211 batting average. He should be a front of the rotation starter for Beloit in 2008.
26. Cole Devries, Right-Handed Pitcher
In his first season with the Twins organization, Devries turned out to be an innings eater for the Beloit Snappers, appearing in 27 games. Making 25 starts, the righty logged 148 innings this past season, and had a very good 3.41 earned run average. He finished third on the team in strikeouts, and finished in the top-20 in the organization in earned run average.
27. Denard Span, Outfielder
Span had an up-and-down season for the Rochester Red Wings in his first season of Triple-A ball, as he batted from the top and the bottom of the lineup. Though he batted only .267, Span fought through some early season struggles to lead the team in hits. He also swiped 25 bases, good enough for third in the organization, and hit seven triples. He may be with the Twins in 2008.
28. Daniel Berlind, Right-Handed Pitcher
Berlind was stellar in his first season of professional baseball, finishing the season second in the organization with a 1.93 earned run average. He won six of his eight decisions, and struck out nearly a batter per inning for the Gulf Coast League Twins. His great first season put him on the earned run average leader list with names like Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Oswaldo Sosa. Pretty good company to have.
29. Angel Morales, Outfielder
The Twins selected Morales in the third round of the 2007 draft, and the young outfielder paid some dividends during his first season of professional baseball. Morales displayed some flawless defense, and showed the ability to hit for extra bases. One thing he needs to work on is cutting down on his strikeouts, which is something he will be taught to do with Elizabethton next season. He has all the tools to be a five-tool player, but only time will tell how he develops.
30. Danny Rams, Catcher
Like Morales, Rams was selected very early in the 2007 draft, as the Twins took the catcher in the second round. Rams played some first base and caught in 2007, showing that he had some pretty good gap power. Rams is very young, and could be back in the Gulf Coast League next season if he is not with Elizabethton. He has a strong arm and good footwork, but he struck out nearly once per game, and that is something he should overcome with more work.
31. Brian Dinkelman, Infielder
Dinkelman had a breakout season in 2007, as he was one of the better hitting prospects on the Beloit Snappers to start the season. When the Fort Myers Miracle needed some offense during the middle of the season, they called on Dinkelman, who had a respectable showing in the Florida State League. He will likely be back with the Miracle in 2008, but has the ability to make it to New Britain by the end of the season.
32. Garrett Guzman, Outfielder
The New Britain Rock Cats were looking at Guzman to be a consistent bat in their lineup during the 2007 season, and Guzman did not disappoint. The young outfielder, who missed an entire season recovering from a broken neck a few years ago, is back to 100 percent, and is now one of the bigger name position prospects in the Twins organization. If he hits for Rochester next season like he did for New Britain this season, then he could be a September call up in 2008.
33. Brian Duensing, Left-Handed Pitcher
To say that Brian Duensing had a good season in 2007 would be an understatement, as the crafty left-hander tied Jeff Manship for the organizational lead with 15 wins. He was stellar for both the New Britain Rock Cats and the Rochester Red Wings, leading to him being the only Minnesota Twins prospect named to Team USA in the IBAF World Cup. He will get a serious look in Spring Training this year, and should be with the Twins at some point.
34. Ryan Mullins, Left-Handed Pitcher
Mullins was another left-hander who had a great season in 2007, as he made three stops during the year. After blazing through the Florida State League, Mullins was one of the better starters in the Eastern League, en-route to him being promoted to Rochester. Mullins showed the ability to eat innings, and pick up the strikeout, as he finished the year second in the organization in strikeouts. He was recently named to the Arizona Fall League Rising Star Classic.
35. Danny Santiesteban, Outfielder
Santiesteban did not have a great 2007 season, but his skills cannot be overlooked when making a top prospect list. Too many times skill is overlooked by numbers, and that is the case for Santiesteban. Though he did not put up great numbers, he did showed the ability to play well when it counted, helping Beloit make it to the Midwest League championship. Santiesteban is a five-tool player, who will have a better season for Fort Myers next year.
36. Jose Mijares, Left-Handed Pitcher
Mijares is the kind of pitcher that scouts drool over. He is a power pitcher, who is left-handed no less, and has the kind of arsenal that makes him a legitimate Major League prospect. His problem has been staying in shape, and staying consistent, but he had a great season for the New Britain Rock Cats in 2007. Mijares is currently playing well in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he is working out of the bullpen. He struck out better than a batter per inning in 2007.
38. Dan Leatherman, Right-Handed Pitcher
One of the better relief pitching prospects in the Twins organization, Leatherman had a breakout season in 2007, and has made himself a household name among Twins prospects in a little over a calendar year. The young right-hander was one of the main reasons why the Snappers went to the Midwest League championship this past season, and will be a main arm in the Fort Myers bullpen next season. His stay in the Florida State League could be short, as he has the arsenal and the mental makeup to be ready for Double-A next season.
39. Ozzie Lewis, Outfielder
The Twins drafted Lewis out of Fresno State in this past year's draft, and it did not take Lewis long to become one of the better young prospects in the Twins organization. Playing for the Elizabethton this past season, Lewis helped the team to the league championship by batting well over .300. Lewis was named Appalachian League Player of the Year for his efforts, and finished second in the organization in batting. He showed power, the ability to hit for average, and should be with Beloit next season.
40. Dustin Martin, Outfielder
After being one of the better prospects in the New York Mets organization, Martin came over to the Minnesota Twins farm system in the Luis Castillo trade. He played very well in his short time with the Twins system, and should be a starter in the outfield for the New Britain Rock Cats next season. He has the ability to hit for average, which should take him places in the Twins system. It will be interesting and fun to see him play a full year with the Twins organization next season.
41. Matthew Fox, Right-Handed Pitcher
Fox had a breakout season in 2007, as he appears to be resembling the pitcher that was selected in the first round by the Twins in the 2004 draft. A strong armed right-hander, Fox was with the Beloit Snappers in 2007, and was used from both the rotation and the bullpen. The former Central Florida standout posted a 3.50 earned run average for the Snappers, and could wind up being a good mid-to-late innings relief guy in the long run. He should be with the Fort Myers Miracle in 2008, and needs to have a good season because he will be 25 years old. If he has a solid start to the season, he could be in New Britain.
42. Steven Tolleson, Middle Infielder
The former University of South Carolina standout, and son of former Major Leaguer Wayne Tolleson, Steven had a very solid season for the Fort Myers Miracle in 2007. The young speedster was making his second stint with the Miracle, and appeared in a career high 132 games. Tolleson was a big boost to the team at the top of the lineup, and showed that he can play infield with the best of them. He also batted a very good .285 in the Florida State League, which is notorious for being a pitcher-friendly league.
43. Garrett Jones, First Baseman/Outfielder
During this Spring Training, look for Jones to get a long look at making the Twins roster right out of camp. He showed that he can hit consistently at the Triple-A level this season, and even got his first shot at the Major Leagues. Jones has the best power potential of any prospect in the Twins organization, and could be a major power boost to the Twins lineup if he gets a good shot next season. Jones deserves a shot, and hopefully he will get one.
44. Deibinson Romero, Third Baseman
Romero is the kind of prospect who is going to start getting a lot of attention in the Twins organization. A Appalachian League All-Star in 2007, Romero has shown the ability to hit for average, and will get a chance to start in the Midwest League next season. Romero will still only be 21 years old when the season starts in 2008, and he has hit over .300 for his career. He appeared in two games for the Snappers last season, and Beloit fans will see a lot of him next season.
45. Liam Hendriks, Right-Handed Pitcher
Hendriks had a great inaugural season of professional baseball, making ten starts for the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2007. The young right-hander posted an earned run average that nearly finished under 2.00, and he struck out better than a batter per inning. In total, he tossed 44 innings of work, walked only 11, and struck out 52. He will definitely be in the starting rotation for the Elizabethton Twins next season, and has the kind of arm that could end up in Beloit by the end of the season. He is a very interesting prospect, who could make a fast rise in the organization.
46. Rene Leveret, First Baseman
Leveret was a beast for the Elizabethton Twins this past season, and showed heroics during their championship run. Leveret has the kind of power that should move him quickly through the organization, and he showed his pop during the 2007 season. The sweet-swinging slugger batted over .300 for the Elizabethton Twins, smacking eight home runs, and driving in 65 runs in only 66 games. That is an incredible pace, and he finished near the top of all Twins minor leaguers, including full-season prospects. It will be interesting to see how he does against full-season pitchers in 2008.
47. Rene Tosoni, Outfielder
Twice drafted by the Twins, Tosoni finally made his professional debut during the 2007 season. He was one of the main cogs in the Elizabethton Twins championship run in 2007, and should be with the Beloit Snappers in 2008. He batted over .300 for the Twins, and showed that he can hit on a consistent basis. The Beloit lineup should be loaded next season, and Tosoni should be a regular in the lineup. If Tosoni continues to hit like he did this season, he could be in Fort Myers by the end of the season.
48. Danny Rondon, Right-Handed Pitcher
The Minnesota Twins had a great bunch of relief pitching prospects during the 2007 season, and Rondon came out of nowhere to put his name up with them during the year. Rondon was an absolute beast for the 2007 Gulf Coast League Twins, putting up some of the best numbers of any other pitcher in the Gulf Coast League. Rondon posted an incredible earned run average of 1.14 in his 20 appearances, and saved 12 of 13 opportunities. Rondon should be the closer for Elizabethton in 2008.
49. Zach Ward, Left-Handed Pitcher
Though his record for the 2007 season does not show it, Ward had a very good season for the Fort Myers Miracle. He was often a victim of no run support, and that led to a very bad 5-17 record. Still, incredibly, Ward posted a 4.08 earned run average, which should have led to at least a .500 record. He still is one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in the Twins organization, and should be with New Britain next season in some capacity.
50. Ludovicus Van Mil, Right-Handed Pitcher
Van Mil is the tallest prospect in all of professional baseball, and with every time he takes the mound, he seems to get better and better. He is still very raw, and still has plenty of work left to do, but he seems poised to finally be playing full-season ball next season. Van Mil is the most intriguing prospect in the Twins organization, and if he continues to grow as a pitcher, than he will undoubtedly be with the Twins at some point in his career.