Top Prospects Thriving Early On

Through the first 12 games of the 2009 Minor League season, some of the top prospects in the Twins organization are putting together good seasons. We take a look at who is doing well this season, and why there has been little surprises so far in 2009.

While three of the four Twins' affiliates are only 12 games into the season, with Beloit having only played 11, it is clear that the prospects in the system are living up to expectations this season. It seems like every year, a prospect will fall off the radar, while others step up and make a name for themselves. However, the 2009 season has had very few surprises, which is certain to change as the season turns into summer.

Ben Revere, who is looking more and more like a Major Leaguer everyday, leads the organization in stolen bases. Playing center and leftfield, and leading off for Fort Myers, Revere also is batting .326, and has been the consummate leadoff guy for the Miracle this season. He has not missed a beat this season.

If healthy, we predicted a big season from Miracle Joe Benson, and he has not disappointed this season. The speedy outfielder is currently fourth in the system in batting average, and has four multi-hit games through 12 appearances this season. He has hit safely in all but three games this season.

True to form, Chris Parmelee leads the organization in home runs, and is developing as a more complete hitter. He is only batting .214, but had it not been for a three games slide in which he went 0-11, he would be batting close to .300. He also has better plate discipline this season, and is cutting down on his strikeouts.

We have always said that Erik Lis is one of the more polished hitters in the organization, and he is off to a very fast start for New Britain this season. A bit disappointed that he was returned to New Britain this season, Lis has taken it in stride, and is batting .324 in the early going. He will definitely be in Rochester this season.

Other big-time hitting prospects like Brian Dinkelman, Danny Valencia, David Winfree, Rene Leveret, and Deibinson Romero are all in the top-ten in the organization in batting, and Luke Hughes is tied with Ben Revere for the system lead in runs batted in.

Anthony Swarzak is the best pitching prospect in the Twins organization, and he has proven that so far this season. The young right-hander has been lights out for the Rochester Red Wings, posting a 0.82 earned run average through his first 11 innings of work. He has struck out nine, walked one, but took the loss in both games.

Robert Delaney has been a beast out of the bullpen for New Britain, and leads the organization in strikeouts. Using his pinpoint control, Delaney has yet to walk a batter, and has been called on early and often for the Cats this season. In 10.2 innings of work, Delaney has posted a 1.69 earned run average, and might have a short stay in Connecticut.

One look at the system's earned run average leaders and it reads like a top prospect list. Carlos Gutierrez, Deolis Guerra, Swarzak, Delaney, Jay Rainville, and Cole Devries all litter the list, as does Kevin Mulvey. Anthony Slama is tied with Alex Burnett for the lead in saves, and Matthew Fox and Mulvey are tied for second in the system with 13 strikeouts.

Overall, the bigger names in the system have done well, but it has not equated to wins this season. Only Fort Myers (8-4) has a winning record, and the overall batting has been horrible. Beloit, who was expected to challenge in the Midwest League, has gotten off to a 3-8 start, though New Britain and Rochester aren't too far from .500. It is early, but the time is now to turn it around.

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