Minnesota Twins Hitting Prospects: Faith in Sano Not Insane (And That’s Just the Beginning)


The Seedlings to Stars scanner is aimed north today to see which future Twins have a good chance at turning out to be “Minnesota Nice.”  And there a surplus of strong candidates.  Indeed, the Twins might have the best set of hitting prospects anywhere.

In our S2S STAT-Scans, each player is assigned a “Plate Skills Index,” which is based on the ability to “win plate appearances” (described in detail here), a “Production Index,” based on the ability to produce offense (described in detail here), and a “Composite Index,” which is a combination of the two.  Additional detail on “the three numbers,” with some examples, can be found here.

Twins fans are looking for more new young players, even if some, like Ben Revere, get traded away. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It is important to remember that age, level and position also factor into the analysis.  And note that this is a statistical analysis of the actual results, so scouting reports don’t factor into the numbers.

Threat Level: Midnight

Miguel Sano, 3b (S2S Top 115 #3) …  2013 Age: 20; 2012 Level: Low-A

Plate Skills: 126  Production: 127  Composite: 153

Sano put up, well, insanely good numbers for a 19-year-old, blasting 28 homers and drawing 80 walks in the Midwest League.  The third base prospect struck out too often, but he had the power and walks to make up for it.  He certainly had among the very best numbers from a teenager in a full-season league, and his sky-high ranking in our Top 115 shows it.  (Not to mention the coveted “Threat Level: Midnight” designation.)

High Alert

Oswaldo Arcia, OF (S2S Top 115 #93) … 2013 Age: 22; 2012 Level: High-A, AA

Plate Skills: 101  Production: 117  Composite: 118

While not as complete as Sano, Arcia showed plenty of pop, posting a .219 ISO on the strength of 36 doubles, 8 triples and 17 bombs.  The Twins obviously have faith, as he got the call to AA at age 21 in mid-season.  The bump in level didn’t slow him down a bit, as he posted a powerful .955 OPS in 69 games in the Eastern League.

Max Kepler, OF …  2013 Age: 20; 2012 Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 130  Production: 133  Composite: 163

Kepler has been creeping up the ranks slowly since signing at 17, but he put together an eye-opening combination of power and patience in the Appalachian League: .297/.387/.539 with only a 12.3% strikeout rate.  You don’t see huge power with a low K% like that very often.

Eddie Rosario, 2b/OF (S2S Top 115 #112) … 2013 Age: 21; 2012 Level: Low-A

Plate Skills: 96  Production: 115  Composite: 111

Rosario stroked out 32 doubles in 95 games in the Midwest League, and added 12 dingers for good measure.  All while splitting time between second base and center field.  Plenty good numbers for a guy playing those “glove” positions.

Aaron Hicks (S2S Top 115 #74), OF … 2013 Age: 23; 2012 Level: AA

Plate Skills: 119  Production: 100  Composite: 119

Switch-hitting Hicks played almost exclusively in center while racking up an .844 OPS.  He drew 79 walks (.384 OBP) and added 21 doubles, 11 triples and 13 homers.  He can take dead aim at an MLB role with those results from a center fielder.

On the Radar

Romy Jimenez, OF … 2013 Age: 22; 2012 Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 157  Production: 173  Composite: 230

OK, Jimenez only played 35 games, at rookie level, at age 21 … but whoa!  A .669 SLG with only an 18% strikeout rate?  You gotta at least keep an eye on him.

Kennys Vargas, 1b … 2013 Age: 22; 2012 Level: Low-A

Plate Skills: 148  Production: 148  Composite: 196

And then there’s switch-hitting Vargas posting a monster .292 ISO in the Midwest League by pounding out 11 HR in just 41 games.

Distant Early Warning

Byron Buxton (S2S Top 115 #41), OF … 2013 Age: 19; 2012 Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 94  Production: 105  Composite: 99

Wait!  There’s more!  Just the No. 2 pick in the entire draft, who played center field and was absolutely fine for an 18-year-old just out of high school.

Jorge Polanco, 2b/SS … 2013 Age: 19; 2012 Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 120  Production: 118  Composite: 138

And that’s not all!  Here’s a middle infielder, also a teenager, and another switch-hitter, putting up a .903 OPS and striking out a measly 26 times in 51 games.

On the Whole

Twins fans, you are spoiled.  Other teams do not have this embarrassment of riches.  Enjoy.