It is hard to believe that we are nearing the quarter turn of the MLB season already. For this week's Twins Whatnot, let's focus on the minor league aspect of the ballclub.
Of all the minor league position players the Twins currently have, which would you most prefer to bring up?
Marty Andrade: Alexi Casilla is on his way up as I'm writing this. His .600 OPS should fit in well with our team. Sarcasm aside, Brian Buscher, Matt Macri, and even Denard Span have had better offensive seasons than Casilla. Macri and Buscher can both play third base, a hole in our lineup right now.
I like either Buscher or Macri, though I'd be concerned over service time with Macri. Span wouldn't work well unless he could shift to an infield position (which would be a waste of his abilities in CF). Darnell McDonald is also playing great and swinging a hot bat, but the Twins are just overloaded with outfielders right now.
The Twins are wasting roster spots right now on Nick Punto, Mike Lamb, and Adam Everett, and all should be sent packing. There are talented players in the minors who could add to the Twins.
TK on Toast: If you're talking about bringing someone up to the bigs, I think you can make a pretty good case for Buscher to come back up, especially with Punto's injury. If you're talking about moving guys up within the system, then I think the most obvious answer is Luke Hughes. The kid is dominating AA through his first 30+ games, and it would make sense to see what he can do at AAA.
Plus, the Red Wings aren't hitting very well, so they definitely could use the spark at the plate that Hughes could provide.
Andrew Kneeland: I think it would be great if the Twins would stop winning. I know it sounds horrible, but I hate this swinging on the edge of contention. If the Twins could either consistently win or consistently lose, they could bring up and test minor league players more often.
I would be in favor of seeing Buscher with the Twins for a long period of time. I would also love to see a mid-year promotion for Luke Hughes. Hughes is shattering everything in AA ball with New Britian. He is batting .388, with nine dingers and 20 RBI through 31 games.
Of all the minor league pitchers the Twins currently have, which would you most prefer to bring up?
Jon Bartsch: I'd love to see what Brian Duensing could do at the major league level. In a perfect world, Liriano would be ready and we could bring him up...but he has shown marginal improvement in his most recent minor league starts. Duensing is another lefty, and he went to college in my home state (Nebraska), so I'd like to see him get a shot somewhere down the line.
Marty Andrade: Brian Duensing. Ricky Barrett or Casey Daigle (both relievers) have both pitched well, but Duensing gives the Twins more options. He can mop up, spot start, or join the rotation. Duensing is also a guy with whom I don't worry about service time. For guys like Humber, this is a consideration as they project better over the long run.
TK on Toast: If I was answering this question earlier in the week, it would have been Perkins or Korecky. Since both of those guys are now up, this becomes a very difficult question. I wouldn't mind seeing what Mariano Gomez has since he seems to be pitching very well out of the 'pen for Rochester, with his 2.45 ERA and 17-4 K:BB ratio in his 20+ innings of work so far this year.
Andrew Kneeland: I think this answer is obviously Brian Duensing. After the recent raiding of the farm system by Minnesota, there isn't much left in Rochester in terms of starters. Duensing is doing well against AAA teams, and should be able to fit right into the major leagues. The fact that he is a lefty only raises his value.
Which minor league player(s) has the best shot in the MLB?
Jon Bartsch: Luke Hughes of the New Britain Rock Cats. A second baseman with power and speed in the Twins' system—haven't seen one of those for awhile. He's currently batting .388 and his OPS (a more telling stat) is a ridiculous 1.130. He has nine HR and four SB, although he does have five errors playing at 2B. Still, I could fall in love with his offensive upside, especially with the emergence of power in top second-basemen in the majors (Utley, Phillips, Uggla...)
Marty Andrade: Matt Macri is my pick. He has a long and consistent track record, is just 25, and as a third baseman he could fill (to repeat myself again) an organizational hole. The Twins pitching might be a better bet, but pitchers are harder to make predictions on, as they have a greater degree of injury vulnerability.
However, Anthony Swarzak has the stuff to make it long term in the Majors.
TK on Toast: I love Trevor Plouffe's game. He hits the ball well, has a pretty good slugging percentage, and a cannon for an arm. He's definitely not ready yet, and needs to work on some consistency at the plate and reducing the number of errors he has. But since we clearly don't have much stability at the shortstop position, he would be a prime candidate to make the team, and stay in the next year or two.
Andrew Kneeland: Luke Hughes is completely dominating AA ball. I would love to see what he can do in Rochester, but I don't want to rush him. Hughes will be very good in the major leagues, and I can't wait until he is developed.
Another good player is Brian Buscher. I don't think he will be as good as Macri or Hughes, but will be more of a black horse this year and into the future.
How would you rate the Twin's farm system compared to other teams?
Jon Bartsch: Umm, I would have to say middle of the pack, maybe a little higher. It doesn't help that we have so many young pitchers up with the big club, although it does attest to our ability to develop talent. It has left less pitching talent in the farm system. However, Mulvey has been a surprise to me, I didn't think he would perform like he has this soon. Now if we can just find a power-hitting third baseman somewhere in that farm system.
Marty Andrade: The Twins have a farm system filled with slap-hitting utility players, all with speed and good gloves (broad generalizations here). There is very little power to speak of, or plate discipline, or a lot of other things. It's depressing as there's no "Derek Jeter" like talent in the system, there's no clear, obvious, can't miss future All-Star out there. (Ben Revere looks better and better though).
What the Twins lack in offense, they make up for in pitching. Last year the Twins had two major league quality rotations, one at AAA and one in the majors. Even after losing Carlos Silva, Matt Garza, and Johan Santana, the Twins still have seven to eight major league quality starters, with several more working their way up the system. That's simply awesome. Few teams can boast that kind of depth among starting pitchers.
TK on Toast: Our system is probably a bit below average on the major league scale. Not because we do anything wrong or don't have a bunch of talent, but more because our system is a bit watered down with so many young players being on the Twins roster currently. When you have a young major-league team, the talent in the minor-league system is going to be worse.
Andrew Kneeland: I would say average, maybe a little below. The AAA club, Rochester, is just awful right now. There are only a few good prospects, but many well-known names. Alexi Casilla, the "future" second baseman, is batting .209. Nothing much else is happening with that team.
The AA team, New Britian, has been doing great and has quite a few good prospects the Twins would love to see with them.
As to the other leagues, there is not really any player that blows everybody else out of the water.