2005 Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player’s long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven’t exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2005.


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1. Joe Mauer, c
2. Jason Kubel, of
3. Jesse Crain, rhp
4. J.D. Durbin, rhp
5. Francisco Liriano, lhp
6. Kyle Waldrop, rhp
7. Anthony Swarzak, rhp
8. Matt Moses, 3b
9. Jason Bartlett, ss
10. Scott Baker, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Joe Mauer
Best Power Hitter Michael Restovich
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jason Kubel
Fastest Baserunner Denard Span
Best Athlete Denard Span
Best Fastball J.D. Durbin
Best Curveball J.D. Durbin
Best Slider Jesse Crain
Best Changeup Julio DePaula
Best Control Kyle Waldrop
Best Defensive Catcher Joe Mauer
Best Defensive Infielder Trevor Plouffe
Best Infield Arm Omar Burgos
Best Defensive Outfielder Denard Span
Best Outfield Arm Jason Kubel
1995 LaTroy Hawkins, rhp
1996 Todd Walker, 2b
1997 Todd Walker, 2b
1998 Luis Rivas, ss
1999 Michael Cuddyer, 3b
2000 Michael Cuddyer, 3b
2001 Adam Johnson, rhp
2002 Joe Mauer, c
2003 Joe Mauer, c
2004 Joe Mauer, c
1995 Mark Redman, lhp
1996 *Travis Lee, 1b
1997 Michael Cuddyer, ss
1998 Ryan Mills, lhp
1999 B.J. Garbe, of
2000 Adam Johnson, rhp
2001 Joe Mauer, c
2002 Denard Span, of
2003 Matt Moses, 3b
2004 Trevor Plouffe, ss
*Did not sign
Joe Mauer, 2001 5,150,000
B.J. Garbe, 1999 $2,750,000
Adam Johnson, 2000 $2,500,000
Ryan Mills, 1998 $2,000,000
Michael Cuddyer, 1997 $1,850,000

It was business as usual for the Twins in 2004. They won their third straight American League Central title, integrating young talent into their major league club while continuing to bring in another wave at the lower levels of the system.

Losing top relievers Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins to free agency after 2003 wasn�t the worst thing that could have happened to Minnesota. While Guardado broke down with the Mariners and Hawkins was inconsistent with the Cubs, the Twins replaced them with trade acquisition Joe Nathan and, later in the year, homegrown set-up man Jesse Crain. What�s more, the four draft picks received as compensation enabled scouting director Mike Radcliff to piece together the best draft in the game in June. With five picks in the top 39 slots and seven in the top 91, Radcliff stocked up on young pitching. High school shortstop Trevor Plouffe got things started at No. 20, but the Twins filled in behind him with a pair of college arms (Glen Perkins, Matt Fox) and four impressive prep pitchers (Kyle Waldrop, Jay Rainville, Anthony Swarzak, Eduardo Morlan). The combined outlay for the seven picks was $6.745 million, with Plouffe earning the highest bonus at $1.5 million.

The Twins managed to break in several key rookies in 2004, although budding superstar Joe Mauer missed the bulk of the year following early-season knee surgery. Mauer, rated Minnesota�s top prospect for the fourth straight winter, is expected to reclaim the starting catching job in 2005. Other products of the farm system who contributed to a franchise-best third consecutive postseason appearance included first baseman Justin Morneau, outfielders Lew Ford and Jason Kubel, third baseman Terry Tiffie, and relievers Grant Balfour and Crain.

While the budget-conscious Twins experience roster turnover every year, front-office stability is a hallmark of the organization. General manager Terry Ryan is entering his 11th season running the baseball side of things and has been in the organization since 1986. Farm director Jim Rantz has been with the franchise since it moved to Minnesota in 1961 and has overseen the farm system since 1986. Radcliff is entering his 18th year with the Twins and his 12th as scouting director.

The system�s greatest strength is its pitching depth, which dovetails with the big league club�s greatest need. In August, 29 Twins farmhands averaged 90 mph or better with their fastballs. At a time when their competitors were wearing down or landing on the shelf, most of Minnesota�s pitchers were getting stronger. Not that velocity is emphasized, however. Twins scouts are more interested in finding well-rounded pitchers who can command multiple offerings.

Minnesota affiliates had a combined .502 winning percentage in 2004. The system has endured just one losing season (1999) in the past 13 years and just two losing campaigns since 1987.

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