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Twins Top 10

Moderator: Josh Boyd compiled the Twins top 10 list, and will answer questions about the organization at 3 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Charles Berg from Houston, Texas asks:
Why didnšt Dusty Gomon appear on the top ten list? With Morneau the consensus first bagger of the future, does that mean that Gomon will get to progress slowly, change positions or does it mean hešll be used as trade bait or all of the above?

Josh Boyd: OK, thanks to everyone who showed up for today's Twins chat. We're having fun with these organizational chats and hope you've been enjoying them too. Remember to stick to the Twins, or else you'll be publicly humiliated and have your subscription revoked. Not really, I'll just delete your question. Onto the questions....

Prospect Maven: Gomon narrowly missed out and will be in the 11-15 range. From what I can tell, Gomon is going to be limited to first baseDH duties. he's still pretty rough around the bag, but has a chance to show special power. There's no need to move him quickly, so he can progress one level at a time.

 Q:  John M. Perkins from Macon, GA asks:
Ortiz is gone. Mientkiewicz will be expensive for his bat. Morneau is due in 2004. So, where does ready, good bat, good glove Todd Sears fit in the top 30 and the Twins of 2003?

Josh Boyd: Another first base question. Sears should fit into the Top 30 and he could be a serviceable reserve infielder with enough bat to help off the bench. His glove might be good enough to win gold gloves if he were to play every day. Now I've got my chat music--Slum Village--and I'm all ready to start flying through these questions.

 Q:  Charles Berg from Houston, Texas asks:
Out of the following pitchers in the low minors, who do you like the best in terms of upside, Sandy Tejada, Jesse Crain or Matt Vorwald?

Josh Boyd: Three live arms there. I have to see Tejada survive a full season without arm problems first, and while he throws strikes, his delivery needs some work if for no other reason than to avoid injury. Scouts love Vorwald's arm, he can be downright filthy with his fastballslider combo, but is going to stay in the pen. Crain has a chance to start and I like his upside the best of the threesome, he also has a good fastballslider, but a feel for the change and athleticism to help him repeat his delivery.

 Q:  John Walsh from Chicago asks:
Josh, Brad Thomas was pretty well thought of a year ago. Edmonton was rough on him last year. What are the Twins long term plans for the lefty at this point?

Josh Boyd: Hey John, scouts liked what they saw from Thomas in the AFL this fall and more than one scout said Thomas was one of the few arms out there who profiled as a starter. He needs to improve on his damage control, first, as he was plagued by big innings last year. Next season will be his eighth; and he's repeated his level in each of the last three years, improving the second time around. His chances of making the staff next year ride on a lefty like Santana, Guardado or Romero--all of whom are better than Thomas--getting hurt.

 Q:  Joe from Minneapolis asks:
Is B.J. Garbe done as a prospect?

Josh Boyd: Most scouts don't think so, while I'd bet Bill James and his followers would tend to disagree. And though there are plenty of scouts still holding out hopes for Garbe's athleticism and raw tools to develop, there are no illusions that he is going to be a superstar in the big leagues. Garbe needs to close some of the holes in his swing, but he still has tremendous bat speed and raw power. I'd love to know if there are any productive big leaguers who've ever done as bad Garbe in high Class-A.

 Q:  Chuck Knoblauch from Kansas City asks:
Who are some sleeper prospects in the lower levels of the Twins system?

Josh Boyd: Chuckie, nice year. Sleepers: I really like Trent Oeltjen, an Australian outfielder who has put on a lot of muscle since signing. One scout called him a "hitting machine," and in just a year and a half, he's shown a lind-drive swing and some power potential with above-average speed. Righthander Travis Bowyer is a hard-thrower to watch, and the system's depth on the mound is impressive with second-tier prospects like Brian Wolfe, Joe Foote, Colby Miller, Jon Pridie and Josh Hill.

 Q:  Montell from Blaine asks:
What do you think of Jose Morban?

Josh Boyd: Morban, who the Twins just drafted out of the Rangers system on Monday in the Rule 5 Draft, is a raw-tooled shortstop. He is a plus runner and can play both positions up the middle with a strong arm and good actions. he should be able to serve as a nice backup to Rivas and Guzman, but Morban's bat probably won't provide much punch in the bigs. He's wildy inconsistent and struggles to make contact.

 Q:  Camilo from Maplewood asks:
You mentioned Crain, Vorwald, and Kemp as "live armed relievers". Do any of them have the potential to make the transition from reliever to starter? And does the team plan to keep them as relievers?

Josh Boyd: Yes, as I mentioned in an earlier response, Crain could take to the starting role this year. Kemp is strictly limited to short outings and Vorwald, who was a reliever in college, also has a violent delivery better suited for relief.

 Q:  Mudcat from White Bear Lake asks:
If the Twins had signed the following draft picks, where would they have ranked on the list: Jeff Clement, Tag Bozied, Aaron Heilmann, and Matt Macri?

Josh Boyd: Interesting hypothetical question. Macri is coming off Tommy John surgery and didn't get on the field for Notre Dame. He wouldn't have cracked their top 10, but would have been a nice addition to a system that lacks middle infield depth. Heilman would be their top ranked pitcher ahead of Tyler, and ranked as high as No. 4. Clement would definitely be in the Top 10, bumping Adam Johnson off. Bozied would be right around No. 10, though I might take Dusty Gomon ahead of him.

 Q:  Jodi H. from New York City asks:
Does the large concentration of prospects drafted straight from high school in the Twins Top 10 list make their top farm players a group that has a far more cloudy future than other organizations because of the absence of any sure bet, mature former college players? Is this concentration an indication of what their draft intentions have been year after year?

Josh Boyd: That's a good observation, but I still think the Twins are one of the strongest systems in baseball. They have had success with their draft philosophy, and as a previous question alluded to, they haven't drafted entirely in the prep ranks--they missed out on collegians Heilman and Bozied. But prospects like Cuddyer, Mauer, Resto and Morneau have proven themselves as "sure bets"... it doesn't matter they're from HS after hitting .300+ with 20+ bombs...

 Q:  Adam Hunt from Mt. Pleasant asks:
I noticed that Adam Johnson was number 10 on the Twins list has his stock fallen that much or has the Twins system gotten that much better?

Josh Boyd: It's a combination of both. Last year we ranked the Twins the No. 6 organization in baseball in terms of minor league talent and depth throughout the system. I think they have only improved from there. Johnson hasn't. He struggled this season and hasn't shown the same sharp breaking ball he did in college. He was hit hard and doesn't overpower hitters, though his control and changeup are solid. I think he would be best served in the bullpen, where he'll have a chance this spring.

 Q:  Josh Meyer from Palmer, IA asks:
Who do you compare Denard Span to and will he hit for power?

Josh Boyd: The standard comparison for Span is Kenny Lofton, but I think Span has an opportunity to hit for more power down the road. He'll be better off staying within himself and sticking to the little game, bunting, line drives and drawing walks atop the lineup--creating overall havoc with his 80 speed.

 Q:  Peter Friberg from San Diego, CA asks:
I'm a huge Morneau fan and I wondered what the take was on his power potential. I heard from one publication (who questioned it's own source) that he could have Jason Giambi type power. And while the AA Eastern League reportedly isn't the place to demonstrate one's power potential, Morneau didn't hit as many doubles as one would like to see from a budding power prospect in a pitcher's park... - What's the word?

Josh Boyd: I'm with you on that one Peter. I've talked to two scouts and I don't question that source, let alone their evaluating ability, who project, actually guarantee Morneau to hit 35+ home runs in the bigs. Last year he was slowed by an intestinal virus that certainly robbed some of his strength, yet he was still pure enough at the plate to hit close to .300 with a .474 slugging as a 20-21 year-old in a tough Double-A circuit.

 Q:  Alan Rittner from St. Petersburg, FL asks:
No one talks about the Twins as stathead-friendly like the A's or Blue Jays, but almost all their top hitting prospects have good to excellent plate discipline, and Mauer's is amazing for his age. Is this dumb luck or is it something they seek out and teach?

Josh Boyd: I think that is a testament to scouting director Mike Radcliff and his staff, regarded as one of the best in the business. Their player development staff also deserves a lot of credit for implementing those type of philosophies. The Twins don't get enough credit for anything they do.

 Q:  Charles Berg from Houston, Texas asks:
Whats the best lefthanded fastball in the system?

Josh Boyd: Brad Thomas has touched 96 in the past, and gets it to 93 now. Ryan Mills used to get the mid-90s, but those days are gone. Most of their lefthanded prospects work around average velocity. Johan Santana has the best, with plus life.

 Q:  Tj Lawrence from Ft. Lauderdale asks:
Are the twins top 3 (Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer) on par or better than any top three from other organizations? Can these three enable the Twins to compete throughout the decade, while cutting cost on guys like Pierzinski and Mentkiewicz?

Josh Boyd: There aren't many systems that can match the Twins top 3, and you can even expand that to their top seven. We will be rating all the systems from 1-30 again soon.

 Q:  Steve Lombardozzi from asks:
What are your thoughts on the pitcher that the Twins signed from The Netherlands, Alexander Smit?

Josh Boyd: Smit is intriguing. Physically he's similar to Orioles 2002 first-rounder Adam Loewen, though not as advanced. Smit was impressive in his first instructional league, topping out in the upper-80s with a good change and surprising feel for pitching for his age and background.

 Q:  Gene from LaCrosse asks:
How close is Justin Morneau to the majors? How good is his defense at 1B?

Josh Boyd: His ETA is 2004. His defense is well below-average at this point.

 Q:  Aaron MacCormack from Thorold,Ontario,Canada asks:
Do you think Micheal Cuddyer is the favourite going into the 2003 season to win the AL Rookie of the Year honours? In your opinion Josh, who will be his competition in the AL for the Rookie of the Year award? Thanks Josh!!

Josh Boyd: I think he is one of the favourites, but as evidenced by last year's emergence of rookies like Rodrigo Lopez and Jason Jennings, this can be tough to predict. Brandon Phillips and Hideki Matsui among others should provide stiff competition.

 Q:  dave from ca asks:
your thoughts on mike cuddyer? i see cuddyer as a tim salmon typr player, do you see this comparison as fair?

Josh Boyd: going to speed it up here by going into a lightning-quick round... I think the Tim Salmon comparison is very fair, a younger Salmon, not the one we see now.

 Q:  Junior Ortiz from asks:
Do the Twins have any high ceiling middle infield prospects in their system?

Josh Boyd: That is their organization weakness. Rule 5 pick Jose Morban helped address that, though he'll have a tough time sticking in the big leagues. Beyond that, they have some prospects who are far off like Jesus Merchan and Angelo Fermin.

 Q:  Tito from Tijuana asks:
There seems to be a lack of players on this list from Fort Myers, with Beau Kemp being the only player mentioned. Are there any others at the High Class A level with the potential to be impact players?

Josh Boyd: I wouldn't say impact, but there were several prospects there including Pridie, Rob Bowen, Josh Rabe, Terry Tiffe, Wolfe, Foote and Jason Bartlett.

 Q:  Twinkie from South Jersey asks:
What are your feelings about Jeff Randazzo. I understand his season never actually began due to a serious car accident. What do the Twins have planned for him? Does he have an ETA and if so, when

Josh Boyd: He started throwing again in instructional league and there are hopes he'll be back to normal after battling back from a near-tragic accident last spring.

 Q:  Sammy from Des Moines asks:
Thanks for the chat. Would Jose Morban have appeared if he had been with the Twins when the list was put together.

Josh Boyd: No, he'll be in the 20-30 range in the Prospect Handbook.

 Q:  Joe from Kappa, IL asks:
Mike Restovich. Rob Deer or Dale Murphy? Or somewhere in between?

Josh Boyd: More of a clue than Deer, not quite as good as Murphy, who dominated in the 80s.

 Q:  Jermaine from South Central asks:
Why are the White Sox so dumb to keep hating on the Twins? I mean what have they won in the last ninety years.

Josh Boyd: I think it's called a rivalry.

 Q:  Isaac Ellis from Port Ruppert asks:
Mauer to show power? Quick bat, 6'4", low K, high BB totals, or all the similar traits of. . . Dave Magadan? Is the organization going to work to get him to change his approach or simply let him develop as he will?

Josh Boyd: Easy there Isaac. Those are also traits of Barry Bonds. Mauer will be fine. He already shows plenty of raw power in BP and it will eventually translate into game power.

 Q:  JB Thompson from Orange County, CA asks:
For your lightning round, what about Santana? Ceiling?

Josh Boyd: Sky-high with that dirty cambio he learned last year.

 Q:  Super Nintendo Chalmers from Springfield, USA asks:
Tell us about Omar Burgos.

Josh Boyd: Strong arm, raw bat.

 Q:  John from Plano, TX asks:
What about Ryan Mills ?

Josh Boyd: Yikes. Not looking good, not at all.

 Q:  Tom Nieto from Montreal asks:
Does R Bowen have a future as a major league catcher, either with the Twins or elsewhere?

Josh Boyd: Yes, obviously he needs that bat to catch up, but his defense could carry him there alone.

 Q:  Hit Parade from Tampa asks:
You say Justin Morneau (spelling a bit off)has plus plus bat speed and a classic finish. So are you saying that his bat speed rivals that off a younger Gary Sheffield, MVP Eric Davis, and a healthy Darren Daulton??? If so, then that is impressive. What type of velocity is Travis Bowyer showing at this point in time? Thanks

Josh Boyd: Morneau has 70 bat speed. E.D. and Sheff had 80. Of course, hitting is about a lot more than bat speed, but Morneau has the other stuff too--plate discipline, pitch recognition, plate coverage, uses the whole field...

 Q:  james from Southwest asks:
What about my cousin Joe Durbin?

Josh Boyd: He's good. Read all about him in the top 10. Say hi to him at Christmas dinner.

Josh Boyd: Thanks folks, that's all the time we have for today. If there was a Pick-Up Stix in the Triangle, I'd be off to that immediately. Have a Happy Holiday everyone.

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