Cedar Rapids, IA - The publication Baseball America has released its annual top prospect lists for each Major League team, including the Minnesota Twins. The publication's lists include many former Kernels and possible future Kernels.
Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects
- Miguel Sano headlines the list as the Twins top prospect for the second consecutive year. In 2012, Sano led the Midwest League in home runs (28), runs batted in (100), total bases (238), and extra-base hits (60) while playing third base for the Beloit Snappers.
- Byron Buxton was the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, selected out of Appling County High School in Georgia. The 19-year old outfielder was Baseball America's 2012 High School Player of the Year and split time last year between the Gulf Coast League and Elizabethton in the Appalachian League.
- Oswaldo Arcia was signed out of Venezuela in 2007. The outfielder played last year in both high-A Fort Myers and double-A New Britain, combining for 17 home runs and 98 runs batted in.
- Alex Meyer, a 6-9 RHP, was a 1st round selection by the Washington Nationals in 2011. He pitched in the Nationals systems last year at the Class A level and was selected to the Futures Game. Meyer came to the Twins via trade when Denard Span was shipped to Washington last fall.
- Kyle Gibson, RHP, was a 1st round selection by Minnesota in 2009. He returned to make 13 appearances in 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery the year before. He pitched well in the Arizona Fall League this past fall.
- Aaron Hicks, a 1st round selection in 2008, spent the entire 2012 season in double-A New Britain. The outfielder set career highs in home runs (13), steals (32), and OPS (.844).
- J.O. Berrios became the highest drafted pitcher out of Puerto Rico ever when he was selected 32nd overall in 2012. He combined to make 11 appearances (4 starts) last year, splitting time between the Gulf Coast League and Elizabethton in the Appalachian League. At Elizabethton he made 3 starts, going 2-0 with a 1.29 earned run average. He struck out 22 and walked only 1 in 14 innings of work.
- Eddie Rosario played 95 games in 2012 with the Beloit Snappers in the Midwest League. He hit .296 with 12 home runs and 70 runs batted in. He was a 4th round selection from Puerto Rico in 2010.
- Trevor May, RHP, is a former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand, previously being ranked as the top prospect in their system in 2011. Minnesota acquired May, along with Vance Worley, in exchange for Ben Revere last December.
- Max Kepler, a left-handed outfielder, was signed out of Germany in 2009. In 2012, his 2nd season with Elizabethton, he led the Appalachian League in slugging percentage (.539) and total bases (125).
B.J. Hermsen, Manchester, Iowa-native and former West Delaware High School prep, is listed at #20 on the Twins top prospect list. The right-handed pitcher was selected in the 6th round of the 2008 draft. He is coming off his best season as a minor leaguer as he was named the 2012 Twins organization minor league pitcher of the year. He led the Twins system in innings (163) and earned run average (2.88).
Many former Kernels were also listed. Kaleb Cowart (#1, Angels) leads the way as the Angels top prospect, best hitter for average, and best infield arm. The third baseman spent the first half of 2012 in Cedar Rapids, hitting .293 with 9 home runs and 54 runs batted in.
RHP Mike Clevinger (#4, Angels) made 8 starts for the Kernels in 2012 and was named as having the best changeup in the Angels organization. RHP Austin Wood (#5, Angels) was the Kernels opening day starter in 2012 and made a total of 26 starts on the mound. Wood was listed as having the best slider in the Angels organization. Randal Grichuk (#6, Angels) played 84 games in the outfield for the Kernels over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. RHP R.J. Alvarez (#7, Angels) was the Angels top draft selection in 2012. He made 23 appearances for the 2012 Kernels and was listed as having the best fastball in the Angels system. Alex Yarbrough (#10, Angels) joined the Kernels in June of 2012 after being selected in the 4th round of the draft. The second baseman hit .287 and had 9 triples in 58 games. RHP A.J. Schugel (#12, Angels) went 4-3 with a 2.59 earned run average for the Kernels in 2011. RHP Ryan Chaffee (#13, Angels) had an 8-8 record for the 2009 Kernels and was selected as having the best curveball in the Angels organization. Eric Stamets (#14, Angels) played shortstop for the Kernels in 2012 after being drafted in June. Stamets is listed as the fastest base runner and best defensive infielder in the Angels system. RHP Reid Scoggins (#15, Angels) made 3 relief appearances for the Kernels in 2012. Luis Jimenez (#17, Angels) played third base for the 2010 Kernels and hit .292 in 43 games. RHP Daniel Tillman (#20, Angels) had a 2.04 earned run average for the 2011 Kernels. Shortstop Andrew Romine (#21, Angels) hit .260 and had 62 stolen bases for the Kernels in 2008. RHP Arjenis Fernandez (#22, Angels) made one start for the 2012 Kernels. Travis Witherspoon (#24, Angels) hit 12 home runs and stole 44 bases for the Kernels in 2011. Witherspoon is considered the best athlete and best defensive outfielder in the Angels organization. RHP Ryan Brasier (#25, Angels) had a 1.59 earned run average in 23 outings for the 2008 Kernels. LHP Drew Taylor (#27, Angels) recorded 8 saves and notched a 3-0 record with a 1.23 earned run average for the Kernels in 2009. RHP Cam Bedrosian (#28, Angels) joined the Kernels in 2012 and made 21 starts. RHP Kevin Johnson (#29, Angels) spent the first part of the 2012 season as the Kernels closer, collecting 4 saves in 12 appearances. Drew Heid is listed as having the best strike-zone discipline in the Angels organization. Heid played outfield for the Kernels in 2011. Carlos Ramirez, a Kernel in 2010 and 2011, was named the best defensive catcher in the Angels system.
Tyler Skaggs (#1, Arizona) is considered the Diamondbacks top prospect after making 6 starts in the Major Leagues in 2012. Skaggs went 8-4 with a 3.61 earned run average for the Kernels in 2010. The Angels traded Skaggs that season to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal. Johnny Hellweg (#6, Milwaukee) made 46 appearances for the Kernels over 2009 and 2010. Hellweg was sent to the Brewers organization when the Angels acquired Zach Greinke and is considered to have the best fastball in Milwaukee's organization. Ariel Pena (#22, Milwaukee) went 7-5 with a 3.76 earned run average for the Kernels in 2010. He was also involved in the Zach Greinke trade between the Angels and Brewers. Donn Roach (#19, San Diego) pitched 70 innings in relief for the Kernels in 2011. He was traded to the Padres organization as the Angels acquired Ernesto Frieri last May.
The Kernels open the 2013 Midwest League season at home on Thursday, April 4th against the Beloit Snappers at 6:35 pm. Tickets are available on-line at www.kernels.com or by calling the Kernels Ticket Office at (319) 896-7560. Ticket office hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are the Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.