Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twins prospect list: 35-31

I will be continuing my look at the Twins top 50 prospects in the organization. Today, I will look at prospects 35-31 as I work my way all the way down to number one. I hope all enjoy and check out prospects 50-46, 45-41, and 40-36. If you have any comments or questions you can leave a comment in the comment box or by emailing me at travis_aune@yahoo.com. Hope all enjoy and have a great day.

  • 35. Billy Bulluck RP (2/27/1988) 21

2009 stats: 4-0 2.41 era in 33 games along with 11 saves. Worked 33.2 inn and walked 13 batters while striking out 45 batters. Held opponents to a .228 batting average.

2009 teams: Elizabethton Twins and Beloit Snappers

  • Billy Bulluck was a 2nd round draft by the Twins in the 2009 draft out of the University of Florida. Billy had a phenomenal rookie year with the Twins as he showed why he was drafted as high as he was. You have to be a pretty good prospect to be drafted in the second round as a relief pitcher. Bulluck started his career with Elizabethton and was dominant. Bulluck worked 7 games and went 1-0 with a 1.23 era with 1 walk and 10 strikeouts in 7.1 innings. He then was promoted to class A Beloit where he was good also. He went 3-0 with a very good 2.73 era in 26 games along with 8 more saves. Bulluck has a plus fastball that can overpower hitters at times and if he can keep his walk total down he can be downright dominant. The big thing with him is just to keep improving and getting better as he continues through the organization. I truly look at Billy Bulluck as a future closer for the Twins as he has all the tools you look for in a quality closer. Being a college guy also he will probably move through the organization quickly. When Joe Nathan either retires or moves on to another organization I look for Billy Bulluck to be that guy to take his spot and blow hitters away for the next 10-15 years.

  • 2010 projection: Closer for Fort Myers in First half and then Move to New Britain

  • Estimated Time of Arrival: 2011

  • 34. Michael Tonkin P (11/19/1989) 20

2009 stats: 3-4 3.62 era in 11 games including 9 starts. Worked 54.2 innings while walking only 9 and striking out 60. Held opponents to a very good .258 average.

2009 teams: GCL Twins

  • Michael Tonkin was selected by the Twins in the 30th round of the 2008 draft. Tonkin had a very solid 2009 with a very good 3.62 era in 54.2 innings of work. It doesn't hurt that Tonkin has a famous relative in that he has Jason Kubel as a brother in law. However, Tonkin showed why the Twins drafted him with a very good year. With all high school to pro athletes it takes time to adjust to the pro game. For him to have that solid of a year in his first year of pro ball just shows you how big of an upside he has. Tonkin has the potential to be a very good prospect. He had a good fastball and good breaking pitches. He has good control as his 9 walks in 54.2 innings would attest too. Really he has all the tools to be an excellent pitcher. The big thing for him is to just keep getting better the higher he gets in the organization. He will get a big challenge when he moves up to Elizabethton and I am pretty confident that he will meet that challenge just like he did when he became a professional.
  • 2010 projection: Extended Spring Training and then start at Elizabethton
  • Estimated time of arrival: 2014

  • 33. Santos Arias P (3/17/1987) 22

2009 stats: 6-3 2.15 era in 38 games including 9 starts along with 3 saves. Worked 100.2 innings with 27 walks and 72 strikeouts. Held opponents to a .243 average.

2009 teams: Fort Myers Miracle

  • Santos Arias really put himself on the map in 2009 as at the end of the season he was probably pitching as good as any pitcher in the whole organization. The rail thin Santos at 5 foot 11 inches and 162 lbs is able to get incredible velocity for a man his size. After joining the Miracle starting staff after Carlos Gutierrez joined New Britain he took off and did not look back. His 2.15 era last year for the Miracle was the best on the team that included such stars as Minor League Pitcher of the Year David Bromberg, Deolis Guerra, and Tyler Robertson. He has a plus fastball with some decent breaking pitches that seem to only be getting better. I have heard him compared to a young Pedro Martinez the way that the ball just jumps out of his hand. If his career turns into anything remotely close to Martinez then we have a winner. I think his career sits in late innings in the bullpen, but I am glad he is getting a chance to start as that will help him when they try him in late game situations. I am very high on Santos and really think he has a future with the Twins. I really think a year from now he will be twice as high in the prospect lists and one day you will see his name on a Minnesota Twins uniform.
  • 2010 projection: Start season in Fort Myers rotation and finish year in New Britain bullpen.
  • Estimated Time of Arrival: 2012

  • 32. Steve Tolleson INF (11/1/1983) 26

2009 stats: .264 avg 8 hr 40 rbi's in 130 games along with 27 doubles and 3 triples and 13 stolen bases. He 52 walks and 72 strikeouts in 503 at bats. Had a .341/.383/.724 splits.

2009 teams: New Britain Rockcats and Rochester Red Wings

  • After getting off to a horrible start to the season in New Britain Steve Tolleson really bounced back which got him a promotion and more playing time and had a very solid season for the Twins. The big thing with Tolleson is his versatility as he played games at 2nd base, Shortstop, 3rd base, and the outfield. He can do them fairly well so that is a marketable still. He is a pretty good hitter who is a gap type hitter as his 38 extra base hits would attest to. There are two things really working against him as he tries to take that next step and make it to the big leagues. One, is his age as at age 26 not many people look at people like that as prospects anymore and move on to the next guy. It is not fair, but that is the way a majority of baseball people think. Secondly, and most important in my assesment is his defense. He did not play a very good 2nd base and that is why they had him moving around to different positions. The Twins had to look at different options last year with Alexi Casilla's struggles because they felt that Steve Tolleson did not play good enough defense. Overall, though his ability to play all over I think will hide some of his deficiencies and I believe when it is all said and done this spring Steve Tolleson will make the Twins as a utility infielder.
  • 2010 projection: Utility infielder for Twins
  • Estimated Time of Arrival: 2010

  • 31. Tom Stuifbergen P (9/26/1988) 21

2009 stats: 5-2 3.50 era 14 starts including 1 complete game. Worked 82.1 innings and here is the impressive stat 7 walks and 72 strikeouts. Held opponents to a .263 batting average.

2009 teams: Elizabethton Twins and Fort Myers Miracle

  • Tom Stuifbergen's 2009 has to be looked at as a total and utter success after missing the 2008 season due to arm surgery. Stuifbergen put up a very good season up as he dominated the Appalacian League. He really reestablished himself as a top notch prospect in the organization. The key is how does he respond to a full season of wear and tear after dominating in the short season. The best stat to show his domination was he only walked 7 batters in 82.1 innings while striking out a staggering 72 which is about a 10:1 ratio of strikeouts to walks. He will not be as dominant as he moves up to Beloit this year, but I look for him to keep getting better and better as he gets more and more confidence in that arm. It will be interesting to see how his arm reacts to the cold weather in Wisconsin in April and May. If Tom has the kind of season in 2010 as he had in 2009 he will be jumping up the prospect lists and will become what he was pre injury and that is one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.
  • 2010 projection: Starting pitcher at Beloit
  • Estimated Time of arrival: 2014