Top Prospects 16-20 and How do you solve a problem like Shooter Hunt?

The countdown rolls along, as does my rationale for ranking the top prospects in the Twins system. Last time, I went from 61 almost-sort-of-kind-of-quarter-finalists to 48 slightly-more-sort-of-kind-of-quarter-finalists. This left me with the 48 prospects with the highest pre-draft ceilings and evaluations and that were not total outliers based on their performance in the Twins system. However, I ran into a problem:

Shooter Hunt.

Shooter Hunt was the Twins’ sandwich pick in the first supplemental round of the 2008 draft, which was compensation for losing Torii Hunter to free agency and the moneybags in California/Anaheim/Los Angeles/wherever the Angels say they are from now. He came into the Twins system in 2008 and pitched 4 games (19 IP), giving up 1 ER on 4 hits and 6 BB in the Appy League. Walks a little high, but who’s going to argue with a .47 ERA? Well, Hunt immediately showed why exactly we all should have been arguing. In Beloit, he appeared in 7 games, giving up 27 walks and 21 ERs, against 34 strikeouts and ONLY 2 HRs. Sad when you have to look to home runs allowed to find a bright spot, especially when that number is as not-so-good as 2 in 31.1 innings. Not terrible, but surely nothing to write home about. The 2009 season was an unmitigated disaster at both the GCL Rookie Twins team and back at Beloit (why in the world did they send him back there after he posted 25 walks in 15 innings?). Well, in Beloit, he gave up 33 walks in 17 innings, and his season was over; he was sent to extended spring training and then was shut down. I’m assuming this was due to ineffectiveness, not due to injury, as I couldn’t find any clippings about it.

Basically, he was really, really bad.

So how do you rank a player like Shooter Hunt? I chose to deliberately base my top 32 on concrete numbers, and I guess I am not alone, as Nick Nelson excluded him from his top 50, and Josh Johnson ranked him at number 48 (which, in fairness, is exactly where I would have put him, based on my own system). I had, at this point, 48 prospects left, and Shooter had unambiguously the worst season of the lot last year. To be fair, great Twins-oriented minds (Nick and Josh’s; I’m certainly not a great mind) can differ, as Aaron Gleeman ranked Hunt as the 26th best prospect in the Twins system (it appears largely based on potential, not on numbers), but noted that “right now his 2010 season should be considered a success if Hunt can simply show some semblance of command, regardless of whether he gets knocked around in the process.”True dat. If hitters knock Hunt around, it means that they were tempted by his offerings, which is much better than 2009.

At this point, it is important to note that I was still flying by the seat of my pants, not having made a top prospects list before. So, I decided to give some more weight to the numbers my prospects put up last year and the year before. This took me down to 42, after knocking out six prospects that simply did not perform very well during their time in the Twins system. It also cleared out Shooter Hunt, whose mental makeup/lack of control made him outside what I would consider the top 32 prospects in the Twins system.

Next time: I make the final cut to the 34 prospects in my top 32 plus 2 HMs.

Also, remember, you can follow my semi-baseball related tweets at @calltothepen.

Follow me past the fold to the Call to the ‘Pen 2010 Top Prospects 16-20…

20. Deolis Guerra: RH-SP, New Britain

The Real Question: Guerra has shown some recent improvement, but can he improve his numbers and velocity enough to match his outrageously good change-up and, at the same time, develop another plus pitch or two?

19. Jeff Manship, RH-SP, Rochester/Twins

The Real Question: Will the sparks of semi-brilliance Manship displayed last year re-assert themselves this year, and will he return to the Twins?

18. Tyler Robertson, LH-SP, Ft. Myers

The Real Question: Robertson has great stuff (change-up, the best curve in the Twins system, slider), but can he avoid the arm problems that seem to be in his future due to a painful-looking delivery?

17. Tom Stuifbergen, RH-SP, Ft. Myers

The Real Questions: Does yelling “small sample size” make us forget his one bad game in Ft. Myers, and is that the real Tom Stuifbergen, or is it the one we saw in the Appy League who raked? Or is that “small sample size” as well? Or is everything small sample size?

16. Anthony Slama, RH-RP, Rochester

The Real Question: When will we see him in Minny? Over/under 2 bullpen injuries/failures?

This set of prospects is defined by the X-files mantra: I want to believe. However, Guerra hasn’t shown a ton since we got him from the (stupid) Mets, and I can only be so optimistic about Stuifbergen and Robertson. What do you think? Join the conversation in the comments, and I look forward to seeing you there.

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2 Responses

  1. Shooter Hunt appears to have Steve Blass disease. I don’t know of anyone who has ever recovered from that. So he isn’t any kind of prospect unless he can hit like Rich Ankiel.

  2. Steve Blass! That’s the person that was on the tip of my tongue. I give him the length of Extended Spring Training to prove that he still belongs in baseball as a pitcher. I hope he can hit like Rick Ankiel, but I’m a semi-firm believer that there can only be one mutant like that. Sort of like Highlander.

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