Twins’ Top 10, Plus Another Radio Show

Baseball America released its annual evaluation of the Minnesota Twins’ farm system today.

Baseball America is about as trusted as it gets when it comes to the minor leagues, so it’s always fun to see how the Twins youngsters stack up against each other.

For the second straight year, Class A outfielder and former first-round pick Aaron Hicks was named the No. 1 prospect in the Twins system. But what’s even more impressive for Hicks is that he was deemed the one with the best strike-zone discipline, which is quite an accolade for a Class A player who can’t be more than 20 years old.

In a lot of organizations, he’d be rushed to the big leagues (ex: New York Mets). The Twins prefer to move a little slower and not gamble. With their commitments to Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span and Delmon Young, there’s no reason to rush any outfielders.

Three of the top 10 players were added to the system in the last year. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson was the team’s first-round pick at the 22nd overall pick out of Missouri. He would have been a top-10 pick if not for injuries.

Meanwhile, international free agents Miguel Angel Sano and Max Kepler both landed in the top 10. Sano received the largest bonus paid to an international player in franchise history when he was given $3.15 million. Kepler was considered the best European prospect available.

The one glaring need you see is in the infield. Lot of good outfielder and pitching prospects. But Baseball America still projects Alexi Casilla to be the team’s everyday second baseman in 2013. If he wins that right, then great. But you have to wonder the way last year went if he’ll ever be an everyday player again.

There is no doubt in my mind this farm system is immensely stronger than it was last year, especially with the additions of Gibson, Sano and Kepler. Fans may fret over the present and the Joe Mauer contract extension that hasn’t happened yet, but they should rest assured the future looks bright, too.

Considering that catching prospect Wilson Ramos is viewed as the best defensive catcher in the organization and the best power hitter at any position in their minor leagues, if he keeps developing, look out. That’s either a solid Mauer replacement or a pretty outstanding chip the organization can trade away in a deal.

Here’s Gibson making a college batter look silly:

On the radio today

I’m back on "Sports Talk" on 970-AM WDAY radio from 1-2 p.m. today. I’ll be joined in studio my WDAY’s Scott Miller and The Forum’s Kerry Collins.

We’ll be talking to Fargo Force head coach Steve Johnson about his team’s recent hot streak. The Force are in second place in their division of the United States Hockey League.

We’ll have a few other topics, which I’ll toss in here if I have time before the show.

Feel free to call in at (701) 293-9000 or e-mail