Twins Farm System: The Other Guys
The Minnesota Twins have a solid list of prospects, but the bunch looks weak compared to the Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Jose Berrios days. If you were to look at any of the current guys at the top of the Twins prospect list right now, you might see names like Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis, or Stephen Gonsalves, but what you don’t see are some very talented and very underrated players that are going to be helping the already formidable and already young Minnesota Twins team very soon. Two things I would like to stress about this article are that I will not be focusing on every lesser-known young player and contributor, and also I am not taking away anything from the top tier prospects in the organization.
The first player that I’d like to focus on is LaMonte Wade. Wade spent the 2017 season in Double A Chattanooga and had great numbers with the Lookouts. He is currently ranked as 17th on MLB.com’s top 30 Minnesota Twins prospects list. He has shown the ability to hit throughout his minor league career, but one thing where he stands out from most minor league hitters is his ability to be patient and draw a lot of walks. Wade walked 76 times this season in 117 games, and has only struck out 71 times. Wade has 177 walks in 273 games, which means he has done this at every level. This helped Wade to slash .292/.397/.408. His slugging percentage is a bit low, but he has shown the ability to hit the ball out and could develop a little more power as he matures more. Looking at our numerical projections for Wade, we have calculated a slash line of .194/.264/.272. It isn’t the prettiest slash line, but projections are almost always low when relating a AA player to their production in the majors. He has time to grow as a player, and to get comfortable with higher levels of play, so a large leap in production wouldn’t be the least bit surprising. He is projected to be a fourth outfielder that can play the whole outfield, but I believe his bat will make it hard to sit him. Although there is a log jam of young talented players in the Twins outfield, don’t be surprised if LaMonte Wade works his way into the mix.
Another undervalued prospect is Tom Hackimer. Hackimer was drafted in 2016 and spent the whole 2016 season with Cedar Rapids. In 2017 he split time between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids and at both levels he was dominant. Hackimer was drafted as a reliever from St. John’s University and he was fantastic there. He has a sidearm delivery which has led Twins fans who know of him to compare him to the rising star Trevor Hildenberger. Hackimer, though, has a few differences from Hildy that are really evident. Hackimer has a quick move to the plate that could throw hitters timing off, and his secondary pitch is a sweeping slider instead of a changeup. Through 87.2 minor league innings pitched, Hackimer has a 1.95 ERA (19 ER). His walk rate is above Hildenberger’s as he’s walked 34 guys in the minors so far, but his strikeout rate is good, having 97 whiffs in his minor league career. Hackimer is already 23 and he’s only in single A, so expect him to move quickly, and possibly find a spot in the Twins bullpen in the next couple of years.
The Twins sure don’t look like they need help right now as they pull away in the wild card race, but if they want to improve for next year they might need to look within the organization. The bullpen is already starting to fill up with some underrated arms and while Wade and Hackimer won’t fully complete the puzzle, it’s hard to think that they can’t at least be a start.