When we last checked in with our Top Ten prospects at the end of April, the results were a mixed bag. A number of the organization's top prospects were performing quite well, though the guys at the back end of the list -- such as Steve Tolleson, Angel Morales and Shooter Hunt -- had experienced some early struggles. The month of May saw a few of these players get back on track, while others continued to sink deeper into despair. Let's check in with the Top Ten and how they performed in May...
10. Steve Tolleson (AA): .310/.408/.506, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 19 R, 4/5 SB
(Season Totals: .258/.343/.391, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 21 R, 6/8 SB)
Tolleson was absolutely dreadful with the bat in April, hitting .164 while drawing only four walks (to eight strikeouts), driving in two runs and scoring only twice. May was a gigantic improvement, as he bumped his OPS up from 467 to 914 while increasing his RBI total from two to 11 and his runs scored total from two to 19 (!). He also improved his disappointing 8-to-4 K/BB ratio in April to 10/12 in May. His performance this past month was so good that Tolleson earned a promotion to Rochester, where he went 3-for-6 with a double over two games at the end of the month. If he keeps hitting, he'll quickly become an option to help cure the Twins' woeful middle-infield situation.
9. Angel Morales (A): .245/.359/.509, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 10 R, 3/4 SB
(Season Totals: .207/.282/.414, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R, 4/6 SB)
Like Tolleson, Morales experienced a major revival in his offense game after a horrible April. After hitting only .172 during the first month of the season, Morales posted a .245 average in May. Still not great, but a clear improvement that was partially buoyed by a 15-to-7 K/BB ratio that was far better than his ugly 18-to-2 ratio in May. More importantly, Morales was able to get on base at a good clip while showing a huge spike in power. His overall numbers still aren't good, but there was clear improvement this past month and from a 19-year-old in A-ball, that's all you're really looking for.
8. Shooter Hunt (A): 6 IP, 0-0, 10.50 ERA, 8/10 K/BB, 2.66 WHIP
(Season Totals: 17.2 IP, 0-1, 10.70 ERA, 18/33 K/BB, 2.72 WHIP)
After making his first start in May (during which he issued six walks in three innings), Hunt was demoted to the bullpen, where he made two more appearances and continued to experience control problems before being shipped to Extended Spring Training. He spent the second half of May there and will likely remain there until the Twins can find a way to get him throwing strikes. Needless to say, he's been vastly disappointing.
7. Anthony Slama (AA): 16.1 IP, 8 SV, 4.41 ERA, 22/9 K/BB, 1.47 WHIP
(Season Totals: 27 IP, 10 SV, 3.00 ERA, 41/15 K/BB, 1.41 WHIP)
Slama took a bit of a step back in May, posting a weak ERA and WHIP while experiencing some control problems. The downturn in numbers is mostly attributable to a couple bad outings, though, and his strikeout rate remained outstanding. I continue to believe he should be in Triple-A, where the Twins will get a better idea of whether or not he can help their bullpen in the near future.
6. Kevin Mulvey (AAA): 38 IP, 2-2, 4.50 ERA, 26/13 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP
(Season Totals: 57.1 IP, 2-3, 4.08 ERA, 46/21 K/BB, 1.33 WHIP)
Not a particularly good month for Mulvey. Compared to April, his ERA rose while his strikeout and ground ball rates dropped. He did start lasting longer in games, though, and all in all the numbers were far from disastrous so he should be fine going forward.
5. Danny Valencia (AA): .373/.443/.667, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 20 R, 0/1 SB
(Season Totals: .324/.420/.570, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 32 R, 0/2 SB)
After posting good numbers in April, Valencia was an absolute monster in May, clubbing 12 extra-base hits in 75 at-bats while continuing to display good plate discipline. The 24-year-old has effectively proven his mastery of the Double-A level and should be in Rochester by the time I do this write-up next month.
4. Jose Mijares (MLB): 13.2 IP, 2.63 ERA, 9/6 K/BB, 1.39 WHIP
(Season Totals: 16.2 IP, 2.16 ERA, 14/7 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP)
Mijares is now firmly installed as a fixture in the Twins' big-league bullpen. While his control issues became apparent for the first time in his major-league career this past month, he still achieved good results.
3. Ben Revere (A+): .388/.430/.449, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 17 R, 10/15 SB
(Season Totals: .346/.410/.408, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 31 R, 21/31 SB)
Revere flirted with a .400 average for much of last season, and he was at it again in May, as he posted a .388 BA that overshadowed some of his other suspect numbers. He's still not showing much power and his plate discipline actually regressed (5/11 K/BB in April; 10/6 in May), and with his speed it'd be nice if we could see a stolen base conversion rate better than 67 percent. Yet, as long as he can continue post a .400-plus on-base percentage buoyed by a huge batting average, I won't complain.
2. Wilson Ramos (AA): .304/.304/.391, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 0/0 SB
(Season Totals: .269/.289/.344, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 12 R, 0/0 SB)
Ramos was limited to six games and 23 at-bats due to a broken finger on his glove hand. He's missed the past three weeks, but was activated from the disabled list just the other day and returned to action for the Rock Cats lineup last night and went 2-for-5 with two RBI.
1. Aaron Hicks (Extended Spring Training)
Hicks remained in EST for all of May, leading some to wonder what's going on. Revere opened the 2008 season in EST but was up in Beloit by the end of April, where he immediately began to tear up Midwest League pitching. I'll defer to the Twins' expertise as far as Hicks' development goes, but at some point the kid has got to start playing some real, competitive ball.