Twins Prospects Thriving In AFL

Blackburn is a top starter for Phoenix.

The Minnesota Twins' prospects that are playing in the Arizona Fall League are putting up some of the better statistics of any of their fellow Phoenix Desert Dogs. The pitchers are some of the better in the league, their position player prospects are hitting, and they all are improving their stock. Here is a look inside the Arizona Fall League:

The pitching prospects the Twins sent are pitching at an incredible level, with Nick Blackburn, Anthony Swarzak, and Ryan Mullins leading the team in innings pitched. Eduardo Morlan has been an absolute beast out of the bullpen, and the four of them are showing why the Twins are regarded as having the best pitching prospects in baseball. All four could be with the Twins within the next two seasons.

Blackburn is coming off a breakout season with the Rochester Red Wings, were he was one of the better pitching prospects in the International League. As of press time, Blackburn is tied with Swarzak for the team lead in innings pitched, and has posted a 1.59 earned run average in his five starts. He has three wins, has struck out almost a batter per inning, and has walked only two.

Swarzak, who has shaken off an early season suspension, is also eating innings, and has won one of his six starts. The young fireballer has posted an earned run average of 1.59 as well, and has pitched much smarter than he has in the past. Swarzak is no longer relying on just striking batters out, and has shown he can pitch against some of the better prospects in all of Minor League Baseball.

Mullins has come pretty much out of nowhere to rank up their as one of the top left-handed starting pitching prospects in the Twins organization. After a solid regular season, Mullins was recently named to the AFL Rising Stars Classic, and has a 2.40 earned run average in his five appearances. He has made four starts, and is once again racking up the strikeouts. He has struck out 17 batters in 15 innings of work.

Eduardo Morlan has been ridiculous, posting a perfect 0.00 earned run average in ten games for the Desert Dogs. Morlan has struggled with his command a bit, but is showcasing the arm that makes him one of the better pitching prospects in all of Minor League Baseball. He is really blazing up the prospect charts, and this Fall will only help.

Not to be outdone, Matt Macri and Trevor Plouffe are also having a great Fall, ranking second and third on the team in batting respectively. Macri came over from the Rockies for Ramon Ortiz, and could wind up with the Twins sooner than later. Macri currently leads the team in hits and doubles, showing that he has the bat that could help the Twins in 2008.

Plouffe is one of the better prospects in the Twins organization, and is one of the top shortstop prospects in all of Minor League Baseball. He was named New Britain Player of the Year in 2007, and joined Mullins on the Rising Stars roster. Though his batting has been great, he has more importantly committed only three errors in 22 games. The 2008 season could be one to remember for the young shortstop.

Drew Butera is not hitting as well as Plouffe or Macri, but the fact that he is playing well in the Arizona Fall League is huge for a Minnesota Twins organization that does not have much catching depth in the farm system. Though batting only .240, Butera has to be considered one of the top catching prospects in the system now.

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