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SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast Live Tonight at 10 – What a win for the Twins. Should be plenty to talk about, good and bad… the emotional rollercoaster of this great game of baseball. I definitely welcome your phone calls and questions and comments at 347-202-0548. It should be an entertaining show.
The Twins full-season minor league seasons all get started on Thursday. Last week, I e-mailed many Twins bloggers, specifically those that focus a lot of time and writing on the Twins minor league system. I asked them to write up a quick paragraph on who their choices were for six categories. I asked for their choices for the Breakout Hitter and the Breakout Pitcher of the Year in the High-levels and in the Low levels of the Twins farm system. I’ll be posting those periodically throughout the next couple of days. Hopefully you enjoy the series and will comment your choices as well. And as always, feel free to ask questions in the comments. With the five people below, we will answer your questions, maybe even with differing opinions.
Roger Dehring – He has been tracking the Twins minor league system and players for a long time. He is an occasional guest writer here, but he does a tremendous job of keeping the fine folks of Twinkie Town updated on the Twins minor leagues with his Weekly Minor League Reports each Saturday.
Josh Johnson – Finishing up college may inexplicably understandably been his top priority of late, but when it comes to knowing the Twins minor league system, Josh is among the top! He has written at Josh’s Thoughts for several years.
Steve Lien – Steve writes the Twins content for Gear Up for Sports. He has written a lot of information on Twins minor leaguers and spent nearly as much time watching minor league practices in Ft. Myers as I did.
Cody Christie – Cody is the North Dakota Twins fan even if he now makes his residence in the Twin Cities. He has been a he addition to the Twins blogosphere in the past year writing on all levels of Twins baseball from the minors to the history.
Today, we are going to start by posting our choices for the Breakout Hitters of the Year. Each of us will make two selections, one in the upper levels (AA/AAA) And one in the lower levels of the system.
TWINS BREAKOUT HITTER – UPPER LEVELS
Seth – Mark Dolenc – The Minnesota native will return to New Britain. Last year, he was the fourth outfielder, but the terrific athlete should get a lot of consistent playing time. He isn’t a young prospect and was drafted as a project. He has taken some time to develop, but he could be a good power-speed threat who plays very good offense. Most Twins fans probably haven’t heard much about him, but hopefully this year, they will. RUNNER-UP – Evan Bigley.
Roger – Aaron Hicks – Many are asking when will this gifted young athlete put it together and become the player we have all heard about since being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft? I believe it will be this year at Ft. Myers. He will earn a mid-season promotion to AA, where he will be in the hunt for the organization’s Player of the Year. Runner-up: Angel Morales
Josh – Steve Singleton – He tied for an Eastern League-high 43 doubles in 2010 but with a glut of infielders at Triple-A, Singleton will start the season in New Britain, a place he’s called “home” since the middle of the 2009 season. He is a very hard worker and everything should come together in 2011.
Steve – Chris Parmelee. Not much to choose from as far as “breakout” hitters go at the upper-levels for the Twins, but Parmelee is a prime candidate as he’s yet to have that season where everything clicked. Last year he cut down on the K’s and drastically improved his contact rate and batting average, but at the expense of his power. This is the year it all comes together for the former 1st Round Pick. RUNNER-UP: Evan Bigley
Cody – Chris Parmelee – Parmelee had a good enough season last year that the Twins placed him on their 40-man roster for the 2011 campaign. He has shown steady improvement in the minor leagues and this could be the year that he breaks out of his shell. The power numbers have been there and he continues to improve in other areas of the game. Big things are in order for Parmelee this season. Runner-Up: Rene Tosoni
TWINS BREAKOUT HITTER – LOWER LEVELS
Seth – Lance Ray – The 2010 draft pick out of Kentucky quickly moved up to Beloit last year. This spring, he worked with the Miracle for most of camp and some called him the best pure hitter on that team. He will begin this season in Beloit again, but his pure, left-handed swing should thrive and he will likely move up to Ft. Myers around midseason. RUNNER-UP – Paul Kelly.
Roger – Rory Rhodes – A young man with mammout power who began to play like a star this winter in his native Australia. After hitting .319/.410/.407 in 91 at bats for the GCL Twins last year, Rhodes hit .279/.362/.514 with seven doubles and five home runs in 111 at bats for Brisbane of the Australian Baseball League (the same league as Luke Hughes and Liam Hendriks). Rhodes should move up to Elizabethton where he could put up power numbers beyond any we have seen. Runner-up: Eddie Rosario
Josh – Chris Herrmann – Skipping an entire level is no easy task and Herrmann’s 2010 numbers showed why teams rarely do it. But the 23-year-old catcher/outfielder will be repeating the Florida State League in 2011 and I think he’s ready to put a rough year behind him and regain his form.
Steve – Nate Roberts. The Twins 5th Round Pick in 2010 out of High Point University, where in his Junior season he led the NCAA in Runs Scored (88) and On-Base-Percentage (.573). He also hit 19 HR’s, drove in 69, walked 53 times compared to only 35 K’s, and stole 36 of 39 bases in 59 games to take home the Big South Conference POTY Award. In 35 games at Elizabethon, his tri-slash line was .336/.444/.547 (OBP led League), 2nd on the team in OPS to only Oswaldo Arcia. RUNNER-UP: Eddie Rosario.
Cody – Oswald Arcia, OF – One of the Twins rising starts from the Dominican Republic, Arcia had a great season in 2010 and that should transfer to the coming year. He seems to be a pure hitter that can spray pitches to every part of the field. At only 19-years-old, he still has plenty of time to develop a more muscular physique and continue to add power. Runner-Up: Niko Goodrum.
We’ll be back later with our Breakout pitcher predictions of the year. Feel free to leave your hitter choices in the comments today.