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Joe Mauer has made many All-Star appearances to go with his batting titles, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers and MVP award. Glen Perkins has become one of the best relief pitchers in baseball in 2011. Both were Twins first-round draft picks from their home town state. There have been many other Minnesotans who have played for the Twins, like Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield. Kent Hrbek is a Twins Hall of Famer from Bloomington. St. Paul native Jack Morris provided one of the greatest World Series pitching performances in history for the Twins. Pat Neshek mesmerized hitters out of the bullpen for a couple of years.
However, the Twins have been able to draft and sign several players from Minnesota. Right now, there are ten players from Minnesota in the farm system. Here is a quick look at each of them:
Baldwin is a Duluth, MN, native. He went to Oregon State and then became a 5th round pick of the Phillies in 2004. He quickly worked up the minor leagues and was then traded to the Seattle Mariners. He pitched for AAA Tacoma the past three years. This offseason, the Twins signed him to help their AAA Rochester roster. Now 28 years old, he is 4-7 with a 5.57 ERA for the Red Wings. In 86 innings, he has walked 22 and struck out 71.
DeVries is from Eden Prairie and pitched for the University of Minnesota. The Twins signed him in August of 2006 as a non-drafted free agent after he pitched well in the Cape Cod League. He pitched very well as a starter in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but last year he really struggled at AA and AAA. This year, he moved to the bullpen and began the season by dominating AA batters. In 15 appearances, he was 0-0 with nine saves and a 2.28 ERA. In 27.2 innings, he walked just five and struckout 33. He moved up to AAA Rochester where he started out well. At their All-Star break, he is now 3-2 with a 5.00 ERA although 12 of his 14 runs allowed him come in just four appearances. He has done well in late innings and middle relief and even made a spot start recently.
The Twins used their 15th round pick in 2006 on a very talented outfielder from Minnesota State-Mankato. He had graduated from Eagan high school. Now 26, Dolenc is in his second season with the AA New Britain Rock Cats. He is hitting .280/.331/.345 with eight doubles, three triples and a home run. He also has 13 stolen bases.
Hanson went to Eden Prairie High School and then the University of Minnesota. Following the 2008 college season, the Twins drafted him with their 28th round pick. In 2010 in Ft. Myers, he showed some power for the Miracle with 18 doubles and 11 home runs. He returned to the Miracle to start this season and hit .267/.327/.383 with 12 doubles and four home runs in 52 games before being promoted to AA New Britain. With the Rock Cats, he is hitting .245/.306/.372 with six doubles and two home runs in 26 games.
Schuld, a Plymouth native, had a very impressive collegiate career for the Tommies of St. Thomas. When he went undrafted, the Twins quickly signed him. After 11 appearances in the GCL, he made six relief appearances in Ft. Myers. He began this season at Extended Spring Training but quickly was called up to the Miracle where he has been a very solid starter. He went 4-1 with a 3.99 ERA in 70 innings over 11 starts and four bullpen appearances. This weekend, he was promoted to AA New Britain where he went four innings in a start on Monday night. It may be a short-term promotion, but he has certainly been impressive in his year with the Twins organization! And, he is still just 22 years old.
The Twins liked the Shoreview native so much, they drafted him twice. They selected him in the 50th round of the 2006 draft, but he instead went to play for the Gophers. Following a tremendous junior season in 2009, the 2B was taken by the Twins in the 4th round. He signed quickly and began his minor league career in Elizabethton. 2010 was a frustrating season for McCallum who was limited to just 47 games in Beloit due to two sepate injuries. He returned to the Snappers for the 2011 season where he hit .200/.278/.264 in his 39 games. he was promoted to Ft. Myers and hit .191/.295/.191 in 22 games (68 at bats). This weekend, the 23-year-old was returned to Beloit.
Larson was another key component in those talented St. Thomas teams. The 22 year old Burnsville native signed in September and began his pro career this spring. At 6-5, Larson is currently playing 1B and 3B for Elizabethton. He has hit .250/.295/.350 in his first 40 at bats. He’s got four doubles.
The Minnetonka native, Pettersen, who played on that Excelsior American Legion team in the World Series a few years ago, spent four years under the tutelage of John Anderson at the University of Minnesota. Following a very solid college career, he was drafted by the Twins in the 25th round of this year’s June draft. He signed quickly and was sent to Elizabethton. He played in three games and went 2-9 with three walks. Unfortunately, he was hit by a pitch in the face in that third game and required some nose surgery. He is currently getting healthy and will soon head back to Florida to start getting ready to play again.
The Twins drafted Boer from the University of Oregon with their 2nd round pick in this year’s draft. The 21 year old pitched for Eden Prairie High School before heading west to play for the Ducks. The hard-throwing right-hander has begun his career in Elizabethton where he is pitching at the end of games right now… and dominating. He is currently 2-1 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA in his seven appearances. In 7.1 innings, he has walked none and struck out 14. He could advance quickly in 2012!
J. R. Krogstad was born in Crookston and grew up in Erskine. He did not play baseball in high school in South Dakota because it wasn’t offered. Instead, he got heavily involved in paleantology. But friends encouraged him to go to the American Baseball Institute in Florday. He did, and recently he went to Ft. Myers for a tryout with the Twins who kept him around. He has pitched in two games (2.2 scoreless innings) for the GCL Twins. (Check out this article in the Crookston Times, the town where he still has family and friends.)
The Twins drafted another former Gophers pitcher TJ Oakes in the 41st round of the 2011 draft. In the 16th round, they drafted the 2011 Mr. Baseball Austin Malinowski, a pitcher from Centennial High School. Add 2010 25th round pick, North Dakota native Andy Leer, who is playing in Beloit this year, and the Twins do a nice job of keeping several local ball players in their system. I think that is a good thing.
Here are some more TwinsCentric links:
- Twins Minor League Weekly last night discussed the first-half for the Twins minor league affiliates and who stood out so far this season.
- I will be traveling to Beloit this weekend to watch the Snappers games on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Check out www.SnappersBaseball.com and if you’re going to be going to Beloit (5 1/2 hours from the Twin Cities!) this weekend, call them and mention SethSpeaks.net and Seth will be donating $5 to the charity of the Snappers’ choice. The Snappers will have fireworks on both Friday and Saturday nights, and they will have Canvas Pictures as giveaways on Sunday. Be sure to consider the all-you-can-eat special as well.
- Do you remember the story of the Perham (MN) high school basketball team. One of their best players, Zach Gabbard, collapsed on the court with a heart attack. Several surgeries later, Gabbard is much-improved. The Yellowjackets story was incredible, led by National high school coach of the year (named by Max Preps) Dave Cresap led the team to the Class AA State championship. Assistant coach Brent Hanson, who himself has twice collapsed while playing/coaching basketball, put together a documentary/movie of the 2011 Perham Yellowjackets called For Three. Check out the trailer here. The movie will premiere at the Comet Theatre in Perham on Thursday night and show again on Sunday. You can also order a DVD now through the website www.ForThreeMovie.com.
Please feel free to leave your comments on anything discussed today or any other Twins topics.