Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year

6 Sep

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Note – Listen to last night’s final episode of Twins Minor League Weekly where Travis Aune and I talked about everything throughout the Twins minor league season. We discussed our choices as top players for each team and in the organization, how each team did, and much, much more. Check it out here!

As games finished on Labor Day in the Twins minor league system, the Twins minor league season came to an end. New Britain had an opportunity to make the playoffs had Reading lost and the Rock Cats won. Unfortunately, the R-Phillies won their game. The Elizabethton Twins were the lone playoff team in the organization, although they lost in the first round. It was a disappointing season in the Twins farm system. However, there are a lot of guys who had very good seasons. Today, I’ll present for you my choices for the Twins Minor League Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year in three separate blog entries. We will start with the Relief Pitchers. Feel free to debate them, or ask any questions you may have in the Comments section:

Starting Pitcher of the Year

There were a lot more good hitters up for Hitter of the Year consideration, or at least mention, than there were pitchers this year. There will be more of a countdown.

#10 – Aaron Bates – Rochester Red Wings (.316/.408/.439, with 23 doubles, 7 HR, 37 RBI)

Didn’t even sign with the Red Wings until May, but played well throughout the season.

#9 – Oswaldo Arcia – Beloit Snappers/Ft. Myers Miracle (.291/.335/.531, with 23 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HR, 51 RBI)

Missed a month with elbow surgery, but came back and moved up to Ft. Myers. Great power to all fields. Very quick bat.

#8 – Michael Gonzales – Beloit Snappers (.289/.371/.468, with 27 doubles, 1 triple, 15 HR, 76 RBI)

Consistent performance in his second season with Snappers. Lost 30+ pounds, and his bat speed was much improved.

#7 – Chris Parmelee – New Britain Rock Cats (.287/.366/.436, with 30 doubles, 5 triples, 13 HR, 83 RBI)

2006 top pick finally gets that big league promotion today. He had a very solid, consistent season with the Rock Cats. He also improved his defense at 1B while still occasionally playing in RF.

#6 – Yangervis Solarte – New Britain Rock Cats (.329/.367/.466, with 36 doubles, 3 triples, 7 HR, 49 RBI)

The 24-year-old Venezuelan hit .300 or higher every month of the season. He also led the organization with 36 doubles.  

#5 – Miguel Sano – Elizabethton Twins (.292/.352/.637, with 18 doubles, 7 triples, 20 HR, 59 RBI)

He had just 290 plate appearances, yet I just couldn’t put him any lower on the list. Sano’s 20 home runs is third-most in Elizabethton history. His 45 extra base hits led the team. At just 18 years old, it was a remarkable season for one of the team’s brightest future stars.  

#4 – Jairo Perez – Beloit Snappers (.337/.413/.580, with 20 doubles, 1 triple, 15 HR, 60 RBI)

Perez missed the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. His 2011 season didn’t start until June, and yet when he was activated by the Snappers, he did nothing but hit the rest of the summer. Not a large man, Perez takes a huge swing and as you can see, he made a lot of contact in 2011.

#3 – Joe Benson – New Britain Rock Cats (.285/.388/.495, with 28 doubles, 4 triples, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 13 SB)

The Twins 2010 Minor League Hitter of the Year is certainly a candidate to repeat again in 2011 despite missing 4-5 weeks because of knee surgery. Benson is a remarkable athlete with tremendous power and speed. He had great range in the outfield and a very strong arm. The weak point in his game is his contact rate, which did improve significantly from 2010 to 2011. He was also promoted to the Twins and will be flying to Minneapolis on Tuesday. It would be great for him to be able to make his big league debut against his home town White Sox. Benson will be a key for the Twins in the next year or so.

#2 – Eddie Rosario – Elizabethton Twins (.337/.397/.670, with 9 doubles, 9 triples, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 17 SB)

It is hard to put a player from one of the short-season teams up this high on the list, but Rosario was the Appalachian League MVP this year and posted incredible numbers. His 21 home runs were just one shy of Paul Russo’s E-Town single-season record. He also hits for average. He has great speed. Plays very good centerfield and has a canon for an arm. The Puerto Rico high school product drafted in the 4th round just one year ago will soon turn 20. After five homers in June and six homers in July, Rosario hit ten home runs in August. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the full season.  

Hitter of the Year – Brian Dozier – Ft. Myers Miracle (.320/.399/.491, with 33 doubles, 12 triples, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 24 SB)

Dozier was drafted as a senior out of the University of Southern Mississippi after leading his team to the College World Series. After signing, he hit .353/.417/.431 in Elizabethton. Last year, he started the season by hitting .278/.347/.338 in 39 games in Beloit. He was promoted to Ft. Myers where he hit .274/.352/.354 with 11 doubles and his first five pro home runs. It was surprising when he received an invitation to big league spring training but he made a strong showing. He returned to Ft. Myers and hit .322/.423/.472 with 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs in 49 games. He then moved up to New Britain and hit .318/.384/.502 with 22 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs in 78 games. His .885 OPS led the Rock Cats (Benson was at .883). Dozier is not the fastest runner, but he stole 24 bases. He is said to have average range and an average arm, but pitchers I have talked to that have had Dozier playing behind him, love it. Dozier will be representing the Twins in the Arizona Fall League. He will likely receive another invitation to big league camp next year, and depending upon what other moves that Twins make in the offseason, he could make his debut with the Twins any time in 2012!

Feel free to discuss in the Comments section.


17 Responses to “Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year”

  1. roger September 6, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Seth, I am so very glad you had the guts to put Dozier #1. He really deserved it. My only change/addition to your entire list would have been to have included Deolis Guerra as one of the top relief pitchers of the year. He was awful as a starter, but pitched as well as anyone once moved to the bullpen. I certainly don’t understand why, but so be it!

    • Seth September 6, 2011 at 8:24 am #

      I strongly considered Guerra as a reliever, for sure… but with the starters and the relievers I went with full season numbers, and his numbers as a starter were so bad it couldn’t make up for just how bad he was as a reliever.

      Dozier’s OPS was basically the same as Benson’s. He had about 100 or so more plate appearances. And, he isn’t a ‘power hitter’ per se, which makes that OPS look even more impressive. So, I think it’s the right choice, but if anyone picks Benson, I would have no problem with it.

  2. Jeff September 6, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Great list, hopefully most of these guys can continue developing and eventually help the Twins. I know it is way too early to get excited about he E Town guys because they are so far away, but it will be fun to see how they do in a full season.

    Regarding Dozier, if he has average range and an average arm, then why do pitchers love it when he plays behind them? Simply because he doesn’t screw up? And if that is the case, what does that say about our middle infielder defense in the minors?

    • Seth September 6, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      Scouts say Dozier has an average arm, average range, average speed. They say the same thing about JJ Hardy’s arm. The pitchers love him, but they also love Beresford. I also think there’s reason to be excited about Danny Santana as a middle infielder. I was impressed with Adam Bryant, and have to assume Tyler Grimes and Levi Michael can be solid too. I don’t think that it says much of anything.

  3. Han Joelo September 6, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I agree on Dozier, and pretty much the whole list. As far as defense, I’d take the guy who consistently makes the plays vs. the fast guy with the big arm and the mental mistakes. Why is “average” considered bad by so many people?

    I agree with Roger on Guerra. Hopefully is injury isn’t too bad–would’ve like to see him called up as well.

  4. mike wants wins September 6, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Some legit hitters on the list for sure. Too bad most of them are so far away from the majors. Dozier is interesting, he’s 24 right? He’s pretty much in his prime right now, so hopefully he can come up and contribute soon. Looking forward to Sano and Rosario moving up to low A next year, and seeing what they can do. Exciting players to be sure.

    Not sure why every guy behind Parmalee is behind him, given that they they have better stats. Very depressing that Hicks isn’t even close to consideration for this list this year, despite repeating a level.


    • Seth September 6, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      Hicks didn’t repeat a level. And, if you listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly, Travis and I both named him the Ft. Myers hitter of the year… which, truthfully says a lot about the hitting in Ft. Myers this year. (Note, we both felt that Arcia and Morales had too few at bats there to give them the nod.)

      Parmelee had a terrific, solid season, for sure. The numbers don’t jump out, but he does everything well. He has made such huge strides the past two seasons.

      • mike wants wins September 6, 2011 at 10:27 am #

        Sorry, my mistake on Hicks. You are right, he did not repeat a level. But the point is, he’s supposed to be one of the top prospects on this team, and wasn’t in the top 10 for hitters this year. That does not concern you at all?

        I looked at Parmalee’s stats about a month ago, he was average compared to other AA 1B. My point wasn’t that he was bad, it was that I didn’t understand why he was higher than the guys behind him.

  5. clutterheart September 6, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Will Dozier play 2b or SS in Arizona?

    • Seth September 6, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Probably both.

  6. Keli September 6, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Hey Seth,
    Have you seen the catch by Joe Benson that made the ESPN Play of the Day?
    It’s pretty good!! I wish we had footage of Torii crashing through the wall (also in New Britain?), so that we could have a poll comparing Benson’s dive, Hunter’s crash, Revere’s over-the-shoulder grab, and Puck’s leap! How would you rank them?

    • Seth September 6, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      I have seen it, and in fact, it is linked to in the article. I would put Benson’s catcher ahead of Revere’s catch, probably right in line with Hunter’s catch in the game Santana was throwing a no-hitter. I think Dinkelman’s catch in Rochester last week was very impressive too! Puckett’s catch wasn’t all that great, but the timing (Game 6 of the World Series) was pretty huge!

      • Keli September 7, 2011 at 8:02 am #

        Doh! I guess I didn’t notice it was linked in the article because I was looking at

        I hope Joe’s dive last night was just a case of the jitters and doesn’t become a common theme, or he will be deep in Gardy’s doghouse, and rightfully so!

  7. Shane Wahl September 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Excellent list! Starting at “the top” I hope that Bates is one of the few AAA players to stay in the organization next year. I am not really sure why Dinkelman would be up instead of Bates, especially if next year there are some stop-gap players needed for the Twins if A) Cuddyer or Kubel leave, Thome retires, and Morneau still is having problems, and B) Benson, Parmelee, and Tosoni need AAA seasoning still. I guess they could know that Bates will be that guy anyway next year? But why they messed up Tosoni this year instead of promoting Bates or Martin is totally beyond me.

    I really like Arcia, and think that the promotion says more than his stats after the promotion, given how the Twins are about these things.

    Couldn’t Fort Myers have used Michael Gonzales’ bat!? I am befuddled as to why he stayed in Beloit all year.

    Parmelee is becoming well-rounded (for what tools/skills he has). I think “Connor Jackson” when I see him. Hopefully not the one of the last couple seasons.

    How bad is Solarte defensively? If 2B is viable for him, 2013 looks good.

    Sano sticking at third would be fantastic.

    Is Perez the most likely to skip a level to NBR in the org?

    Benson in right, Span in center, Revere in left makes me ignore the strikeouts,

    Does one more year of great Rosario push Hicks to the trading block?

    I want to see Dozier be the SS for the Twins by June.

  8. Jay Sherman September 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Excellent choice Seth. I am very high on Brian Dozier. I truly believe he has a shot at winning the shortstop job in the spring. If not then, by June I think he comes up to take over the shortstop position. Nothing flashy about the guy. Just an all around good ballplayer.


  1. Naming the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year | Minnesota Sports Zone - September 14, 2011

    […] this season and he could easily be named as the top player on this list (In fact another blogger, Seth Stohs, did have him as number one). As a shortstop, Dozier is a leader on the defensive side of the ball but his offensive numbers […]

  2. Dozier Stars on Twins Podcast « - September 14, 2011

    […] week, I named Brian Dozier my choice for Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month. Last night, he spent about 20 minutes on the Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast, and he […]

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