The Middle Infielders...

The middle infielders in the organization, with the team they could begin the season with:

                 Age      AB  RBI   AVE/OBP/SLG

Rochester Red Wings (AAA)

Matt Tolbert     25 AAA   417  53  .293/.353/.427

Chris Basak      29 AAA   341  42  .252/.302/.378

Luke Hughes      23 AA    315  43  .283/.356/.438

AlejandroMachado 25       -Disabled List-

Alexi Casilla    23 Twins 189   9  .222/.256/.259
                    AAA   320  20  .269/.345/.344

Trevor Plouffe   21 AA    497  50  .274/.326/.410
                    AFL    50   8  .280/.379/.360

For much of the first few months of the season Tolbert led the International League in hitting, flirting with .400 as late as mid-June.  Hughes was one of the stars of the surprising Australian team in this fall's IBF World Championship.  Although a role player much of the season, I had Hughes grading out as the 16th best position player in the organization.  The Twins drafted Machado in the 2006 Rule V draft with the intent of his becomming a solid utility player with a chance of fighting for a regular job at shortstop.  Unfortunately, he spent the entire season on the disabled list.  Alexi Casilla struggled with mental mistakes while with the Twins early last season.  He did however, steal 11 bases in 12 attempts with the Twins, picking up another 24 in 36 attempts for Rochester.  Trevor Plouffe led the organization with 37 doubles while making a statement that he is worthy of top prospect status in this organization.  He was only 20 years old much of the season while playing in AA.  This fall he had an excellent stint with some of the top prospects in the game while playing in the AFL.  It is likely that one or two of these middle infielders will return to New Britain for another season.

New Britain Rock Cats (AA)

Felix Molina     24 AA    426  45  .272/.329/.390

Brian Dinkelman  24 Hi-A  247  21  .255/.361/.389
                    A     240  21  .283/.373/.488

Steve Tolleson   24 Hi-A  487  35  .285/.388/.382

Molina recently resigned with the Twins and will attempt to earn a promotion to Rochester this spring.  Dinkelman had one of the better seasons of any player in the organization last summer, leading all players with 104 runs scored.  On a Miracle team well known for not scoring runs, Tolleson was one of the better hitters who was with the team for the entire summer.  He also stole 27 bases in 37 attempts for the Miracle.

Ft. Myers Miracle (Hi-A)

Andrew Thompson  21       -Disabled List-

Paul Kelly       21       -Disabled List-

Tobe Gardenhire  25 Hi-A  222   9  .212/.258/.243

At the end of the 2006 season, Thompson and Kelly were two of the top prospects in the organization.  They both had also sustained season ending injuries late in the 2006 season.  Both participated in EST and eventually were sent home after it became clear that they would not be able to play in 2007.  It will be a blow to the organization if both of these players are unable to return to their prior abilities in 2008.

Beloit Snappers (A)

Steve Singleton  22 A     373  30  .271/.294/.346

Chris Cates      23 A     129  13  .202/.262/.225
                    Eliz    7   1  .429/.500/.429

Yancarlos Ortiz  23 A     288  23  .212/.272/.247

E. De Los Santos 21 Eliz  284  41  .264/.341/.363

Eric Santiago    20 Eliz  125  16  .240/.340/.296

Singleton has been one of the better middle infield prospects at the lower levels of the organization since being drafted in the 11th round of the 2006 draft.  Cates joined the team after last year's CWS, gaining much exposure as the shortest player in professional baseball.  Estarlin De Los Santos was the lead off hitter for the Champion Elizabethton Twins, scoring 60 runs in 67 games while stealing 27 bases in 34 attempts.  If he plays for Beloit as he did in the Appy League, look for the Twins to push him to Ft. Myers before next summer is over.  Santiago was another solid middle infielder from the 2006 draft who may begin the season back in the Appy League.

Elizabethton Twins (Rookie)

Matt Lawman      20 Eliz  114  21  .184/.317/.237

Nick Papason     20 GCL    28   0  .286/.355/.321

Ramon Santana    21 A      40   4  .225/.347/.325
                    GCL    57   9  .211/.288/.351

James Baresford  19 GCL   139  14  .288/.349/.302

YangervisSolarte 20 GCL   175  33  .303/.342/.377

Jeanfred Brito   19 GCL   210  21  .290/.329/.376

Papason was a highly ranked player whom the Twins drafted in the 24th round of the 2006 draft.  He missed most of the 2007 season with injury, joining the GCL Twins shortly before season's end.  Santana didn't hit for much average, yet, when Beloit was short of infielders he got the call to move up where he hit slightly better in the MidWest League than with the GCL Twins.  Baresford, Solarte and Brito are all young Latin middle infielders who had excellent seasons in the GCL and are expected to move up to Elizabethton for the 2008 season.  They each have good speed with Solarte, Beresford and Brito stealing 7, 7 and 8 bases, respectively, while Brito had 4 triples with Solarte getting 3 three baggers.  

GCL Twins (Rookie)

Reggie Williams  19       -Did Not Play-

Anderson Hidalgo 19 DSL   190  28  .305/.398/.437

Juan Sanchez     21 DSL   224  21  .263/.370/.326

Williams was a 4th round pick in last summer's draft who didn't sign until August, thus, didn't play in 2007.  Hidalgo is a young player who led the DSL Twins in hitting last summer and should make the journey north to Ft. Myers this spring.  Sanchez was Hidalgo's double play partner who not only hit well, but also swiped 20 bases in 26 attempts.  

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League)

Yancarlo Franco  19 DSL   135  12  .193/.292/.304

Jairo Perez      19 DSL    33   6  .091/.211/.091

Jonathan Requena 22 VSL    91  14  .275/.374/.330

Juan Blanco      18 VSL   203  17  .261/.318/.300

Yorby Martinez   19 VSL   160  14  .219/.326/.231

Franco and Perez are young players who were reserves for the DSL Twins last summer and should get more playing time in 2008.  Requena is old for a prospect.  Blanco played well for the VSL Twins/Cubs at the age of 17 and should have the opportunity of taking his first step up the ladder with a move to the Dominican Summer League.

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