2010 Twinkie Town Top 50 Review...26 thru 30

The story for this group was that they didn't see a lot of playing time in 2010. Two of the five missed the entire season with a third missing most his season. The players ranking 26 thru 30 last year were: Luke Hughes (26), Matt Bashore (27), Danny Rams (28), Ben Tootle (29), and Brian Dinkelman (30).

26 - Luke Hughes

Luke is a young Australian who has played several infield and outfield position as the Twins tried to find the best way to get his bat into the lineup. Hughes break-out season was 2008 when he hit .309/.369/.524 with 22 doubles and 18 home runs in only 391 at bats at New Britain and Rochester.

Hughes missed several months of his 2009 season, hitting .254/.335/.454 in 346 at bats with 12 home runs at New Britain, Rochester and a short rehab stint with the GCL Twins. Hughes began this season at Rochester where he would play in only 22 games before another injury would cost him most of the season. He finished his season on the disabled list, hitting .257/.313/.405 in only 74 at bats. The highlight of his year however, was a brief callup to the Twins when they were short infielders. Although Hughes played in only two games, he did get two hits including that memorable home run in his first official at bat.

Hughes is playing for his hometown 'Perth Heat' in the resurrected Australian Baseball League this winter. While writing early this morning, I noticed that Hughes was 2 for 2 with his first home run as the Heat were winning (4-2) in the seventh inning. The Heat is currently a game out of first place with a 3-1 record.

The Twins have always liked his power and at some point would like to get him on their roster. Look for him to be a dark horse for the second base job next spring with a spot on the Twins bench also possible. More likely, he will return to Rochester and if he can stay healthy, will be one of their first callups when an infielder is needed.

27 - Matt Bashore

Bashore was the Twins compensation pick (46th overall) in the 2009 draft. A left handed pitcher out of Indiana University, Bashore was thought to be a pitcher who would project similar to Glen Perkins. Bashore made one appearance with Elizabethton following his signing before the Twins shut him down for the season. He had surgery following the season which caused him to miss all of the 2010 season.

28 - Danny Rams

Rams was considered one of the drafts best high school power hitters when drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft. Rams didn't hit as expected his first two years, then gained notice when he hit .355 average in 62 at bats in Elizabethton in 2009. Rams would move up to Beloit where he hit only .229 average, however, 21 of his 40 hits went for extra bases.

This season Rams was back at Beloit where he had an unexpected slow start, hitting for only a .217 average before the all-star break. Rams would hit .266 following the break to finish at .238/.302/.439 in 421 at bats. More important, Rams hit 4 triples and a team best 29 doubles and 16 home runs so that nearly half (49 of 100) of his hits would go for extra bases. It has become clear these past two years that Rams has developed the power expected of him when drafted.

The one area of his game he must improve is that like many young power hitters, he strikes out to often (154 strikeouts or 36.5%) last year. If he can cut down on his strikeouts as he moves through the organization, he will have an exciting future with the Twins. Rams is my highest ranked catcher who should take his big bat to Ft. Myers next spring.

29 - Ben Tootle

Tootle was selected a few picks after Bashore in the third round of the 2009 draft. Tootle's star rose the previous summer after Baseball America named him the fourth best prospect in the Cape Cod League. Bashore returned to Jacksonville State where an illness caused him to slip to the Twins in the third round.

Like Bashore, Tootle would also go on the disabled list following his appearing in six games with the Elizabethton Twins. Bashore had offseason surgery which would cause him to also miss this past season.

30 - Brian Dinkelman

Dinkelman is a versatile player who began his career with the Twins as a second baseman following his selection in the 28th round of the 2006 draft. He is a graduate of McKendree College where he became the all-time NAIA leader in career hits.

Dinkelman began his professional career at Elizabethton and moved up a level each year. He was promoted to Rochester this past season where he hit a respectable .265/.336/.379. Dinkelman is a disciplined hitter who regularly walks about ten percent of the time with a career stike out rate of about fifteen percent. Dinkelman also has a history of scoring runs, a category in which he led the entire organization in 2007 when he scored 104 runs at Beloit and Ft. Myers. A versatile player who has played five different positions the last three years, Dinkelman was primarily a left fielder for the Red Wings. Previously, Dinkelman played more games at second base than any other position.

The Twins didn't add Dinkelman to their 40-man roster a year ago, exposing him to the Rule V draft. It is unlikely they will do so this year as they won't expect him to be selected by another team. Look for Dinkelman to begin the season back at Rochester where he will provide the Twins another option should they need a utility player some time during the season.

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