2010 Twinkie Town Top 50 Review...6 thru 10

The five players that filled out our Top 10 last year were Danny Valencia, Angel Morales, David Bromberg, Rene Tosoni and Deolis Guerra. Valencia is the Twins third baseman for next year and won't be eligible for the 2011 voting. Will the other four repeat in our 2011 Top 10?

6 - Danny Valencia

Danny Valencia had been considered the Twins third baseman of the future. Last spring he returned to Rochester where his season didn't begin like a player who belonged with the Twins. After hitting .256 in April Valencia's bat heated up, hitting .330 in May. Although Valencia is a player who the Twins believed would generate some power, he didn't hit a single home run in 49 games at Rochester.

When the Twins were in need of a third baseman in early June, Danny got the call to make his major league debut. Although he didn't know it at the time, he wouldn't return to the Red Wings where his hitting line for the year was .292/.347/.373 in 185 at bats with 15 doubles.

Valencia played sparingly for the Twins in June, getting only 46 at bats with a .304 average. Valencia turned it up a notch in July by hitting for a .453 average which caused both fans and Twins management to take notice that maybe his time had come. Valencia's average would drop to .276 in August before hitting .310 in September/October when he also found his power stroke, hitting five home runs.

Danny finished his rookie season with the Twins playing so well that he was mentioned amongst those worthy of Rookie of the Year recognition. In his rookie season with the Twins, Valencia hit .311/.351/.448 in 299 at bats with 18 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs and 40 RBI.

Valencia's bat and excellent defensive play are the answer to a question the Twins have had for nearly a decade. As Mr. Smith formulates his plan for 2011, he knows their third baseman will be Danny Valencia.

7 - Angel Morales

Like Aaron Hicks, Angel Morales return to Beloit to start the season was a surprise to fans and had to be disappointing to him. Morales got off to a good start with the Snappers, hitting .289/.381/.474 in 60 games (211 at bats) with 13 doubles and 4 home runs before his promotion to Ft. Myers. Although he played less than half the season with the Snappers, his seven triples led the Snappers for the entire season while his 18 stolen bases were second to Hicks who had 21.

Morales would move on to the Miracle in early June. The average player in the Florida State was 22.7 years old and hit .255/.324/.364. Morales would hit .272/.347/.349 in 261 at bats as a 20 year old. He would steal another 11 bases, which were second most on the Miracle. For the season, Morales stole 29 bases while being thrown out 12 times which were second most to only Ben Revere who was the top base stealer in the organization. Although he didn't hit a lot of home runs (5), his ten triples at Beloit and Ft. Myers led the organization.

Defensively, Morales played mostly right field for the Snappers where he had three errors with six assists. With the Miracle, Morales split his time equally between right and center with six more assists and three errors. He is capable of playing all three outfield positions, however, may be best suited for right field.

8 - David Bromberg

After leading all of minor league baseball in strikeouts in 2008 and the Florida State League in 2009, Bromberg's strikeouts were down this year to only 112 in 151.1 innings in AA and AAA. The 2009 Florida State League and Twins Pitcher of the Year moved on to New Britain where he was their Ace much of the year. Bromberg had a 5-5 record on a team that won only 31% of their games. In seventeen starts (99.1 innings), Bromberg had a team best 3.62 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 65 strikeouts and 35 walks.

Bromberg moved on to Rochester in July where he made another nine starts, pitching 52.0 innings with a 3.98 ERA, 47 strikeouts and 13 walks. Although he won only one of his five decisions, Bromberg earned one of the Twins coveted assignments to the Arizona Fall League. Currently he is the lone Twins pitcher with the Peoria Saguaros who is being used as a starter. Although the results haven't been good, Bromberg is advancing his career pitching in a league that includes the best prospects in the upper minor leagues.

9 - Rene Tosoni

Througout 2010 spring training, Tosoni was penciled into an outfield spot with the Rochester Red Wings. After being pushed more than any position player of recent memory, Tosoni was sent back to New Britain when the Twins signed Jason Repko late in spring training.

Tosoni began his year at New Britain playing like a player who was destined to join the Twins in the next few years. After hitting .338/.385/.493 in 71 April at bats, Tosoni suffered a should injury that would derail his season. He continued to play through the injury as he was limited to designated hitter in May. In early June, Tosoni was placed on the disabled list and he would undergo season ending shoulder surgery later that month.

Including the time that he played injured, Tosoni finished his season hitting .270/.369/.422 in 185 at bats. An excellent corner outfielder who is capable of playing centerfield, Tosoni should move up to Rochester next spring where he will get his career back on track as he works for a spot in the Twins outfield as early as 2012.

10 - Deolis Guerra

Deolis Guerra is the lone player remaining with the Twins who came from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade. Guerra is known as a pitcher with excellent "stuff" who has always been very young for his league.

The average pitcher in the Eastern League this year had a 4.63 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and was 24.2 years old . By comparison, Guerra had a 6.24 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP and didn't turn 21 until the second week of the season. When the Red Wings staff was decimated by injuries and promotions, Guerra moved up for a brief stay where he made four starts (25.0 innings) with a 6.84 ERA.

Guerra's year in New Britain seemed more like two seasons. He began with a 3.44 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in eleven starts (68.0 innings) earning recognition as a mid-season all star. Like most of his Rock Cats teammates, he was totally ineffective following the break when he had a 11.80 ERA in eight starts (34.1 innings). Whether he was injured or the mounting losses took their effect on him mentally, his second half ruined what had been a very good first half season.

Terry Ryan hinted this summer that the Twins would require players to earn their promotions next year. If that holds true, look for Guerra to return to New Britian for a third season where he will again be one of the youngest pitchers in the league.

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