Twinkie Town 2010 Top 50 Review...46 thru 50

Today we will review the final group of last year's Top 50. We will begin voting on this year's Top 50 when the winter meetings are completed on December 9th.

This group includes a few young prospects and one veteran minor leaguer who pitched one game for the Twins late last year before moving on to the Red Sox. The last group of our Top 50 are: Matt Fox (46), Bobby Lanigan (47), Andrei Lobanov (48), Josmil Pinto (49), and Erik Lis (50).

46 - Matt Fox

Fox was drafted by the Twins in 2004 as a sandwich pick, number 35 overall. Fox almost immediately was forced to deal with arm problems which originated while at Central Florida University. Fox would miss all of 2005 before returning to Elizabethton in 2006.

After a solid season at New Britain in 2009, Fox moved up to Rochester this spring where he became their top starter. Fox was second on the team in innings pitched, 123.0. With a 3.95 ERA, he was the only starter with an ERA under 4.60. The Twins would call Fox up late in the season where he pitched very well in his only appearance for the Twins.

The Twins would immediately assign Fox back to Rochester, however, the Red Sox picked him up on waivers. Fox would appear in three games for the Red Sox, finishing with a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 major league innings.

47 - Bobby Lanigan

Lanigan was the Twins third round pick in 2008 out of New York's Adelphia University. Lanigan would split his 2009 season between Beloit and Ft. Myers before returning to the Miracle for the start of the 2010 season.

He would be one of the Miracle's top starters during the first half of the season, picking up three wins with one loss and a 2.15 ERA in 54.1 innings. Lanigan would strike out 41 batters while walking only 7. At mid-season he moved up to the AA Rock Cats, where he would post a 2-3 record with a 5.23 ERA in nine games (41.1 innings). He would strike out only 17 AA hitters while walking 12.

Lanigan should begin this season back at AA New Britain where he remains amongst a group of starters who have a legitimate chance of finding their way to Minnesota a few years in the future.

48 - Andrei Lobanov

This twenty year old Moscow, Russia native joined the Twins in 2008. He saw limited action that season, breaking out the following year when he struck out 35 batters while walking only one with a 0.82 ERA in 22.0 innings for the GCL Twins.

Last season, Lobanov joined the Hi-A Miracle out of extended spring training. He would appear in 14 games, pitching 26.2 innings with 22 strikeouts, 5 walks and a 2.03 ERA. When the Appalachian season began, Lobanov moved back to Elizabethton where he appeared in only two games without allowing a run, before moving up to Beloit. In Beloit, Lobanov appeared in 21 games (34.0 innings) with a 3.44 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 9 walks.

A year ago, none of us really knew what to expect of this young lefty who was unhittable in the Gulf Coast League. After a season of success at both Beloit and Ft. Myers, it appears that Lobanov will continue to strike out a lot of batters. Look for him to begin 2011 with the Miracle before moving on to New Britain later in the year. In an organization with few top lefty relievers, Lobanov has a chance to move quickly towards a spot in the Twins bullpen a few years from now.

49 - Josmil Pinto

Pinto is a young Venezuelan who hit .332/.387/.610 in 205 at bats for Elizabethton in 2009. He also was one of the Appy League's leading power hitters with 13 home runs and 14 doubles.

This season, Pinto moved up to Beloit where he shared the catching duties with Danny Rams while also getting some at bats as the designated hitter. Although his batting average was down, he continued to put up excellent power numbers. He was one of the Snappers' top home run hitters with ten while also getting 21 doubles, although his average was only .225.

Pinto will likely begin next season back at Beloit where he will need to get on base more often to earn his next promotion. Regardless, he remains one of the top four or five catchers in the organization which will cause the Twins to give him every opportunity to improve his game.

50 - Erik Lis

Since being drafted in the ninth round pick in the 2005 draft out of the University of Evansville, Lis has done one thing very well...hit the ball!

Lis has consistantly hit for power with double figure home runs every year, topping out at eighteen in 2007 at Ft. Myers. Lis hit .283/.353/.462 at New Britain in 2009 with 17 home runs. He began this season in Rochester, before moving back to New Britain for most of the summer with a late season trip back to Rochester. Lis hit .233/.298/.382 with ten home runs for the Rock Cats while hitting .205/.256/.355 with another six home runs for Rochester.

With the recent signing of several minor league corner infielders, this will be a pivotal spring for Lis. He needs to be impressive to earn a spot with the Red Wings as it is questionable that the Twins will send him back to New Britain for a fourth year. Lis has been a favorite of many of us here at Twinkie Town and I personally wish him the best next spring!

Thats it for the review of the 2010 Twinkie Town Top 50.

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