FanPost

Minor League Report.....Twinkie Town Player of the Year

For the second time this year, we have selected a Player of the Week after he left the organization as Matt Fox received 52% of 141 votes to be our final selection of the the year. On a personal note, I am saddened to see Matt leave. No player has worked harder and longer to return from what could have been a career ending injury. Although he would have been a six year minor league free agent this winter and likely would have left the Twins, Matt was Rochester's best starter and I believe he should have been added to the 40-man roster. Congratulations and best of luck to Matt, for getting his first start with the Twins and for the opportunity to be a big leaguer with the Red Sox.

Beloit and Ft. Myers both were unsuccessful in their late season surge for a playoff spot. Elizabethton was the only team to make the playoffs, winning their first round best of three against East division champion Pulaski in two games. They lost two straight in the championship series to the Johnson City Cardinals, the team they finished a game behind in their division.

As I write this report, I do so with various news programs reminding me of that tragic day nine years ago. To those of you who lost someone that day, may God be with you today and in your tomorrows.

Now on to the selection of this year's Twinkie Town Player of the Year...the player that we feel had the best season of the ninety plus players playing in the organization this season. This year our Player of the Year will be selected by you, the readers of Twinkie Town. Next week, we will select our Pitcher of the Year.

Rochester Red Wings

Although the Red Wings had one of the worst seasons in their long franchise history, several players had very good seasons and could see time with the Twins as soon as next year. In a season that the Red Wings were one of the worst hitting teams in the league (.252 Team Average), Brandon Roberts finished as the top ranked Red Wing in my year end rankings. Unfortunately, he again spent part of his season on the disabled list and also some time in Ft. Myers and significant time in New Britain. Although he was Rochester's leading hitter (.333/.386/.425), Roberts had only 153 at bats in Rochester. Although he may have put himself into position to contend for a fourth or fifth outfield spot with the Twins next spring, he only played a bit more than a month with the Red Wings. For this reason, I will not consider him as Rochester's best just as we won't include Danny Valencia who spent half his season with the Twins.

Two players who both finished in my Top Ten were Brian Dinkelman and Trevor Plouffe. Although Plouffe finished a few spots higher, it was due to the adjustments I make for age. Without that adjustment, their ranking would be nearly identical. Other than Plouffe hitting 15 home runs, Dinkelman led Plouffe in most hitting categories with a team high 525 at bats, 139 hits and 32 doubles. Dinkelman also hit eight home runs with 54 RBI and nine stolen bases in thirteen attempts. Dinkelman, who split time between second base, left and right field, finished his season hitting .265/.336/.379 as he earned his spot in our selection for Player of the Year.

New Britain Rock Cats

The Rock Cats also had one of their worst seasons in franchise history, avoiding 100 losses by playing their best ball of the season the last few weeks. As one would expect, the Rock Cats were dead last in the league in hitting with a .246 average. With that background, it is surprising that there were several Rock Cats who had very good seasons. Rene Tosoni was my eleventh ranked player who had his season cut short by shoulder surgery that limited his play to designated hitter the first half. Chris Parmelee began his first season at AA in a huge slump, then became a very good hitter when he returned (.316/.397/.428 following the all-star break) from a month in Ft. Myers.

The top player in my ranking this year was a young man who had his break-out season, Joe Benson. Benson joined Parmelee for a return trip to Ft. Myers after a rough start, even though Benson actually had been hitting better (.280 Average) in May. Benson hit four home runs in Ft. Myers, then returned to hit the fourth most home runs in the Eastern League, 23. Benson's 27 home runs are the most in the organization since Garrett Jones hit 30 for the Rock Cats in 2004. Benson tied for the league's fourth most triples (7) while stealing 14 bases in 23 attempts. After hitting .294/.375/.588 in his month with the Miracle, Benson went on to hit .251/.336/.527 in 374 at bats for the Rock Cats. Although he needs to cut down on his strikeouts (eleventh most in the league, 115), Benson put himself on the Twins radar as a young man who should be a big addition to their lineup a year or two from now, as confirmed by his recent assignment to the Arizona Fall League.

The second ranked player in my preliminary year end rankings was also a Rock Cat, Ben Revere. Revere finished his season as the league's second best hitter with a .305 average, while having the ninth best on base percentage, .371. Revere also stole the league's third most bases, 36, while being thrown out 13 times. Revere missed alot of time as he dealt with five different injuries including what was thought to be a season ending injury following his being hit in the face in early August. Revere made a shockingly early return from the DL to get back in the lineup the last week of the season. That return enabled Revere to get the call from the Twins last week before he also heads to the AFL later this fall. It would be a mistake to select a Player of the Year from a group that doesn't include Revere, thus, Ben will be added as a "wild card" selection.

Ft. Myers Miracle

With a team without a lot of the organization's better known names, the Miracle made a valiant attempt to make the playoffs the last few weeks of the season, finishing a game behind the division winner Bradenton. Had the organization's starting pitching not been in chaos as they dealt with so many injuries from the Twins to New Britain, Ft. Myers wouldn't have been in a position where they had to start several pitchers the last few weeks who wouldn't have been expected to start for a team in a playoff chase.

Brian Dozier moved up to Ft. Myers mid season to become their only year end all star. Dozier hit .274/.352/.354 as he put himself into contention as one of the organization's top middle infield prospects who is more than seventeen years old. Angel Morales also moved up to the Miracle where he hit .272/.347/.349 in 261 at bats, which is nearly identical to Dozier. Morales ranked as my fifth best position player in part because of the adjustment I make for age as he played in Hi-A ball as a twenty year old, three years younger than Dozier. Morales hit .289/.381/.474 in 211 at bats in Beloit where he had 13 doubles, 7 triples, 4 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 25 attempts. With the Miracle, Morales had 11 doubles, 3 triples (his 10 triples led the entire organization), 1 home run and 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts with his 29 total stolen bases the second most in the organization. Morales, who is an excellent defensive outfielder who routinely plays centerfield, is the Miracle representative in this year's Player of the Year selection.

Beloit Snappers

Anderson Hidalgo and James Beresford both had excellent seasons for the Snappers. Hidalgo was one of the league's top hitters, .316/.375/.443, when he went on the DL in late July. Beresford also had a good season, finishing as the Snappers' second best hitter, .297/.349/.363. Both are excellent young prospects who should move up the ladder towards the Twins in future years.

My top ranked player for the Miracle however, was Aaron Hicks. Some may say that this season was a disappointing one for Hicks, who repeated the year at Beloit without moving up to the Miracle. Their argument is enhanced by a somewhat disappointing batting average of .279. Looking beyond that, however, one sees Hicks strengths...a .401 on base percentage resulting from his 88 walks. Hicks eight home runs, six triples and team high 27 doubles contributed to his .428 slugging percentage. Hicks has several areas of his game that needs work, including 112 strike outs in 423 at bats. Hicks led the Snappers with 21 stolen bases, however, was thrown out 11 times. Hicks remains a raw young prospect many believe has a higher ceiling than any player in the organization. Today we vote for the player who had the best season in the organization and Hicks is certainly a player who merits being included in that process.

Elizabethton Twins

The Twins again had several players put up shining numbers including Nate Roberts, who hit .336/.444/.547. There was one player however, Oswaldo Arcia, who had a year bigger than any in the league. On a team that was fourth best in the league with a .266 average, Arcia led the league in batting average (.375), on base percentage (.424), slugging percentage (.672), at bats (259), hits (97), and RBI (51). Arcia had the third most runs scored (47) and doubles (21) with the league's second most triples (7) and home runs (14). With such a huge season, it could have been even better had he not gone into a late season slump as he played through a mid-August injury. Many have put up spectacular numbers at Elizabethton the past few years, however, none matched what Arcia did this year and most were by players who were not ninteen years old. Like Angel Morales a few years earlier, Arcia put himself into contention for Player of the Year with his big year at Elizabethton, a year that could project bigger things to come.

GCL Twins

The Twins had a .247 batting average which was also the league average. The GCL was a league with only seven players hitting over .300 Aveage who also had enough at bats to qualify for the league's best. Although they didn't have enough at bats to qualify, both Kennys Vargas and Rory Rhodes hit over .300 for the Twins at .324 and .319, respectively.

My top ranked player from the GCL Twins was this year's fourth round pick, Eddie Rosario. Like Daniel Ortiz two years earlier and Morales three years ago, Rosario is a young outfielder from Puerto Rico who was selected in the first four rounds. Rosario's performance this summer was special, hitting .294/.343/.438 in 194 at bats. Rosario's five home runs and 26 RBI led the team while his 22 stolen bases in 27 attempts were amongst the most in the organization even though the GCL Twins played only 60 games. Rosario finished with the league's most stolen bases, eighth most home runs and tenth best average and slugging percentage. His performance was so good that it could signal that he could be the best prospect from Puerto Rico amongst this group of recent high picks.

DSL Twins

The DSL Twins had two players with the team the entire season who hit better than .300 average, Juan Blanco (.319) and Romy Trinidad (.301).

Our selection for Player of the Year from the DSL Twins is a young seventeen year old who spent less than half of his season in the DSL where he led the team in hitting at .344/.463/.547. A 1.009 OPS with a team high 3 home runs in only 64 at bats certainly merits Miguel Sano selection to this year's process. Sano returned to Ft. Myers in mid-July where he hit .291/.338/.466 with a team second best 4 home runs and 14 doubles. One of the last year's most talked about International signings, Sano appears to be a player worthy of all the aclaim and dollars paid him.

Now on to voting for the 2010 Twinkie Town Player of the Year. Voting will remain open until 6am next Saturday, when we will begin voting for Pitcher of the Year.

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