With the 20th pick in the 8th round of the 2006 draft, the Minnesota Twins selected second baseman Brian Dinkleman from McKendree College in Illinois. Since then he's proceeded to climb slowly through the Twins farm system, with relatively little fanfare but nevertheless providing steady, solid play.
In his minor league career he's spent most of his time between second base and left field, and that goes for this year as well. Quite likely because of the number of roster changes that have taken place between the Red Wings and the Twins, Dinkleman has actually spent more games in the outfield than second base.
At his best, Dinkleman is a good contact hitter with solid on-base skills, as we've seen him show in 2011 with his .296 batting average and .374 on-base percentage. He's repeatedly shown solid plate discipline and strike zone judgment, striking out a bit more as he'd advanced but holding onto his strong double-digit walk rates at the same time.
Like all Twins infielders however, barring perhaps the demoted Trevor Plouffe, Dinkleman doesn't have much power. He's able to hit the gaps and has enough speed to rack up some doubles, but his isolated power has steadily decreased to a career-low .103 in 2011.
It will be interesting to see how Dinkleman adapts to Major League pitching. His career minor league line is a respectable but not great .279/.360/.412. For him it will be more about how quickly he can recognize pitches, adapt to the faster game, and limit mistakes. If he can continue to be patient and work a few walks, however, he could become the best infielder at getting on-base.
If not, well, he can't be any worse than some of the futility we've seen in 2011.