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2010 Twinkie Town top 50 Review...31 thru 35

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This next group includes a variety of players, ranging from a seventeen year old to a player who is no longer with the Twins; from a young prospect on the forty man roster to an older player many of us believe should be. This group of five prospects are: Loek Van Mil (31), Wander Guillen (32), Shooter Hunt (33), Estarlin De Los Santos (34), and Steve Singleton (35).

31 - Loek Van Mil

Loek Van Mil is one of the better known players in minor league ball, but he is known for being the tallest player in professional ball rather than what he has accomplished on the field. Van Mil came to the Twins from The Netherlands with less experience than a prospect coming out of the draft or from Latin America. But at 7'1" tall with a good fastball, it was Van Mil's potential that earned him a spot on the Twins 40-man roster in November, 2009.

Van Mil has dealt with injuries throughout much of his Twins career. That was the case again this year when he began his season on the disabled list rather than in New Britain's bullpen. Van Mil returned to the Rock Cats later this spring, appearing in 23 games with a 1-2 record, 6.37 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 22 walks in 29.2 innings. This was not what was expected from a player who had a 2.86 ERA in Ft. Myers and 2.45 ERA in New Britain in 2009.

The Twins were expecting Van Mil to have a break-out season, a season in which he would dominate. Whether it was the injuries or lack of experience, that season was never to come. When the Los Angeles Angels agreed to accept Van Mil as the player to be named later for Brian Fuentes, Van Mil moved west to California.

32 - Wander Guillen

Guillen had a special rookie season as a sixteen year old in the 2009 Dominican Summer League. Hitting .336/.443/.409, Guillen was the top hitter on the Twins team that went to the championship round of the DSL playoffs. That performance earned Guillen a promotion to the GCL Twins this spring.

While with the GCL Twins, Guillen would not repeat his performance from the DSL. Appearing in only 34 games, Guillen would hit .172/.229/.202 in 99 at bats. It is important to remember, however, that Guillen was a seventeen year old and has plenty of time to develop into the top prospect he appeared to be a year ago. Although he was one of four seventeen year olds playing for this year's GCL Twins, most baseball players his age are either juniors or seniors in high school.

33 - Shooter Hunt

Late in the first round of the 2008 draft the Twins drafted a pitcher who had a reputation of having "great stuff," while some questioned his control. Hunt would begin his career in Elizabethton before moving on to Beloit where he walked 27 batters in 31.1 innings. His control problems would get so bad last year at Beloit that the Twins would send him back to the GCL Twins before shutting him down for the season.

Hunt spent this season at Ft. Myers where he had a 1-5 record in 40 games (7 starts) with a 7.35 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. More than ten strikeouts per nine innings is something the Twins staff should be able to work with, isn't it? The flip side of the story wasn't good as Hunt had a 2.05 WHIP resulting from 84 walks, 11 hit batters and 19 wild pitches. Less than a hit per inning with more than a strikeout per inning will keep the Twins working with Hunt. Look for the Twins to evaluate him following spring training when they will make a decision of where to send him in 2011. I expect the Twins are hopeful the player they drafted will make an appearance in Ft. Myers next March.

34 - Estarlin De Los Santos

Although he missed part of the 2009 season to injury, De Los Santos hit .290/.330/.397 in 262 at bats for the Ft. Myers Miracle. In what was a surprise move to most fans, that performance earned him a spot on the Twins 40 man roster. It also earned him a promotion to New Britain for the start of this season.

De Los Santos would not hit well in his first exposure to AA pitching, causing the Twins to send him back to Ft. Myers with Chris Parmelee and Joe Benson in May. Whereas Parmelee and Benson would quickly return to New Britain, De Los Santos remained in Ft. Myers for half the season where he would hit .274/.340/.346 in 234 at bats with thirteen stolen bases in fifteen attempts. De Los Santos would return to New Britain later in the summer, hitting .177/.249/.245 in 237 at bats with six stolen bases.

The Twins believe in this young man, especially his defense even though he committed twenty-two errors for the Rock Cats and another eighteen for the Miracle. It remains to be seen what the future holds if roster spots become tight, however, De Los Santos remains on the forty man roster and is likely penciled into a spot with the Rock Cats next spring.

35 - Steve Singleton

Many believe Singleton earned a spot on the Twins 40 man roster a year ago. That was not to be and it was surprising to some fans that he wasn't lost in the Rule V draft. The Twins invited Singleton to spring training this past year which is an indication they believe in his abilities. After another solid season at New Britain, Singleton was again left off the 40 man roster. Will he make it through the draft for a second year?

Although Singleton played a few games at shortstop and third, he made only thirteen errors in 112 games at second base. After hitting for a .291 average in 158 at bats for the Rock Cats in 2009, he would hit .267/.325/.410 in a team high 502 at bats this year. The story of his year at the plate went beyond his average, however, as his 43 doubles would tie for the Eastern League lead while also being the most in the Twins organization.

Singleton is a very good defensive second baseman with some pop in his bat. He will likely be on the bubble next spring and could begin his year in Rochester or back in New Britain, depending on how the winter shakes out in the Twins middle infield.