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Twinkie Town 2011 Top 50...Voting for Prospect #50!

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Spencer Steedley won the first preliminary round of voting for the Fiftieth best prospect and will move into the final round. Steedley collected 35 of 192 votes with four players, led by Steve Hirschfeld, grouped in the 23 to 27 vote range.

Today we will be voting on ten pitchers from Beloit, Elizabethton and the Gulf Coast League Twins. As far as prospects are concerned there are several in this group that could have exciting futures, yet they have a long way to go if they are to pitch for the Twins. They are Logan Darnell, Nelvin Fuentes, Dallas Gallant, Martire Garcia, Jose Gonzalez, Matt Hauser, Andrei Lobanov, Miguel Munoz, Brad Stillings and Ben Tootle. I will briefly talk about each of them after the jump.

This preliminary round will remain open through 3pm, Thursday, February 17th.

Logan Darnell was the Twins selection in the sixth round of last year's draft out of the University of Kentucky. He reported to Elizabethton after signing where he put up numbers similar to our 28th ranked prospect and fellow lefty, Pat Dean. Darnell pitched 34.2 innings with a 2-3 record, 2.08 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 32 strikeouts with only 6 walks in 34.2 innings.

Nelvin Fuentes had another wonderful winter in the Puerto Rican League. He was picked up by the league champions and participated in the Caribbean Championship Series. Fuentes had a 3.27 ERA last summer at Elizabethton and Beloit before compiling a 1.71 ERA this winter. He would go on to make three appearances as a LOOGY in the Championship Series without allowing a hit, walk or run in 1.0 inning.

Dallas Gallant was a late signing by the Twins last summer after being a star in the Cape Cod League. The hard throwing Gallant would report to Elizabethton where he would appear in 6 games (13.2 innings) with a 2-0 record, 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 15 strikeouts and 5 walks.

Martire Garcia is the lone prospect in Seth Stohs' top 30 that we have not voted into our Top 50. Garcia is a hard throwing lefty who led Elizabethton with a 6-0 record with a 1.75 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. He struggled after moving up to Beloit late in the season where he had a 6.00 ERA in 27.0 innings.

I ranked Jose Gonzalez as having the fourth best season of any pitcher in the organization (prior to discounting for level of play). Yes, Gonzalez is a small left handed reliever, but the year he had was special. When Ft. Myers needed pitchers early in the season, Gonzalez pitched better than could be expected of someone who had been in the GCL the prior year. He had a 1.17 ERA in 8 appearances (15.1 innings) with 10 strikeouts and only 1 walk. He joined Elizabethton when their season opened, making 18 appearances (22.0 innings) with a 0.41 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 33 strikeouts and only 6 walks. My ranking system showed only Gibson, Hendriks and Holbrooks as having better years.

Matt Hauser was the Twins seventh round pick out of the University of San Diego. Hauser began his season in Elizabethton before moving on to Beloit. He would finish his rookie year with a 1-0 record, 0.57 ERA, 17 strikeouts and 3 walks in 15.2 innings.

We all remember Andrei Lobanov after he struck out 35 batters with only one walk in 22.0 innings in 2009. He split 2010 between Elizabethton, Beloit and Ft. Myers. His ERA from the three stops was 2.64 with 56 strikeouts and 14 walks in 64.2 innings.

Miguel Munoz led the Snappers in several categories, including innings pitched (131.2), wins (12) and games started (21). He finished with a 12-7 record while striking out 121 batters with 48 walks.

After the big two (Hendriks and Osterbrock) moved on to Ft. Myers, Brad Stillings became the Snappers go to guy. Although he missed a month of the season with an injury, he finished with an excellent 8-4 record, 3.40 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 40 walks in 98.0 innings.

Ben Tootle was the Twins third round pick in 2009 who pitched only 6.1 innings before going on the disabled list. He missed most of this season with injuries which limited his playing time to 17.2 innings at Beloit. Tootle is another hard throwing short reliever with a ton of potential, if he can ever get healthy.