Earlier in the week, we announced the Minor league Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year for the Twins. Today, it’s time to point out the hitters that performed very well in the Twins minor league system. There were a lot of great performances and performers that don’t even make the top six for various reasons, be it injury, big league time or simply playing in a short-season league. Here are three honorable mentions that I think will illustrate just how good the top 6 are!
- Chris Parmelee – Rochester Red Wings – 77-228 - .338/.457/.645 (1.102) – 17-2B, 1-3B, 17-HR, 49-RBI, 45-R
- Nate Roberts – Beloit Snappers – 84-281 - .299/.433/.427 (.860) – 18-2B, 3-3B, 4-HR, 33-RBI, 60-R
- Max Kepler – Elizabethton Twins – 69-232 - .297/.387/.539 (.925) – 16-2B, 5-3B, 10-HR, 49-RBI, 40-R
Hitter of the Year Nominees
There were a lot more good hitters up for Hitter of the Year consideration, or at least mention, than there were
#6 – Eddie Rosario – Beloit Snappers (123-411 - .299/.347/.499 (.846), with 35 doubles, 4 triples, 13 HR, 74 RBI, 62 R)
Consider the numbers Rosario put up for the Snappers in 2012, and then remember that he missed about six weeks of the season after surgery on his mouth. What could he have done with another 120 plate appearances? After hitting 21 homers in E-Town in 2011, it is no surprise that he hit less home runs in the bigger ballparks, but he still hit for average and hit a lot of doubles. Rosario is so good at letting the ball get deep and uses the whole field well. And, his transition to 2B went well in year one, although there is still much room for improvement.
#5 – Josmil Pinto – Ft. Myers Miracle / New Britain Rock Cats (117-396 - .295/.362/.482 (.844), with 26 doubles, 3 triples, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 53 R)
One of the organization’s more interesting decisions when the offseason starts involves Pinto. The catcher had a tremendous 2012 season. After hitting .295 with 22 doubles and 12 homers in 93 games with the Miracle, he was promoted to New Britain to help them in their playoff push as their DH. He hit .298 with seven extra base hits (including two homers) in the final 12 games. The 23-year-old can become a six-year minor league free agent following the World Series.
#4 – Chris Colabello – New Britain Rock Cats (141-496 - .284/.358/.478 (.836), with 37 doubles, 1 triple, 19 HR, 98 RBI, 78 R)
A year ago at this time, Colabello was finishing another season, his seventh, with the Worcester Tornadoes of the independent Can-Am League. Baseball America would soon name him their Independent League Player of the Year. The Twins, needing another bat for New Britain, gave him an opportunity. He made the best of it! The 28-year-old who had never played a single game for an affiliated team was a very consistent producer in the middle of the Rock Cats lineup all season long.
#3 – Aaron Hicks – New Britain Rock Cats (.286/.384/.460 (.844), with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 100 R, 32 SB)
When the Twins used the 14th pick in the 2008 draft, scouts loved it because Hicks is a great athlete with the potential to be a 5-tool player. As is normal for young players, Hicks struggled in Beloit for a season-and-a-half and last year in Ft. Myers. The Twins pushed him to the AFL last season where he put up very good numbers. They again pushed him to New Britain to start this season, and he responded. Following the All Star break, he hit .301/.409/.480. He did post an OPS of .881 against lefties. Very important, he posted a very good .828 OPS against right-handed pitchers, an area he needed to improve upon. Once Hicks was moved to the leadoff position, his patience at the plate worked to his advantage. He got on base, stole bases and scored a lot of runs. The well-rounded game of Hicks finally started filling up box scores and stat lines!
#2 – Miguel Sano – Beloit Snappers (118-457 - .258/.373/.521 (893), with 28 doubles, 4 triples, 28 HR, 100 RBI, 75 R)
Expectations were high for Sano when the 2012 season began. I think it’s safe to say that Sano met all expectations. He didn’t hit for much average, but he hit for a lot of power. He drove in runs. He struckout a ton (144 times), and he committed a lot of errors (42). He certainly showed improvement throughout the season. His first-half OPS was .841. After the All-Star break, his OPS was .955. He had less than half as many errors in the second half as in the first. He was named the MWL Prospect of the Year and the Snappers named him their co-MVP. It was a nice first full-season performance for the 19-year-old.
Hitter of the Year –
Oswaldo Arcia – Ft. Myers Miracle / New Britain Rock Cats (150-469 - .320/.388/.539 (.925), with 36 doubles, 8 triples, 17 HR, 98 RBI, 76 R)
Signed in July of 2007, Arcia was an easy choice to add to the Twins 40 man roster last offseason. In 2010, he was the Appy League Player of the Year when he hit .375 with an OPS of 1.096. In 2011, he spent a month in Beloit before elbow surgery. Upon his return, he went to Ft. Myers. That’s where he began the 2012 season. In 55 games, he hit .309 with 26 extra base hits. He played in the FSL All Star game and had a double off of Jameson Taillon in the Futures Game before being promoted to New Britain. That’s when his offensive game really took off. In 69 games with the Rock Cats, he hit .328 with 35 extra base hits. He was an RBI machine. He plays a very good outfield with a strong arm. Arcia will return to big league spring training in 2013, and depending upon offseason moves, he will get a chance to impress the coaching staff with his power.
So there you have it. There were some really terrific offensively performances by Twins minor leaguers in 2012. It’s especially nice to see big years coming from some of the team’s top prospects. Feel free to discuss.