Deserving Of Discussion
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photos of Alex Perez, Edgar Corcino, Jermaine Palacios)In today’s article, I’m going to write about one hitter from each of the Twins affiliates who is off to a good start without much fanfare.
Rochester Red Wings IF Matt Hague
In spring training, the thought was about how much Byungho Park did to earn an Opening Day job with the Twins. Park is hurt, and now the favorite to be called up if (or when?) the Twins jump back to 12 pitchers has to be Kennys Vargas. If it was me, I would give serious consideration to calling up Mitch Garver since he can play first base and also catch, and he’s hitting well.
But the unsung guy all along has been Matt Hague. The 31-year-old was the International League MVP two years ago with the Blue Jays organization. Last year, he played in Japan. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. He was one of the last players sent down at the end of camp. In 47 plate appearances this spring, Hague hit .349/.429/.558 (.987) with six doubles and a home run.
He went to Rochester, and through his first 13 games and 58 plate appearances, he is hitting .353/.431/.451 (.882) with two doubles and a homer. He’s been a factor in the middle of the Red Wings lineup. While it remains unlikely he will be called up, he is off to a good start and warrants discussion.
Chattanooga Lookouts - OF Edgar Corcino
I’ve been a fan of Edgar Corcino, the player, since first seeing him at spring training in Ft. Myers in 2015. He was one of the better athletes that I saw. Still just 24, Corcino has been in pro ball since the Tigers drafted him in the 26th round of that draft out of Puerto Rico. He spent four seasons in the Tigers organization. In 2013, he played in the independent leagues.
The Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native works out in the offseason with Jose Berrios. The Twins took a chance on him before the 2014 season and he has been solid since. He split the 2016 season between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga. After hitting .266 (.760) in 74 games in Ft. Myers, he hit .284 (.754) in 50 games in Chattanooga.
Corcino is capable of playing all three outfield positions well. He has good speed and a strong, accurate arm. Last Friday, he singled in his first at-bat and sprained his ankle. He returned to the lineup on Tuesday. He is currently hitting .308/325/385 (.710) with three doubles.
While his ceiling is likely not that of an MLB starting outfielder, his skill set and all-around game make him a possibility as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Ft. Myers Miracle - IF/OF Alex Perez
Alex Perez was a four-year starter at shortstop for Virginia Tech. The Twins drafted him in the 23rd round in 2015. He began 2016 in extended spring training. He moved up to Cedar Rapids, where he sporadically played. In his 18 games there, however, he hit .262/.403/.311 (.714). He moved up to Ft. Myers and actually played quite frequently. In 69 games with the Miracle, he hit .242/.345/.273 (.618).
The slick fielder can play all over the field. He has played second base and third base this season along with left field. While he’s not a big guy, so don’t expect a lot of slugging, he showed an ability to really control the strike zone. That hasn’t turned into walks so far this season, but he has been very good. He started the season with a nine-game hitting streak, and he has multiple hits in six games.
Despite on 0-5 on Thursday, he is still hitting .322/.365/.407 (.772) with three doubles and a triple this season. There is value in guys who can play good defense at several positions. There is also value in guys who put the ball in play and know the strike zone.
Cedar Rapids Kernels - SS Jermaine Palacios
A year ago at this time, Palacios was a highly-touted prospect. In some local and national rankings, he was a Top 10 Twins prospect. He was 19 years old and coming off a 2015 season when he combined to hit .370/.398/.540 (.938) with 23 doubles, four triples and three home runs between the GCL and Elizabethton.
However, last year, he really struggled early in the season in Cedar Rapids. In 71 games, he hit just .222/.276/.287 (.564) with eight doubles, three triples and a homer. His season came to an early end when he was hit by a pitch and broke his hand.
Palacios returned to Iowa this spring and his start was much, much better. On Thursday night, Palacios hit a single, double and triple which helped raise his slash line to .388/.444/.490 (.934). For much of this group, the ceiling is that of a role player, but Palacios has the upside to be a MLB shortstop, and he’s certainly one to watch this year and beyond.
So there you have it. A quick look at four minor leaguers who are, for whatever reason, not at the forefront of Twins prospect conversation. Who are some of the other Twins minor league hitters that you’re interested in? We’ll do this from time to time, discussing minor leaguers who deserve to be discussed.
Though I’m looking to you to help me come up with a catchy title for this series… Leave your suggestions or ideas in the comments below.
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