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Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - April 2014

If you take a look at the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month for April 2013, you will see some absolutely remarkable statistics put up by the likes of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Josmil Pinto, Eddie Rosario and Adam Walker. Buxton and Sano have not played due to injury. Rosario is serving a suspension. Pinto is up with the big league club, hitting pretty well. Adam Walker has struggled in April, but he does have five home runs. I don’t know if any of the top five on this list would have appeared in that report, but there were a few really strong offensive performances in the Twins system in this season’s first month.

Attached Image: Mitch Garver 2.jpg

Here are my selections for the Top 5 Twins Minor League hitters in April:

Number 5 – Ft. Myers – Travis Harrison - (28-87) .322/.368/.471 (.840) with eight doubles, one triple, one home run and 15 RBI.

Harrison got off to a slow start this year. Through the first ten days, he struggled to get on base. However, he has been on fire during the second half of the month. A move to left field (from third base) has likely created some challenges. Once he started hitting, he transitioned from the bottom of the order to batting second. He’s hit doubles, and I believe he has the potential to bust out soon with a lot of home runs. He’s also sneaky-quick on the base paths, a very smart ball player.

Number 4 – Rochester – Doug Bernier – (20-56) .357/.431/.571 (1.002) with six doubles, two home runs and nine RBI.

Bernier was one of the great, positive stories of the 2013 Minnesota Twins season. The 33-year-old had a two-game cup of coffee with the Rockies in 2008. He didn’t give up on his dream and got to spend the second half of the season with the Twins. He returns to Rochester where he has been playing all over the baseball field, including in the corner outfield spots. He is also off to a terrific start with the lumber, specifically showing a lot of extra base hits.

Number 3 - Rochester – Chris Parmelee - (30-92) .326/.382/.511 (.893) with five doubles, four home runs and 16 RBI.

Parmelee, the former first round pick, had to be frustrated this spring when the Twins designated him for assignment to remove him from the 40 man roster. No team claimed him and he reported to the Red Wings. He didn’t start out hitting much, but he came on really strong late in the month. He ended the month on a 13-game hitting streak (which he extended on Thursday) and showed more of his power. Last weekend, one of his home runs was a walk-off for the Red Wings.

Number 2 – Jorge Polanco – Ft. Myers Miracle - (32-93) .344/.421/.495 (.915) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and 15 RBI.

Remember when the early reports on Jorge Polanco, when the team signed him as a 16-year-old, he was known for his glove. And, he does play good defense. However, this spring, they have decided to move him to shortstop at least for the time being and he has really struggled. He has not struggled at all with the bat. He is a top of the order bat. He takes quality at-bats and has good extra base power. In my opinion, the purpose of moving Polanco to shortstop is to give him a more clear path to the big leagues now that Brian Dozier has taken over at second base. That alone tells us how much the organization believes in him.

The April Minnesota Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month is...

Ft. Myers Miracle C/1B Mitch Garver (25-78) .321/.413/.628 (1.041) with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs and 15 RBI.

Garver was a fourth-year senior selected in the 9th round last year out of New Mexico. He was runner-up for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award. Fellow Twins 2013 draft pick Stuart Turner won the award. Often a four-year senior taken in the top ten rounds is strategic. They don’t have much leverage, so they can be signed for less than slot value which allows the team to go above in other places. That said, Garver had a strong career in college and he has a strong bat.

He showed that offensive potential in the month of April. Though he went hitless in his first game, he went on a strong run for the next two weeks. He hit for a lot of power and showed a willingness to take walks. He leads the Midwest League in several power categories including extra base hits, total bases and home runs. Drafted as a catcher, Garver spent a lot of time in spring training working with Tom Kelly at first base. He’s been a mainstay in the middle of the Kernels lineup.

There were several solid performances in April that weren’t included in the Top Five. Here are some Honorable Mentions who just missed out on the Top Five.

  • Kennys Vargas (22-79) .278/.363/.443 (.806) with four doubles, three homers and 12 RBI.
  • Tanner Vavra (22-64) .344/.391/.438 (.829) with six doubles and eight RBI.
  • Zack Larson (27-88) .307/.351/.455 (.806) with 10 doubles, one home run and 13 RBI.

Feel free to comment and discuss.

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