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  • Parmelee's Promising Power

    There's a saying that goes: one man's persisting and possibly career-ending concussion aftermath is another man's opportunity. Something like that, anyway.

    Up to this point, things have gone smoothly for Justin Morneau, who has been able to get through all his workouts and delivered an RBI single in the Twins' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday. But the first baseman acknowledged recently that post-concussion symptoms continued to haunt him throughout the offseason, and that if they return he's probably going to have to hang up the spikes.

    Those would be some pretty big spikes to fill.

    Morneau has been a godsend for the Twins, largely because he's the type of player that this organization has struggled to produce: a truly elite slugger. He drove in 100 or more runs every year from 2006 to 2009, becoming the first Twin ever to reach triple digits in four consecutive seasons. His ability to hit for both average and power made him one of the most feared and respected batsmen in the league.

    That's exactly the kind of player you want at first base. If Morneau can't return to that level, there's no one in the short-term picture who can even come close to replacing the production he offered when healthy. In fact, it's not clear that the Twins could even find a competent bat to stick at first base if Morneau's brain injury forced him out.

    The organization's best hopes at this point lie with Chris Parmelee. If he can keep doing what he's been doing since the midway point last year, he offers optimism that the Twins could get by without Morneau's mighty bat at first base.

    Parmelee's first four seasons in Minnesota's system after being drafted 20th overall in 2006 were largely underwhelming. He moved very gradually up the minor-league ladder, battled injuries and posted solid yet unspectacular numbers as a slow-footed first baseman and corner outfielder.

    Last year, at the age of 23, Parmelee turned a corner. His overall numbers at New Britain .287/.366/.436 with 13 homers were very much in line with his past production. Yet, hidden in those numbers were some very promising signs.

    For one thing, he finally stayed healthy all year, appearing in a career-high 142 games over five months with the Rock Cats before playing in another 21 after a September promotion to Minnesota.

    Parmelee also got stronger as the season went along. After hitting .283 with five home runs between April, May and June, he hit .305 with six homers and 26 RBI in July, then hit .302 with a pair of dingers in August before heading north and hitting .355 with four homers for the Twins in September.

    It's great to see Parmelee hitting for average, considering that he hit just .250 over his first four years as a pro, and it's especially encouraging to see him hitting the ball out of the yard more frequently. In the end, his ability to hit for power will largely dictate his overall value.

    No one expects Parmelee to develop into the type of dominant slugger that Morneau has been for the Twins. But if his recent improvement is legitimate, and he can become 20-homer type with a solid average and walk rate, the thought of losing Morneau becomes considerably less traumatizing.

    Parmelee's two-run homer in yesterday's exhibition game is a promising sign that his new-found power is here to stay. I'll be looking for more of that as the spring progresses.
    This article was originally published in blog: Parmlee's Promising Power started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      Parmelee will be as good if not better than Morneau someday.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I don't think anyone quite suspect Morneau would be as good as he was either... Most didn't doubt the power, but the high BA came as a bit of a surprise. I'm still holding out hope that he can return to form this year. If the Twins contend, that will be why.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      It's what makes following the minor leagues so much fun. There is no certainty with prospects. Some top prospects don't pan out. Some come out of nowhere. Nothing in Parmelee's minor league numbers screams Star, but if he can be a league-average MLB 1B, we'd take that, for sure!
    1. dklien's Avatar
      dklien -
      After a prospect has had 1000 minor league at bats, I often read things like "He is what he is". This is one of my least favorite comments. It is a tag that was put on Denard Span and I see it now when referring to Brian Dozier and Chris Parmalee. Some players just take longer to develop than others. There is always room for improvement with any player. I hope that Parmalee is still in the development stage and will continue to improve. Even if Mormeau is healthy, there is always room for patient power hitter somewhere.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      "After a prospect has had 1000 minor league at bats, I often read things like "He is what he is"."

      That's because most often, that is the case, but certainly not always. Exceptions are what makes it fun! I would argue that 1000 AB in the minors isn't really enough, at least not for the guys that sign when they're 16-18 years old.
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      I think it's too early to tell what kind of hitter in the bigs he will be. I do think that it's worth a look and we should try and get him as many quality at bats to see.
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      Parmelee will be as good if not better than Morneau someday.
      Alert the Common Man, we have a contender for the 2012 Preposterous Statement Tournament. Parmelee will be good, but Morneau was a good as it got at first base (outside of Albert Pujols) from 2006 to July 2010. He was a top three offensive AND defensive first baseman, and while Parmelee might eventually have a better overall career, that will only be because of Morneau's injuries.
    1. @_2244's Avatar
      @_2244 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      Parmelee will be as good if not better than Morneau someday.
      Preposterous and uncharacteristically optimistic. Step away from the pipe, please.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Parmelee's got real potential. Putting him in Morneau's category is a real stretch at this point (defensively they're not close yet; Morneau went from being pretty shaky at 1B to being a reliable and sure-handed player. Parmelee has a ways to go). But I like what he's showing as a hitter, and I think the power potential is there. he seems to have made several adjustments over the course of his career in the minors, bringing the average up while initially sacrificing power, and now seeming to add the power back in as he's gotten better control over the strike zone.

      I expect him to spend most of this season at AAA, unless Morneau's season goes to hell. But you have to figure that he's going to be a big factor in the twins plans soon at 1B, DH, and as a LH power bat on the bench even if Morneau makes it through a season relatively healthy
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      Does Parmlee still have options left? If so, another season of AAA might be his best option (if Morneaus stays healthy). Regular at bats always trump riding the bench.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Parmelee has two years of options left. He was just added to the 40 man roster in November of 2010, so 2011 was his first option year. He has ZERO at bats in AAA to this point, so it would be his best option. I completely agree that sitting the bench for a prospect makes no sense.
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      If I remember correctly, didn't we keep Morneau in the minors an extra year to work on his defense? Thats why Dougie Baseball stuck around about a year too long? If fielding your position is a weak link for Parmelee than a full season of both at bats and playing the field is needed.
    1. twinsfiend's Avatar
      twinsfiend -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Parmelee has two years of options left. He was just added to the 40 man roster in November of 2010, so 2011 was his first option year. He has ZERO at bats in AAA to this point, so it would be his best option. I completely agree that sitting the bench for a prospect makes no sense.
      Seth I whole-heartedly agree he needs AAA time probably. My guess is, though, he will be up and down from AAA this year with any injuries to Morneau, Mauer, or Doumit (sp?). I just hope fans don't get frustrated with his potential lack of production if Gardy puts him in one of their spots in the batting order (which he likes to do sometimes with call-ups for short-term injury replacements). In bigger markets he'd have more time in AAA or AA to develop before being put in precarious position that he may be put in this year with the Twins.

      Having said that, I like him, he is a power hitter that seem few and far between in our farm system. Hopefully he pans out as a productive big-leaguer eventually.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Two things stand out about Chris Parmelee. Firstlywise, he's got one of the most natural power swings I've seen. That swing will produce tons of hits and maybe 30+ homers some day. Secondentially, he's got the steady, quiet self-confidence of a successful baseball player. When he strikes out, he shrugs it off. When he hits a home run, high-fives, then on to the next play. He projects an air of competence that reminds me of Hrbek and Morneau. Parmelee just might become quite a ballplayer.
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -

      What makes it preposterous? Morneau was an outstanding player before his concussion but nobody would of ever predicted he would be an MVP. Actually the same can be said about Joe Mauer. Parmelee has a sweet swing with legitimate pull power to left field. Why is it inconcievable to think he could be as good if not better than Morneau. He has worked very hard to get better defensively and has a great work ethic. He can become a complete player. The obvious question is how will he react when other teams pitch him differently. The Twins drafted him #1 out of high school for a reason.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I really like Parmelee. Ive often said in the pat that may compare with Lyle Overbay. I like his quiet, unassuming demeanor. i've never said he would be an all star caliber player, and at 1B in the AL, it will be very difficult. I have hopes that he can be a solid regular for the Twins for 6-8 years, if healthy. To expect him to be an MVP candidate year in and year out isnt fair to him. We can hope for that thogh, if u want! He's been a different hitter/player since his 2010 demotion to ft. myers. I like the improvements!
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Jack - It's not impossible for Parmelee to develop into a Morneau, but it's quite easy to call that statement preposterous when there's zero evidence up to this point to suggest Parmelee is capable of doing what Morneau has done. Morneau was a top 20 prospect in all of baseball for 3 years running, Parmelee hasn't been close to this. Morneau was a career .311/.379/.528 hitter in the minors in 2100-some plate appearances, Parmelee a career .266/.355/.436 hitter in 2600-some plate appearances. In 2004, Morneau hit 41 HR's between AAA and MLB. Parmelee's career high in HR's for a season is 17 (last year). He's improved as he's gone up the ladder, but his best season still doesn't come close to comparing to Morneau's in the minors. Then we get to the majors, where Morneau has an MVP award, and had he not got concussed, would have added a 2nd. Parmelee doesn't even have 100 PA's (good ones yes, but how many times has a prospect done the same thing in September?). From what you're saying, Parmelee is a sure-fire hall of famer?! I don't doubt for a second that he'll contribute in a positive way for the Twins this year and in the future, but I don't expect him to exceed, or even match, Morneau's production.
    1. tobynotjason's Avatar
      tobynotjason -
      Morneau was a good as it got at first base (outside of Albert Pujols) from 2006 to July 2010. He was a top three offensive AND defensive first baseman
      This just isn't true. From 2006 through 2009 Morneau was 12th in wRC+ among qualified 1st basemen. If you want to throw out Nick Johnson since he only had 342 games, ok. Throwing out Votto for coming up in 2008 seems like cherry picking, though, and would in any case only get Morneau to 10th. He was indeed 3rd in UZR. He was very good, but not as good as most Twins fans believe. Lots and lots of first basemen hit. Morneau was awesome in 2010 pre-concussion, but it's unlikely he would have sustained those rates for the full season. (Possible, but as w/any SSS, regress, regress, regress.)

      The odds that Parmelee's Sept. was an outlying fluke far outweigh the odds that it was a developmental turn-of-the-corner, but time will obviously tell us more.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Hopefully he's more Lyle Overbay than Connor Jackson . . . I see that at his range of potential, though Connor was good for a year or two. With prospects there is a certain X factor that you cannot pinpoint until guys are in the show. Maybe Parmelee thrives up there and is only averagish in the minors for whatever reason (similar to Span).
    1. jeffk's Avatar
      jeffk -
      Jack seems to be confusing "possible" with "likely". By the logic that some mediocre minor leaguers, have become excellent major leaguers, therefore this will happen to Parmelee, it's saying that *most* minor leaguers will become major league MVPs.
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