Despite being the Twins 1st
round pick in the 2006 draft out of his school, it took until September of 2011 for his to become a household name among many Twins fans. After five seasons in the minor leagues, Parmelee was promoted directly from Double-A New Britain when the Rock Cats season ended just short of a playoff berth. Parmelee had put together a very strong second half for the Rock Cats, but no one could have imagined how well he played in September. He played nearly every day, 21 games in all, and hit .355/.443/.592 with six doubles, four homers and 14 RBI. In 88 plate appearances, he walked twice and struckout 13 times.
Parmelee gives us a glimpse into why minor league numbers and statistics are secondary to player development.
All players drafted high, especially in the first round, are there because they have immense tools. How quickly can they turn those tools into skills? There is not one ‘right’ answer to that questions. Some players are able to come up to the big leagues within the first couple of years. Most players take five or six years to get to the big leagues.
STAGE 1 – The Adam Dunn Stage
Like most high school players drafted, Parmelee went to the Gulf Coast League. He performed well, hitting .279/.369/.532 (.901) with seven doubles, four triples, eight homers and 32 RBI in 45 games. He was rewarded by spending 11 games in Beloit where he hit .227 but posted a .370 On Base Percentage.
He spent the 2007 season in Beloit where he hit just .239/.313/.414 (.727) with 23 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs. He returned to the Snappers for the 2008 season. Unfortunately, he only played about half of the games as the previous year due to injury, but he was better. He hit .239/.385/.496 (.881) with 10 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 49 RBI. In those two seasons in Beloit, he walked 98 times and struckout 210 times in 790 plate appearances.
In 2009, he went to Ft. Myers and hit .258/.359/.441 (.881) with 27 doubles, 16 homers and 73 RBI. In 501 plate appearances, he walked 65 times and struck out 109 times.
In this stage, there was hope that the bulky Parmelee could turn into an Adam Dunn-type player. He did not hit for average, but he took a great number of walks and showed some good power for that early stage of his career. Of course, Adam Dunn would be a great thing. Most minor leaguers who strikeout that much in those lower levels don’t work their way up to the big leagues unless they’re able to cut those numbers.
STAGE 2 – The Transition
After playing in the Arizona Fall League after the season, Parmelee figured out that he would need to lose some weight, and by the time he came to Twins Fest, he looked like a different person.
Chris Parmelee began the 2010 season with the New Britain Rock Cats, but he really struggled. Pitchers were taking advantage of him. He wasn’t walking and was striking out a lot. Because of that, the power wasn’t there either.
Less than six weeks into the season, he was sent back to Ft. Myers, and that is where something clicked. In just 22 games, he hit .338/.430/.463 (.893) with five extra base hits. He also walked 13 times and struckout 11 times. He returned to New Britain as a different hitter. Overall, he hit .275/.341/.389 (.731) with 25 doubles, two triples and six home runs. In 463 plate appearances, he walked just 43 times and struck out just 70 times.
In 2011, he hit .287/.366/.436 (.801) with 30 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 83 RBI for New Britain. He walked 68 times and struckout 94 times in 610 plate appearances.
The strategy appears to be focusing on one thing and then hoping the other things come back. In other words, Parmelee had shown an ability to take walks and hit for some home run power. However, he also struck out a ton. To make him a better all-around hitter, they encouraged him to be a little more aggressive, use the whole field and make better contact.
STAGE 3 – It All Comes Together
The best case scenario is putting the stages back together. Now that he can hit for average and keep the strikeouts down, could he get back to getting on with a lot of walks and bring back the power?
As we know, Parmelee put together a great showing in September. He was terrific in spring training and earned an Opening Day roster spot. Although he has struggled in limited playing time with the Twins over a couple of stints, he has continued to show power. In 49 games in Rochester, he has hit .354/.470/.691 (1.161) with 15 doubles and 15 home runs. As important, he has 38 walks to go with just 34 strikeouts in 217 plate appearances.
Parmelee awaits another opportunity to play with the Twins. It will likely happen in the very near future. You can look through his minor league track record and make a lot about of those early years, but he is no longer that same player. Parmelee, in a way, took a step backwards to take eight steps forward. He may be one of those examples where he might outperform his minor league numbers. We don’t know, but we shall find out. Soon.