• Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - June

    This is really late. Typically, I post my choices for the monthly minor league award winners within days of the end of the month. Because of a trip to Cedar Rapids and a bum computer, the Hitter of the Month for June is a little tardy. But, better later than never, I guess. The players listed below performed well and deserve to be recognized. It was another good month for the hitters. We have a repeat winner and a few of the top prospects in this month’s report. In fact, there were enough who warranted recognition that I included a Top 6 and some Honorable Mentions.

    Let’s get to it. Here are my selections for the Top 6 Minnesota Twins Minor League hitters in June:

    Number 6 – Rochester – Doug Bernier - (35-100) .350/.416/.540 (.956) with ten doubles, three triples, one home run and 15 RBI.
    Bernier signed a minor league contract with the Twins before spring training this year. The middle infielder played his college ball at Oral Roberts and then spent 2002 through 2008 with the Colorado Rockies. He played two games for the Rockies in 2008. He then spent 2009 with the Yankees AAA team. He spent 2010 with the Pirates AAA team. He had spent 2011 and 2012 with the Yankees AAA squad. Overall with the Red Wings, he is hitting .297/.368/.398 (.766) with 13 doubles, three triples and three homers. He was very good in June.

    Number 5 – Ft. Myers – Kennys Vargas - (28-79) .354/.420/.544 (.965) with nine doubles, two home runs and 17 RBI.
    Vargas is still just 22 years old, but many forget how little baseball he has played over the last couple years. In 2011, he played in just 44 games. In 2012, he played in only 41 games. The Twins had him stick around Ft. Myers much of last offseason, and he remains with the Miracle, having now played 78 games in Ft. Myers. On the season, he is hitting .298/.373/.528 (.902) with 24 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs while driving in 63 RBI. Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano have moved up, yet Vargas hit well in June without them around. I suspect he will move up at some point this season.

    Number 4 – Cedar Rapids/Ft. Myers – Byron Buxton - (33-93) .354/.412/.548 (.960) with five doubles, five triples, 1 home run and 19 RBI.
    After a tremendous April, Buxton had a more pedestrian May. He even went through a mini-slump. However, in June, Buxton did exactly what you would hope a top prospect would do; he made some adjustments and had a strong month. In 72 at-bats with the Kernels, he hit .361/.420/.597 (1.017) with ten extra base hits; he then got the promotion that fans had been clamoring for. Despite starting out his tenure with the Miracle going 2-13, he then proceeded to have five straight multi-hit games and ended the month strong. He was also named to represent the Twins in the Futures Game.

    Number 3 – Cedar Rapids – Dalton Hicks - (36-108) .333/.372/.620 (.992) with ten doubles, seven home runs and 33 RBI.
    The 23-year-old first baseman was the Twins 17th round pick out of Central Florida. He split time in Elizabethton last year, but this year he has been the Kernels every day first baseman. Overall this year he has hit .298/.359/.498 with 26 doubles and 13 home runs. His 77 RBI lead the Midwest League (by a large margin). Listed at 6-5 and 228 pounds, Hicks has a long, but very powerful swing. He was tremendous in June and is a leader on the Kernels roster. I believe that if (or when) Kennys Vargas gets a promotion to New Britain, Hicks will move up to Ft. Myers.

    Number 2 – Ft. Myers/New Britain – Miguel Sano - (19-82) .232/.336/.646 (.982) with three doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 22 RBI.
    Sano was named to the Florida League All-Star team in early June. However, the day after the Miracle clinched the first half title and a playoff spot, he (and Eddie Rosario and Angel Morales) were promoted to the New Britain Rock Cats. Let’s not pretend that the lack of batting average for Sano is not a big deal, especially when it comes with many strikeouts, but he’s still so early in his New Britain tenure that it’s not worth worrying about quite yet. Despite a lack of singles, Sano’s power has been tremendous in New Britain. In June with the Rock Cats, he had ten extra base hits in 62 at bats, with just four singles. His power potential is immense, and fans are rightfully excited about what he can become. He will just need to work on his K-Rate to help avoid a case of BrandonWood-itis.

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


    Rochester Red Wings 1B Chris Colabello


    (34-94) .362/.451/.660 (1.111) with four doubles, no triples, eight home runs and 26 RBI.
    I am certain I sound like a broken record, but the Chris Colabello story should be talked about more, and he should be getting even more attention. He debuted with the Twins in May and still was the choice for minor league hitter of that month. This month, he spent the entire time with the Red Wings and still was incredible. He hits for average, takes walks and hits for power. He is the force in the middle of the Red Wings lineup that has helped them get back over .500 again. Overall, in 77 games with the Red Wings this year, he has hit .358/.436/.653 with 22 doubles, 21 homers and 67 RBI. He was recently named to the International League All-Star team, and frankly, he’s been one of the best handful of players at any level of minor league baseball.



    There were several strong performances in June that weren’t included in the Top 6. Here are six Honorable Mentions:


    • Josmil Pinto (Rock Cats) – (25-89) .281/.407/.449 (.856) with six doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI.
    • Nate Hanson (Rock Cats) – (29-93) .312/.350/.516 (.866) with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 18 RBI.
    • Matt Koch (Miracle) – (23-70) .329/.382/.586 (.967) with six doubles, four homers and 14 RBI.
    • Travis Harrison (Kernels) – (23-90) .256/.382/.489 (.871) with nine doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI.
    • Jorge Polanco (Kernels) – (31-96) .322/.377/.469 (.846) with seven doubles, two triples, one home run and 23 RBI.
    • JD Williams (Kernels) – (29-91) .319/.404/.440 (.844) with two doubles, three triples, one home run, and 14 RBI.


    It was another very solid month for Twins minor league hitting prospects which is always fun to see. We hope that can continue into July

    Feel free to comment and discuss.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Minor League Hitter of the Month - June started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Do the Twins not think Colobello can handle major league pitching or what? I understand there really isn't a place for him to play but parmelle isn't exactly raking and they didn't really give him a chance when he was called up. Does a Morneau trade have to happen for him to get a shot?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      A Morneau trade, or an injury. He is a good fit since he would be a right-handed hitter off of the bench, something they really don't have. I believe that the Twins could let Morneau go an have a solid Parmelee/Colabello platoon, with their other getting occasional time in RF and DH.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I believe that the Twins could let Morneau go an have a solid Parmelee/Colabello platoon, with their other getting occasional time in RF and DH.
      I couldn't possibly agree more. I'd hope he gets on the roster as a RH option if basically anyone gets traded, but I'd also hope they find a way to get him on there either way. We are extremely lefty heavy.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I can not agree with this. Parmelee has yet to prove he can hit consistently at the major league level. Also Morneau will not bring a high return. Colabello should be considered next spring when Morneau probably will not be back, but as a starting full time first baseman, not as a platoon player.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      I can not agree with this. Parmelee has yet to prove he can hit consistently at the major league level. Also Morneau will not bring a high return. Colabello should be considered next spring when Morneau probably will not be back, but as a starting full time first baseman, not as a platoon player.
      So, you'd be willing to give the completely unproven 29-year-old a starting job and discard the 25-year-old who has a 99 wRC+ (league average) this year with similar domination at AAA?

      I'm a Colabello guy, but I'm not sure I get the line of reasoning there.
    1. Legend of the Arctic's Avatar
      Legend of the Arctic -
      Aside from the glut of 1B/corner OFers on the Twins roster, I think the reason Colabello hasn't gotten more of a chance is his age. If he were putting up these numbers at age 23, he be the top prospect in baseball, but at 29, it's easy to understand why the Twins don't consider him a long term solution. They probably feel that at his age, there isn't mch time for the MLB learning curve before his skills start to decline.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Thanks for the great post, Seth. I look forward to these updates.
      When it comes to Colabello, I think you have to make room for him in the majors. You would have to take some outfield starts from Parmelee/Hicks/Thomas, some DH time from Doumit, and the occasional start from Morneau.
      I don't think it should require a trade. Either demote Hicks and play Clete in center everyday (Escobar would be emergency backup CF-ugly, but we're on pace for 90+ losses) or demote Parmelee.
      None of the group of Parmelee/Doumit/Hicks have produced to a level that really demands the playing time they're getting this season. I'm all for Colabello stealing some at-bats from all three.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      Do the Twins not think Colobello can handle major league pitching or what? I understand there really isn't a place for him to play but parmelle isn't exactly raking and they didn't really give him a chance when he was called up. Does a Morneau trade have to happen for him to get a shot?
      Perhaps it's because Parmelee put up better numbers last year in AAA as a 24 year old... Just a guess, and in sporadic playing time, he has basically put up league average numbers here in the ML. I don't get the lack of patience that people seem to have. Colabello is a "flavor of the month" kind of guy. He might be useful as a pinch hitter off the bench/occasional starter, but the Twins should not under any circumstances be dumping guys who may have a decent future for a guy like Colabello.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Legend of the Arctic View Post
      Aside from the glut of 1B/corner OFers on the Twins roster, I think the reason Colabello hasn't gotten more of a chance is his age. If he were putting up these numbers at age 23, he be the top prospect in baseball, but at 29, it's easy to understand why the Twins don't consider him a long term solution. They probably feel that at his age, there isn't mch time for the MLB learning curve before his skills start to decline.
      The funny thing about that line of thinking is that, even if his skills start eroding some at age 32, that's still two or three years. Teams sign free agents for 1-3 years and hope. Why not take a chance on a guy like Colabello?

      That said, I wouldn't do so at the expense of Parmelee.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      The funny thing about that line of thinking is that, even if his skills start eroding some at age 32, that's still two or three years. Teams sign free agents for 1-3 years and hope. Why not take a chance on a guy like Colabello?

      That said, I wouldn't do so at the expense of Parmelee.

      This makes a lot of sense to me. Parmalee is not doing well but there is some hope of a future at his age and he has played a nice RF. He should not be moved or let go. If they can make room for Colabellosie then I hope they do. 2 years may be all the Twins need before a younger player can move into the spot. He is not just doing well at AAA he is killing it and his stats were the same in the 5 WBC games in which he played. It would be nice if he could get a legit shot.
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      I really think Chris deserves a shot and i hope the Twins give it to him after the trade deadline. He has earned his shot at the MLB level. I also agree with several posters here though that he get that time not at the expense of Parmalee. I really feel like Parmalee is going to come around. Maybe he will never be a star but I think he will become a very solid major league player. We need to find out about both of those guys before we give another team a very good player for nothing.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      I can't believe how many people want to dump the second best hitter on the team and the top RBI guy. Morneau needs to be re-signed no matter what. He wants to stay so Terry Ryan needs to sign him at the best deal possible. You can't build a winner with a whole team of unproven prospects. You need to have veteran leadership. Mauer does not want to be a leader but Morneau does. There are two Twins on the All Star team and seven former Twins. That is 9 All stars that we could have on the team but we want to dump another one so all we have is Mauer and a bunch of prospects???

      Eventually Terry Ryan needs to be held accountable for this along with the $40 million in potential payroll he is banking this year. The Twins could have been competitive this year had he not been so cheap year after year. He is a good GM except for this one major flaw. He is so cheap he squeaks! The fans need to demand more or he needs to be fired.

      Billy Smith with no credibility got the Twins to approach $120 million in 2010. It would be nice if we had an aggressive GM like that who was not a moron who would trade a top SS and a #1 starter for a corner outfielder and a utility fielder! Just trading a shortstop for a corner outfielder was stupid enough. I don't care if it was Manny Ramirez or Barry Bonds you just don't do that and Delmon was no Manny or Barry! The Twins have been trying to find a SS (and a 1 or 2 starter also when they had Garza) ever since then but they have had plenty of outfielders. Sorry I am digressing into my Billy Smith rant...

      ...back to Morneau. Sign him for two years at $10m per year or sign him longer term at a discount. Maybe 5 years $40 million, so you get the last three years for only $7m or so. He may or may not find his HR swing for all 5 years but he has proven that he can hit and he can also step up his game when runners are in scoring position. He will still have over 100 RBIs this year without many HRs. That is enough value to risk that his concussions do not come back.

      They could also write that into the contract. He loses the money if he can't play due to concussions. They also could buy an insurance policy...or they could cut payroll more and convince all of us that the prospects we have are all going to be as good as Morneau has been. Let's demand better!
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Parmelee OPS+: 96
      Morneau OPS+: 103

      I'm having a hard time figuring out why the Twins should pay Morneau $20m over two years when they can get similar production for $1m. I don't care if they have 20 bazillion dollars in the bank, that's just... dumb.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      5 years 40M? Morneau is my favorite player, so bringing him back is something I'm quite fine with... but no team in their right mind will give him a 5 year deal... much less 8 per year. If this power surge continues, someone might give him 2/20, but I think he's likely in the market for a 1 year deal.
    1. Rick Niedermann's Avatar
      Rick Niedermann -
      I know Colabello is tearing up AAA. But he looked a little overwhelmed in his time in the Bigs. His swing looked long and loopy. But granted, it was a small sample size. One of the best Managers the Twins ever had, Gene Mauch, platooned a lot with great results. Cubbage/Castino 3B, Randall/Wilfong 2B, Rivera/Chiles LF and Morales/Adams DH, etc. I like the idea of a Colabello/Parmelee platoon if Morneau is gone. And Colabello's numbers certainly show he is deserving of Seth's Monthly Award and another shot with the Twins.
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