Thursday, September 22, 2011

Parmelee proving his worth

The Twins called up a pair of prospects at the conclusion of the season for the New Britain Rock Cats. Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee have both developed into top 20 prospects in the Twins organization. Since the Twins named Benson their Minor League Player of the Year last season, his debut was something that Twins fans could look forward too. Benson can provide power at the plate and some great defense in the field but many of his skills have not been in full force at the big league level.

Between the two recent call-ups, Parmelee has provided more consistent play on the field for the Twins. Last night was his 13th game at the big league level and he has hit safely in 11 of those contests. His last five games have all been multi-hit games and during that stretch he is 12-21 for a .571 batting average. These were not the type of numbers that were expected right out of the gate from Mr. Parmelee.

Stat Summary:
G: 13
BA: .413
HR: 2
RBI: 9
SLG: .630
OPS: 1.121

The Twins could find themselves in a tough predicament when Spring Training rolls around in 2012. Justin Morneau has missed large chunks of the last two seasons with concussion related problems and a cornucopia of other injuries. To get Morneau back on the field, it might take switching him to being a full-time designated hitter. This would mean the Twins would be in the market for a new first baseman and there is a good chance the team would like to save money if they can.

Parmelee has yet to play a game at the AAA level but his production at the big league level has to have impressed the front office. He could be the solution for the Twins to play most of the games next season at first base. Joe Mauer could get some repetitions at first base and Parmelee could make the starts when the $23 million man is behind the plate.

The biggest issue for Parmelee could be his defensive ability at first base. In his short time with the Twins, he has looked average at first base with his glove. There have been some struggles with low thrown balls in the dirt. With the Twins not knowing which players will compose the middle infield for next year, the thought of a first baseman that is shaky might push some fans over the edge. Reports during the television broadcast said that Parmelee has been arriving early to the park to work on fielding his position. This is a good sign for a player that could have a huge opportunity in front of him during the next year.

Ideally, the Twins would like to have Parmelee start next season at the AAA level so he can continue to develop in the minor leagues. Morneau's future in baseball is questionable at this point and the team might need a cheap option to play first base. The Twins have many areas that need improvement during the offseason and Parmelee is trying to prove that first base is not one of those areas.

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