April 16, 2008

Chris Parmelee's Heating Up

Last night, the Twins couldn't edge out the Tigers and as a result got swept in the two game series. Now, the Twins will come back to Minnesota to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Livan Hernandez will face off against James Shields in game one.

Game Ball
Joe Mauer - Catcher
Line: 2-4, 1 run, double, 2 RBI

But tonight, I'm going to switch my attention to something else. And that something is the rising status of Chris Parmelee. Parmelee ranked in as the 15th top Twins prospect in my "Top Prospect List" a couple months ago. Here's what I said at the time:
Chris Parmelee was taken in the first round of the 2006 draft. He had mixed results in 2007. Although his power and RBI numbers were high, he struck out 137 times which as a result lowered his OPS. He possesses a lot of power, but unless he can cut down on his strikeouts, his average and OBP will likely remain low. 2008 will be a very tough test for Chris in the very hard FSL, but I think that he'll handle himself well and I hope he can continue to progress and move back up the prospect rankings.
Obviously, you will notice that I was completely wrong on my "prediction" of him being in Ft. Myers to begin this season. The Twins in fact decided to hold both Parmelee and fellow 2006 draftee (2nd rounder) Joe Benson back in Beloit to begin this season. It's something that the Twins have not done a lot of in the past, holding back prospects after a full-year in a league; at least not with high draft picks.

Parmelee was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2006 draft, the 20th overall pick. He attended Chino Hills High School in Chino, California. He hit .407 with 11 home runs, 34 walks, 24 stolen bases with 26 RBI's in his senior year. When drafted, many thought his bat was good enough to carry him quickly through the organization, and after a good start in the GCL, the Twins had to be happy. However, one of his strengths - his discipline - quickly became his "Achilles Heal."

Joe Benson ranked slightly higher on my prospect list, he came in at #12, 3 spots ahead of Parmelee, and the reason for this is that I liked the way Benson made adjustments at the plate last season and the athleticism that he possesses. He's a real 5-tool prospect, but like many of the same caliber, he's very raw in each area. Parmelee figures to be the better hitter, but Benson plays a harder position - center field opposed to right field or first base - and he has solid defense. Benson's a former catcher, but he has incredible speed that will make him be a legitimate option in center field in the major leagues.

Baseball America ranked Parmelee as the 16th top prospect in the organization. He had a mediocre 2007 season.

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
A-         128    447     .239     .313      .414    .727      15      70

Obviously, he looks to be a power-hitter only, but even so, a .727 OPS for a power hitter is very low. The reason for his low OPS was his .313 OBP and that was resulted by a horrible 137/46 K/BB ratio. If he can improve his plate discipline, thus improve his OBP, his OPS will skyrocket. So what's my reasoning for writing about him? Take a look at his stats through the first 13 games in Beloit this season:

Level        G     AB      AVG      OBP       SLG     OPS      HR     RBI
A-          11     37     .351     .432      .838   1.270       4      14

His K/BB ratio so far is 10/6. Now, I don't want people to think that I'm getting "all worked up" over just 37 at bats, as I know it's very early in the season, but he's certainly hitting very well so far. Ben Revere is currently in Extended Spring Training and is waiting to play for Elizabethton later this season, but is it out of the question to say that in mid-May, if Parmelee is still hitting like this, could he be promoted with Revere taking his spot? The Snappers could move Benson to right field to make room for Revere.

I'm a big advocate for the Twins to promote their better prospects faster than others. I'm not talking about how the Mets handle their players, in which a player is very likely to make at least one jump during the season, but with Parmelee already having a full season of work (and then some) in the Midwest League, the earlier he gets to learn the pitching-tough Florida State League, the better. Especially since the Twins may end up holding him in Ft. Myers next season as well.

It's at the very least nice to see him produce, after many (including me) started losing faith in him too early, and it's at least something to think about.

Something else I thought I'd pass along is that former Twins farmhand (now with the Texas Rangers), Caleb Moore has undergone Tommy John Surgery. Moore used to be a catcher, but switched to pitcher last season. Best of luck to him in his recovery.