2005 Draft Recap: Rounds 9-12

Now that the 2005 Minor League season has come to a close, TCD will be recapping the first seasons for the Twins' top draft picks. We will look closely at the first 12 rounds of the 2005 draft, and see which players lived up to the hype. Some of these first year guys led Elizabethton to the Apply League title, while some had seasons worthy of promotions.

Round 9- Erik Lis: The 21-year old slugging Lis had a banner year in 2005. Coming out of Evansville University, the Twins expected him to be able to contribute right away. Lis did not disappoint, leading the Elizabethton Twins to the Appalachian League Championship.

Lis batted .315 in 49 games for the Twins, smashing ten home runs, while driving in 41 runs. He was the man in the middle of the lineup, as he batted fifth for most of the season.

Throughout the year, he was named Twins' Minor League Player of the Month for the month of July. In that month, Lis batted .407, and drove in 21 runs in 18 games. He also hit four home runs, eight doubles, and scored 11 times.

Lis finished off his first season of professional baseball with a bang, hitting two home runs in the Twins final regular season game. That day, he wrapped three base hits for the third straight game, and the fourth in five contests.

In 2006, expect Lis to make the jump to Fort Myers, and to provide some pop for a team that should be loaded with top shelf pitching prospects.

Round 10- Matthew Betsill: Betsill joined Lis on Elizabethton's championship team, and batted .277 in 49 contests. He spent the year as the Twins' everyday third baseman, and seemed to look more comfortable at the bottom of the order.

Betsill's statistics are very hard to read into. He seemed to be a more comfortable batter on the road, where he hit .357 in 25 games. As a switch-hitter, it was clear to see that Matthew was more comfortable facing the righties, as he hit .327 against them, and only .159 against lefties.

His best month of the year was definitely July, when he batted over .300, and had 16 hits in 17 games. He also showed the ability to come through in the clutch, batting .308 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Next season, Betsill should replaced current Beloit slugger David Winfree at third base for the Snappers. Winfree, who saw his stock rise considerably in 2005, will be slated for High-A Fort Myers, and Betsill should get the first look there.

Round 11- Brian Kirwan: Kirwan was taken in the 11th round, but after suffering a terrible knee injury in high school, the Twins wanted to make sure the knee would hold up in summer leagues this past summer. The knee did in fact hold up, as Kirwan pitched well enough for the Twins to offer him a contract he could not refuse.

Kirwan recieved a scholarship from UCLA after finishing up his scholastic career at Santa Fe Christian High School in California, but he spurned it to sign with the Twins. He said he wanted to go to UCLA at first, but in the end, was really set on signing with Minnesota.

He will report to Florida on March 3, and will use his 6'5'' 220 pound frame to turn heads within the organization. He should be slated for Beloit in 2006, but the Twins will be cautious with him.

Round 12- Alex Burnett: Burnett had a decent inaugural year in 2005, as he got work from both the bullpen, and as a starter. He began the year in the pen, as the organization wanted him to gain arm strength before returning to a starting role. Impressively, while he was 17 for most of the short-season, he showed poise and good mound presence.

His stats do not jump out at you by any means, but for such a young prospect, he will only improve. He appeared in 13 games for the GCL Twins, starting eight, and appearing out of the bullpen five times. As a starter, he was 4-1, with a 4.43 ERA. In his five relief appearances, he posted a 2.35 ERA, and held batters to a .214 average.

His best appearance of the year was an August 2 tilt against the GCL Red Sox. In that game, Burnett tossed six innings, striking out five, and allowing only one earned run as he picked up his second straight winning decision.

In 2006, the young fire-baller should begin the year at Low-A Beloit. It will be interesting to see if he will be in the pen or in the rotation. One team official said he will get some looks from both areas, as they try to determine where he fits in the best.


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