Tool Time: Top Ten Full-Season Sluggers

An inside look at the top ten sluggers in the Twins Minor League System. From Low Class-A to Rochester, these ten sluggers have the pop to change the game at any point in the game. While some players are table setters who get on base and make this happen slowly, these guys are the mashers, who have the ability to clear the bases with one swing of the bat. A top-20 will be announced during the summer, when the short-season teams begin play.

1. Matthew Moses (New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A): Moses is one of the best prospects in the Twins' organization, and many feel he is the top-rated prospect in the Eastern League. A sweet-swinging lefty, Moses has power to all fields, and had 40 extra-base hits during the 2005 season. This year, he is one of the best hitters in Double-A ball, and he already has three home runs and four doubles. The number-three hitter in the Cats' lineup, he is currently batting .381, and has driven in nine runs in 12 games. He also is batting .429 with runners in scoring position, and has hit safely in ten of his first 12 starts.

2. Jason Kubel (Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A): The Twins' 2004 Minor League Player of the Year, Kubel has battled back from a potentially career-threatening injury and is still the Twins' rightfielder of the future. Another good left-handed stick, Kubel was the Twins' starting rightfielder on Opening Day, but is now back in Rochester for some more seasoning. In 2004, he combined to hit 72 extra-base hits, 24 of which were home runs. Now that he is playing everyday in Rochester, it is only a matter of time before he is back in Minnesota.

3. Henry Sanchez (Beloit Snappers, Low-Class A): Sanchez was ranked by Baseball America as being the best power hitting prospect in the Twins' organization, and this season, he has proved to be just that. He began his first season of full-season ball by smacking home runs in consecutive games, and recently has strung together back-to-back starts in which he has smacked three base hits. Still very young, Sanchez is still developing as a hitter, but he shown the raw ability to be able to smack the ball all over the park. Only 19-years old, Sanchez is currently the number five batter for the Beloit Snappers.

4. David Winfree (Fort Myers Miracle, High-A): There is no doubt that Winfree had a breakout season in 2005, as he was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Year. He posted 101 runs batted in, smacked 16 home runs, and had 52 extra-base hits. Though he is currently on the disabled list, Winfree is poised to be one of the biggest bats in the Florida State League, and was batting .320 at the time of his injury. In six games this season, he has driven in six runs, and had three extra-base hits. With him and Moses, the Twins have two of the better young third base prospects in all of Minor League Baseball.

5. Garrett Jones (Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A): Though he is only a career .248 hitter, mostly because of his problems with striking out, Jones is a classic power hitter, who smashed 55 home homeruns during 2004 and 2005 combined. Armed with a classic power stroke from the left-side, he also had a great Arizona Fall League in 2005, and has two home runs so far in 2006. If he is going to become a Major League caliber hitter, he is going to have to cut down on the strikeouts, as he already has four multiple strikeout games this season.

6. Daniel Matienzo (New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A): The Most Valuable Player of the 2005 Eastern League All-Star Game, Matienzo was one of the most feared batters in the E.L. last season. Matienzo really burst onto the prospect scene last year, when he crushed 23 home runs, and drove in 87. Since starring at the University of Miami, Matienzo has been a steady player during his Minor League career, posting a .290 career mark. A big right-handed slugger, he has hit at least 20 doubles in each of the least three seasons.

7. Alexander Romero (New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A): Romero was the only member of the 2005 New Britain roster to be named to the Post-Season All-Star team, as he put up some blistering numbers. He had 48 extra-base hits, drove in 77, and had a .301 batting average. Romero has power to all fields, and in 2005, really became the slugger the Twins were looking for when they signed him as a 16-year old. During his five seasons of Minor League Baseball, Romero has slugged over .400 four times.

8. Douglas Deeds (New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A): Doug Deeds is one of the most underrated players in the Minnesota Twins' farm system, and once again, he was passed over to start the 2006 season. While most experts figured he would be in Rochester after a great season in Double-A last year, Deeds is once again in the Rock Cats lineup, and has already smacked three homeruns. Deeds led New Britain in batting average in 2005, posting a .304 mark, and had 50 extra-base hits. He smacked 16 home runs, drove in 82, and had a slugging percentage of .479.

9. Erik Lis (Beloit Snappers, Low-Class A): Lis had a great first season in professional baseball last year, as he hit ten home runs in 49 games for the Elizabethton Twins. He also drove in 41, smacked 12 doubles, and had a robust .577 slugging percentage. Through 11 games this season, he already has three home runs, and has driven in eight. He has posted four multi-hit games so far this season, and has homered in his last two games. Combine his numbers with teammate Henry Sanchez's potential, and that Beloit lineup is looking very dangerous.

10. Jeremy Pickrel (Fort Myers Miracle): Pickrel has been flying under the radar for most of his three-year Minor League career, but his numbers are beginning to make him a star. After a decent first season in 2004, Pickrel hit 12 home runs for the Beloit Snappers in 2005, as he posted a .450 slugging percentage. This season, he already has six extra-base hits through his first 12 games, five of which are remarkably triples. In fact, he has tripled in four of the last five games for the Miracle, and is currently slugging at a .556 clip.

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