Shortstop Paul Kelly and outfielder Tarrence Patterson were both named to the starting lineup, with Eduardo Morlan, Yohan Pino, Oswaldo Sosa, Caleb Moore, Erik Lis, Andrew Thompson, and Steven Tolleson joining them as reserves. As if anybody needed any more proof, but this just shows the kind of talent that the Minnesota Twins have in their farm system. These young players are only going to get better, and some may even be in Fort Myers before the season is over.
Paul Kelly has appeared in 61 games for the Snappers this season, splitting his time between shortstop and third base. He is currently batting .261 on the season, and has shown the uncanny ability to play great defense. In his 61 appearances, Kelly has driven in 32 runs, scored 34 times, and has smacked three home runs. A clutch performer, Kelly is batting .305 with runners in scoring position this season.
Tarrence Patterson has been a terror on the base paths this season, and is really turning himself into a legitimate prospect in 2006. This month alone, Patterson is batting .344 in his nine games, and has already scored five times. During May, Patterson terrorized Midwest League catchers, swiping ten bases in only 21 games. In 48 games, Patterson has stolen 18 bases, and has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions.
One glaring mistake is the fact that Erik Lis is not the starting first baseman for the Western squad. Lis has been the best hitter in the Midwest League all season long, and is currently in the league lead in numerous offense categories. Overall, he is leading the Twins farm system with a .327 batting average, and has driven in 34 runs in only 55 games. In May, Lis hit a whopping .376, and drove in 17 runs in 26 contests.
Caleb Moore is turning himself into the best catching prospect in the Twins farm system, and this recent accolade is only more proof of that. He is a good hitting catcher who makes all the plays behind the plate, and he has shown a lot of versatility. During this season, he has batted in every spot in the order except for leadoff, and has tried his hand at first and third base, as well as carrying the catching duties. He also gets hits when they count, hitting a respectable .280 with runners on.
Andrew Thompson, the son of former Major Leaguer Robbie, has struggled a bit this season, but is starting to really turn it on. In June, the slick-fielding infielder is batting .308, and six of his 12 hits have gone for extra-bases. A lefty swinger, Thompson has hit in every spot in the order except for cleanup this season, and has hit lefty pitching surprisingly well. Although he is only batting .231 against righties, Thompson is batting over .300 against southpaws, which is rare for a young lefty batter.
Steven Tolleson will also represent the Snappers in the game, after batting to the tune of a .287 average so far this season. He has played all three infield positions this season, but has definitely looked more comfortable at the plate when he is playing up the middle. He is batting .349 and .375 as a second baseman and shortstop respectively, while batting only .246 as a third baseman. He has been one of the more clutch bats in the Snappers lineup this season, batting .364 with runners in scoring position, and .333 overall with runners on.
On the pitching side, Eduardo Morlan has pretty much done it all for the Snappers this season. The young fireballer has pitched as a starter and as a relief pitcher, and has had equal success doing both. Morlan began the season as the team's closer, and posted a 1.17 earned run average in six appearances. Since then, he has moved into the starting rotation, and although his record is only 1-3, he has posted a small ERA of 2.91. Overall, he has struck out 62 batters in 54 innings of work, and is holding the opposition to a .205 batting average.
Oswaldo Sosa has really turned it on as of late, and has appeared almost untouchable lately. After posting a 4.50 ERA in four April starts, Sosa went on to put up a 2.32 ERA in his five May starts, before really taking off in June. So far this month, Sosa has made three starts for the Snappers, winning two while posting a tiny ERA of 1.59. His recent success has brought his season ERA below 3.00, and he has struck out at least five batters in each of his last four outings.
Finally, Yohan Pino rounds out those participating for the Snappers. Pino is hands down one of the best relief pitchers in the Midwest League, and could see himself in Fort Myers very soon. He has appeared in 22 games for the Snappers so far this season, serving as both a set-up man and a closer. In 36.2 innings of work, he has struck out 45 batters, while holding his opponents to a .188 batting average. May was his best month, appearing in eight games, while posting a 0.68 earned run average.