Oeltjen's Star Beginning To Burn Bright

For most minor league baseball players, they tend to put on a lot of miles in a season. Twins minor leaguers arrive in Ft. Myers in mid-March or earlier. They travel to their affiliate city. They spend the entire season taking a lot of long bus rides. At season's end, they head home.

For one Twins prospect, that was only the start of his 2006 season travels. Australian Trent Oeltjen came to the United States for Spring Training. However, he had to leave camp to train with and then play for Australia in the World Baseball Classic.

"The experience of the World Classic this year really helped prepare me for this season facing some of the best Major League pitchers in the game. It gave me confidence to know that I can play with those guys."

Oeltjen then spent the season playing for the New Britain Rockcats, his first season in AA. He started the season as a part-time player. Not long into the season, he had played himself into every day playing time. He impressed his coaches, but he impressed others as well, and he was named to the International team of the Futures Game.

The futures game, it was such and honor to be put in a category with many of those guys. I have played against many of them and probably knew of the rest because of their talent. I was very honored to be the sole representative of Minnesota and especially Australia."

Australia has been a place where the Twins have had a lot of success signing players. In the organization, Oeltjen is joined by Glen Williams, Tristan and Nathan Crawford, Luke Hughes, Allan de San Miguel, Matt  Williams and Michael Lysaught. Previously, Grant Balfour, Brad Thomas and Michael Nakamura pitched for the Twins after growing up Down Under.

Oeltjen has a game largely based on speed. In 2006, he hit .299/.378/.411 with 16 doubles, ten triples and three home runs. He also stole 23 bases.

So, what does Trent have planned for his offseason? Maybe he'll just stay home, and limit his travels? Not at all!

"Going on a road trip with my best mates and my girlfriend all around California and prepare for Venezuela."

So, let's continue with Trent Tracker 2006; Australia, to Ft. Myers, to the WBC, to New Britain and all around the Eastern League, to the Futures Game, back to Australia, to California and then to Venezuela, back to Australia and then back to Ft. Myers. Rochester will hopefully be his primary team in 2007. That is a lot of traveling. That is a lot of growth as a player and he experienced a lot of success.

A scary event in Spring Training 2005 almost meant that none of it happened. "I was standing behind that batting cage while (Alex) Romero was hitting, and he broke his bat and it went through the net and hit me in the eye."

He missed about a month, but he came back with an excellent 2005 season. Fully healthy, and with great vision, Trent Oeltjen looks to be a guy worth watching. How much traveling will there be for him in 2007? Don't be surprised if Twins fans are able to watch him play in Minneapolis in 2007, in a Twins uniform.


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