Position: Middle Infielder
DOB: November 10, 1983
The Twins selected Brian Dinkelman in the eighth round of the 2006 June Draft, and it did not take the young middle infielder long to make a splash in the organization. Dinkelman, who was named the 2006 NAIA Player of the Year after a stellar senior season at McKendree College, was more than excited about coming to the Twins when TwinCitiesDugout interviewed him back in June.
"I really like the Twins a lot," Dinkelman stated. " I like the way they run their organization, and they are very good at developing their players."
During his time at McKendree, Dinkelman proved to be one of the better hitters in the history of NAIA baseball. He set five NAIA records, becoming the organization's leader in hits (373), doubles (96), runs scored (303), total bases (670), and assists (679). In addition, he set 25 McKendree school records.
During his NAIA Player of the Year season, Dinkelman batted .462, stole 26 bases, drove in 65, and scored 82 times. He was named American Midwest Conference Player of the Year for the third consecutive year, and added a fourth first-team All-Conference honor.
However, as decorated as his personal achievements were, it is his team's highest accomplishment that Dinkelman ranks as his crowning achievement in college.
"Probably two years ago when our team made it to the Regional Championship Game," Dinkelman said when asked his best moment in baseball so far. "We won like 50 games that season."
After college, Dinkelman worked out for the Twins at the Metrodome, and the organization was excited about his ability to hit, run, and field the middle infield positions. After being drafted, Dinkelman signed quickly, and would be sent directly to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.
For the Elizabethton Twins, Dinkelman became one of the better players on a team that went to the league's championship game. In 46 games, Dinkelman batted .298, smacking four home runs, while driving in 32. As the team's second baseman, Dinkelman took on a leadership role on the team, using his collegiate experience to really help out the younger players. He is slated to open the 2007 season with the Beloit Snappers.
Batting and Power: Dinkelman is a great hitter, as he showed during his collegiate career, and his first season of professional baseball. He has the ability to hit line drives to all areas of the ballpark, and his short, compact swing has been known to produce a couple of home runs. Hitting did not come easy for Dinkelman, who worked extra hard to become the hitter he is today. "I would say probably my hitting," Dinkelman said when asked what his best attribute is. "I have been working on that aspect of my game all my life, and it really seemed to carry me through college."
Baserunning and Speed: When we spoke to Dinkelman's collegiate coach in June, he told us that he believed that Brian's speed is what sets him apart from other players. He swiped 26 bases during his senior season at McKendree, but he really was not given the green light during his first season in the Twins organization. He is a smart base runner as well, and seems to have a good knowledge of the situation when he is on the basepaths. I expect him to steal 15-20 bases in Beloit next season.
Defense: Dinkelman is pretty close to being a five-tool player, and his defense has been said to be his best attribute by some scouts. He compares himself to a Marcus Giles-type player, being a good hitter whose defense is really starting to come around. He makes all the plays at second base, and could also be used at shortstop in a tight spot. Dinkelman also has some great range up the middle, and can make a tough double play look very easy.
ETA. 2009. Dinkelman could make a rapid rise through the Twins organization, based on his stellar collegiate numbers, and his mature outlook to the game of baseball. He can flat out hit, and with the Twins lack of depth up the middle in their farm system, Dinkelman could start separating himself from the pack in the next year or so. If he continues to hit as he progresses through the farm system, then the promotions will continue to come, and he could be in Minnesota within the next two seasons. Look for him to begin the 2007 season with Beloit, as he gets his first taste of full-season baseball.