Name: Eli Tintor
Position: Catcher/ Outfielder
DOB: December 24, 1984
The Minnesota Twins drafted Eli Tintor in the 18th round of the 2003 draft. A two-sport star at Hibbing (MN) High School, Tintor was lured away from a full-ride scholarship to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for baseball and football. Being from Minnesota, to hear his name called on draft day by the Twins excited the young player.
"I was extremely happy," Tintor told TwinCitiesDugout.com writer Seth Stohs. "But I had the confidence of knowing I was going to be picked up so I was ready for it when they did draft me."
And the reason for signing instead of going to college.
"It wasn't any money or anything like that," Tintor explained. "Too many people just want the most money they can get, but you will see those guys weed out over the years because the heart isn't into it. It was just my love for the game that made up my mind."
After signing, Tintor was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins, where he would go on to bat .266 in 25 games. In 2004, Tintor was again with the GCL Twins, after a short stay in Extended Spring Training. He would also go on to get a taste of full-season ball at the end of the 2004 season, as the Twins gave him a promotion to High-A Fort Myers.
The 2005 season was a good one for Tintor, who batted .281 as a catcher/designated hitter for the Elizabehton Twins. In 40 games, Tintor blasted four home runs, and drove in 18. Tintor really took a liking to the Appalachian League, and the atmosphere in the Elizabethton area.
"It was a very tight knit team," Tintor said. "The people of Elizabethton are very caring and humble, and the whole town treated us kindly."
Last season, Tintor finally made the jump to a full-season squad, as he was a member of the Beloit Snappers. Tintor turned plenty of heads during the year, batting .285 for the Snappers, while hitting 12 home runs. Tintor also made the switch to the outfield, appearing in 116 games.
The highlights of his season came in the Midwest League playoffs, when he jacked two game-winning home runs in the three-game series against Peoria.
The 2007 season should be another good one for Tintor, who may become the next Minnesota native to play for the Twins in the future.
Batting and Power: Tintor displayed some good power during the 2006 season, as he finished the year with 12 home runs, and 33 extra-base hits. Tintor has shown a tendency to have gap power, and really started to use the whole field this past season. The Twins have been taking it slow with him, and the extra work in the Extended Spring Trainings seems to be paying off. He did strike out a bunch this past season, but his batting eye should improve with more seasoning.
Base running and Speed. Tintor is not very fast, but he is a serviceable base runner. He is never going to win any stolen base titles, but he is a very athletic person. He was All-State in both football and baseball during his time at Hibbing High School, and showed good speed in the outfield for Beloit last season. The Twins like the way he moves, and the outfield appears to be a good fit.
Defense. Tintor is still a work in progress in the outfield, but he felt by the end of the season that the outfield felt right for him. He'll always have a catcher's mentality, but the move to the outfield seemed to be a smooth one. He has good closing speed, and the Twins want to see if he can play some centerfield next season. He can make all the plays in right field, and he has a strong arm.
ETA. 2009. The switch in positions may make it a longer road for Tintor to get to Minnesota, as the lack of catching depth in the organization could have meant a faster track to the Twins. However, Tintor showed last season that he can play professional baseball both offensively, and defensively, and the Twins are very excited to see what he does in 2007. He will be with the Fort Myers Miracle to open the season, and could be asked to make the jump to New Britain by year's end.