Name: Trent Oeltjen
DOB: February 28, 1983
Trent Oeltjen had quite the 2006 season, as he really put himself on the Twins prospect map. The Twins signed Oeltjen as an undrafted free agent in 2001, and the young outfielder signed on February 7. The Aussie has had a pretty successful career since joining the Minnesota Twins organization, and is now on the brink of cracking the Major League roster.
Oeltjen was originally assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins, and he batted .321 for the team during the 2001 season. He had ten extra-base hits during his 45 games in the Gulf Coast League, and drove in 18 runs. He was then promoted to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, where he would go on to bat .233 in nine contests.
The young outfielder began the 2002 season back in Elizabethton, where he would have a much more successful second go-round with the team. He batted .298 in 54 games, prompting the Twins to promote him once again. He finished the 2002 season with Quad Cities of the Midwest League, though he batted only .240.
In 2003, Oeltjen was back in the Midwest League, and this time he produced much better. In 123 games, Oeltjen batted .298, and had a career-high 139 hits. He blasted four home runs, drove in 44, and showed great speed by swiping 29 bags.
During the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Oeltjen played for the Fort Myers Miracle. During the two seasons, Oeltjen did not appear in more than 100 games in each of the seasons, playing in 188 games overall. In 2005, Oeltjen began to show great gap power, smacking 17 doubles.
The 2006 season would be a great year for Oeltjen, as he became one of the premier outfield prospects in the Twins organization. The Aussie batted .299 for the New Britain Rock Cats, swiping 23 bags, while scoring 61 times. However, statistics were only the half of it.
Oeltjen began the season playing in the World Baseball Classic, starring for his home country of Australia. Oeltjen was once a Silver Medal winner of the Australian Baseball Team in the 2004 Olympics, and was one of only a few Twins prospects to appear in the WBC.
Oeltjen was also the only Twins prospect to be selected to appear in the Futures Game, playing for the World Team.
Oeltjen will be in Rochester in 2007, and could be in Minnesota by the end of the 2007 season.
Batting and Power: Oeltjen is a great hitter, but he does not have World Class power. He can bat in the high .290s, but he may never be a .300 hitter. He gets on base quite a bit, and will likely hit around ten home runs a season once he peaks in his development. He has a nice left-handed stroke, and he can rack up the doubles in bunches when he is seeing the ball well. If he can work on his power numbers, then he should become a better overall prospect
Base running and Speed: Oeltjen has been able to swipe quite a bunch of bases during his career, and he does have pretty good speed. He could be the quintessential number two hitter if he can cut down on the strikeouts a bit. When he gets on, he is always making something happen, and seems to know the game very well. He'll steal 20-plus bags per season, and will wreck havoc when he gets on the bases.
Defense: Oeltjen is pretty good defender, who has average range in the field. He does have a strong arm, but it is not a rocket or anything. He is very serviceable in the outfield, and is definitely not a liability when he is out there. If he can work on his range a bit, then he will become a pretty good corner outfielder. He also has the speed to play centerfield, but with Denard Span in Rochester, Oeltjen is likely to stay in either left or right field.
ETA. 2007 The Twins may promote Trent Oeltjen during the 2007 season, though if they do, it will likely be towards the end of the season. Oeltjen turned a lot of heads during the 2006 season, and if he gets off to a hot start in Rochester, then he could be up to Minnesota fairly soon. The outfield situation in Minnesota is up in the air, and there are some older players in the outfield. If Rondell White struggles, the Twins may give Oeltjen a look, but he also has guys like Josh Rabe ahead of him. At worst, Oeltjen makes his Major League debut in 2008.