Name: Rene Tosoni
DOB: July 12, 1986
The Minnesota Twins selected Rene Tosoni in the 36th round of the 2005 draft, but the draft and follow went on to star at Chipola Junior College. After a great stint at Chipola, Tosoni signed with the Twins in the summer of 2006, but did not make his professional debut. In 2007, Tosoni made that debut with the Elizabethton Twins, and the young slugger did not disappoint, proving to be worth the wait.
For Elizabethton in 2007, Tosoni blossomed into a star, being one of the catalysts for the Twins rise to the Appalachian League Championship. During the championship series, Tosoni blasted a walk-off home run in the tenth inning of Game 1 against Danville, leading the Twins to the championship the following night. While that one swing put him in Elizabethton lore forever, it was his work all season long that led to him being named to the Appalachian League post-season All-Star team.
During the season, Tosoni batted over .300 for Elizabethton, driving in 31 runs 63 games for the Twins short-season affiliate. In those games, Tosoni collected 71 hits, and scored 58 times. He also committed only two errors in the outfield, proving that he is ready for the jump to full-season ball.
The young slugger batted a ridiculous .337 during the month of July, and was quite the table-setter at the top of the lineup.
Batting and Power: Tosoni does not have great power, but he has shown that he can hit the occasional home run. What he has is gap power, and he is a very good number two hitter in any lineup. He has the ability to get on base, and he is great at working the count, leading to a high batting average. He also is a very smart hitter, who uses the whole field to make up for a lack of home run power. He scored a ton of runs for Elizabethton during the 2007 season, and he should be at the top of the lineup for Beloit in 2008.
Baserunning and Speed: Tosoni has good speed, but he is never going to win any stolen base crowns. However, in a full slate of games, I do believe that he has the ability to steal over 20 bases. He is a very heady baserunner, who rarely makes many mistakes on the basepaths, leading to a lot of runs. He also knows when to take the extra base, as shown by his 13 doubles and four triples last season. He did swipe 13 bags for Elizabethton in only 63 games last season, and has the kind of speed where you can bat him at the top of the lineup.
Defense: Tosoni showed the ability to patrol the outfield last season, committing only two errors in over 60 games for Elizabethton. Mostly playing right field, Tosoni has a decent throwing arm as well, and does not make mistakes in judging fly balls. He is still young, and his defense should get better as he logs more innings. He does project as a corner infield, who could have above average range in the outfield. However, he did play some centerfield as well last season, so Beloit could use him in different roles next season.
ETA. 2010 I project Tosoni to make his Major League debut sometime during the 2010 season. If he does as well as he did this past season, and gets off to a hot start for Beloit, he will likely get a promotion to Fort Myers during the year. With the way he plays the game, he could be a guy who moves fast through the Twins organization, and could be a top outfield prospect in the near future. While it is very early in his development, 2010 would be my first guess as to when he could crack the Major League roster. While 2011 is always a possibility, and you never know with injuries, this is an early assessment of what he brings to the ballpark every night.