Position: Third Baseman
Became a Twin: Signed as a non-drafted free agent on April 11, 2006
The Minnesota Twins signed Hidalgo as a non-drafted free agent on April 11, 2006, and since he came into the organization he has shown a lot of skill. He began his career as a member of the Minnesota/Toronto team in the Venezuelan Summer League. Playing a mix of third base and the outfield, Hidalgo batted over .300 for the team, and swiped 17 bases is 66 games. Hidalgo did everything well for the team, hitting three home runs, smacking 13 doubles, and scoring 28 times.
During the 2007 season, Hidalgo made his was to the Dominican Summer League, playing for the DSL Twins. He continued to show the ability to hit the ball in bunches, as he batted over .300 for the second consecutive season. Though his base stealing was down, Hidalgo did begin to show a better batting eye, and appeared more relaxed at the plate. He worked on going deeper into the counts, and actually showed better power potential.
In 11 less games, Hidalgo still hit 13 doubles, but also added three triples and two home runs. He also made the switch to second base, a spot where he is projected to play eventually. He showed incredible skills with the leather at second base, committing only one error the entire season. He also played a bit of third base, where he would make the switch to in 2008.
This past season, Hidalgo made his first appearance as a member of the Twins six main minor league teams, playing for the Gulf Coast League Twins. Hidalgo had his best season to date, showing that his first two seasons in the organization were no fluke. The young infielder batted .364 in 28 games for the GCL Twins, playing mostly as the team's third baseman.
During the month of July, Hidalgo had an incredible 12 games, driving in ten runs while batting .450. Hidalgo scored nine times, smacked four doubles, and walked eight times. One thing he did not do much of in 2008 is steal bases, which came as a surprise. Still, he was a force in the number two spot in the lineup, and batted a ridiculous .452 with runners in scoring position.
During his first three seasons in the Twins organization, Hidalgo has shown the ability to hit at a very impressive clip. He has good gap power, an advanced batting eye for someone his age, and is usually good at working the count. One thing he does a lot is swing early in counts, which is something he will be able to work on this off-season.
"Hidalgo has the potential to be a .300 hitter at high levels," one scout told TwinCitiesDugout.com. "He just needs to stay relaxed at the plate and let his hands to the rest."
If he continues to hit .300 or better, he is likely to sky rocket through the organization. He did see a drop in his power numbers in 2008, but that is not a strength of his.
Though he has only been in the organization for three years, Hidalgo has shown the ability to play multiple positions. He has played the outfield, third base, and second base, though some believe he projects as a second baseman. It was at second base where he showed great range playing for the Gulf Coast League Twins, and committed only one error, en route to a .995 fielding percentage. He has an average arm, but very soft hands, and is likely to stay in the infield.
Early on in his career, Hidalgo projected to be a 20-25 steal guy. He only swiped one bag in 2008, but was very effective at the top of the GCL Twins order. He mostly batted in the number 2 spot, and he showed to be a good top of the lineup hitter. I expect him to steal around 15-20 next season, as he is a very heady base runner.
Outlook: Hidalgo is likely slated for either the GCL Twins again or Elizabethton in 2009, though it is likely he'll be back in the GCL. He only played in 28 games this past season, and will get some seasoning before he gets to Elizabethton. He may get some run in Elizabethton next season, but only if he proves his bat is too good for the Gulf Coast League.
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