D.O.B.: March 8, 1984
Erik Lis was drafted by the Twins in the 9th round of the 2005 draft, and since then, he has proved to be one of the better hitters in the Twins organization. A product of Evansville University, Lis has a classic left-handed batter swing, and has the ability to hit the ball to all fields. A slick-fielding first baseman, Lis is slated to start the 2009 season in New Britain.
Lis was originally assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, where he was a main cog in the Elizabethton Twins Appalachian League championship season. Lis has an uncanny ability to put the bat on the ball, and he stroked the ball to the tune of a .315 batting average in his first season of professional baseball. He could have tackled Midwest League hitting if promoted, but the Twins kept him in Elizabethton the entire season.
In 2006, Lis once again showed his dominance at the plate, and looked even more polished in his first season of full-season baseball. He appeared in 105 games for the Beloit Snappers, and was widely regarded as one of the best hitters in the entire league.
The blossoming slugger led the league in batting (.326), on-base percentage (.402), and slugging percentage (.547), while blasting 16 home runs. Of his 134 hits, Lis had 56 extra-base hits, including 37 doubles. He scored 69 times, drove in 70, and walked 53 times.
Lis had a memorable season in 2007, including homering off Roger Clemens while the Rocket was rehabbing in Tampa. Though he had the lowest batting average of his professional career, Lis was definitely one of the top bats in the Florida State League, and hit a career-high 18 home runs in a league where that is very rare. He also drove in nearly 100 runs, and had a career-high 135 hits.
In 2008, Lis was a member of the New Britain Rock Cats, where he was once again a force in the middle of the lineup. Lis led the team in doubles, hit over ten home runs for the fourth consecutive year, and 50 of his 112 hits went for extra-bases. He will be in Rochester in 2009.
Batting and Power: Lis is a great hitter, and he seems to be able to get on base not matter who is on the mound. He hit 16 home runs in 2006, 18 in 2007, and the Twins are hoping that his home run total will go up as he gets more experience. If he can raise his power numbers, then he will widely be considered one of the best overall hitters in the Minor Leagues. He has adjusted flawlessly to professional baseball, showing the ability at the plate that made him one of the best hitters in college baseball during his time at Evansville.
Baserunning and Speed: Lis is not a fast guy, and the Twins know that his speed is not what is going to get him to Minnesota. He is not a bad baserunner, but he is also not somebody who is going to steal 15-20 bags a season. With as much as he gets on base, Lis is going to have to be relied upon to make good decisions on the basepaths, and he does just that. He's not going to get any faster, so he is going to have to rely on his head to give pitchers fits on the base paths.
Defense: Lis is not known as a good defensive player, but he looked pretty good when we saw him at first during Spring Training. Though it was only infield drills, Lis seems to have improved around the bag in the off-season, which is something the scouts wanted him to work on. He does not have a great arm, but some scouts project him as a possible designated hitter, so the Twins are not too worried about his defense either. Right now, Lis plays first base, outfield, and designated hitter, so he can get his name on the lineup card from a variety of positions.
ETA. 2010. Lis has hit at every level of the minor leagues, so there is no doubt that he will hit in Rochester in 2009. Lis is possibly a year away from making his major league debut, and some believe he is already ready with the stick. Adding the fact that he can play the outfield has really helped his stock, and some look at him as a better version of Garrett Jones. Lis does not have the power of Jones, but he is a more patient hitter, and is better defensively.