Throughout the off-season, the Minnesota Twins have shuffled around their lineup in an attempt to get younger, deeper and more competitive in their everyday lineup and pitching staff. Normally a move and paradigm shift like this is usually facilitated by three possibilities: a rebuilding team, a team trying to cut payroll or a team with better, cheaper prospects who need an opportunity to play everyday.
The Twins don’t just fit one of those possibilities. They actually fit all three, which makes the commitment to getting younger much easier to understand and accept. One of the players who is better, cheaper and needs a true chance to play everyday is none other than Chris Parmelee.
Parmelee won a job out of spring training last year and began the season playing both first base—his natural position—and right field, his current position. Justin Morneau’s good health and production, coupled with the emergence of Trevor Plouffe and Ben Revere, among other things, led to decreased playing time for Parmelee after the first few games of the season. Knowing Parmelee wouldn’t benefit from sitting on the bench and would need more playing time, the Twins sent Parmelee back to AAA to work on a few things and get more of an opportunity to play on a consistent basis.
While down in AAA, Parmelee proved that his talents were no longer suitable for AAA and instead were ready to be tested at the Major League level. While at AAA, Parmelee hit .338 with 17 HR and drove in 49 RBI in 64 games, demonstrating his power and patience that the Twins hoped would translate over to the majors.
Overall, Parmelee hit .229 with 5 HR and 20 RBI in 64 games for the Twins at the Major League level, but he provided enough promise and progress that the team has committed to giving him every opportunity to play on a daily basis in their lineup. Which Parmelee should the Twins expect to see in the lineup for 2013? If you ask me, he reminds me a lot of a left-handed Michael Cuddyer and I think once Parmelee gets settled into rightfield, he will put up Cuddyer like numbers offensively and defensively. I predict that, if healthy, Parmelee will hit 20-25 HR and drive in 85 RBIs. Granted, Cuddyer’s numbers were better than that in some years, but I still think that Parmelee has a chance to develop into a consistent power hitter in the Twins lineup.
With Morneau entering the final year of his contract and his status within the organization in question beyond this season, it is vital that Parmelee can develop into an above average Major League ballplayer. Without strong production from him, the Twins must rely on other young players to mature quicker than they’d like if they are to return to contention sooner rather than later. He has the look of a player who has a strong work ethic and deep understanding of the game, both of which are valuable to have in order to achieve success in this league.
So which Parmelee can Twins fans expect to see in 2013? I believe you will see an emerging, young, powerful and hard-working player who will provide stability and promise to a Twins lineup for this season and beyond.