Chris Parmelee didn't look overmatched in a Twins uniform last year, and he hopes to build upon his late-season success.
FORT MYERS, FLA. - It's called the second-deck syndrome, when a prospect reaches the majors for the first time and has to play in major league parks with major league atmosphere.
"There's a lot more people in the stands than I thought," Twins first base prospect Chris Parmelee said about his first steps inside Target Field last year. "You don't see that in Double-A too often."
Instead of being overwhelmed by it all, Parmelee thrived. He lined a single off Jake Peavy in his first major league at-bat and went on to go 2-for-4 in his debut Sept. 6 against the White Sox. That began an impressive 21-game baptism during which the Twins took notice and Parmelee saw his stock rise.
Now the 20th overall pick in the 2006 draft has a chance to be a contingency plan at first base in case Justin Morneau again has to leave the lineup for an extended period of time. Parmelee likely won't be the first option, but he certainly has put himself on that list.
This spring training camp is important for Parmelee to show he can take off from where he finished in 2011. After spending most of the past two seasons at New Britain, he likely will begin this season at Class AAA Rochester.
"It was pretty special," he said of his debut. "It's something you dream about when you are a kid, but once you make it up there, it's almost like a fairy tale.
"But the work is not done. You still have got to perform and be a great teammate and try to do everything you can to help the team win."
Parmelee, who turned 24 last Friday, hasn't spent a day in Class AAA yet, so the call-up he received in September was quite the experience for him. After all, he had spent most of the year at Class AA New Britain, which holds a mere 6,146 at its ballpark.
His stock has fluttered some over recent seasons. He hasn't hit 20 homers or been a .300 hitter in any full minor league season. But he batted .287 with 13 homers and 83 RBI for the Rock Cats in 2011 before being summoned to the majors. Parmelee seized the moment, batting .355 with four homers and 14 RBI and a .443 on-base percentage.
Combined with his major league stats, Parmelee led the organization in games (163), hits (179), RBI (97), total bases (276), doubles (36) and walks (80).
"He's a nice player," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think you saw that last year. He came up out of Double-A and he handled himself fine. He's a good, hard-working kid.
"He gets here early. He stays late. He really concentrates, and he's really working hard. When you do that, you pay attention like he does and you ask all the right questions like he has, and you've got a chance. That's all you can ask in this game."
The Twins need to see more from him. He played the outfield in high school in Chino Hills, Calif., but began playing first base early in his professional career. Coaches have said that he is smoother in the field but occasionally lifts his head too soon while fielding grounders and needs to clean that up.
Also, Parmelee hit .226 against lefthanders at New Britain in 2011. He hit .316 against them after being called up, but the majors offered a small sample size of 22 plate appearances.
If Parmelee can continue to fine-tune his game, the chances increase that he will be the one called up if the Twins need a first baseman or lefthanded hitter. And he will be back in the big park once again.
"I like his pop," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "I like his versatility. I like his work ethic. I like the fact that he can move around the diamond some. I very much liked what he did in September last year. I think all of us were pleasantly surprised when he came in and didn't look overmatched at all."
|Seattle - F. Hernandez||12:05 PM|
|Cleveland - J. Masterson|
|Arizona - W. Miley||12:10 PM|
|Miami - R. Nolasco|
|Cincinnati - H. Bailey||12:35 PM|
|Philadelphia - J. Pettibone|
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