Souhan: Prospects' magic baseball moments often are years in the making

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 1:57 PM

The Minnesota Twins' Chris Parmelee celebratesw his two-run home run on Tuesday.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

During the Twins’ turn-of-the-century renaissance, team marketers produced a campaign targeting their youngest players, called: “Get to Know ’Em.”

Considering the number of Twins players who fail repeatedly before becoming big-league regulars, the next campaign might be called: “Get to Loathe ’Em.”

Glen Perkins was an impending bust of a first-round draft pick relegated to middle relief. The Twins thought about dumping him before he approached them for a heart-to-heart in the spring of 2011, in his eighth season in the organization. Now he’s an All-Star closer with a long-term contract.

Former outfielder Torii Hunter, another first-rounder, spent six years in the minors, getting called up only for one game during that time. After spending a full year in the majors in 1999, he got sent down again. In his ninth year in the organization, he became a starter and Gold Glove winner. In his 10th year, he became an All-Star.

Justin Morneau got called up in his fifth year in the organization, then performed below expectations for two years before becoming the American League MVP in his eighth year as a Twins employee.

A.J. Pierzynski, now catching for the Red Sox, drove the Twins so crazy that they once demoted him from Class AAA to Class AA. It took him eight years in the organization to become a big-league regular. He became an All-Star.

Pierzynski’s buddy Doug Mientkiewicz, a college star who was older than most prospects, got called up in his fourth year in the organization — and sent back down in his sixth. In his seventh season, he finished 14th in the AL MVP voting.

The timing of a prospect’s emergence isn’t an exact science because it isn’t a science at all. Sometimes teams wait too long on prospects. Sometimes they don’t wait long enough. Sometimes they wait because they have no other options.

The Twins won a three-game series against the Red Sox this week because of walk-off, game-winning hits by Chris Parmelee on Tuesday and Aaron Hicks on Thursday.

Parmelee is 26, past the age of promise. After doing little last season to inspire confidence, he did less this spring. He was sent to Class AAA Rochester.

The Twins called up Parmelee last week in part because of his performance, but more so because of the failures or injuries of a handful of other players. Since his return May 9, he has hit .320 with two homers and four RBI. He hit a game-winning homer Tuesday night and hit a two-run shot off the facing of the upper deck in right field Thursday.

The Twins’ unhappiness with Parmelee this spring was mostly implied. With Hicks, this week, it was overt. Wednesday, manager Ron Gardenhire and assistant general manager Rob Antony blasted Hicks, 24, for his lack of preparation and production. Thursday afternoon, Hicks produced what he says was his first walk-off hit since high school, a line single in the 10th that gave the Twins a 4-3 victory.

Parmelee is in his ninth year of pro ball. Hicks is in his seventh. For the moment, they are passing the Twins’ Perpetual Prospect Test.

Here’s the test: Once everyone in Minnesota is sick of the sight of you, you might almost be ready for the big leagues.

“It’s not what you planned,” Parmelee said. “But I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I went down there and got work in and got experience and got confidence as well. I’d say that was a huge thing for me.

“I feel like a more complete hitter, more knowledgeable about the game, about other pitchers, about what I can and can’t get to in certain counts. Some guys take longer to develop than others.”

Most young hitters require thousands of at-bats, and often a few demotions, before they adapt.

Thursday afternoon, as Hicks spoke of his renewed determination to prepare himself, hitting coach Tom Brunansky gave him a fist bump. Rip them or praise them, when you’re a team dedicated to developing prospects, the only sure thing is that you will have to wait for them.


Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Oakland 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 26 FINAL
Hawaii 18
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question