Prospect of the Day: Chris Parmelee, 1B-OF, Minnesota Twins
Prospect Chris Parmelee joins teammate Joe Benson in the September Twins lineup, looking for a shot in Minnesota in 2012.
Parmelee was drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2006, from high school in Chino Hills, California, 20th overall. Drafted for his power, he hit .279/.369/.532 in rookie ball after signing, but had sufficient contact problems to slump to .239/.313/.414 in the Midwest League in 2007. He boosted his SLG to .496 in 2008, but was limited to 69 games by injuries and hit just .239 in a repeat engagement in Low-A. Moved up to High-A Fort Myers in 2009, he hit .258/.359/.441 with 16 homers, which is pretty good for the difficult Florida State League. He hit .275 in Double-A in 2010, but hit just six homers and slugged only .389 as the Twins worked in some adjustments to his swing.
Returning to New Britain for '11, Parmelee hit .287/.366/.436 with 30 doubles, 13 homers, and 68 walks in 530 at-bats. So far in the majors, he's hitting .368/.442/.605 in 11 games, with two homers, five walks, and five strikeouts in 38 at-bats.
Age 23, Parmelee is not a classic tools player. He isn't athletic, lacks speed, and owns a mediocre arm. He has plenty of raw power, however, and he has a sound swing from the left side. He's cut way back on strikeouts over the last three years, while boosting his walk rate and gaining command of the strike zone. Playing first base this September in the absence of Justin Morneau, Parmelee isn't graceful but gets the job done. He's made two errors already in the majors, but his minor league defensive statistics show steady improvement. He has some experience in right field, but in the long run he'll fit best as a first base/DH type due to limited range.
The Twins roster is likely to have a new look in 2012, and Parmelee's hot September increase the chance that he'll be in the lineup somehow next April.