By Paul M. Banks, Andy Weise, Soxman
Baseball America ranks Chris Parmalee as the #4 overall prospects in the Minnesota farm system. Before I get to my exclusive interview with him, hereâ€™s what Baseball America, Andy WeiseÂ and the Soxman had to say about these potential future â€œPiranhasâ€
â€œMinnesota focused on position players in a draft notable for its pitchers. However, in prep outfielders Chris Parmelee (first round, the fifth time in six years the Twins spent their top pick on a high school hitter) and Joe Benson (second), they may have found two more impact bats for a few years down the road. By then, their new ballpark should be ready. Scheduled for completion in 2010, the stadium took years of political wrangling before billionaire owner Carl Pohlad and the state could agree on a plan. The park secures the club’s future in the Twin Cities.â€ â€“Baseball America
Parmelee was the Twins first overall pick in the 2006 draft after being named the second best high school hitter by Baseball America.Â Heâ€™s a big lefty, who may end up at DH depending on the Twinâ€™s long-term commitment to Justin Mourneau.Â Heâ€™s hitting .239 with 14 homers in 226 Abs.Â While heâ€™s stuck out 83 times, his patience is also improving as he has walked 52 times for a very respectable OPS of .881.Â His MLB ETA is likely 2010.
Both guys were picked in 2006, Parmelee going in the first round and Benson in the second. Parmelee is one of the most well known prospects in the Twins organization. There arenâ€™t a lot of â€œpower hittersâ€ in the Twins farm system. I think from top to bottom this organization loves the speed and â€œsmall ballâ€ game. Parmelee hit 15 homeruns last year in class A but he hit just .239. The batting average has to come up if he ever wants to make it to the majors. Currently, he has 14 homers but is batting about the same.
Bensonâ€™s power hasnâ€™t been as evident as Parmeleeâ€™s this season, but heâ€™s hitting a bit higher at .248. Benson is going to have to pick it up because thereâ€™s another guy on his team who is dominating right now, Ben Revere, the 2007 first round pick. Revere is batting nearly .400. Both Parmelee and Benson still have good chances to make it to the big leagues because theyâ€™re only a couple years out of high school, but they have to get their batting averages way up.
I caught up to him in Kane County during a series in which he tore up Cougar pitching.
PMB: It seemed like they may have been throwing at you todayâ€¦
CP: I didnâ€™t really think they were throwing at me. Were they?
PMB: You got plunked in the first at bat. Second time up the first pitch was way inside.
CP: It doesnâ€™t really matter to me. Theyâ€™re just trying to come inside.Â I didnâ€™t find it intentional.
PMB: Hell of a series, 4 homeruns.
CP: Yeah, I havenâ€™t really been doing much different at the plate, just get that foot down early. Donâ€™t think. You canâ€™t think up there, just got to see it and hit it. Things started to roll for me and I just went with it.
PMB: With the hot weather, your game seems to have stepped up?
CP: Itâ€™s nicer. Iâ€™m from California. Itâ€™s less humid. I definitely prefer the warm weather over cold.
PMB: Thatâ€™s true warm weather helps?
CP: It helps you stay looser. In time it makes you feel better.
PMB: What are the major strengths of your game? Conversely, what do you need to improve upon?
CP: My strengths are making contact, raw power, arm strength. I like to work on speed. Cut down my strikeouts, more work on the base path. Be a smarter base runner.
PMB: Any Twins or other players you modeled your game on as a kid?
CP: Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr. as a kid.Follow paulmbanks