Tag: Chris Parmelee

Minnesota Twins: What to Make of 1B/RF Chris Parmelee

In my mind, Chris Parmelee is like a baby Trevor Plouffe. This is confusing, of course, because the latter is occasionally referred to as Babe Plouffe due to his ability to hit the long ball (and because of his Ryan Gosling looks). Plouffe, by the way, is a baby Josh Willingham. All three players are selective with what pitches they hit, occasionally get beaned and are power hitters at heart.

Willingham, of course, is nobody’s baby because he is all that is man. Willingham is the master; Plouffe and Parmelee are his disciples.

So, just to keep everything straight: Parmelee is 25, Plouffe is 27 and Willingham is 34, or as the good book says, “Willingham begat Plouffe who begat Parmelee.”

It may be hard for people to believe that I am comparing Parmelee to Plouffe. After all, Plouffe hit 24 home runs last year and Parmelee hit five. But there are similarities that go beyond their bats.

Plouffe is a converted shortstop that spent time in right field before settling in at third base. Parmelee spent most of his time in the minors playing first base, but moved to right field in order to accommodate Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.

Parmelee raked in Triple-A, hitting .338/.457/.645 with 17 home runs in Rochester and put up similar numbers at all his stops in the minor leagues.

Two years ago, at age 23, he was brought up directly from Double-A—where he hit .282/.355/.416 with 19 home runs in two seasons—and killed it in his short big league stint. He hit .355/.443/.592 with four homers in 21 games.

Things slowed down a bit for Parmelee last season. He split time between Rochester and Minneapolis, hitting only .229/.290/.380 with five home runs in 64 games at Target Field. He spent 38 games at first base but had to move around the outfield in order to keep his spot on the team.

Parmelee has had spurts of greatness this season. He hit a bomb against the Orioles in Baltimore that probably landed in a different area code. He has played 60 games already and has similar numbers to last year—.223/.302/.346 with five home runs.

“I feel good at the plate,” he says. “The numbers aren’t where I’d like them to be. I’ll do whatever I can to get the runners in, get a run over—hit some balls hard and hit some soft ones for hits.”

“It all evens out at the end of the year.”

Parmelee is being pilloried for those numbers. While fans tend to acknowledge his ability to hit home runs, they say he hits too many squibblers that stay in the infield and too many fly balls right at fielders.

NBC’s Aaron Gleeman writes, “[The] jury is very much still out on whether Parmelee is part of the future anyway,” while acknowledging how well he played in his debut and during his stint in the minors.

In short, there is a feeling among many fans that Parmelee can take care of business in the minors but struggles to produce in the big leagues. The “Quad-A” label has been thrown around from time to time.

Take a look at Plouffe, though. He did not play at age 23, like Parmelee, but he batted .146/.143/.317 with two home runs at age 24 in 2010 and .238/.305/.392 with eight homers the next year at age 25. At that time, people were saying the same thing about him: He’s a great minor league hitter, but can’t produce in the majors.

After all, Plouffe reached Triple-A at age 22 but spent six seasons at that level. While his numbers were impressive (.261/.316/.449 with 47 home runs), they did not mean much unless he could replicate them in the big leagues.

Last season, however, Plouffe hit 24 home runs with a .235/.301/.455 line and probably would have hit 30 if he had not had a nagging thumb injury that set him back immediately after a hot streak. It is no coincidence that that production came both when he entered his prime at age 26, but also when the team assigned Willingham to a locker spot next to his.

This year, he is hitting .264/.344/.457 with five homers. But the injury bug got him again. He suffered a concussion and then had his calf flare up following an eight-game hit streak, but Plouffe returned to face the Tigers on his birthday and hit a home run to celebrate.

Safe to say, I think he’s doing just fine.

Here’s the similarity between the two Southern Californian sluggers: At age 25, people thought they were “Quad-A” players. But, remember, as soon as Plouffe entered his prime, at age 26, his production jumped.

And, for the record, Parmelee’s locker is right next to Plouffe’s.

The biggest difference between Plouffe and Parmelee is that it was the former’s bat that kept him in the lineup, where Parmelee’s defense is likely to keep him on the field.

Parmelee has an incredible ability to play the ball off the wall, which compliments his arm strength and allows him to throw players out at second or relay a ball to home plate.

“He works really hard at it,” says manager Ron Gardenhire. “He’s got quick feet, and he’s got a nice spin that’s under control—he’s very accurate with his throws.”

“That throw to second base is one of those throws where, if you play it off the wall well, he’ll have a lot of chances [to throw people out].”

Parmelee primarily played first base in the minors and people questioned his ability to man right field when the Twins placed him there this season. “It’s interesting that the Twins are using Parmelee in right field,” wrote Gleeman last year. “Because he figures to be below average there and played zero innings in the outfield for Rochester.”

Parmelee’s biggest asset in the field is his ability to play the ball off the wall; a task is more difficult than it appears.

“The wall here, it’s really tough,” says Gardenhire. “There’s a lot of things out there that it can hit.”

“It seems like there are 15 different surfaces out there, with the limestone fence, wood, padding, tin—a little bit of tin, concrete,” says Parmelee.

Yes, there is a little bit of tin in right field.

“Where the scoreboard is in right-center, the big screen, right above it is almost like a rain sheet of tin,” he continues. “Every once and a while, it’s pretty rare, but you see a ball come off that and just die.”

All the surfaces play differently. If the ball hits the scoreboard, it goes straight down. If it hits the concrete, it jumps farther than it would if it hits the padding. The wood is somewhere in between. The limestone fence is a complete wild card.

“It’s definitely repetition,” says Parmelee. “Sometimes there’s not much you can do about it. It’s just knowing how the ball is going to go.”

“If you know that the ball is going to hit the plywood, repetition tells you how hard it is going to come off and where you need to be.”

Every park has a unique design, so when Parmelee goes on the road, he will take time during batting practice to practice playing balls off the wall.

“We’ll have a guy, usually Scottie Ullger, our outfield coach, he’ll hit balls down the line just to see how [they play],” he says. “Just because sometimes stadiums come to a point and sometimes they curve, so during batting practice we’ll get out there on the first day and throw some balls off the walls.”

“He fields balls off that bat,” says Gardenhire. “He takes a lot of pride in it and that’s a start.”

Parmelee says he has the AL Central parks down for the most part, but playing in an unfamiliar park, like when they traveled to D.C. to play the Washington Nationals in the beginning of June, is particularly difficult.

“The places you go the least,” he says. “You definitely have to do a bigger refresher course.”

As soon as he finished his sentence, Willingham, who had just received a cortisone shot in his knee, walked by and gave him a purple nipple. Parmelee froze for a few seconds, waiting until he thought Willingham was out of earshot. “Ow!” he expressed in pseudo-anger, half chuckling as he said it. There was a smile on his face, but also a little wince once his shirt finally untwisted.

That too was a refresher course; a reminder that Willingham may be 34, may have just gotten a cortisone shot and may only be hitting .211/.352/.411 with 10 home runs, but he’s still the man around here.


All quotes were obtained first-hand, unless otherwise indicated.

Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports.


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6 Minnesota Twins Poised for a Breakout Season in 2013

The Minnesota Twins‘ crop of young players in 2013 is much more exciting than years prior simply because they won’t be filling in for injured or ineffective big leaguers. Instead, there will be a team full of healthy, young competition vying for spots on the major-league roster.

Nearly every position player will have a battle on their hands during spring training. This is good, because competition breeds success—and success is something Minnesota needs dearly.

So who’s most likely to jump out as a new everyday player?

2013’s roster could be full of surprises both on the field and on the mound. But only a few will step up and leave an indelible mark on the franchise.  

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Minnesota Twins: Chris Parmelee the Loser at the Trade Deadline

It’s official.

Minus the minuscule Francisco Liriano deal, in which Minnesota acquired two fringe prospects, the Twins waved hello to the trade deadline and quickly waved goodbye without making a follow-up move.

In some respects, this should be taken as a positive. The Twins could have made a move merely for the sake of making a move and done something foolish.

What they should have done was find a way to deal Justin Morneau or Denard Span. In both cases the Twins have a younger player waiting in the wing to take his spot.

Morneau will cost Minnesota $14 million next season. That’s a large sum of cash to pay to an injury-prone, aging player.

Yes, Morneau has shown signs of life over the previous month batting .326 with three homers and 12 RBI. Over that same stretch, he posted a .370 on base and .500 slugging percentage.

For the year he’s hit a disappointing 13 homers with 46 RBI and a .263 batting average. He also boasts a .324 on base and .458 slugging percentage.

But given his reoccurring problems with concussions, they still affected him early this season, as likely did his his age (31, he’ll turn 32 in May). His value may have peaked, given his recent performance.

He could finish the year playing the way he has and prove the Twins were smart for holding onto the 2006 AL MVP. He could find his former self and become an All-Star caliber first baseman.

Or he could collide with a wall, a teammate or smack his head on the ground while sliding into second base and be done with baseball.

Don’t forget that prior to this season, Morneau said if his concussion problems continued that he would hang up his cleats and call it a career, according to the Star Tribune. One more setback and that state of mind could return.

Denard Span is a Twin I’ve called for the club to trade as early as last season. The rumor was that Minnesota could have obtained Drew Storen, Washington’s closer, for Span last season (at the very least Tyler Clippard), according to NBC Sports. That would have given Minnesota its closer of the future and allowed the club to let Matt Capps walk in free agency.

Fast forward one year and that looks like a smart move. Storen missed the first half of the season with an elbow injury.

But the fact remains that Span does exactly what Ben Revere could do but at a higher cost. Span’s contract is reasonable ($4.75 million in 2013, $6.5 million in 2014 and $9 million club option in 2015 with $500,000 buyout) but still more expensive than Revere.

Moving either Span or Morneau would have opened up a lineup spot for Chris Parmelee.

Parmelee was Minnesota’s first-round pick, 20th overall, in 2006. The Twins drafted Parmelee out of high school, so he’s only 24 years old with six years of professional baseball experience.

In 35 games with the Rochester Red Wings this year, Parmelee hit .341 (42-for-123) with seven homers and 27 RBI. He posted a .577 slugging percentage and .467 on base percentage.

He has little left to prove in the minors and needs time to adjust to the big leagues. With the Twins in 2012, he’s hitting a lowly .204 with two homers and six RBI. He’s posted a .283 on base and .323 slugging percentage.

Those numbers don’t warrant handing Parmelee a starting spot, but his draft status does. The only way to find out if he belongs in the big leagues is to open up a spot for him.

Span’s departure could have put Parmelee in left or right field (wherever Josh Willingham wasn’t) and Morneau’s would have given him first base.

The Twins aren’t in a position to win in 2012 and they won’t be in a position to win in 2013. Now should be about finding out who can help the club down the road, like Parmelee, while building the farm system for the future.

We don’t know exactly what Minnesota was offered for Span or Morneau, but the club missed out on an opportunity to build for the future while shedding 2013 salaries.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the 5 Minnesota Twins Who Could Play First Base If Justin Morneau Can’t

Justin Morneau is the Minnesota Twins‘ first baseman. The problem is over the past two seasons he only played 133 games at first—that’s only 10 more games than he played at the position in all of 2009.

Between 2006 and 2008, Morneau was an iron man for the Twins. Over those three seasons he averaged 149.7 games at first, and in 2008 he appeared in all 163 games the team played.

Then came that fateful day in Toronto—July 7th, 2010.

The play was a routine slide into second base to break up a double play when Morneau took a knee to the head. He came out of the game and Michael Cuddyer would replace him at first base. He did not play again that season and has been struggling since to return to the form that had his name in consideration for a second American League MVP. 

At the time he was leading the Twins with a .345 average, 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. 

In a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Morneau is feeling better than he has in quite some time. The problem is the results are not yet showing up in the box score.  This spring he has the second most at-bats for the Twins with 37 through Friday, March 23rd. The problem is he is only hitting .108 with four hits in 12 games.

Manager Ron Gardenhire is not planning on playing Morneau at first over the remaining Grapefruit League schedule, opting to use the opportunity to assess what other options he has in case Morneau is unable to go come opening day.

Gardenhire’s main option over the last two seasons to replace Morneau has been Cuddyer, who is now with the Colorado Rockies.

All is not lost. The Twins have plenty of options if needed, some that could even provide a boost to their lineup. 

Here are the top five options.

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