Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hicks, Morales recognized by Baseball America

GCL Twins

GCL Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks leads off the list of Baseball American's top 20 GCL Prospects. This is probably not surprising has Hicks enjoyed a great season with the GCL Twins, having a chance to focus on his fielding and his batting.

The list also included Michael Almanzar (3b), Casey Kelly (SS/rhp) and Derrik Gibson (3b) for the GCL Red Sox and Jarek Cunningham (3b/ss) for the GCL Pirates in the South Division.

Former GCLer Angel Morales picked up recognition as a top Appalachian League prospect, finishing up 8th on B.A.'s list. While the E-Twins enjoyed a great deal of success on the field, Elizabethton was largely snubbed by BA in the post season honors category.

BA will announce their top Midwest League prospects on September the 23, their top Florida State League prospects on the 29th, the Eastern League list on the 30th and the International League list will post on October 3rd.

BA also announced their first and second team All-stars. The Twins prospects were shut out of both except for the inclusion of closer Rob Delany as a post season All-star pitcher. Delaney is one of five former Beloit Snappers headed to the Arizona Fall league.

From a Beloit Snappers press release:

Five former Snappers will be participating in the upcoming Arizona Fall League next month for the Minnesota Twins. Rob Delaney, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama, Steve Tolleson and Danny Valencia will all be members of the Phoenix Desert Dogs along with prospects from the following teams:

- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
- Oakland Athletics
- Toronto Blue Jays

The Arizona Fall League is considered by many to be final step before entering the Major League level. Six top prospects from each Major League team are chosen to compile six different teams split into two divisions. Each team will be made up of 30 players, totaling 180 with the league schedule running from October 7th to November 20th.

Rob Delaney was a member of the 2007 Beloit Snappers where he went 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in 36 games. His 28 saves broke the all-time record for the Snappers and were good enough for second in the Midwest League, even after he was promoted to Fort Myers half way through the season. Delaney signed with the Twins as a non-drafted free agent on June 19, 2006.

Jeff Manship was a Snapper during the beginning of the '07 season. Manship went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 13 starts, while compiling 77 strikeouts in 77.2 innings of work. He was a 14th round pick by the Twins in the 2006 First-Year Player draft.

Anthony Slama was another member of the '07 Snappers, taking over the closer role after Rob Delaney's promotion to Fort Myers. In 21 games for the Snappers, Slama saved 10 while posting a 1.48 ERA. Anthony also had an impressive 39 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched. Slama was a 39th round pick by the Twins in the 2006 First-Year Player draft.

Steve Tolleson played in Beloit for parts of the 2005 and '06 seasons, totaling 78 games. During the '06 campaign, Steve hit .287 with 49 hits, 23 runs and 16 RBIs. Tolleson was the Twins' 5th round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player draft.

Danny Valencia played for the Snappers during the 2007 season, hitting .302 with 15 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBIs. Valencia also sported a .374 on-base percentage in 66 games. Danny was drafted by the Twins' in the 19th of the 2006 First-Year Player draft.

Delaney, Manship, Tolleson and Valencia all spent the majority of the 2008 season with the Twins' Double-A Affiliate New Britain Rock Cats, while Slama spent the entire season with the High-A Affiliate Fort Myers Miracle.

Joining the five for the AzFL are Dustin Martin, who was acquired in a 2007 trade with the Mets and pitcher Tim Lahey, a catcher converted to pitcher. Neither wore a Snappers uniform during their Twins minor league careers.

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