This offseason, MiLB.com is honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organization. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League Baseball. Select a team from the dropdown below.
It's often stated that jumping from Class A Advanced to Double-A is the most difficult transition to make for a prospect.
Luckily for the Twins in 2012, it didn't do anything to slow down two of their best.
Outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks highlighted a system on the move in 2012. Though prospects from Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Class A Beloit populate much of Minnesota's Organization All-Star team, the two Double-A New Britain stars proved the Twins' Minor League pipeline is close to delivering some premium talent to the Major League level. Both took a step forward developmentally and rose to the challenge of Double-A, with Hicks earning a spot on the Eastern League's postseason All-Star team and Arcia hitting .328 in 69 games after a promotion from the Florida State League.
The Miracle, led by three members of this team, and the Snappers, highlighted by top-five Twins prospects Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario, as well as Appalachian League Champion Elizabethton, also ensured New Britain will continue to be a team to watch in the coming years.
Twins Organization All-Stars
Catcher -- Josmil Pinto, Fort Myers (93 games), New Britain (12 games): The 23-year-old Venezuelan had his best year since jumping to full-season ball in 2010. Pinto posted a .295/.361/.473 line with 12 homers and 22 doubles for the Miracle, earning him postseason and midseason Florida State League All-Star honors. He held those numbers together in his short taste of the Eastern League, as well, batting .298 and slugging .553.
"Josmil provided power in the middle of the Fort Myers lineup," said Brad Steil, Minnesota's Director of Minor League Operations. "He's a hard worker with a strong arm behind the plate and his receiving skills continue to improve."
First base -- Chris Colabello, New Britain (134 games): Colabello, a veteran of the independent Canadian-American Association for the last seven seasons, got his first taste of organized ball this year and didn't disappoint. The 29-year-old was a consistent producer for the Rock Cats, hitting .284 with a .358 OPB and .478 slugging percentage. His 19 homers tied for second in the organization, as did his 98 RBIs (which were also good for second in the Eastern League). He earned a spot on the Eastern League postseason All-Star team.
"After spending several years in independent ball, we didn't know what to expect from Chris, but he fit right in at Double-A and developed into a team leader," Steil noted. "He played solid defense at first base and was also a presence in the middle of the lineup, coming up only two RBIs short of becoming the first New Britain player to produce 100 RBIs in a season."
Second base -- Eddie Rosario, GCL Twins (five games), Beloit (95 games): Rosario, Minnesota's No. 4 prospect, followed up on a terrific 2011 season with Rookie-level Elizabethton with a strong year in his first exposure to full-season ball. After playing center field exclusively for the E-Twins last year, Rosario shifted to the infield, manning second in the overwhelming majority of his appearances with the Snappers. Despite jumping up a league and changing positions, the 21-year-old Puerto Rican still managed to hit .299/.347/.499 with 14 homers and 74 RBIs in 100 games overall. His performance earned him his second straight Organization All-Star nod as well as a Midwest League midseason All-Star trip.
"Eddie only played a partial season after he was hit with a batted ball in pre-game and broke his jaw. He made the transition from centerfield to second base and we see him staying at second in the future," said Steil. "He has very quick hands and a short stroke at the plate."
Shortstop -- Daniel Santana, Fort Myers (121 games): Santana, an international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, put together his best offensive year as a pro in 2012. He provided career-highs in average (.286) and on-base percentage (.329) while slugging .410 and stealing 17 bases. He chipped in 38 extra-base hits, including nine triples, and featured as a midseason FSL All-Star.
"Danny is an athletic shortstop with a strong arm. He was more consistent both offensively and defensively in 2012 and has the potential to impact a game at the plate, on the bases and in the field," Steil said.
Third base -- Miguel Sano, Beloit (129 games): The Twins' top prospect put his remarkable power potential on full display this year, bashing a Midwest League and organization best 28 home runs with 28 more doubles to put up a .521 slugging percentage. He also led the league and Minnesota farmhands with 100 RBIs. He batted .258 and got on base at a .373 clip, stealing eight bases in the process. His production put him on both the midseason and postseason Midwest League All-Star teams and made him the MWL Prospect of the Year.
"Miguel has tremendous power and has the potential to be a middle of the order bat in the big leagues," Steil noted. "2012 was his first full year at third, and his defense improved considerably in the second half. He has the hands and arm to be a solid defensive player in the future."
Oswaldo Arcia, Fort Myers (55 games), New Britain (69 games): Arcia, the fifth-ranked Twins prospect, had perhaps the most complete season of any Minnesota Minor Leaguer. His .320 average and 98 RBIs both ranked second in the organization and he added 17 homers, a .388 OBP and .539 slugging mark between the two levels. He made the difficult leap from Class A Advanced to Double-A seamlessly, batting .328/.398/.557 with 10 jacks and 67 RBIs following his promotion to the Eastern League. He was named a Florida State League midseason All-Star and played in the Futures Game.
"Ozzie had a very good year at the plate and put up 67 RBIs in 69 games after a midseason promotion to New Britain. He has presence in the batter's box and is a run producer with power to all fields," said Steil.
Aaron Hicks, New Britain (129 games): Minnesota's No. 3 prospect put together the kind of season in 2012 the Twins envisioned him having when they made Hicks the 14th overall pick in the 2008 Draft. Long considered a speed/power threat, Hicks converted that potential into numbers this year, his first at Double-A. The 23-year-old hit .286/.384/.460 with 13 homers, 11 triples, 21 doubles and 61 RBIs while stealing an organization-topping 32 bases. He was also an Eastern League postseason All-Star.
"Aaron's season took off after June 1. He has a good combination of patience and power from both sides of the plate," Steil said. "In centerfield, he has a lot of range and a strong arm. He also improved his base running and became a stolen base threat."
Wilkin Ramirez, Fort Myers (four games), New Britain (11 games), Rochester (98 games): The 27-year-old veteran who has seen time in the big leagues with Detroit and Atlanta was a steady presence for the Red Wings in his first season in the Twins' organization. He hit .276 with 15 homers, 18 doubles and 54 RBIs, and in 113 games overall batted .288/.326/.386 while tying for second in the organization with 19 home runs.
"Wilkin was a good addition to our organization and we were happy to re-sign him for 2013. He provided a lot of leadership at both New Britain and Rochester and was second in our Minor League system with 19 home runs," said Steil.
Utility -- Candido Pimentel, Elizabethton (56 games): The 22-year-old Dominican Republic native, signed as an international free agent by the Twins in 2009, was the breakout star for an E-Twins team that captured the organization's lone championship this year with a victory over Burlington in the Appy League Championship Series. Pimentel manned both corner outfield positions and added second base to his repertoire while leading the organization with a .330 average. He also got on base at a .405 rate, slugged .419 and stole 16 bases en route to being named the Appalachian League Player of the Year.
"Candido has great speed and uses that to get on base," Steil said. "He has some versatility on defense and played a mix of second base and outfield."
Right-handed pitcher -- B.J. Hermsen, Fort Myers (four games), New Britain (22 games): The 22-year-old starter put together the Twins' best pitching season in 2012, leading the organization in ERA (2.88) and finishing second in wins (12). He struck out 87 in 162 2/3 innings and posted a walks-per-nine of just 1.66, issuing just 30 free passes total on the season. Minnesota's 14th-ranked prospect was an Eastern League midseason All-Star.
"B.J. is a great competitor and has the ability to mix and locate four pitches. He was probably the most consistent starter in our system and gave his team a chance to win nearly every time out," Steil noted.
Left-handed pitcher -- Jason Wheeler, Beloit (27 games): Wheeler, like Hermsen, put together a consistently strong season on the mound. The 22-year-old won 14 games for the Snappers and registered a 3.45 ERA in 156 2/3 frames, striking out an organization-best 115 while walking 43. The 2011 eighth-rounder out of Loyola Marymount University was a Midwest League midseason All-Star.
"Jason had a very good first year in the Midwest League," said Steil. "He's a big, strong guy and has the durability to throw a lot of innings. He pitches back and forth and locates his fastball."
Reliever -- Michael Tonkin, Beloit (22 games), Fort Myers (22 games): The right-hander, who turned 23 on Monday, led an impressive group of bullpen arms in the Twins' organization this year. He was nearly unhittable for the Snappers, notching a 1.38 ERA in 39 innings before being promoted to the Miracle. He saved 12 games between the two levels, posted a 2.08 ERA and struck out 97 in 69 1/3 innings while walking just 20. He featured in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game and was a MWL midseason All-Star.
"Michael took a big step forward this season. He has a power arm with heavy sink and closed games for us at both Beloit and Fort Myers," Steil said.