Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Profile of the newest Twins player, Daniel Palka

After signing LHP Dan Runzler to a minor league contract yesterday,  the Twins land a second lefty Daniel in two days by trading Chris Herrmann to the Arizona Diamondbacks for left hitting and throwing OF/1B Daniel Palka.   The trade frees a 40-man roster spot for the Twins.

Daniel Parka just finished his second full professional season, drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Diamondbacks from Georgia Tech where he was a two way player, pitching and playing the outfield and first base.   His last (junior) season at Georgia Tech he hit .342/.436/.637 with 17 HRs and 13 doubles in 237 ABs (This is 1 HR per 14 ABs.)   He also pitched 13 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 11, walking 3, allowing 6 hits and one earned run.   The transition to the wooden bad in the Cape Cod league before his junior season did not hurt his numbers:  in 2012 he hit .272/.346/.519 with 11 HRs and 6 2Bs in 158 AB (14.3 ABs/HR).

After he was drafted in 2013, he was assigned to Rookie Missoula where he hit .302/.386/.502 with 7 HRs in 205 ABs and moved up to Short Season A Hillsboro where he hit .340/.418/.574 with 2 HRs in 47 AB.   The decrease in power was likely because of fatigue (between college and the pros he had 410 ABs).  In 2014 playing for South Bend of the Midwest (A) League, he hit .248/.332/.466 with 22 HRs in 455 AB (20.7 AB/HR) , with a 56:129 BB:K ratio.  Last season he moved to high A Visalia where he hit .280/.352/.532 with 29 HRs in 511 PAs (17.6 AB/HR) and a 56:164 BB:K ratio in his age 23 season.

For comparison's sake, in his second full professional season, Twins' OF Adam Brett Walker, who was drafted at the same round (3rd) a season before Palka, at the same (high A) level (albeit Florida State vs California League) in 2014 hit .246/.307/.436 with 25 HRs in 505 ABs (20.2 AB/HR) and a 44:156 BB:K ratio.  So basically in Palka the Twins get a player similar to Adam Walker, but with better power and contact skills who strikes out and walks at about the same rate as Walker, but is left handed.   In 2015 Palka destroyed RHPs; against them he hit .301/.374/.589 with 26 HRs in 389 AB (15.6 AB/HR) and a 45:118 BB:K ratio.  Power LHBs who can hit RHPs with vengeance are lacking in the Twins' organization;  only Oswaldo Arcia and switch hitting Kennys Vargas might fit the bill.  Palka is more versatile than both on the field, plus he bring a bit of speed as he stole 24 bases in 31 attempts last season.

Here is an interesting statistic:  In 2015 Palka had 24 SBs and 29 HRs.  In the history of the Minnesota Twins, no player in their organization had 24 or more stolen bases and 29 or more HRs in the same season.

Palka is listed at 6'2" and 220 lbs, is originally from Springfield SC, and his grandfather, Eugene, pitched in the Baltimore Orioles' organization.  He was listed as the Diamondbacks' 15th best prospect in 2014 by John Sickel's, and 29th in 2015 by MLB.com.   He majored at Management in Georgia Tech.   Here is a video of Palka from the Arizona Fall League this season where he is hitting .304/.364/.449 with 2 HR in 69 AB and 7:12 BB:K ratio.   Palka would likely start 2016 in Chattanooga.










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