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06/06/06 8:52 PM ET
Parmelee a powerful pick for Twins
Left-handed outfielder drafted out of high school
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have had an eye on their first-round pick, Christopher Parmelee, for a long time, so they had good knowledge that his bat possessed some power. But just how much power surprised them. This past Friday, before the draft took place, Parmelee made a visit to the Metrodome to do a workout for the Twins. The high school outfielder put on quite the display as he deposited ball after ball into the upper-deck seats and far over the center-field wall to show the Twins that he indeed was the guy for them. "Did he hit it further than we thought he might? Yeah, he did," Twins scouting director Mike Radcliff said. "We've been watching him a long time and so we have great conviction that his makeup is top notch. If he reaches the bat ceiling that we think he can, this guy will be a middle of the lineup impact player down the road." That kind of power was the reason there was plenty of excitement in the Twins' draft room when the club selected Parmelee as the 20th overall pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft. Many in the organization were concerned that he might go earlier in the draft. A left-handed hitter, Parmelee possesses a strong, smooth stroke at the plate and shows the kind of patience not often found in a player of his age. And while the Twins were elated to find Parmelee still available at No. 20, it wasn't the easiest thing for him to sit and wait for his name as he gathered with a group of around 10 family members and friends around the computer, listening to the draft. Still, the end result seemed worth the wait. "As each one went by the nerves got a little worse," Parmelee said. "But then when I heard my name called by the Twins at No. 20 -- it was the best feeling I've ever had in my life." Parmelee, 18, batted .407 with 11 home runs, 26 RBIs, 34 walks, 24 stolen bases and a .614 on-base percentage during his senior season at Chino Hills High School in Chino, Calif. He was also rated as the 26th-ranked player available in this year's draft by Baseball America. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Parmelee was named an AFLAC All-American after his junior season, and also earned MVP honors at Team One Baseball's Cape Cod High School Classic. But even with his many accomplishments in the past, Parmelee said that walking on the field to take batting practice at the Metrodome on Friday struck a bit of a nerve with him as he realized that this might be the start of seeing his dream fulfilled. "I walked in and stepped on the field and was a bit speechless," Parmelee said of his workout. "And then the first one I hit was to the upper deck. It was an amazing feeling." Besides his bat, Parmelee has a lot going for him. Possessing an above-average arm, he's slated to start in the outfield but also has the ability to play first base. His speed isn't his greatest asset, but he can spray the ball all over the field. "I'm more of a gap-to-gap guy than a raw power hitter," Parmelee said. "But that day in the Metrodome was one of my better ones, in terms of power." It wasn't the first time Parmelee has wowed a crowd. The 18-year-old first started garnering attention back in 1998, when he competed in a youth skills competition during the All-Star game in Denver. But while that day may have ranked high in his memory, there's no question which is first on the list now. "This day is so much better," Parmelee said with a laugh. Parmelee has a few things on his plate before even thinking about what the next stage will involve -- like graduating from high school on June 21 -- but he doesn't expect any delays in his signing. The 18-year-old seemed quite excited about his future as a Twin, as did the entire Twins scouting staff. "We're happy that we are going to be able to get him out quick and get his career started," Radcliff said. "Each year, there are always players that have problems with negotiations and it just stalls their ability to move. He's an advanced bat. He's ready to go, and heck, he might move up a level by the end of the summer. The Twins have Parmelee slated to start the year with their Gulf Coast League rookie club, and that is just fine by Parmelee. "When I hit for the Twins, I thought about what it might be like to play for them," Parmelee said. "And now, it's happening and I couldn't be more excited."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.