For most of the 2007 season, the Fort Myers Miracle lineup has been in park. Unable to muster any kind of offense for pretty much the entire first half, the Miracle got a shot in the arm when they received prospects Brian Dinkelman and Danny Valencia to bolster their lineup. However, it is an incumbent starter from that horrid first half who is making waves these days, and is on the verge of receiving his second consecutive Florida State League Player of the Week honor.
That man is Erik Lis, the sweet-swing left-handed slugger who homered of future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens earlier in the year. However, while that would be the crowing achievement of any young player's year, Lis is putting together a string of games that makes that one home run very small in the spectrum of what his season is becoming.
A product of Evansville University, Lis made a big splash in the Twins organization in his first season, batting .315 with ten home runs in only 49 games for the Elizabethton Twins. That season, Lis helped lead the E-Town Twins to the Appalachian League title, and established himself as one of the better young sluggers in the Twins organization.
In 2006, Lis once again was a top bat in the Twins organization, smacking 16 home runs, while driving in 70. He also batted .325, and was a Midwest League All-Star. Many believed he could have succeeded in the Florida State League last year, but Lis does not worry about those kinds of things.
"I was not really worried about that at the time," Lis told TwinCitiesDugout.com back in Spring Training. "I was more worried with getting up to the plate, and getting good at-bats. I was just trying to help my team win everyday, and work on my defense, which is a big thing for me."
The Miracle were not winning in the beginning of the season, due to some shoddy batting by most of the team. Lis was still chugging along, as he was one of only a handful of Miracle batters who was hitting at all to start the season. However, he has been arguably the best hitter in Minor League Baseball as of late, and the statistics do not lie.
During the team's 11-game winning streak, Lis has batted .386, and has hit seven home runs. He has also driven in 19 runs, and has turned the Miracle season around. After winning FSL Player of the Week honors last week, Lis is the front-runner to win again. Still, he knows the season is a grind, and consistency is the key.
"My main goal is to just stay healthy," Lis told us. "I'm going to try to stay consistent, and play hard every game."
For Lis, he now ranks atop the Twins organization in home runs (16), and runs batted in (85), and should be slated for the middle of the New Britain lineup next season. For now, he continues to master Florida State League pitching, which is one of the harder things in Minor League Baseball to do.
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