Name: Jonathan Waltenbury
D.O.B.: April 1, 1988
Position: First Baseman
How Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the seventh round of the 2006 June draft.
When the Twins selected Waltenbury in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, they were getting one of the top junior players in Canada. Already drawing comparisons to current Twins first baseman Justin Morneau at that point, Waltenbury has done nothing to quell those thoughts since he began his professional career. Possessing a sweet stroke from the left side, Waltenbury has hit the ball well thus far, and will likely be in Beloit in 2009.
After being drafted by the Twins, Waltenbury performed very well in Instructional Leagues and Extended Spring Training, before making his debut for the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2007. He even led the Instructional League with a .421 batting average in 2006. He would struggle a bit in the Gulf Coast League, but bounced back in 2008.
In 2007, Waltenbury batted only .244, smacking three home runs in 41 games. He showed decent power, which was a sign of things to come, as nine of his 30 hits went for extra bases. He drove in 16 runs, scored 19 times, and picked up 18 walks.
The 2008 season was a breakout season of sort for the Canadian, as he would be named an Appalachian League Post-Season All-Star. He led the league in total bases (142), extra-base hits (35), and at-bats (263), while finishing second in runs (49), and hits (84). In total, Waltenbury batted .319, blasting ten home runs, while driving in 45 in only 63 games.
He will likely be in the middle of the order for the Beloit Snappers in 2009.
Batting and Power: Waltenbury has a classic left-handed power stroke, and will be a 20-25 home run guy in the future. He draws comparisons to Justin Morneau, who just happens to be his favorite player. He can hit the ball out of any park, works the gaps, and has an advanced batting eye for his age. He will be a consistent .300 hitter if he continues to develop at this pace.
Baserunning and Speed: Waltenbury is not a burner on the basepaths, and I would not say that his speed is a good attribute. He is a smart baserunner, having played at numerous national levels, and does not make many mistakes. He is likely to top out at like five stolen bases a season, but is likely to only swipe a bag or two. He won’t hurt you on the basepaths, but he also won’t hurt his team.
Defense: Here is an area that Waltenbury needs to work on, as he has really struggled with the glove through his first two seasons in the Twins organization. He has combined to commit 16 errors in only 104 games as a pro, playing only the first base spot. He is going to get better with time, and has a very good arm, however, he needs to make this a priority this spring.
ETA. 2012 Waltenbury should make a steady rise through the Twins organization, as they do not have many power prospects in the farm system. Waltenbury already is ranked in the top-10 in power, and will only get better with age. Only 20 years old, Waltenbury will get his first taste of full season baseball in 2009, and it will be interesting to see how he does in the Midwest League.