Name: Tyler Ladendorf
D.O.B.: March 7, 1988
How Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2008 draft.
The Minnesota Twins drafted Tyler Ladendorf in the second round of the 2008 draft, selecting the young shortstop out of Howard College. A slick-fielding middle infielder, Ladendorf is a possible five-tool prospect, who had a monster season at Howard in 2008. After struggling with labrum problems for some of his young career, Ladendorf finally seems healthy, and is looking for a monster season in 2009.
Ladendorf was drafted twice before finally signing with the Twins, both times in the 34th round. In 2006, the New York Yankees drafted him, and the San Francisco Giants came calling in 2007. However, Ladendorf stayed in school, and spurned a scholarship to Oklahoma to sign with the Twins. In Ladendorf, the Twins may have a prospect that could rise very quickly.
During his final season at Howard, Ladendorf exploded, putting together one of the better offensive seasons of any collegiate player. In only 53 games, Ladendorf hit 16 home runs, drove in 83, and batted a ridiculous .542. He also smacked 29 doubles, five triples, and stole 31 of 32 bases. It became clear that he was ready for professional baseball.
In 2008, Ladendorf debuted to mixed reviews, as he batted only .204 in the Gulf Coast League. However, he worked really hard with hitting instructor Milt Cuyler, and Manager Jake Mauer, and feels ready for the 2009 season. He is slated for Beloit next season, where he will likely be the team’s starting shortstop.
Batting and Power. Though he will tell you that power is his weakest attribute, Ladendorf has the potential to be a 15-20 home run guy. He has a sweet stroke from the right side, and should hit for a fairly high average. He had to make the adjustment to professional pitching in 2008, though he was used to using the wooden bats, and he should be able to raise his average at least 80 clicks in 2009. He looks to be a doubles guy in the future, with the ability to knock a few out of the park.
Baserunning and Speed. Ladendorf is a tremendous athlete, who credits his athletic ability as his best attribute. He is a burner on the basepaths, after stealing a combined 37 bases in 2008. He will likely be a 20 steals guy, and is an above average baserunner for someone his age. This is definitely one of his strengths.
Defense. Ladendorf hopes to stay at shortstop, and he will if he does not get to big. He makes some very tough plays look routine at shortstop, and is quite fun to watch play the position. He also has a tremendous arm, and good range at the position. He could possibly play any position on the diamond, not including catcher, but the Twins drafted him as a shortstop, and plan to keep him there.
ETA. 2012. Ladendorf is a very interesting prospect, as he has drawn rave reviews since being drafted by the team. The team spent a high draft pick on the flashy shortstop, and have high hopes for him in the middle of the infield. He should be slated for Beloit in 2009, and possibly called up to Fort Myers. The Twins have a shortage of middle infield prospects, and Ladendorf is entering the system at the right time.