As if expecting their middle-infield problems to continue into the distant future, the Minnesota Twins signed University of North Carolina Tar Heels shortstop Levi Michael as the 30th overall selection in the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The man from Welcome, North Carolina (you can't make that up) is a decent switch hitter and a dynamite fielder, which makes him the ideal fit for the Twins. His offensive numbers in 60 games at Michael Jordan's alma mater are as follows: batting a healthy .297 with 14 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homers and 48 RBIs in 60 games.[jump]
The dude's a sharp customer in the classroom as well, majoring in exercise and sports science at UNC, and in high school he was a member of the National Honor Society, and a member of his student council. He's also, according to the Tar Heels website, "active in FCA." That's either the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or the Farm Credit Administration.
Let's see, a middle infielder, hits for power--the Twins certainly saw problems today and drafted accordingly. But I wonder: what else can the young man bring? Well, there's more, according to the scouting director Deron Johnson:
"He's an athletic shortstop. He played with a sore hip flexor and a sore ankle probably the last month and a half of the year, and really grinded it out," Johnson said of Michael... "That showed the kind of makeup he has."
So guys that don't play through their injuries lack a certain makeup? Hmm... Not to mention, he's lauded for unselfishly playing any position, wherever the coach needs. Guy's full of intangibles.
Already, he's had his successes, like smacking a home run off the Giants celebrated rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner back when they were in tenth grade. The dude also graduated from North Davidson High School (Lexington) early--in January, so he could play for UNC when their season began in late February. So he's a fast learner.
Hopefully, Levi Michael starts on a swift track to the majors. ESPN sez that he is "the top college shortstop in his class", and they're thinking he's going to be paired with Nishioka in the future. I guess they think he'll be here soon. I'm guessing legions of Twins fans are hoping the same thing.
In any case, best of luck Levi. As if to portend his major league career, If you go to this link, you can see the man standing... in the Metrodome.