Both Tyler Ladendorf and Danny Rams were both promoted from Elizabethton to Beloit where they will try to help get a struggling Snappers team back on track. The two were a tandem wrecking crew, feasting on Appalachian League pitching.
Rams, a catcher, was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft. At 6'2'' and 205 lbs., many project him to be a high-power batter. Although his long-term position is still TBA, he's making strides behind the plate and is slowly showing the Twins they didn't make a mistake by taking him so early in the draft. Through 62 at-bats in Elizabethton, Rams hit .355/.430/.790 with 14 extra-base hits in just 16 games. His six home runs and 23 RBI are both tied for the league-lead. Rams was the 48th ranked prospect on my pre-season Top 50 Twins Prospects list. Here's what I had to say then:
Danny Rams was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft. He has struggled making the transition from High School baseball to professional baseball, which has been apparent with his .240 average and .703 OPS in his first 166 plate appearances all in rookie ball. He has a home run swing, but he doesn't make good enough contact to really get good 'pop' on the ball. Rams has not earned a promotion to the Midwest League, but he needs to play to get better and sending him to a full-season team could be beneficial. He's still only 20-years-old, so there's no reason to think he can't someday live up to the hype that followed him out of High School. Despite having a strong arm behind the plate, Rams probably will be permanently moved from behind the plate to first base or designated hitter at some point in the future. With Wilson Ramos and Drew Butera known as excellent defensive catchers, and with a guy named Joe Mauer winning a gold glove for the Twins from behind the plate, Rams probably won't make it to the majors as a catcher.
In just his first game with the Snappers, Rams went 1-3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts. The double came in the eighth inning which sparked a six-run rally to eventually beat the West Michigan White Caps, 9-8.
Ladendorf, a shortstop, was supposed to breeze through the Appalachian League last season after the Twins selected him in the same round as Rams a year later. For whatever reason, Ladendorf struggled mightily to hit .206/.308/.298 with only 10 extra-base hits in 147 at-bats. Ladendorf came back to Elizabethton to start the '09 season and from day one was on a tear. He hit .410/.500/.721 with 11 extra-base hits including four home runs. Ladendorf was the 33rd ranked prospect on my pre-season Top 50 Twins Prospects list. Here's what I had to say then:
The Twins selected Tyler Ladendorf in the second round of the 2008 draft. Heading into the draft, he was regarded as one of the best JUCO players in the country. He hit .542 with 29 doubles, 5 triples, 16 home runs and 83 RBI in 53 games his Sophomore season at Howard College. He has a lot of pop in his bat, unfortunately he struggled in his first go-around in pro ball which is why he is ranked this low. He has a good glove and is a solid all-around player. Some believe that he may have to move to third base eventually, but at this time he's going to be used as a shortstop. I like Ladendorf a lot and I think that his good defense and strong eye at the plate may give the Twins a reason to move him to Beloit after 175 disappointing plate appearances in the GCL. If he struggles in Spring Training, he will probably be held in Extended Spring Training and will later head to Elizabethton, but if he succeeds, he could be in Beloit on opening day.
Ladendorf went 0-4 with a strikeout in his first game with the Snappers.
Both players have great potential will undoubtedly make big strides on my next prospect list. To make room for them, catcher Alexander Soto was promoted to Fort Myers. Soto was hitting .240 with a .702 OPS with the Snappers. Taking Rams' place behind the plate in Elizabethton will be Buddy Monroe. Monroe was drafted in the 22nd round of the '09 draft out of the University of Florida. He was the third Gator selected by the Twins in the draft.