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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Rock Cats Annual Welcome Home Dinner: Who is Jason Christian???


This was my second year attending the Rock Cats' Annual Welcome Home Dinner. The players attend this function shortly after arriving in Connecticut. In fact, some don't even have housing or vehicles arranged yet! It's truly a crazy time of year for these guys. Last year, I had the good fortune of sitting with Twins' top prospect Alex Wimmers at this charity event that raises funds for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Wimmers was kind, funny, and excited about 2012. Looking back, of course, 2012 was indeed a forgotten year for Wimmers, who is now rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. I'd like to think that I wasn't a bad omen for Wimmers. I'd also like to think that he can fool those who no longer consider him a solid prospect.

Rock Cats players, including MN's own Nate Hanson (red),
and Daniel Rohlfing (blue), awaiting introductions.
Back to 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed this event, which was held for the first time at Hawk's Landing Country Club. The food was very good -- standard banquet fare, with an inexpensive cash bar. As always, the guys were great about signing autographs, especially for kids that were very excited to see real, professional baseball players.
The player seated at our table this year was a gentleman I had never heard of: Jason Christian. I bet you probably haven't heard of him either. Originally a 5th round draft pick of the Athletics in 2008, Christian has bounced around the A's, Reds and Braves organizations, peaking at the AA level, before signing as a minor league free agent with the Twins in 2013. The lanky infielder, who will be 26 in June, prefers shortstop. He got in a couple of the major league games toward the end of Spring Training.

A top prospect Jason Christian is not. In fact, he's probably happy to be playing professional baseball for at least one more season. Speaking with Jason, a true class act, was a great reminder that, for every Miguel Sano or Aaron Hicks, there are HUNDREDS of Jason Christians trying to live out their dream against the odds. But hey, if there's one position of need in the Twins' organization, aside from starting pitching, it's quality infielders. Stranger things have happened. Recently.

I'll write more about the 2013 Rock Cats soon, but I think this could be a very interesting team. What they lost in terms of offense (Aaron Hicks, Chris Herrmann, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello) might be mitigated by the presence of excellent pitching prospects Trevor May and Alex Meyer. Additionally, I'm excited to watch Danny Santana, and firmly believe that there are going to be more than a couple pleasant surprises this season in terms of player development.
Jason Christian hit .277 with 32 RBIs in 58 regular-season games.
Jason Christian with the Kane County Cougars in 2010. Credit: Paul R. Gierhart

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff :)

    Saw Christian play against the Rays & the Cardinals this Spring. He was wearing 98 in the last game, so it was hard to miss, as far as I am concerned :)

    Tall and really really skinny guy (like wind blown skinny). Wishing him good luck, but I'd rather see the Twins promote within than stuff New Britain with older marginal free agents.

    You will have a good team this season, esp. as far as pitching goes and will be a treat to watch. I am planning on watching most of the Rock Cat games at Reading