Lookouts second baseman Levi Michael was carted off the field Monday night after he sprained his ankle in the fourth inning sliding into second base.
Michael was selected out of the University of North Carolina by the Twins in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. The Twins used their first round, and 30th overall, selection on the collegiate shortstop. After a strong season, and a career that culminated with appearances in the College World Series, Michael was viewed as a solid prospect.
Fast forward to 2015, and the Minnesota Twins are still waiting on the Levi Michael they drafted to show up. Having now played three seasons at the professional level, and having just barely advanced to the Double-A rung of the farm system, Michael is teetering dangerously on the bust label. At this point in his career, a utility player at the major league level appears to be the ceiling. While that is not what you want to happen for a first round draft pick, it’s surely more beneficial than the player not making it there at all.
In his first two seasons at Fort Myers, Michael never posted a higher slash line than .246/.339/.340. He skipped the lower levels of the organization as a collegiate player deemed ready to be accelerated through the system, unfortunately that didn’t come to fruition. In 2014 as a 23-year-old, Levi Michael finally reached Double-A New Britain where he slashed .340/.444/.358 across 15 games for the Rock Cats. Missing significant time due to a foot injury, Michael did show positive output slashing .313/.389/.387 across 65 games during the 2014 campaign. It now has become time for that to translate.
If Michael still intends on making a major league debut at some point, finding his way to Triple-A Rochester during the 2015 season should be the goal. At 24 years old, there’s no reason for the Twins to slow play Michael if he can put things together. He could prove to be a useful bench option. Whether or not any of that happens appears to rely solely upon him.
He is hitting .246 with two homers and 12 RBI. Michael was recently moved to hitting second in the lineup
As the Twins have seen is years past from Michael, a season of regression is something the former Tar Heel can’t afford to endure. At this point, it’s make or break for Michael, and if his limited sample size in 2014 is any indication, betting on him is the right side to be on.
The Twins are hoping for a return on their 2011 first round draft pick, and 2015 should be the year in which they see it from Levi Michael.
--- Source: Adapted from Puckett's Pond