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Fantasy Profile: Alexi Casilla

The Twins aquired middle infielder Alexi Casilla before the 2006 season in exchange for left-handed reliever J.C. Romero. Blocked by better middle infield prospects like Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood, the Angels were willing to move Casilla for mediocre bullpen help.

In his first season in the Twins organization, Cassilla surprised many by earning a September call-up after starting the year in High-A ball.

Casilla will more than likely start 2007 in Triple-A, but may be an injury away (to either starting shortstop Jason Bartlett or second baseman Luis Castillo) from seeing significant playing time in the Twins' middle inflied. (Former utility infielder Nick Punto is being counted on as the team's starting third baseman heading into the coming season.) Of particular interest to American Leauge owners, Casilla has posted strong stolen base totals throughout his professional career:

Year  Level(s)     Gm  SB  CS   SB%
2004  Rk,A           58  26    9    74.2
2005  A,AA,AAA    98  49  14    77.8
2006  A+,AA,MJ  132  50   10    83.3

Casilla has no power at all. He has hit for a respectable .307 average over the course of his minor league career, and is showing improving plate discipline. He'll have to continue to improve on the latter to become an offensive asset for the Twins. His upside is that of a young Luis Castillo with the range and arm to play shortstop.

Those in large AL-only leagues, especially with reserve rosters, should target Casilla at the end of their reserve drafts. Don't count on him being anything more than a source of steals and maybe a small help in average. He could have a nice impact this season if he gets the opportunity, as his defense should keep him on the field if cast into a starting role. He should have good stolen base value going forward in keeper leagues as well, and with Castillo's contract expiring after the 2007 season, has to be in the Twins future plans for second base.

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