With Michael Cuddyer on the bereavement list, the Twins called up top prospect Danny Valencia from Triple-A Rochester. MLB.com's Kelly Thesier tweets that Valencia will make his major league debut tonight at third base when the Twins play the Mariners.
A 19th-round pick in the 2006 draft, Valencia has a .298/.353/.469 line in 2005 minor league at-bats, though just a .742 OPS in 483 PA at the Triple-A level. Baseball America's John Manuel described Valencia as one of the "untouchable" prospects at last year's trade deadline, and the Twins hope the 25-year-old can develop into an everyday third baseman.
Valencia is the third notable Twins prospect to get a cup of coffee with the big club this season, as Trevor Plouffe (their first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft) and catcher Wilson Ramos ("one of the better trade chips in baseball") made their debuts earlier this season to fill holes in the banged-up Minnesota lineup. While Ramos was never going to displace Joe Mauer behind the plate and Plouffe hasn't hit well enough in the minors to be considered a blue chipper, every opportunity exists for Valencia to stick around in the majors. As Manuel noted in his story, "third base has been a black hole" for the Twins since the days of Corey Koskie. Nick Punto (.574 OPS this season) and Brendan Harris (.478 OPS) could both be easily displaced if Valencia gets off to a hot start.