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Top 15 Prospects - #13: Manuel Soliman | January

13. Manuel Soliman, RH-SP, 21 years old

2010 stats: 5-2, 3.48 ERA 74/21 K/BB in 64.2 innings for Elizabethton Twins (Rookie)
Last year's rank: N/A
Acquired: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007

When the Twins signed Manuel Soliman out of the Dominican Republic back in 2007, I'm sure they weren't expecting much from the 17-year old. Soliman was simply one of dozens of young players to come out of the country every year, and Minnesota grabbed him in hopes he may be one of the few Dominican sluggers to stick in the minor leagues.

Soliman didn't. During two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Soliman hit .199/.318/.288. His high walk total made his on-base average respectable, but this was probably only because the poor kid was afraid to take the bat off his shoulder. If Soliman couldn't hit against teenagers in his own country, there was no chance he would make against it in the United States.

Minnesota noticed the corner infielder's strong arm, however, and decided to give Soliman an opportunity from the mound. Though he was a year older than most other players in the Dominican Summer League last season, Soliman was dominant. The Twins leap-frogged him to the Appalachian League in 2010 in order to gauge him against batters his own age, and the transition appears to be successful.

Soliman may have been miserable offensively, but the young right-hander has a strong arm and the ability to throw strikes. John Manuel of Baseball American claims Soliman has three pitches, which he can throw with high velocity. Soliman averaged a very impressive 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2010, and walked just 29.

Ideal scenario: The Twins will send Soliman to the Beloit Snappers for the 2011 season. He is about a year behind most elite pitching prospects, but Soliman started pitching just two years ago and needs time to refine and develop his skills.

Path to the majors: The Midwest League will provide the Twins with a good barometer to measure Soliman's progress. Barring any setbacks, Soliman will likely spend the entire season in Beloit, though he may be eased into his first full season. The Twins will certainly not rush Soliman to the major leagues, and the young right-hander can expect several more years of development.