Dog the Bounty Hunter does not play for the Twins organization. But his nephew does.
Danny Lehmann is a 26 year old catching prospect out of Rice University, and he is the nephew of bounty hunter and reality TV star Duane “Dog” Chapman. Lehmann doesn’t bear much resemblance to his uncle. He’s 5’11″ and 185 pounds, his hair is short and brown instead of long and blonde, and he is rarely seen walking around Ft. Myers in a sleeveless leather shirt and sunglasses. He prefers instead to wear a Twins jersey with the number 81 stitched on the back.
Lehmann got the call from the Twins in the eighth round of the 2007 draft. He played the short season at Elizabethton that year and hit .221 in 22 games. Since then, Lehmann has been moving steadily up the ladder of the Twins organization, playing at two different levels each season. In 2008 he started at Beloit and ended at Ft. Myers, in 2009 he played at Ft. Myers and ended at New Britain. The last two seasons Lehmann has split time between New Britain and Rochester. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done a lot with his bat. In 1,059 minor league plate appearances, Lehmann has a line of .234/.315/.308. He doesn’t have much power, and he’s never exceeded three homers in a season. On the plus side, Lehmann does not strike out much – he has only whiffed 116 times in those 1,000 plus plate appearances.
Hitting struggles aside, Lehmann has the tools to be an excellent defensive catcher. Rice coach Wayne Graham referred to him as “one of the best defensive catchers in college baseball.” He’s also smart enough to be an effective game caller; at Rice he majored in Economics and earned a 3.78 grade point average.
Lehmann has had a bit of trouble getting playing time over the years; he has never had more than 272 plate appearances in a single minor league season. Part of the trouble has been injuries. He missed a little over a month with a shoulder strain in 2010, and last year he spent a short stint on the DL with an ankle injury. But even when healthy Lehmann hasn’t appeared in the lineup every day. Steve Holm and Rene Rivera often occupied the catcher slot for Rochester last year, and Lehmann only got into 43 games for the Red Wings.
Rivera is back with the Twins, and fellow non-roster invitee Chris Herrmann may also compete with Lehmann for playing time in 2012. Nothing is guaranteed for Lehmann, so he should be very motivated to prove himself to the Twins in Spring Training. He was a non-roster invitee in 2011 as well, and had one hit in eight at bats in eight games. But it isn’t his bat that is going to impress the Twins – if Lehmann is going to progress to the Major League level, it’s his glove that will get him there.
If he plays his position with the same take-charge attitude his uncle displays on his show, Lehmann shouldn’t have any trouble.
Keep checking Puckett’s Pond for more non-roster invitee updates. You can read about the other non-roster invitees here.