Thatís the combined batting average of whoever the Twins have played in right field so far. Itís last in the majors. Their combined OPS is .594. Thatís the career OPS of Juan Castro. And there isnít anything close to a solution in sight unless the Twins want to mess with their best hitter.
Two weeks before the end of spring training, the Twins shuffled the roster, deciding that Josh Willingham would move back to left field and Chris Parmelee would come north with the club as first baseman, essentially replacing Ben Revere in the starting lineup. The plan would work because Ryan Doumit had the flexibility to play a somewhat passable right field.
At the time, it looked like a solid way to boost the Twins lineup, if Parmelee hit.
When Parmelee fell flat early in the season, the plan went to hell. To his credit, Gardenhire has done a decent job playing musical chairs but any give night, there is position left standing. That position is right field.
Seven players have started there and none of them have more than 13 starts. The projected starter, Ryan Doumit, only has six starts because on any given day there is a spot open at designated hitter or catcher that he can fill. And there is no use having him stumble around right field when it only means a questionable bench player will end up as the DH.
The guy with the most starts is Trevor Plouffe. He would be the best option right now except:
- Heís hitting .152.
- He hasnít shown any ability to hit right-handed pitching.
- Heís usually already at another spot in the field, playing an infield position now that Danny Valencia is in AAA.
Seventeen starts have been taken by Darin Mastroianni, Eric Komatsu and Clete Thomas. They could all be valuable role players. None of them should be starting consistently in 2012 for a major league team.
That leaves Revere, who has all of seven starts. Defensively, right field is a terrible position for Revere, as it limits his biggest asset (his range) and emphasizes his biggest weakness (his arm). Also, the jury is still out regarding Revereís offense. He returned to AAA and hit .330 this year, but still hasnít shown any ability to get on base beyond posting a crazy high batting average. Getting on base needs to be his game.
The best option goes back to the original plan: moving Revere to left field where his defense makes him a real asset and having Willingham play right field. But Iíll excuse Gardenhire for not wanting to jack his cleanup (and best) hitter around.
Like a lot of things the team is dealing with this year, there isnít an easy solution. Even with a lineup that has stayed remarkably healthy, the Twins find themselves one legitimate bat short of a major league lineup on a consistent basis.