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Article: It’s Time to End the Tyler Kinley Experiment

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:48 AM
There were some eyebrows raised last December when the Twins left Nick Burdi and Luke Bard exposed to the Rule 5 Draft so they could sele...
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Game Thread: Twins vs. Yankees, 4/25/18 @ 5:35pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:41 AM
I don't hate the Yankees. I don't hate the Yankees. I don't hate the Yankees.   You heard right: I don't hate the Yankees. In...
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Article: NYY 7, MIN 4: Lance Lynn Is a Dumpster Fire Righ...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:23 AM
The Twins got up 2-0 in the top of the first inning thanks to a Miguel Sano homer, but Lance Lynn had a rotten start, giving up six runs...
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Ex-Twins in the Box Scores

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:11 AM
Baseball games are being played again! I know it's only spring training, but I'm a box score junkie and once again I can get my daily fix...
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Article: Is it Time for a Roster Reshuffle?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:01 PM
Minnesota has hit a little bit of a slump. After being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees made quick work of the Twins on...
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Twins 2018 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter

Ban the DH!

All hail the DH!

Whatever your stance on the matter, as an American League club Minnesota has the luxury of a designated hitter. And this year, they hope to take advantage for the first time since a Hall of Fame slugger helped propel them to the postseason in Target Field's inaugural season.
Image courtesy of Butch Dill, USA Today (Logan Morrison)
Projected Starter: Logan Morrison
Likely Backup: Robbie Grossman

Depth: Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer, Eduardo Escobar
Prospects: Lewin Diaz, Brent Rooker, Zander Wiel

THE GOOD

In 2010, Jim Thome started 78 games for the Twins at DH, and as we all know, it went really well. Since then, the position has been a blur of changing faces and failed experiments.

From 2012 through 2017, no single player made even 70 starts in a season at DH for the Twins. The position mostly functioned as a revolving door, with folks like Ryan Doumit, Kendrys Morales, ByungHo Park and Robbie Grossman passing through. No one made much of an impression, except for Miguel Sano who soon moved to third (after a – *shudder* – detour in right).

Can Logan Morrison end the cycle? Minnesota's front office is sure hoping so. They pounced on the slugging lefty in late February at a bargain too good to pass up. So instead of the usual endless carousel, the Twins figure to have a steady fixture at the spot for the first time in eight years.

If he can approximate last season's production, Morrison will be an impact addition to the middle of the lineup, and his presence could greatly ease the loss of Jorge Polanco to suspension (LoMo's .868 OPS in 2017 was almost identical to Polanco's .870 mark in the second half when he took off).

If Morrison regresses to his career norm – .245/.330/.433 – he'll be less of an asset, but it'd still be more production than Minnesota got from the DH cohort led by Grossman in 2017 (.237/.328/.383).

Should Morrison go down for any reason the Twins would simply revert to their original plan at DH, which might've looked awfully similar to last year's distribution – minus the 30 starts for Kennys Vargas.

In terms of pipeline, Lewin Diaz profiles as the heir apparent right now. If his bat takes a step forward, he could be in the DH picture as soon as next year. But as is the nature of this position, any number of good hitters who can't cut it defensively may end up in the mix.

THE BAD

Last week the Twins designated Vargas for assignment, and on Thursday he officially departed the organization when Cincinnati claimed him off waivers. It's an odd fit given that the Reds can't use him at DH and already have a superstar first baseman entrenched in Joey Votto.

Alas, Minnesota lost a piece of its depth with the move. It would've been nice if Vargas had slipped through waivers to remain on hand in Triple-A.

But, all things considered, the Twins should be feeling pretty good at designated hitter. There is no shortage of bats in the picture for this club, so theoretically, the position shouldn't be an issue any time soon. We'll see.

THE BOTTOM LINE

As currently constructed, the Twins have quite a few hitters, so finding one to designate on any given night shouldn't be an issue. The same is true going forward until further notice. It's hard to imagine this team lacking for players who can step up and swing the lumber at any time in the near future.

The biggest question is if and when they'll need to set aside this spot for Sano. Hopefully not for a while, because they really need him to hold down third.


~~~

Catch up on the rest of the series:

Twins Daily Position Analysis: Catcher
Twins Daily Position Analysis: First Base
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Second Base
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Third Base
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Shortstop
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Left Field
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Center Field
Twins Daily Position Analysis: Right Field

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20 Comments

Being a Twins fan since the age of 5, or about 47 years now, I've grown up with the DH in the AL. But cable networks have afforded me, along with other networks, to "grow up", (NOT that I'm actually a "grown up" even at 52 now), watching a ton of NL games. I appreciate the supposed differences in two different leagues. I appreciate the classic differences of, supposedly, more hit and run, stolen bases, and situational ball in the NL vs more power and base to base play of the AL. IMO, time and inter-league play has diminished the differences to a degree. I've also never felt there was an absolute between the two leagues. But I have to say, I've always liked the DH personally. I've always felt that making pitchers hit was akin to having QB block and tackle.

I've always felt the best part of the game was a melding of both approaches of the two leagues.

Off my soapbox of viewpoint and reflection, I've always felt the BEST DH option was to have the most complete team you could have, and rotate different players in and out of the lineup at the DH spot. The Twins have had some excellent DH options over the years, like Thome, or Chilli Davis back a few years. But I always liked the Bush and Larkin years, and others, when you had a good bat to DH who was also a viable player. I think we have that now. Morrison is a legitimate backup to Mauer at 1B. Grossman offers a useful alternative on occasion. Mauer, Sano and others can have half days off with the depth and construction of the roster.

It's not that I'd ever object to a single, big time hitter occupying the spot, but how much better is it to have flexibility vs a single dimensional player occupying a roster spot?

I think we're in really good shape here.
    • Blake, Tom Froemming, Minny505 and 3 others like this
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LeatherAntenna
Mar 23 2018 06:36 AM
Can I ask someone, what happened to ByungHo Park? I had forgotten about him after that I believe that one year that he played with the Twins?

Can I ask someone, what happened to ByungHo Park? I had forgotten about him after that I believe that one year that he played with the Twins?


He was in AAA all of last year. He is no longer with the Twins and I believe he is playing in the KBO again.

A real honest-to-goodness DH.So, this is what it's like being in the AL!!Seems like the Twins have always looked more like a NL team with the DH they ran out each day.

    • caninatl04 likes this
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LeatherAntenna
Mar 23 2018 07:44 AM

He was in AAA all of last year. He is no longer with the Twins and I believe he is playing in the KBO again.

thank you, one more question, that first year he was injured was he not? Was he a victim of that injury or was he just not MLB material? Again just curious, I just recall that the few times he did connect and hit it out it was impressive.
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birdwatcher
Mar 23 2018 07:53 AM

Park's skills failed to translate, according to his translator.

    • Dantes929 likes this

 

Can I ask someone, what happened to ByungHo Park? I had forgotten about him after that I believe that one year that he played with the Twins?

 

Back to the Korean league.

 

Park's skills failed to translate, according to his translator.

 

It always seemed to me that while he could handle the fastballs, offspeed and breaking pitches just tied him up in knots. I really had high hopes for him with the Twins and I still believe going after him was a good investment opportunity for the team. I wish him well back in Korea. (I'm still in love with his first big league home run in Kansas City. Absolute moon shot into the 3rd deck in left.)

    • birdwatcher and gunnarthor like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Mar 23 2018 10:00 AM

Hopefully Morrison proves to be that steady guy. The Twins have spent way too many seasons wasting the DH with production that would rival national league teams. I like that they went out and got one. It was a weak spot in an already dangerous lineup. 

    • HitInAPinch and caninatl04 like this
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Physics Guy
Mar 23 2018 10:03 AM

I love that the Twins jumped on the buyer's market that was 2018 free agency.Getting LoMo at 6.5M per year is a steal and offers some veteran protection behind Sano.With that said, I wish the Twins had gone after Todd Frazier instead.Although Morrison significantly outperformed him last year, Frazier has the longer track record of better performance.Frazier is a RH bat that the Twins are lacking and also could rotate with Sano at 3B, potentially keeping him healthy.

 

Two factors ultimately probably didn't encourage the Twins to sign Frazier.First, they were still potentially saving money to sign Darvish.The Morrison signing came after Darvish signed with the Cubs and the Twins traded for Odorizzi.Second, they didn't know Polanco was going to be suspended.Hindsight makes Frazier the better signing, but I'm still quite happy they signed Morrison.Frazier signed for 2yr/$17M, well within our salary constraints.

    • caninatl04 likes this

DH has generally been an afterthought for the Twins over the years, so it's nice to see the team grab someone like Morrison who isn't on the tail end of his career.

 

Way too many years of guys like Ryan Doumit, Rondell White, Jose Offerman, or Robbie Grossman and the last gasps of Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Roy Smalley. Bad sign when an OPS+ of 115 or so counts as a "good" MN DH season.

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Tommygun921
Mar 23 2018 11:27 AM
I've been a Twins fan my whole life. Therefore a fan of the AL and DH. I can't seem to understand why you wouldn't want someone like Jim Thome or David Ortiz DHing instead of a pitcher. I realize some pitchers can hit a bit but they're not hitters.

https://www.fangraph...ignated-hitter/

 

I'm going with the over here.

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yarnivek1972
Mar 23 2018 02:09 PM

DH has generally been an afterthought for the Twins over the years, so it's nice to see the team grab someone like Morrison who isn't on the tail end of his career.

Way too many years of guys like Ryan Doumit, Rondell White, Jose Offerman, or Robbie Grossman and the last gasps of Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Roy Smalley. Bad sign when an OPS+ of 115 or so counts as a "good" MN DH season.


The last gasps of Paul Molitor were still pretty good. The rest, yeah well. Yeah.

It’s even easy to forget that Chili Davis came to the Twins in 1991 because he was getting a reputation as injury prone and few teams wanted him.
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RegularJoe62
Mar 24 2018 10:46 AM

Can he play third? It's not going to take long for the Twins brain trust to figure out that Sano isn't going to be able to hold down the hot corner at 300 lbs and will need to move him to DH. 

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TheLeviathan
Mar 24 2018 11:17 AM

 

Can he play third? It's not going to take long for the Twins brain trust to figure out that Sano isn't going to be able to hold down the hot corner at 300 lbs and will need to move him to DH. 

 

I hear he weighs 600 pounds and will be allowed a designated runner as well.As long as we're dabbling in hyperbole.....

    • HitInAPinch likes this
Not a fan of the DH. What is nice, is the contrast between the AL and NL. Doc Bauer mentions QB's blocking and tackling, Sammy Baugh lead the NFL in interceptions multiple times, and punting as well. If you don't know Slingin Sammy Google him.
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HitInAPinch
Mar 26 2018 07:59 AM

Getting Logan Morrison to be the DH was part of some nice moves by the new FO.Nothing overwhelming, but seems more like a level of trust in the current MiLB prospects.Maybe...

If Morrison's break out last year is legit, than our offense is going to be very, very good. 

 

I like Diaz in the minors more than most but he's a long way away. Rooker will get DH at-bats at some point as well. 

 

The last gasps of Paul Molitor were still pretty good. The rest, yeah well. Yeah.

It’s even easy to forget that Chili Davis came to the Twins in 1991 because he was getting a reputation as injury prone and few teams wanted him.

 

1996 was wonderful. 1997 was more typical Twins DH stuff: not really good enough to justify the slot. 1998 was a "you stuck around at least one year too long" season that no one remembers because he's a Hall of Famer.


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