We wrap up the Position Analysis series with a look at the relief corps, which could best be described as "unstable." There's little question that the Twins will proceed with seven relievers and a short bench, as is their standard; to fill those seven spots, they brought a veritable army of flawed pitchers to compete in Ft. Myers.
With a week left to go, it appears that the Twins have settled on which arms they will carry north. As is always the case in spring training, this is subject
Last year, the rotation was an utter disaster, with Twins starters ranking 26th in the majors in ERA and WHIP. Short outings taxed an already ill-equipped bullpen and frequently put games out of reach before the offense had much of a say.
It's not hard to see why these pitchers struggled so badly. Beyond injuries that hindered performance, the starting corps posted a lower strikeout rate than any other AL club; allowing that much contact in front of a substandard defense led to a league-worst
Updated 03-29-2012 at 12:40 AM by Nick Nelson
Likely Starter: Ryan Doumit
2011 Stats: .303/.353/.477, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 17 R, 0/1 SB
Potential Backups: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer
No team has everything set in stone with two weeks left in spring training. For the Twins, with uncertainties surrounding several players, plenty is subject to change between now and Opening Day. For example, last week I profiled the three outfield spots, and over the weekend it was revealed that two of those
Likely Starter: Josh Willingham
2011 Stats: .246/.332/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 4/5 SB
Potential Backups: Trevor Plouffe, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni
When he hasn't been needed elsewhere, Michael Cuddyer has spent most of the past six years roaming right field for the Twins. No player has spent more time in front of the big blue baggy and limestone overhang.
Cuddyer was a fan favorite, a media darling and a community
Likely Starter: Denard Span
2011 Stats: .264/.328/.359, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 37 R, 6/7 SB
Potential Backups: Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni
A good case can be made that during his first two seasons in the majors, Denard Span was not only one of the most underrated players on the Twins, but in all of baseball. Between 2008 and 2009, Span hit .305/.390/.422 with 41 steals and 63 extra-base hits in 238 games.
When the Twins signed Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million contract back in December, Terry Ryan offered this description: "He's a groundball machine and he throws the ball over the plate."
That characterization was only partially accurate. While the sinker-balling right-hander has induced grounders at an extreme rate, painting him as a consistent strike-thrower never passed the sniff test. As Aaron Gleeman astutely noted when the Twins signed him, Marquis' career walk rate is identical
Likely Starter: Ben Revere
2011 Stats: .267/.310/.309, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 56 R, 34/43 SB
Potential Backups: Trevor Plouffe, Darin Mastroianni, Brian Dinkelman
Last year the Twins were the least effective team in all of baseball at converting batted balls into outs. With a pitching staff that allows a ton of contact, that's an enormously troubling statistic.
Lining up Ben Revere as the regular left fielder should certainly
Likely Starter: Jamey Carroll
2011 Stats: .290/.359/.347, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 52 R, 10/10 SB
Potential Backups: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon
Welcome Jamey Carroll, the latest passenger on Minnesota's never-ending shortstop carousel.
Since Cristian Guzman's departure, the Twins have opened with six different players at the position in seven seasons. Their Opening Day shortstops have ended up averaging 68 starts
Likely Starter: Danny Valencia
2011 Stats: .246/.294/.383, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 63 R, 2/8 SB
Potential Backups: Luke Hughes, Sean Burroughs, Steve Pearce, Tsuyoshi Nishioka
With a lineup that will feature as many as five players who pose virtually no threat to hit the ball over the fence, the Twins are going to be heavily reliant on a few bats in the middle of the lineup to produce some pop in 2012. Among the incumbents, the only player
Likely Starter: Alexi Casilla
2011 Stats: .260/.322/.368
Potential Backups: Luke Hughes, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Brian Dinkelman, Brian Dozier
We've been down this road before.
Alexi Casilla was the Opening Day starter at second base in 2009, and at shortstop last year. In neither instance did he hang on for long. With a career .185/.232/.219 hitting line in April, the Dominican infielder has made a habit of stumbling
Yeah, it's only the second week of March. But early in spring training, positive signs have been hard to come by for this offense.
Today at Hammond Stadium, the Twins snapped a string of 27 consecutive scoreless innings, but did so without a run-scoring hit. Their two runs both came on bases-loaded walks. The latter took place with two outs in the ninth inning, drawing the Twins within a run of the Cardinals before Rene Tosoni grounded out to second on the first pitch of the next at-bat
Likely Starter: Justin Morneau
2011 Stats: .227/.285/.333, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 19 R, 0/0 SB
Potential Backups: Joe Mauer, Luke Hughes, Ryan Doumit, Chris Parmelee, Sean Burroughs, Steve Pearce, Aaron Bates
Through a couple weeks of camp, this much can be said for Justin Morneau: he hasn't raised any warning flags yet. He's been able to get through all his workouts, he's participated in a few exhibition contests and he laced a hard double
At my former writing home, I made an annual tradition of running through each position on the Twins' roster in March, sorting out the backup options and projecting the starter's performance. That tradition will continue here at Twins Daily, and today I'll kick off the Position Analysis series with catcher, where Joe Mauer is looking for a big comeback year.
Likely Starter: Joe Mauer
2011 Stats: .287/.360/.368, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 38 R, 0/0 SB
There's a saying that goes: one man's persisting and possibly career-ending concussion aftermath is another man's opportunity. Something like that, anyway. Up to this point, things have gone smoothly for Justin Morneau, who has been able to get through all his workouts and delivered an RBI single in the Twins' Grapefruit League opener on Saturday. But the first baseman acknowledged recently that post-concussion symptoms continued to haunt him throughout the offseason, and that if they return he's
Updated 03-13-2012 at 12:21 PM by Nick Nelson