Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Store

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

5 and 5 Top Upside Prospects

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 02:48 AM
How would Brad Steil answer the below question?  Most Twins top 10 prospect list are similar.  Therefore: Which remai...

Do the Twins have a potential winner here?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:30 AM
OK...less than 30 days until the start of Spring Training. In the great scheme of things, we know nothing of what will ultimately transpi...

Article: Ricky Nolasco: Back to the Future

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:04 PM
For Ricky Nolasco, January 1st has a much different tenor in 2015 than it did in 2014. A year ago, Ricky had recently signed the largest...

Blue Jays Prospect Lives in a Van

MLB Baseball Yesterday, 10:49 PM
No, this isn't a Chris Farley, Saturday Night Live skit, but it is kind of neat. Blue Jays pitching prospect Daniel Norris is from Tennes...

Article: Who Should Be In Line For Fifth Starter Spot?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:30 PM
With the addition of Ervin Santana via free agency, the Twins have essentially sealed up four of five spots in the 2015 rotation. Barring...


Photo

Speed, Defense and Perpetual Hope

Posted by stringer bell , 16 August 2014 · 519 views

schafer santana 4th outfielder speed defense
Speed, Defense and Perpetual Hope Dick Bremer broached the subject of outfield defense in tonight's broadcast. He spoke of the Twins' wishes to have more athletic, speedier defenders in the outfield, particularly the corners. As with most things Bremer says, I am sure he is clear that the Twins want the topic out there or he wouldn't bring it up. In my mind, this brings up the acquisition of Jordan Schafer, who is 27 and has shown superior speed (and base stealing skill), while being deficient in most other areas. The Twins are getting a good look at Schafer (33 PAs so far this month) and he has utilized his base stealing skill.

Actually, Schafer has been rather impressive in an extremely small sample size. He is 9 for 28, six for six stealing bases, and has made no glaring misplays in the field. Once thought to be a top prospect, maybe just maybe, could Schafer become more than a pinch runner? There's always a chance. The Twins are due to strike gold on a player given up on by other organizations. They have had their share of times where a player develops/evolves into a good player after the Twins have given him away for little or nothing. It is time for some payback.

In light of the merry-go-round that has happened in center field the last two years, it would be heartening for Schafer to be part of the solution to the problem. More likely, however, the best the Twins can hope for with a career .223 hitter (1280 PAs) is someone who hits enough to be a fourth outfielder. Having a fourth OF, who could player center along with the corners and who could be decent defensively and provide value as a pinch runner would be pretty good for claiming a guy off the scrap heap.

Another fast guy is Danny Santana. He has been given over 250 plate appearances since being recalled in May, mostly because the Twins didn't have anyone else available to call up from their 40-man roster. Santana has spent most of his time in center, and although he had hardly played there, he has been an adequate defender and has hit surprisingly well. Could Danny Santana be the solution to the center field problem? Two months ago, I would have said "no way, no how", a month ago, "barely a chance" and now I'm thinking "if no one else is ready, why not?" Santana is still regarded as a shortstop by the Twins organization, but if 1) Eduardo Escobar continues to be an above-average shortstop and 2) no one steps forward in center, then Santana should start 2015 as the Twins regular center fielder.

What about the prospects? The Twins have three guys who have been or still are regarded as top prospects for center field in the upper minors--Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, and #1 prospect Byron Buxton--and if any of those guys seizes center field it will be good for the organization. Each has their question marks--Hicks has failed twice to hold on to center for the Twins, Rosario has flirted with becoming a second baseman, been suspended for street drugs, and is currently hitting <.250 at AA, and Buxton has had an injury riddled season and only played one game above Class A. There is a lot of talent there, but also a lot of question marks and no guarantees.

The prudent thing to do IMHO is to open center field up for a wide-open competition in the spring. Unless he tanks dramatically in the last six weeks, Santana will be starting somewhere. It probably would increase his value even more if Santana would be an option in left field as well as center. Hicks and Rosario have gotten reps in the corners as well as center and if one of them step forward, perhaps they could be playing a corner OF spot. Left field could be a consolation prize for one of the guys trying to become the Twins' regular center fielder. Finally, if the hype is to be believed, when Buxton arrives, he will take over center field for as long as he is a Twin.

Having an outfield with two fast guys being out there between Buxton, Rosario, Hicks, Santana and Schafer would probably go a long way towards improving a leaky outfield. It also could provide excitement on the base paths and give the Twins balance between power and speed. If Santana claims shortstop, there is one less contestant in the competition, but regardless, it would be nice to see range out of at least two of the three outfield positions.

  • DocBauer likes this



To me, it is fairly simple. 

1) Assuming Santana plays well for the rest of 2014, he bats first and plays somewhere every day in 2015.

2) Assuming Escobar plays well for the rest of 2014, he is the Twins starting SS in 2015.

3) They have invested 2014 in Arcia.  His at bats have not been earned by his stats, but by his potential.  Barring injuries, Arcia should play every day through 2015.  At that time he will have about 1200 at bats.  We should have a fair idea of what kind of player Arcia is by then:  An average fielder with a power bat.

4) The 4th outfielder should be speedy, with some power and mentally strong enough to be a pinch hitter, pinch runner & be able to play Center Field. Sam Fuld was perfect.

  • Report
Photo
Paul Pleiss
Aug 17 2014 02:03 PM

If Jordan Schafer can't bunt, he won't make Gardy's 2015 squad. That being said, maybe Gardy won't be managing in 2015.

  • Report
Stringer, you and I are on the same wavelength here. This article's subject matter has been on my mind for weeks now, and have touched on it here and there. My thoughts, initially, were to sign a power/RBI bat for LF, which still needs to be done, and a stop-gap CF who could make a nice #4 OF if Hicks suddenly came on. I also thought a AAAA type would be a smart pickup for depth and insurance. Perhaps that can be Schafer? But as time has moved on, and Santana and the freed Escobar have done so well in their current roles, my thinking changed to just keeping things the status quo for 2015, with Hicks still in the wings, Rosario eventually, and Buxton the long term answer who hopefully won't be long term in fulfilling his promise and role. The AAAA insurance player, ex; Schafer, could still apply. Now, I'd still like Santana to work at and play some at SS so that when Buxton arrives, there is still the option of Santana playing SS if not LF where he could be a fine top of the order presence and one assumes at least a decent if not eventually quality LF. Recently, my thoughts have been swaying to the idea of moving Santana back to SS, where if his defense could be at least comparable to Escobar, the entire lineup suddenly shows even greater all around depth of talent for 2015 and beyond.
  • Report

We finally have options worth discussing.  Kinda exciting. Much better than complaining about Butera and Correia.

 

Small sample size but I have also been impressed with Schafer and if he could just raise his average a bit could make an excellent 4th OF. His base stealing is impressive. He has made three catches in left field that I have made the same comment on.  No way Willingham gets to that ball,

 

I can see the light on the position players - Pitching staff still fuzzy.

  • Report
I believe speed and defense have been undervalued for the last decade or so. Probably a result of PED's and the HR ball. Baseball is clearly shifting back to better pitching results and less overall scoring and lower power numbers. I think this is a positive thing as it brings back more nuances to the game in the form of situational hitting and running, bunts, sacrifices, stolen bases and the such. What has been referred to as the NL way of playing the game. I think that's a gross misnomer as teams like the Twins in the past, the A's, the Royals, and several teams in the AL, in the past, have enjoyed playing that form of baseball.
  • Report