• Good Days & Bad Days

    Fueled by interviews with assistant GM Rob Antony and manager Ron Gardenhire, yesterday became the best day of the year for Twins spring training news. The result? Almost every projected lineup you saw this offseason was probably wrong. Instead, youíll like see a whole lot of Josh Willingham playing left field, Ryan Doumit playing right field, Justin Morneau as the designated hitter and Chris Parmelee playing first base.

    The shakeup happens twelve days before the regular season starts and about a week before the Twins break camp. Like any reorg, it resulted in some good days and bad days:

    Good Day: Parmelee
    Not only does it look like Parmelee made the major league team, it looks like he is in position to be a regular without ever having played a game at AAA. That speaks highly of the organizationís confidence in him, confidence which is fueled by his second half in New Britain, a tremendous September call-up and a spring training where he has continued to show power.

    But make no mistake, this plan hinges on Parmelee being a productive major league player. That is an open question. Parmelee has averaged just twelve home runs and a .266 batting average over his six years in he minors. Thatís not nearly enough production for a first base prospect. If he falls flat, this plan looks a hell of a lot worse than any of those offseason projections. Thatís because this next guy is suddenly a guy without a position.

    Bad Day: Ben Revere
    When Gardenhire announced yesterday that Willingham was going to be his everyday left fielder and Span his everyday center fielder, Revere was left without a position. Revereís defensive strength is his range and his weakness is his arm. In Target Field that makes him a fantastic left fielder and a decent center fielder. But putting him in Target Fieldís tiny right field negates his biggest strength and exposes his biggest weakness.

    The Twins say heís competing for right field, but were he to win it, Gardenhire would look borderline insane. They also say heís competing for a roster spot, but without him on the roster, there isnít a backup center fielder, unless the Twins decide to go with Darin Mastroianni. I almost hope they do, because I think Revere needs to get everyday at-bats if heís going to develop into the water bug he could become.

    Good Day: Gardenhire
    Though He may not feel like it, because filling out the lineup sheet just got a lot more complicated. But provided PFOHF (Parmelee doesnít fall on his face), Gardyís roster has a ton of flexibility and offensive options to protect his two biggest guns, Morneau and Joe Mauer. With Doumit on the roster, Mauer can play less at catcher, but still be in the lineup at first or DH. Morneau can take the spot that Mauer doesnít and Parmelee can add his offense in right field. If Morneau needs a day off, Parmelee or Doumit can DH and Trevor Plouffe can play first base and punish a southpaw or two.

    Gardenhire also essentially replaces a bottom of the order bat (Revere) with a middle-of-the-order bat (Parmelee) for most games. My best guess on the lineup now looks like this:

    Span (LH)
    Jamey Carroll (RH)
    Mauer (LH)
    Morneau (LH)
    Willingham (RH)
    Parmelee/Doumit (LH)
    Danny Valencia (RH)
    Doumit/Parmelee (LH)
    Alexi Casilla (SH)

    If Doumit or Parmelee is hitting eighth, thatís a deep lineup. Congrats, Ron.

    Bad Day: The Pitching Staff
    The Twins offense just went from one of the better defensive outfields in the majors to one of the worst. Thatís how big of an impact Revereís range could have had. And if PFOHF then there is a real mess. Either Gardenhire has to move Willingham back to right field or the staff has to deal with a bad outfield AND know that it has been designed in almost the worst possible way.

    Bad Day: Nearly everyone hoping for a bench spot
    For a four-man bench, it appears three spots are taken: Luke Hughes & Plouffe (both of whom are useful and out of options) and Revere. That leaves one spot for either another catcher or a utility guy. Both could be classified as luxuries.

    The third catcher position doesnít seem to be as critical now that we know Morneau will likely be seeing most of the at-bats at DH. If Doumit was the DH, and Mauer got hurt during a game, then they Twins would have had to have the pitcher bat if Doumit moved to catcher. That seems less likely now.

    And the utility infielder role was mostly about backing up the shortstop, but the Twins do have two other players, Plouffe and Casilla, who can play shortstop. If Casilla plays short then Hughes, who is having a monster spring, could play second base. And while the Twins claim they want Plouffe to stay away from the middle infield, Parmeleeís emergence likely means less platoon opportunities for Plouffe. Maybe he needs to be looking at a super-utility role.
    This article was originally published in blog: Good Days & Bad Days started by John Bonnes
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Neinstein's Avatar
      Neinstein -
      At this point, I'd place Burroughs before Hollimon or any Catcher for that 4th Bench spot.


    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I wouldn't be opposed to that. Like I said in the story, both a catcher or a utility infielder are essentially luxuries. I think they're luxuries that Gardenhire values, and I think adding Parmelee to the team reduces the need for a LHed bench bat, but I there are a lot of legitimate ways the Twins could go with that last spot.
    1. Brendan Kennealy's Avatar
      Brendan Kennealy -
      I'm loving Parmalee's production. Putting him in the line-up looks like a no-brainer, but it definitely makes me worry about the outfield.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I don't see Doumit playing much in right field. I think there are so many lineups. 1.) With Morneau at 1B (means Parmelee in RF), 2.) With Morneau at DH (means Parmelee at 1B), 3.) Days that Mauer plays 1B (or DH).... there are so many options with the lineup. This can be good or bad.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      Plouffe: it might be an experiment in terror, but Trevor should be used as a Super Utility player. If he could figure out his throwing issues his value increases 100%. This can be a year to take those chances as it is pretty much a rebuilding year.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      If Revere were having a bad spring, I could see him getting some burn at AAA, but I pretty much beside myself that Willingham needing to play LF is going to decide who plays and who doesn't. If this is the case, it's another instance of crappy homework done by the organization. If this is all really just a way to say Parmelee >>>> Revere, then maybe it's okay, as long as Revere actually plays LF when he plays.

      I don't trust a thing this organization does or any decisions they make, from Terry Ryan to Wayne Krivsky to Ron Gardenhire to Deron Johnson. Sorry, mini-rant. Nice scouting on Terry Doyle.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I think their scouting was pretty accurate on Terry Doyle...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      This was a good weekend in many ways... I'm hoping that Morneau is turning the corner, and I'm loving that Revere may be headed to the bench. I agree that AAA might be beneficial to him, but from what I can tell, I think he's pretty much hit his ceiling already. I'm not sure he's got much more to learn. His ceiling is a 4th OF. He'll be a very good one, but I'm really not seeing much more unless he starts taking massive numbers of walks, which will only happen if he can start driving the ball a bit more.
    1. JasonDRuiz's Avatar
      JasonDRuiz -
      Given the size of Target Field and our pitchers, an outfield with limited range scares me. If the lineup can produce it could be ok, but that's a big outfield to cover.
    1. tobynotjason's Avatar
      tobynotjason -
      Watching people overreact to a tiny sample of Parmelee is getting farcical.

      Is there a non-zero possibility that he's turned some sort of corner and is the sort of hitter he was in 88 PAs last year married to (I'm guessing here) 40 PAs in Spring Freaking Training? Sure.

      Is it significant? No.

      It's like people might even know (or have the sense) that in a sample of 100 players whose true talent is to hit, say, .230/.270/.330, one or two of them will put up awesome numbers in a given 100 PA sample - that's just how random variation works - but they refuse to believe that could possibly be this Parmelee guy - who did nothing in the minor leagues to suggest he was MLB ready - because BY GOD they've seen him crush a few balls.

      What is lost by sending him to AAA? You remove a massive risk of non-production at a key position and of lost or even regressed development for Parmelee. And 6-8 weeks of tearing it up in Rochester (because that's what he's likely to do if his bat is truly ready to carry first base or an outfield corner) will tell you if he has somehow hit the developmental lottery. Realistically, he needs a season in AAA if he's going to be a viable major leaguer.

      *sigh* It could be REALLY ugly when teams start pitching to him with book in hand a month or so in.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Spot on assessment, tobynotjason.
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