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Which Positions Need An Upgrade Next Year

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Originally posted on The Terrific (Minnesota) Twins blog http://terrificmntwins.blogspot.com/

For most Major League baseball teams the way to evaluate which positions need an upgrade would probably be to look at the nine positions individually, but with the Minnesota Twins grouping a couple positions together will be necessary, due to the versatility of Ryan Doumit, the need to give Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham rest at DH, Joe Mauer's inability to be a full time catcher, and middle infielders who can play multiple positions.

The positions the Twins are solid at: C/1B/LF/CF/DH

The only position in this group consistently played by one person is CF, which is of course played by Denard Span. Since returning from his concussion and being able to play everyday this year he has shown why the Twins gave him the contract they did. He plays great defense, due to being very good at reading the ball off the bat, and a very good lead off hitter due to his ability to get on base and steal a few bases. At an affordable contract, and the fact they did not trade him at the deadline it looks as if the Twins might have center field locked down for next year. The other four positions will probably be played by only four players on a consistent basis, it is just those four players will rotate around between the four positions. The four players are Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, and Ryan Doumit. Joe Mauer will play catcher, first base, and DH. Justin Morneau will play first base and DH. Josh Willingham will play left field and DH. Ryan Doumit will possibly play all four, but likely not much first base. These four players will also be the heart of the batting order. The only possible problem to this scenario is if the Twins look to trade Justin Morneau, but if they do this, then Chris Parmelee steps into his spot.

The positions the Twins look solid at, but probably need a little more time to decide: 3B/RF

This season it looks as if the Twins have possibly found long term solutions at both right field and third base, with Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe, but both still have questions marks. Plouffe has made a nice adjustment to playing third, and not bringing his throwing problems from shortstop over to third. The question surrounding Plouffe is whether he can keep up his hot hitting, or whether he will hit more like he did at the beginning of the season. Ben Revere is not the prototypical right fielder, but he has covered more ground than probably any other right fielder in the league. His arm is still going to hurt, but his range makes up for it. The questions surrounding Revere is of course his arm, but also whether or not he will be able to keep hitting for such an high average, since he does not draw many walks. If Plouffe can keep driving the ball and have an average around .270 and Revere can either maintain his high average or find a way to draw a few more walks, the Twins should be fine at right field and third base also.

The positions the Twins need to look to upgrade or internal players need to step up at: 2B/SS

Take a look at the internal options for the Twins for the middle infield positions next year: Brian Dozier, Jamey Carroll, Alexi Casilla, Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Florimon, Ray Chang, Estarlin De Los Santos and Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Do any of these players deserve to have a starting job in the Majors? The only ones who maybe deserve consideration at this point are Brian Dozier, Jamey Carroll, and Alexi Casilla. The Twins have tried again and again to give Alexi Casilla a starting job and it just hasn't worked out. The Twins probably need to move on from trying Alexi Casilla as a starter. Jamey Carroll has been a decent player for the Twins this year, but he is probably best suited as a bench player also. Brian Dozier was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, but has struggled a lot in the Majors in 2012. He will probably be given one of the starting spots for the Minnesota Twins in 2013, but he is still a question mark. A middle infield of Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll could work, but it is not overly promising. The Twins should look to improve at one of the two positions if not both. If they sign one infielder they should move Jamey Carroll to the bench and if they sign two they should give Brian Dozier more time in Triple A

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  1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
    Not sure if you were just doing positions, but I think that pitching should be on this list. Also, I would say that it wouldn't hurt to have Dozier start down in the Minors next year if they sign one middle infielder and pair that infielder with Jamey Carroll.
  2. COtwin's Avatar
    No way Carroll should be starting. He is beat used as a utility guy who can get on base some. Playing everyday just maximizes the negative affect his bat can have in the lineup. He is also a fairly expensive utility guy.
  3. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
    This is pretty much dead on. Though if the Twins go out and spend any money on a 2B or SS and don't sign the "free agent pitcher of the moment", this website will blow up.
  4. TNTwinsFan's Avatar
    How about just focusing on above average defensive guys up the middle and let the other 7-8 guys (DH included) hit? Obviously its ideal to have guys that can play above average in the field and in the batter's box, but those players seem to be rare... Not saying we need LNPs at those two positions, but quality gloves in the middle infield with average to slightly below average bats might get the job done...
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