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A Realistic Fix to the 2014 Twins

2014 Twins lineup and offensive expectation

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Pitchers and catchers report!

There are very few sweeter words in the English language. Time to roll out your Major League, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams DVD's (possibly For Love of the Game). Don't tell me I'm the only one!

I have no illusions of a World Series appearance for the TC boys this year. I think it's clear we are a year or two away. And while arguments could be made the Twins haven't done enough to address all of their short comings this offseason, there is also no doubt the Twins have invested more FA money than any time in their history to improve a pretty pathetic pitching staff. I don't think there is any doubt Nolasco, Hughes, a year removed from TJ surgery Pelfrey, Correia and whoever is short of a contending staff, but still filled with more potential and intrigue than anything we've run out to the mound ever 5th day for a few years now. And while there are no guarantees, there is definitely some potential there, with some great young arms to supplement and replace on the near horizon. And perhaps I or someone else will start a post regarding such. But for now, this post is strictly about the lineup and offense for the 2014 Twins.

There is a generalization of optimism that comes with spring training. For a time at least, everyone is improved, and everyone is a contender. Being a realist...we are probably not. Again, a year or two away. And honestly, the Twins have done very, very little to address the lineup for 2014. Almost depressingly nothing. (And this from someone who would rival Seth in the area of optimism) There could yet be a move, even a small one, that will provide at least some sense of depth and option with the lineup. But as of yet, nothing of value.

Understand, I am in NO WAY advocating, or admonishing the Twins for failing to act/sign, the likes of Cano or Ellsbury. Would you really spend that kind of money and years on 30 y.o. players with Dozier, Arcia, Rosario, Sano, Buxton, etc, already contributing or nearly ready to?

But where does that leave us lineup/offensively for 2014? Honestly, just being healthy would provide a better and more productive lineup than 2013. But where do we go from here?

I've been a Brian Dozier supporter/fan for some time now. And after a slow and disappointing start to last season, he really kicked things in to gear. Yes, his AVG and OB could have been better, but his milb numbers showed a slash of .298/.370, indicating he should show improvement in each of these areas in 2014, even if his power numbers slide somewhat. And what's really interesting is that until the 2012 debacle, Dozier had ONLY spent 2 1/2 years in the minors, and showed general improvement each season.

Joe Mauer. Do I really have to say more? If he doesn't win a gold glove the next few years at 1B it will be a huge surprise. He is the man with a career split of .323/.405/873 OPS. What will he do with a season of 150 games?

A healthy Willingham at DH, Molitor helping him in the transition, occasionally LF, has career averages of .256/.359/.830 OPS with averages of 28Dbls and 25 HR's.

Being a near rookie, it's hard to place numbers on Arcia, but I have to believe every number has to improve in his second season. I'd expect 30 doubles and 20 plus HR's roughly in 500 AB's.

Plouffe may never perform the way we wish he would. But rough calculations have him hitting .242/.305 with 25Dbls and 19 H's n 500 AB's. If he actually got 500 AB's at this point I'd hope for a bit more.

Hicks in CF hitting only in the .240 range with an OB above .300 with 30 doubles, double digit HR's and pushing 20+ SB's with excellent defense is still a big help with the potential for more.

Pinto, forgetting what he did in MLB last season, only taking his last 2 seasons of milb stats and reducing 20% to allow for a full season of rookie regression would still provide .243/.306 with 27Dbls and 13+HR's in 500 AB's.

Shortstop, Florimon, Escobar or Bartlett is certainly open to debate.

There is nothing earth shattering here, but still some optimism.

The biggest problem I see is lead off. Can Presley, even for one season, provide something acceptable? I don't know that Mastro or Hicks can provide the answer. Was hoping for a nice role player who could help/platoon. But to this point, that player/person has not been signed/identified.

What say you about the lineup for 2014 at this point?
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Comments

  1. stringer bell's Avatar
    There will be improvement from within, I think. Also, I think that there will be a changing of the guard during the season this year. First, I doubt Willingham lasts the season as a Twins, secondly, younger higher-upside players should claim three positions sometime this year: Pinto (who, in my book starts in the minors), Sano, and Hicks. I don't think any of those three is on the Opening Day roster, but they will supplant the season starters and improve the offensive productivity going forward. Arcia will likely move forward and backup options look to be far better than Doug Bernier and Clete Thomas.
  2. Brandon's Avatar
    Plus we have Kubel back in the fold too. The question is how many of our young players going to stay status quo or move forward? (Pinto, Dozier, Plouffe, Hicks, and Arcia) I expect a return to normal career numbers for Willingham, Mauer may improve a little, Florimon if we get a .250 average with 10HR and 10SB I am content. There are holes but there are also more reasonable remedies for the short term (Bartlett, Presley, Plouffe, Suzuki) then last year. I expect our offense to be ranked around 8th - 10th in the league with the potential to hit 6th or 7th if everything breaks right.
  3. strumdatjag's Avatar
    Tale of Two Lineups - Early and Late Season:
    Early (April, May and June):
    LF Pressley
    2B Dozier
    1B Mauer
    DH Willingham and Kubel Platoon
    RF Arcia
    3B Plouffe
    CF Hicks
    C Suzuki
    SS Florimon or Bartlett (if Drew or SS by trade, may bat higher in line-up)

    Later Season July and Beyond
    1. LF Hicks
    2. 1B Mauer
    3. (September Call-up Buxton in CF Bumps everyone, starting with Sano one spot lower)
    3 (4 in Sept) 3b Sano
    4 (5 in Sept) DH Plouffe and Kubel Platoon (Willingham released or traded)
    5 (6 in Sept) RF Arcia
    6 (7 in Sept) 2B Dozier
    7 (8 in Sept) C Pinto
    8 (gone or reserve in Sept) CF Pressley
    9. Florimon or Bartlett (or other SS obtained by trade maybe batting higher in lineup)
  4. DocBauer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by strumdatjag
    Tale of Two Lineups - Early and Late Season:
    Early (April, May and June):
    LF Pressley
    2B Dozier
    1B Mauer
    DH Willingham and Kubel Platoon
    RF Arcia
    3B Plouffe
    CF Hicks
    C Suzuki
    SS Florimon or Bartlett (if Drew or SS by trade, may bat higher in line-up)

    Later Season July and Beyond
    1. LF Hicks
    2. 1B Mauer
    3. (September Call-up Buxton in CF Bumps everyone, starting with Sano one spot lower)
    3 (4 in Sept) 3b Sano
    4 (5 in Sept) DH Plouffe and Kubel Platoon (Willingham released or traded)
    5 (6 in Sept) RF Arcia
    6 (7 in Sept) 2B Dozier
    7 (8 in Sept) C Pinto
    8 (gone or reserve in Sept) CF Pressley
    9. Florimon or Bartlett (or other SS obtained by trade maybe batting higher in lineup)
    I love the way you think.

    Part of me is very cautious in regard to Sano and Buxton for THIS season. Some of that is probably guarded optimism. But the talent level of these two young men is awesome and I wouldn't bet against both of them rising to the occasion by September. But while I can easily see Buxton sliding in to the #3 hole eventually, I still see him beginning his career in the lead off spot.

    I see him as a mix of Eric Davis and Griffey Jr. Someone help me and tell me if I'm wrong, but I want to say Jr began as a lead off hitter early on. Am I mistaken in my recollection?

    IG Kubel rebounds, I like he and Kubel at DH very much. Kubel can PH also, and probably fill in a corner OF spot on occasion, while Plouffe can do the same as well as the corner infield spots (emergency 2B maybe). And if Dozier and Pinto are really 7 & 8, WOW.

    Maybe Santana at SS by then at 9 as well?
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