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Thread: Shortstop and Center Field going forward

  1. #21
    Senior Member All-Star Bark's Lounge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocBauer View Post
    Generally speaking, I agree with Bark's thoughts here.

    Rewind your memory just a couple seasons ago, reflect over more than that even, and except for one OK season of Hudson and Hardy in the infield, which was nonetheless a bit of a letdown overall, and what have the Twins had for a keystone combo? Those spots have been filled with angst and even incompetance, except for Punto, as a quality utility guy only. Now, I don't point out the obvious to begin gnashing of teeth over Punto or dumping Hardy, but rather, as proof of how far our infield situation has, apparently, come in such a short period of time. Even when the season began, many were doubting the viability of Dozier, and even Florimon supporters were really just hoping for solid stop-gap play. Dozier has proved to be very real, Escobar has been a revelation thus far, (though I'm still upset with his handling over the past couple of weeks), Nunez has shown to be a decent bat and decent role player, and Santana shows real promise and has been a huge spark plug with excitement and possibilities. I haven't felt this good about the Twins middle infield in years, and I think we should all feel this way.

    Despite botching CF this year, I also thought Hicks would start to show improvement, at least enough to stick around, and probably have a better second half of the season. He's been mishandled, no doubt, but I also really question the switch back to switch hitting.

    In my opinion, for the balance of the season, Escobar continues as your primary SS. Not only does he flat out deserve it, but why would you mess with something that is working? Now, he can still fill in at 3B and 2B to give Plouffe and Dozier days off. I would continue to keep Santana in the mix at SS 2-3 days a week, however, to continue his experience and growth there. But Fuld is not part of the future, you have to keep Santana in the lineup, while inexperienced in CF, he's been better than I anticipated, has actually shown some improvement, and if full-time SS is not in his future, perhaps inf/of utility or LF starter and exciting top of the order hitter he might be.

    This off season, you simply have to aquire a decent, solid, ML caliber and capable CF option to go to ST with. This mystery man may start, he may platoon, or he may be a solid 4th OF if someone comes on strong. You're not going to invest heavy in a top player due to Buxton, nor would a player of that caliber want to come here with Buxton in the wings. Personally, I'd also sign a decent AAA-AAAA role player to help fill out Rochester's roster, and give you a fall back, fill-in type player available if necessary.

    2015 ST, you have the previously mentioned youngsters for SS and the infield, plus a couple lower level youngsters on the 40 man. You have said FA signee battling for the CF position with Rosario, if he continues to play well the remainder of the season, the AAAA hopeful, Hicks again, and Santana as a possible. And this is until Buxton is ready at some point, or at worse, a better patch-work 2015 than we've had in 2014.

    And since hes he's been mentioned, Plouffe is your 3B, for at least the start of 2015. No poor reflection on Sano, but even 100% healthy, with a few weeks to a month of DH in the minors to close out this year, and time in the AFL or winter leagues, it would be asking a lot to expect him to take over day 1. And while I still feel we have yet to see Plouffe reach his potential ceiling, his growth as a ball player this season, talent I believe is still untapped, I am of the belief we might have another potential Cuddyer or Cuddie-light on our hands. Just not to start out 2015.
    Well said Doc.

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  3. #22
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    Looking at this thread, I don't see a consensus for any one move. Perhaps there is a consensus that shortstop is not as much a mess as center field. I'd love to see Buxton playing soon to reinforce my thought that he is the real deal. Here's my 2 cents--if Willingham is moved, maybe Plouffe can get some reps in left field and Nuñez can play some third base. Maybe those moves will be easier to make in September. It looks to me like the team will unanimously be considered out of contention by the trade deadline.

  4. #23
    I don't know what to make of Arcia. More seasoning> Play Santana in center. Let Escobar handle short (he has batted dismal since he moved to third, what gives). I like the idea of Plouffe becoming the second-coming of Michel Cuddyer. Nunez is shosing some bat, let him play third. Fu;d is backup all the way. I also see Willingham and Correia getting traded for anything, maybe Suzuki, too. Parmelee who is playing hard than goes in lefgt?
    Joel Thingvall
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  5. #24
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    SS has been a pleasant surprise for the org as a whole this year. It was considered a weakness, but Santana and Escobar stepped up, Polanco is having a great season, and they drafted Gordon. I think there's a short term/long term consideration here. Santana's value is at SS. I really think that long term he has to remain there (though to be clear, I'm still expecting him to turn back into a pumpkin). I don't have too much of an issue letting him play in CF as a stop gap, but not as a long term solution. I don't see them fixing CF this year, so playing in CF with Fuld for the next couple of months is what I think will (and should) happen. This offseason, I'd toss a 1 year deal at someone in the FA market to be a stop gap CF and let Buxton/Rosario/Hicks vie for supplanting him in 2016 or in 2015 as an injury call up. Santana should return to SS.

    For 2015, I'd probably hand the job to Escobar and keep Santana in AAA (unless by some chance he doesn't regress), but I eventually see Santana taking the role and Escobar serving to as a rotating infielder giving Plouffe, Santana, and Dozier a day off once every 4 games.

    Given that none of the org CF guys have done much past AA (and only Hicks has had a good season there), I really think that the Twins need a 1 year deal for someone in CF. I'd much rather have a mediocre CF blocking a decent prospect who we are screaming for a call up then to have this situation play itself out again next season. I'd expect between Rosario, Buxton, and Hicks that at least one of them could prove themselves ready for the role in 2016. The only issue I see here is that Buxton will likely be in AA and Hicks/Rosario will be in AAA, so Eddie may still be playing some 2B to get regular at bats.

  6. #25
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    Hey diehard, you must do what I do when I've been away--explore every thread in bold print! I agree with your thoughts here, but do want to point out that there is a half season left for Hicks, Buxton, and Rosario. I'm not expecting much from Hicks, but I'm hoping to be surprised. I am expecting that Rosario gets rolling and I hope he gets a chance to be promoted at least to Rochester, if not the Twins. If one of the three guys is a standout in the second half, maybe just going with a stopgap like Presley...errr Fuld is fine for the start of 2015. I remain optimistic that Byron Buxton will be a regular center fielder for the Twins sometime next year, despite his long recovery from a wrist injury.

  7. #26
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    Hey diehard, you must do what I do when I've been away--explore every thread in bold print! I agree with your thoughts here, but do want to point out that there is a half season left for Hicks, Buxton, and Rosario. I'm not expecting much from Hicks, but I'm hoping to be surprised. I am expecting that Rosario gets rolling and I hope he gets a chance to be promoted at least to Rochester, if not the Twins. If one of the three guys is a standout in the second half, maybe just going with a stopgap like Presley...errr Fuld is fine for the start of 2015. I remain optimistic that Byron Buxton will be a regular center fielder for the Twins sometime next year, despite his long recovery from a wrist injury.
    Yeah, but was really only away for about a day

    I honestly don't expect much of anything from any of them this year, but I do think that Rosario and Hicks will likely start in AAA next season. I'll be very unhappy if they don't add some CF depth this offseason or do so by a Bartlett experiment.

  8. #27
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Escobar's been great so far, but ultimately, he's a super-utility IF'er. Essentially Nick Punto who can hit. A guy who starts every year on the bench and hopefully stays in that role, but can start anywhere in the IF'er if injuries or struggles happen.

  9. #28
    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark's Lounge View Post
    In my Mind's eye - I am cool as a cucumber with Escobar, Santana and Nunez at SS. I believe Nunez is the better batsman, Escobar is the better fielder, and Santana is the better athlete and X-factor (X=Exciting). One or a combination of these guys will get the job done this season and next, not without any hick-ups mind you, but this is one of the least of my concerns.

    The whole CF situation is abysmal. It will probably be Fuld who plays most of the time the rest of the season - which cuts off about 15% of my interest in watching the last half of the season - not a big fan. A lot has been said about Aaron Hicks' baseball state of mind and he has earned those criticisms. I would feel a bit more comfortable if Hicks had stuck to his guns and abandoned switch hitting - he didn't and that makes him look worse in my book. You are 24 years old, make a decision and stick to it. 24 is semi-young adulthood, there should be no reason for the teeter-tawter decision making process. I still have hope for Hicks, but he is down to his last strike in my book.

    The best case scenario this season is having Rosario go on a tear and he miraculously ascends to the majors in late July/early August and takes the reigns in CF - giving the Twins fans some reason to have optimism for the final two months of the 2014 season and beyond, until Buxton is ready (if he pans out). To me this last paragraph is a pipe dream.
    No Hick-ups please
    "If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today."

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  11. #29
    You question Santana because of previous reports on his defense , but you let Nunez slide by on that, saying with work it can be acceptable? Huh?

  12. #30
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
    Hey diehard, you must do what I do when I've been away--explore every thread in bold print! I agree with your thoughts here, but do want to point out that there is a half season left for Hicks, Buxton, and Rosario. I'm not expecting much from Hicks, but I'm hoping to be surprised. I am expecting that Rosario gets rolling and I hope he gets a chance to be promoted at least to Rochester, if not the Twins. If one of the three guys is a standout in the second half, maybe just going with a stopgap like Presley...errr Fuld is fine for the start of 2015. I remain optimistic that Byron Buxton will be a regular center fielder for the Twins sometime next year, despite his long recovery from a wrist injury.
    Great entry! And right on.

    Hoping everyone read the Rod Carew articles. I mean, hey, it's ROD CAREW for goodness sake. But his brief comments concerning Hicks are interesting as well as very direct. For anyone who hasn't read yet, please do so. But in short, he mentions his belief in Hicks's immense talent and potential, but also speaks about questionable work habits and lack of proper preparation to achieve the level of play he's capable of. I was initially opposed to Hicks going down for 2 reasons: 1) who else was going to help fill CF, 2) was thinking we had passed the point where a demotion was going to do much good, and work with the Twins coaches might be the best approach. I have now changed my mind. I don't know what's going to happen with Hicks ultimately, but at this point, a big step back may be what he needs. AA or not, he seems to be swinging the bat a little better as of late, and has his OB still very high, which is a positive. And as Stringer points out, there is still a half season remaining.

    Rosario has me as intrigued as ever. Not only for his overall potential, (a multi-faceted LF who can do everything well if not great, and even back up CF & 2B), but as a temporary solution at CF for the Twins as early as next season. Now, this no reflection on Buxton, just a realistic look at our current situation. I still maintain the Twins need to sign a decent CF/4th OF option for next season, but Rosario might be in the mix as well. There is absolutely no question the negative affects surrounding his suspension, but he's not playing poorly, he seemed to handle AA well last year, and would already be at Rochester, if not Minnesota, by now if not for the suspension. A strong second half, very possibly some time at AAA, and some AFL or winter league time, he might be ready to fill CF next season for us.

    And by no means does any of this diminish Buxton, his talent and future, and deserved #1 prospect ranking, but that darn wrist injury is washing out at least half of his entire season. Once again, as said, there is still a half season left, and a lot of things can happen. But if he's healthy in the next week or two, can 2 months of AA and some winter action really get him ready to play CF for the Twins any earlier than mid-season?

    Even Santana could be a back up or fill in option. And Buxton is the future, hopefully soon. But even with that half season of possibilities ahead, a bright light is still shining on the need for some decent veteran to compete and help shore up the position for 2015.

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