View Poll Results: What can we expect from Span this year?
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2011 version: He'll get hurt and be a non-factor
2010 version: Healthy but .330 OBP
In between: Healthy & .360 OBP
2008-2009 version: .385 OBP
02-19-2012, 10:48 PM #1
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What can we expect from Span?
Lately there has been lots of talk about wether or not Mauer will play decently, wether or not Morneau will play at all, what do we do with Nishi, will any of our Pitchers not suck, and do we really not have a better SS option than Grandpa Carroll?
What I haven't heard though, is much about Span. He went down with a concussion last year too, and only played in 70 games. Over those 70 games, he amassed a decidedly mediocre line that looks similar to the numbers he put up in 2010.
I personally am a bit concerned. He's only played 4 years at the major league level. 2009 was the first year he actually started the season with the club and he did fantastic. He also spent more than half the innings he played in the corner spots. When the Twins moved to Target Field and gave him the starting CF job, his defense was still good but his offensive numbers took a serious dive. Last year, those numbers weren't looking that much better.
So...why is he already inked in as our everyday leadoff hitter and CF? Do we even know if he'll be ready to play? If he IS fully recovered, is he recovered to where he was the last two years, or will we see 2009 Span again? Is he just another case of a player who excelled at the dome but struggles at Target Field?
02-20-2012, 12:37 AM #2
I think this is a fair question to ask. Personally, I feel little concern about Span. That is to say, I'm not concerned about him heading into the season. I am in the same place with Span this spring as I was with Morneau last season. I wasn't worried at all... and we know whow well MOrneau performed last year. So, we don't know how healthy he is,a nd it's fair to be concerned. His overall numbers looked pretty mediocre last year, but before the injury, he was played tremendously well. Then when he came back, he went something like 1-31 and that really hurt those overall numbers.
02-20-2012, 08:26 AM #3
Given the exit of Cuddy and Kubel, I'd say the expectations are production and veteran leadership (although it still feels weird to consider him an actual veteran!). Whether his health will allow him to meet those expectations is another question entirely. Defensively I think he'll be his old self. If Willingham and Revere can be average/average+ offensively, it'll take some of the heat off of Span. This roster has so many damaged parts, making it hard to envision any clear picture of what's going to happen, because so much depends on the health of so many guys who were not healthy and recovered but who have done great things when healthy. Exciting AND scary, I think!
02-20-2012, 08:50 AM #4
I agree Kirbydink that Span can be the one to supply the Twins with some veteran leadership. It was taught to him by Hunter, who learned it from Puckett. And, unfortunately for Span, the other two "veterans" of the Twins- Mauer and Morneau- have not done much leading in the past few years, despite their MVP and All-Star status. Both are too quiet, and neither seems willing to grasp the concept that they are the two best, so they need to lead and act like it. (I'm thinking to Souhan's article from the StarTrib this last weekend, when he called-out Mauer for not wanting to be the team-leader and wanting to be treated like a "utility player" on the team.)
02-20-2012, 08:51 AM #5
I'm very worried about Span, and as a general rule, I don't think you can put yourself in a position where you're "counting on" a player with legitimate concussion problems. People think concussions are some type of joke in baseball because it isn't a contact sport, but that's not the point. The margin for error between a fringe MLB'er and a legitimate player (or a star versus an average player) are extremely small. Anything whatsoever that affects your ability to focus the seams of a tiny baseball thrown 90 mph at the plate is a BIG deal. Really great players have just fallen off the face of the Earth for no reason other than that they turned 35 and their bat speed/reaction time just isn't what it once was.
Plus, I think the perception of even a healthy Span was a little overblown. He was really good in 2008 and 09, but even in early 2010, I felt like he was just okay. He's the type of player that the stats guys appreciate because of his OBP, etc. I don't feel that Target Field is to blame because he was primarily a singles and doubles hitter anyway.
So yes, while we certainly NEED a serviceable Span in either LF or CF (I'd prefer LF), even if his concussion problems weren't an issue, you're still giving away quite a bit of power potential in the outfield by having him AND Revere there at the same time. But it's not like we have the next Ryan Braun ready to come up from Rochester anyway...
02-20-2012, 08:52 AM #6
I'm bullish on Span. If it's ok with you guys, I'm going to try and add a survey to this, just to see how it works.
02-20-2012, 03:22 PM #7
Wasn't 2010 the year that Span had the inner ear problem (or whatever it was)? I never fully understood whether some of his problems last year related back to the earlier problem or whether it was a totally new/different concussion problem. Nevertheless, I am somewhat optimistic about Span -- maybe because his tweets sound pretty "businesslike" about his workouts.
02-20-2012, 04:00 PM #8
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I think Span will bounce back...my bigger concern is how much Revere has improved offensively and how much he will actually play. If he can improve his OBP he will be even more deadly on the base paths. He can easliy swipe 30 or more again....Revere, Span and Carroll could be on base quite a bit and give Joe, Josh and hopefully Justin alot of RBI opp.
02-24-2012, 12:49 PM #9
I see him as a healthy, .360 OBA guy. I'm worried about his SB production. Will Gardy try to have him steal? Will he be afraid to slide hard?"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."
02-24-2012, 03:03 PM #10