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Shortstop and Center Field going forward

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

First, let me say that I think the die has been cast. The Twins are in fourth in their division, 9 back and 7 back in the Wild Card. They aren't going to contend. It's time to look at 2015 and beyond.

Dick Bremer recapped the first half of the season by saying that center field was a mess. He is right. There has been poor production and less than stellar defense from that position. The opening day center fielder is in limbo or Double A, or maybe both. The best offensive CF is a 23 year old shortstop. Ron Gardenhire has started fourth outfielder Sam Fuld there a lot and resorted to starting Chris Parmelee in center for a game. There isn't a player on the 40-man roster who could be looked at as more than a patch for center field, discounting the thoroughly confused and confusing Aaron Hicks.

Bremer also made similar comments about shortstop. While there hasn't been any continuity, I don't think shortstop is broken, like center field is for the Twins. Yes, Pedro Florimon failed in 80 at-bats, but Eduardo Escobar has been very good, Danny Santana has been a revelation, and Eduardo Nuñez has shown that he is a big-league hitter and he can play shortstop. Somewhere in the latter three is a pretty good shortstop. Santana has shown enough for us fans to believe he could be more than pretty good, however he is currently injured and has only 143 plate appearances, not quite enough to say he's proven he can hit.

Here's my take for both of the problem position for the Twins: Center Field--Sam Fuld is a capable center fielder, he shouldn't be considered to be a regular, but he's the best the Twins have right now. When Santana returns, he should play some center field as well. Why? Because the Twins need to see Santana get big-league at bats and they have other options at short. The only player in the high minors who could insert himself is Eddie Rosario. Rosario has recently slumped at New Britain, after serving a 50-game suspension. If he picks up the hitting and continues to be acceptable as a center fielder, I think the Twins could and should give him a chance.

Shortstop--I think the Twins owe Escobar an extended audition. He also has slumped recently, but he still carries an OPS+ of 100 and he has demonstrated he's a plus fielder at the three infield positions. Escobar is just a year and a half older than Santana. He is getting his first taste of everyday play in the majors and I don't think he's overmatched. Meanwhile, Nuñez may be the SS of last resort, but he isn't a totally unattractive option. Nuñez has a pretty good bat, some power and good speed. He, like Escobar, is truly versatile. Certainly his defense has been a problem, but with some work that could be acceptable--he's got the range and arm to be good. I also question Santana's defense, not so much for what he's done in Minnesota, but what I saw and heard of him previously.

To the point brought up several times, I think Escobar should get a shot at being a regular SS before the club gives the position to Danny Santana. What does everybody else think?

#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:14 AM

I would not have an issue with your plan, but mine is different. And, mine probably doesn't happen for a few weeks while teams oddly wait a month to add good players, decreasing their impact, and decreasing the likelihood they are needed.....

1. Santana to SS
2. Escobar to 3B
3. Plouffe to LF or RF
3a. If RF, Arcia to DH or AAA
3b. If LF, Willingham traded
4. Nunez backup 3B, SS, LF
5. When Rosario is ready, to LF or CF (depending on what I did with Plouffe)
6. In the meantime, Fuld in CF (sigh)

However, like I said, if they put Santana in CF full time, that would not bother me at all, if Esco was at SS instead. I can see that logic.
Lighten up Francis....

#3 stringer bell

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:23 AM

Mike, one point you are making is creating room for Plouffe in the OF. I actually think that is a good idea except that I expect Saño to be in Rochester to start 2015. If Plouffe is supposed to be part of the outfield picture next year, he needs reps there. While I believe Plouffe has made progress at third, there has to be flexibility preparing for the arrival of Saño, who is a big deal.

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:25 AM

That's my theory. I'd rather Plouffe be adjusting this year, even if we don't see Sano for 3 months or so next year. I think Plouffe could be Alex Gordon light in the OF. That has real value.
Lighten up Francis....

#5 spycake

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 11:47 AM

I'd take it even further: Santana should be the primary CF when he returns (and Parm can take more reps there in the meantime). What's the point of playing Fuld? He does nothing for the present or the future. He has no business on a MLB team except as a replacement 4th OF (he's not even a particularly good CF). He's guaranteed to be off the 40-man roster by October if not sooner, and he will certainly be available on minor league deal in the offseason.

We will need a non-Buxton CF better than Fuld for most of 2015, so might as well see if Santana can do it. And we for sure will need a SS in 2015+, so maximizing ABs for Santana and Escobar (and Nunez as #1 utility man) should be a priority.

#6 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:37 PM

To the point brought up several times, I think Escobar should get a shot at being a regular SS before the club gives the position to Danny Santana. What does everybody else think?


I thought this had been settled too. I thought Escobar won the job. This team is not good enough to have rotating defenders at their most important positions and still pretend to be a post season team. Unless they consider Escobar to have passed his audition and now want to give Nunez and Santana extended playing time there.

#7 Danchat

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:14 PM

I have no worries about SS right now. Escobar is doing great, Nunez can be alright, Santana is good there, and Polanco is in the minors and looked pretty darn good.

Fuld and Santana at CF though.... that's not good. Fuld can't hit, plus his throwing from the outfield has been... bad. I've seen him throw plenty of off-target throws out there. I can't really say what we should do. If there's a better CF than Fuld on waivers, take that guy.

Too bad we couldn't sign Rajai Davis. I think he'd solve this CF dilemma.

#8 BMCACCAL

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:15 PM

Escobar at short, Santana in center, Nunez as utility. Get Fuld out of there except as a true relief 4th or 5th OF. Escobar won the job and should stay there for the season so we can evaluate his bat. Same for Santana - let's find out if his bat truly plays at the Major level and if he can be the leadoff man going forward. You can't tell if they don't play.

#9 Marta Shearing

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:15 PM

Simple answer. Santana is CF stopgap until Buxton is ready. Nunez is SS stopgap until Santana or Polanco takes over. Escobar utility.

#10 Brandon

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:50 PM

I think the Twins should do what they can to win games. WHile they have a frustrating record, they do have an easier schedule this month. If they are not at least .500 by the end of the month then they should shift gears for next year.

#11 Kwak

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 03:38 PM

Plouffe is not an outfielder. Leave him at 3B--Sano isn't a guaranteed success there! Santana doesn't belong in CF--there has been enough evidence of him there. The Twins should either just hand the job over to Buxton and hold there noses until he succeeds or sign a free agent CF to play there for two years ("overpaying" if necessary). SS--play Escobar there for the rest of the year--with Santana playing everyday at Rochester (and sing Happy Trails to Florimon). Then decide what to do next season at SS between Escobar and Santana.

#12 Marta Shearing

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 04:11 PM

The more Santana plays in CF the better he'll get. Santana has ignited this lineup. Why oh why oh why would you put him on the bench? He has to play either SS or CF. I'm all for signing a stopgap CF next year and moving Santana back to SS. Escobar has to be a utility player.

#13 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 05:35 PM

The more Santana plays in CF the better he'll get. Santana has ignited this lineup. Why oh why oh why would you put him on the bench? He has to play either SS or CF. I'm all for signing a stopgap CF next year and moving Santana back to SS. Escobar has to be a utility player.


I am curious in how you are so certain that Escobar must be a utility player and Santana a CF.

They have nearly identical OPS at high A at 21. Escobar advanced to AA earlier at 21 and played more AAA while Santana played a full season of AA. Combined they are not significantly different. They both have been young for their leagues. They both have poor K/BB ratios. Santana has stolen more bases while Escobar was consistently ranked the best defensive infielder in the a White Sox system.

They both profile as utility players, but I see nothing and that would set Santana apart. If Escobar is truly the better defensive shortstop, he can probably outlast any offensive struggles that are certain to occur with any player with poor k/bb rates. Santana's speed will help him when he isn't hitting well.

Edited by jorgenswest, 02 July 2014 - 05:39 PM.


#14 ashburyjohn

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 05:56 PM

At the start of the year I viewed Escobar's ceiling as a utility infielder on a good team or a starter for a few years on a bad team. I'm happy for his start but I'll stick with my forecast. I'd prefer to try for a self-fulfilling prophecy with an eye toward better days in 2015-7, and use Esco-bear all over the infield. Over the course of 4 days, start Plouffe at 3rd 3 days, Dozier at 2nd 3 or all 4 days, Santana at short 3 days, and Escobar at each of the positions to cover the starter's day off. This gives them all nearly "starter's minutes", and enough PAs and defensive innings to make sure of what we've got. Squeeze in some time for Nunez in all this.

For center, I hate spreading Santana's defensive development thinner by giving him more than emergency time out there. Let Fuld get more innings out there than he deserves, unless and until a low-cost acquisition of someone better is achieved or until Hicks proves himself ready again. Parmelee can be an embarrassment as a backup there - just desserts to the organization for botching the plan for a backup plan in case Hicks didn't pan out again. (And for the record, I thought Hicks would succeed this time - but that doesn't mean having essentially no backup until Fuld was snagged off of waivers.)

Edited by ashburyjohn, 02 July 2014 - 05:59 PM.


#15 Sconnie

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:23 PM

1) there's no guarantees with Sano sticking at 3rd, leave Plouffe at 3rd until Sano is imminent to the bigs at 3rd. He might need to move to first or DH as a result of TJ. Give Plouffe some off season winter ball OF instructions.
2) I think Escobar is a fantastic utility guy, I like the plan of rotating him in on a schedule.
3) I think Nunez is a very good bench bat
4) I'd like Santana to get extensive SS time in the bigs.
5) As much as it pains me to say this, Sam Fuld is the best CF option the Twins have without stunting Santana's SS development. I hope Rosario can make his way to the Twins as a CF or a cheap but adequate AAA CF stopgap (maybe Hicks if he becomes adequate)becomes available soon.

#16 ScottyB

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:39 PM

Too bad we couldn't sign Rajai Davis. I think he'd solve this CF dilemma.


Davis didn't want to come here, but we could have had Emilio Bonofacio for nothing (although he's out right now with a right oblique strain.)

They both profile as utility players, but I see nothing and that would set Santana apart. If Escobar is truly the better defensive shortstop, he can probably outlast any offensive struggles that are certain to occur with any player with poor k/bb rates. Santana's speed will help him when he isn't hitting well.


What sets Santana apart is that he is an ignitor. He was an excellent leadoff guy. The main talents that set him apart are his arm as a fielder, his lightning speed, and both his ability and willingness to steal bases (which Escobar lacks).

#17 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:44 PM

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.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#18 howeda7

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:46 PM

I see Ploufe's role post-Sano as a platoon DH and occasional OF'er. He's never hit well enough to be an automatic every day player, but he's a good bench player who should play 3-4 days a week against lefties and an occasional righty. That said, leave him at 3B until Sano is ready. Escobar there is not a great idea, IMO.

SS/CF is trickier. Ultimately. Santana should be the Opening Day SS in 2015. But how much harm are you really doing playing him in CF in the meantime? He seemed to pick SS back up fine when Fuld arrived. Therefore, Escobar at SS and Santana in CF is clearly our best option for now. I would roll with this at least until Sept. or until a real CF'er is acquired at for Willingham/Suzuki.

Suzuki should be moved at the deadline and Pinto up to catch the rest of the season.

#19 oldguy10

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 07:10 PM

Almost every place one goes Pinto is viewed as a not very good fielding catcher so I posit on a team that is building albeit slowly a different option will have to be found.

#20 DocBauer

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:09 PM

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.


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.

#21 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:33 PM

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.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#22 stringer bell

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:50 PM

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.

#23 Rosterman

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:00 PM

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?
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#24 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:39 AM

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.

#25 stringer bell

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:47 AM

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.

#26 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:06 AM

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.

#27 howeda7

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:08 PM

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.

#28 Sconnie

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:59 PM

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

#29 twinstalker

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:24 PM

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?

#30 DocBauer

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 12:38 PM

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.