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If the Twins aren't a playoff team...


jimbo92107

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The last four years watching the Minnesota Twins has been a real beating. The only thing keeping me and a lot of other fans from bugging out completely was that we knew there was some help coming via the draft, and that knowledge came from websites like Twins Daily.

 

We have now seen the 2015 version of this team, and it's getting better. Still, this ain't a playoff team, that's pretty clear. The pitching staff is still average at best, the position players are still largely punchless, and the defense is still below par.

 

My question is this: Why stick with this group when we know they won't make the playoffs? Clearly they're not ready to challenge Detroit or KC, a couple teams that themselves don't look Series bound. At what point should this team figure that it's better to bring up guys like Meyer and Buxton, let them get their feet wet at this level, rather than keep them down on the farm in favor of a team that's going nowhere?

 

The Twins brought Aaron Hicks up after tearing up AAA pitching for awhile. He looks much better at the plate, loading up and firing out. Buxton has never had trouble getting aggressive at the plate, or anywhere else. Anything he needs to polish, he can talk to Bruno. Meyer won't get better coaching in AAA than he'll get here, and he needs to see the guys he's got to beat.

 

How much longer?

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Do you want a bunch of 2012 and 2013 Aaron Hicks running around? Because that's what happens when players are rushed to the majors when they're not ready. Buxton is hitting .280 and striking out at AA. Do you want to watch the poor kid get completely overwhelmed for 4 months and perhaps completely lose his confidence?

 

Alex Meyer has a 7+ ERA at AAA. Is that the kind of baseball you want to watch?

 

I prefer the "punchless" Dozier, Plouffe, and Hunter for now.

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Do you want a bunch of 2012 and 2013 Aaron Hicks running around? Because that's what happens when players are rushed to the majors when they're not ready. Buxton is hitting .280 and striking out at AA. Do you want to watch the poor kid get completely overwhelmed for 4 months and perhaps completely lose his confidence?

 

Alex Meyer has a 7+ ERA at AAA. Is that the kind of baseball you want to watch?

 

I prefer the "punchless" Dozier, Plouffe, and Hunter for now.

Bring up the young guys. And we are already doing that. If they struggle, everyone will see it, and you just send them back to the minors. Admittedly there's an issue with what to do with Sano as long as Plouffe continues to play well. But Rosario had a nice game today. May pitched well. Hicks works better than Schafer for the moment as a placeholder for Buxton. Maybe Hicks even has a future in left or right. You could find room for Meyer in the bullpen if you really wanted. And so on.

 

The home team is playing well right now but I don't think that means we completely abandon the development process for the prospect types. Those are they guys who will compose the next playoff teams.

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If we stick to the two players I mentioned, the Hicks comparison doesn't hold up. Buxton especially has shown no signs of having large, puzzling gaps in his game, like Hicks. Meyer has alternately dominated and lost control of his stuff in AAA, but there's nothing fundamentally wrong with his delivery, or his arm already would have fallen off.

 

I just watched Hicks, Rosario and Hunter dominate the outfield today, and it was a pleasure. Imagine what that outfield would look like with Buxton's speed in the middle, Hicks in right and Rosario in left. Every now and then you see a major league outfield that's so fast and skilled, you wonder if a baseball with touch the ground out there. Rosario did a great job chasing down a ball near the left field wall today, and he also almost gunned down Evan Longoria on what looked like an easy double. The ball got there about one tenth of a second after Longoria did, and he looked very surprised that it was so close.

 

With Rosie, Hicksie and Buxie manning the field, great catches and throws would become everyday highlights. The pitching staff will save hits and runs. Remember the great diving catch a week ago by fourth outfielder Shane Robinson? Hicks gets to that ball without diving, as he did today. Buxton is even faster than Hicks, and has an even stronger arm!

 

I'll grant that maybe it's still a bit too early for Meyer. Maybe he's not ready to be the "ace" of the pitching staff. I'd still like to see him in the bullpen, getting a few "low leverage" chances here and there, even if it's just a "cup of coffee" as they're calling it for Rosario. Maybe it will do Meyer some good to see that not every hitter at the MLB level is Mike Trout or Adrian Gonzalez. Striking out a few guys in the bigs might help him throw more strikes in AAA.

 

Eddie Rosario clearly is having a great time with his little cuppa joe in the bigs. To me it looks like he's a little too timid at the plate, but then I like it when they swing really hard, just in case a baseball gets in the way. Byron Buxton may have some early jitters too, but I think once you call him up, he never goes down again. He's baseball's #1 prospect because baseball experts think he's on par with young superstars like Harper and Trout. The real question is, would bringing up Buxton and Meyer increase the chances of this Twins team making the playoffs?

 

I think it would.

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