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"Who's on first?"


Recently, I found myself watching an old Abbott and Costello movie and I was quickly reminded about how funny they were.  If you’re an old time comedy fan, you’ve most likely heard the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” comedy routine.  If you haven’t heard it or haven’t seen it, find it on line and laugh out loud.  Abbott and Costello were comedic geniuses but who knew they could predict the future when they gave their first national radio performance of “Who’s on first?” in 1938.  The current Twins roster can be assembled into a potent line up every game of the year but under a microscope, it appears Abbott and Costello could see the upcoming 2022 Twins roster back when the Twins were still the Washington Senators.

Who’s on first?”  The Twins have had some great first basemen since day one in 1961.  Currently, first base has become a home for Miguel Sano but it’s been by default.  At times, the former third baseman has given us a glimpse of a great arm and a good glove but he is not consistent with either of those tools.  He’s destined to be a DH but his plate discipline has to be weighing on the Twins front office as Sano will be 29 years old next season and has shown no signs of improving his strike out rate.  Sano is on track for over 200 strike outs per season and a subpar batting average every year if he ever plays a full season of injury free baseball.  Will Sano stay at first or will the Twins ultimately move on with Alex Kirilloff, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker or even Mitch Garver?  So that leaves the question, “Who’s on first?” 

What’s on second.”  The former starting shortstop is what’s on second.  Jorge Polanco has moved from shortstop to second base where his defensive skills a better suited.  Polanco has become a star as he continues to improve offensively every season and my opinion is that he should stay at second for the foreseeable future.  The problem is that the Twins organization has several middle infielders that might be better suited playing second base or in the outfield than they are suited playing shortstop.  That being the case along with the Twins current shortstop Andrelton Simmons becoming a free agent at the end of the season leads to the question of will he or won’t he regarding Polanco returning to shortstop next season.  Polanco has to be on the field as many games as possible but so does future batting champion Luis Arraez who is also a second baseman.  What to do, is still a question at second base.

I don’t know.”  That sums up third base for the Twins since Corey Koskie’s last season with the team in 2004.  Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson has been a decent addition when he’s in the lineup.  The problem is that father time and the injury bug have caught up with Donaldson to a larger extent than expected.  Unfortunately, it’s as if he needs to be listed as "day to day" on the injury report every day of the season.  Is Luis Arraez the answer at third?  I don’t think so but I don’t know.  To the minors.  Do you hear crickets?  Yes?  That’s because the Twins number of third base minor league prospects has been thin in recent years.  Jose Miranda has played some third base at St. Paul (AAA) this year, but he has played all over the infield throughout his minor league career.  His offensive numbers are fantastic this season but is he another middle infielder trying to fit in at another position.  I don’t know.

I don’t give a darn./I don’t care.”  Now I know that Twins management/ownership gives a darn and cares about shortstop but…. 2007 Jason Bartlett to Tampa. 2008/09 Brendan Harris (fill in the roster).  2010 JJ Hardy to Baltimore.  2011 Trevor Plouffe to right field to third base.  2012 Brian Dozier to second base.  2013 Pedro Florimon to minors and Pirates.  2014/15 Eduardo Escobar (temporary) to Arizona.  2015/16 Eduardo Nunez to Boston.  2017 Jorge Polanco arrives but is now at second base.  This is a list of successful players but it can be easily interpreted as the Twins thinking that they can plug anybody in at the most important defensive position on the field.  Help me applaud the Twins for signing Andrelton Simmons and his gold glove this season.  Maybe he’ll be back to solidify that side of the infield again next season.  If not…Polanco, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon or Royce Lewis (big debut) are possible candidates.  Stop the turnover, give a darn and care by solidifying the position.

Why?”  This one is a stretch but why not?  Why are you out here in left field, Luis Arraez?  Because you and your bat have to be in the lineup.  Why are you out here, Alex Kirilloff?  Because you’re ready for the majors and you need to have plenty of at bats and not be on the bench.  Why are you out here, Trevor Larnach and Brent Rooker?  Because it’s your major league auditions.  These four Twins are all good answers for the question why.

Because.”  Buxton in center field.  We’ve seen what he can do.  Extend the contract.  Enough said!  Right?  Just because.

Today.”  Mitch Garver is the catcher today, when he’s healthy.  It took a few years to get to today from Joe Mauer but Garver is today.  Improved defense and a potent bat make him the catcher of today.  Pair him with a young good defensive catcher in Ryan Jeffers and the Twins have a good duo behind the plate every day, not just today.

Tomorrow.”  Wow, how appropriate is this for Twins starting pitching? It’s been more than a decade of tomorrows since the Twins had a lights out ace on the staff.  With Kenta Maeda hurt, there isn’t one starter to list on the depth chart for the 2022 season.  It’s going to take one big off season to figure out all 5 starters for the Twins in 2022.  For now, TBD is penciled in as the probable starter tomorrow.

When?”  Right field isn’t accounted for by Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” routine so please allow me to adlib just a little bit.  When will Max Kepler put it all together offensively?  Defense, no issues but he needs to hit both righties and lefties consistently from season to season to carry a better batting average, OBP and OPS.  He should not be a platoon outfielder because of the oppositions starting pitcher.  There are several good outfielders in the Twins system including players on the bench and in the minor leagues who would love to take over the every day duties in right field.  When will Max Kepler make it over the hump?  When will one of the many talented Twins outfielders overtake Kepler on the depth chart?  It’s a when, when situation for the TWHENS (Twins) in right field.

Falvey:  Who’s on first?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Levine:  Sano                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Falvey:  Say no to what?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Levine:  What’s on second.

And we’ll leave it at that……

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That's a nice bit! Nicely written article. 

1st base for me is Kirilloff because he has been plus defender there and his bat will play there.

2nd base has to be Polanco.  His power bat and solid glove work best there and a healthy Polanco is a productive Polanco so I think they keep him there.

SS is anybody's guess but I hope they solve it soon because that position has hurt us for a long time.

3rd can be split by Donaldson and Arraez.  If Donaldson stays healthy keep him at third and let him DH from time to time as well as have days off.  If he is injured Arraez is decent guy to plug in there.

Catcher I like Garver and that HR bat for offense but I like Jeffers better on defense and Rortevedt even better on defense. I think they are OK rotating there.

Left field could be a Larnach, Arraez, Rooker combination not sure what they will do there but I think it will be a rotating spot until someone gets hot and takes it.

Center belongs to Buxton and I hope they extend him.  I just love the guys swagger and confidence right now and he can do everything when healthy.

Right is probably still Kepler unless Cabbage or Contreras can unseat him. Kep has been trying harder to go the other way at times and it has worked some but the pull heavy ground out pop out approach could have the Twins moving on.

DH likely Sano and a rotating cast of bats.

That would be my whose who but injuries and trades could change things in a hurry,

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