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  1. It is official, Byron Buxton has a "boxer's fracture" of his left hand. He will miss weeks recovering from his latest injury. It just never seems to end for the ultra-talented center fielder. If it isn't his legs, then it's his shoulder, if it isn't his shoulder, then it is his head (concussions). I feel terrible for the player and feel some disappointment for the organization. A wonderful talent who just can't seem to stay on the field. Time is drawing short for Buxton to perform for the Twins. Assuming he is out until after the All-Star break, he might be able to play 60 more games this season. He will almost certainly be either a free agent or traded before he reaches free agency and he is such a risk that it is unlikely that the middle-market Twins will make legitimate offers to keep him. ing time. So that will be a silver lining. Whatever fleeting hopes of returning to contention depend on the Twins winning lots of games against their Central Division opponents in the next few weeks and now it appears that they won't have their best and most exciting player. Someone will get more opportunities. I presume Nick Gordon will get some time in center field as will Max Kepler and the two left hitting rookies (Larnach and Kirilloff) will get plenty of play
  2. Like many other Minnesota Twins, Max Kepler enjoyed a banner 2019 regular season en route to over 100 victories. Kepler assumed the leadoff position in the batting order and flourished. He hit 36 homers and drove in 90 runs and played good defense in right field. Kepler also more than held his own against left handed pitching, hitting .283 with an .880 OPS against southpaws. The season, however, didn't end well for the Berlin native. He was injured and slumped in September and the team was swept out of the playoffs by the Yankees. Max was 0-10 in the 2019 playoffs. Since the breakout season, Kepler has not fared well. Max's OPS fell from to .760 in 2020 and is .692 this year. Kep has spent time on the Injured List both in 2019 and this season, including ten days on the COVID list. He's particularly struggled against left handed pitching making 2019 look like an extreme outlier in that regard. Kepler remains a good defender and is an adequate center fielder as well as well above average in right. Kepler's injuries and illness have given other players a chance. Career minor leaguers Rob Refsnyder and Kyle Garlick have fared well in limited roles and certainly done better against lefties than Kepler. Top prospects Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach have gotten an opportunity and shown that they are ready to hit big league pitching. Quite suddenly, there is a case to be made that Kepler shouldn't be getting regular play when everyone is healthy (I know it never seems to happen, but it might). Kepler is signed for two more years, at $6.75m in 2022 and $8.5m in 2023. That is more than reasonable for an above average starting corner outfielder, but is a lot to pay for a utility or platoon outfielder. Unfortunately, the trio of Larnach, Kirilloff and Kepler all hit left handed. Early results show the two rookies as handling southpaws better than the more veteran Kepler. What to do with Max?
  3. I was originally going to write about the Twins "June Swoon", but the news of Vargas' demotion followed by word that Miguel Sano would assume his spot on the roster makes last month's struggle old news. The Twins are above .500 so by loose definition they are contenders to make the playoffs. They have promoted three of their top prospects within the last month and it looks like this won't be the end of the moves. First, a look at positions, followed by a look at players. Center Field: The Twins have supplanted an injured and now released Jordan Schafer with first, Aaron Hicks and then top prospect Byron Buxton. Both are currently on the DL, with Hicks rehabbing and Buxton supposedly not due back for three to five weeks. I was really surprised when Hicks was not recalled following the injury to Buxton. Hicks has struggled a bit in his first games, but had three hits today. I have to believe Hicks is in Kansas City tomorrow when the Twins face the Royals. The future still belongs to Buxton, despite his struggles with the Twins. Hicks future seems pretty uncertain. The team has started three guys in center in the last week. Shortstop: When Santana was demoted about a month ago, it was assumed that Eduardo Escobar would get his chance to establish himself as the current shortstop. It didn't happen. Santana has returned and started a few games and Eduardo Nuñez has been at short more than Escobar. Jorge Polanco is still in Chattanoogs and committing too many errors. Starting rotation: Ervin Santana's suspension is up on Independence Day. His three rehab starts were very good. All five current starters have a pretty good claim to stay in the rotation. Bullpen: Alex Meyer was recently called up and in two appearances where the starter was knocked out early, has been pretty close to dreadful. The two non-closing left handed reliever have bad statistics and little chance for upside. Blaine Boyer seems to be weakening after a stong start. DH: Vargas opened the season as the regular DH, got demoted and then came back. He hasn't been a constant threat and has seen his playing time diminish. It appears that Sano will get a chance at DH. Players: Kennys Vargas-He wasn't a top prospect last year, but last year he forced his way onto the Twins last year. This year has offered major regression. Vargas had a brief demotion to AAA and today was sent to Chattanooga. Vargas needs to hit with authority and he's failed to do that. As mostly a pure DH (a game at first occasionally) the production has to be substantial. Oswaldo Arcia--He was injured and then optioned to Rochester. Arcia finally has started hitting, but he's been passed by by Eddie Rosario as an outfielder and probably Miguel Sano as a DH. The way back to the majors isn't clear. I would guess someone needs to struggle while Arcia lights it up. Eduardo Escobar--Last year's primary shortstop has hardly played the position. Danny Santana was given the job and when he faltered Escobar has gotten a few starts, but other have started many more. Most of Escobar's playing time has come in left field. He hasn't hit well enough to be a serious alternative in the outfield. Danny Santana--The Opening Day shortstop was demoted to the minors and only recalled when there were injuries. He hasn't hit well since his recall, and started the last two games in center field. Eddie Rosario--Rosario was recalled in May and now seems secure to stay with the club. He has adjusted very well to the majors, starting games at all three outfield positions. Aaron Hicks--Recalled after dominating AAA, Hicks played well in the field, but was at best only a #9 hitter. He was injured just as Buxton was to be recalled and is rehabbing in Rochester. Hicks could be on his way back to the majors as soon as tomorrow. Byron Buxton--The crown jewel of the farm system, Buxton struggled but showed obvious talent. He is slated to be disabled for probably another month. It appears that the Twins have settled on Rosario as a regular outfielder and that DH will be handled by Sano for now. Center field probably goes to Hicks until Buxton is healthy. I don't know who the shortstop for the rest of the year will be. I wish they would give Escobar a legitimate chance at this point. I think Santana needs work in the minors, along with Vargas and Arcia. That is some high quality depth
  4. I was delighted when Eddie Rosario was recalled from Rochester despite only average numbers at AAA. Much like Danny Santana, I saw a free swinging young player that just might find his stride as he ascended to the majors. Rosario had a good few weeks in the AFL this winter and looked good (not great) in spring training. As we all know, Rosario's major league career began with a bang. He homered on the first pitch he saw. However, it is getting to the point that making contact is a real challenge. Currently, Rosario has 10 strikeouts in 27 PAs and so far he hasn't accepted a base on balls. In addition, Eddie has already been charged with two errors in the field and had another ball hit off his glove for a triple. Much speculation has gone on about what happens when Arcia returns from the disabled list. It seems pretty clear to me that Eddie could use some more time in the minors. I think he's actually close, but he's not read to contribute to the Twins.
  5. 27 games is one sixth of the season. A team can't win a championship in 27 games and seldom will lose one (except maybe Milwaukee this year) in such a short span of time. I'm satisfied with the Twins' record, but not satisfied with many individuals. Last night, I was going to summarize this first section of games, and after an exciting and fortunate 8-7 win, I was going to speculate that maybe the tide had turned. Today's loss sours my mood enough to not make that claim. Today's game was a chance to steal a win when the hitters were totally handcuffed by the opponents' starter. It didn't happen. Also, a perfectly good start was diminished because a relief pitcher couldn't keep a run from scoring when taking over with two out and a runner on first. Finally, the aging veteran could make contact to drive in the tying run with one out and the tying run on third, followed by the top hitter on the team failing to get a hit with the tying run in scoring position. Here are some observations on the 2015 Twins: 1) After a slow start, the offense has been pretty good. Most of the slow starters have at least righted their batting averages. The power hasn't been there--on target for just 100 homers. Of late, the homers have come with runners on base--several three-run homers and a Plouffe grand slam, Most hitters have not matched their career norm. However, going into today's game, all the players were over .200 and the guys with the lowest averages had been hitting well of late. 2) Putting together pitching and defense, the Twins are just about exactly in the middle for run prevention. Given the notes that the Twins FIP is lowest in the league, that may be hard to sustain. I don't think FIP will ever be kind to a staff that strikes out the fewest in the league. 3) A big reason for optimism is that there would appear to be real help on the farm. Aaron Hicks is hitting very well at Rochester, while Byron Buxton has been white-hot for the last ten days. Several pitchers have thrived, as well. 4) The Twins, for the first time since 2010, have played better at home. They have a nice 10-5 mark at Target Field, while only going 4-8 on the road. Run scoring reflects a .500 team, as of today outscored by 1 run through the 27 games. 5) I expect the team to transition by mid-season. Some players will be disabled and a couple of guys will most likely be discarded. I like what I've seen from May and Gibson and Aaron Thompson has been a revelation. The bench guys have performed well when given a chance.
  6. With Rosario and Hicks both competing for the center field job in spring training, it was Hicks that got the bulk of the innings in center. To my knowledge, Rosario always played left when he and Hicks were both in the outfield. Will this continue in Rochester? If there is a true competition for "first man up" if (when?) Schafer struggles or is injured, I would think they would alternate between left field and center. Rosario hasn't played much center field in the past couple years, and the opportunity appears to be in center. Further, where do these guys hit in the Rochester lineup? It would seem to me that both would hit towards the top of the order.
  7. We all know Shane Robinson plays all three outfield positions and that his defense is rated as good at all three. Schafer has been rated as better at the corners than center. Arcia is well below average, as is Hunter. When the Twins have both Schafer and Robinson in the game, which of them plays center? There are two ways to look at this--if Schafer is viewed as the regular center fielder, Molitor might want to keep him there 100% of the time. I expect it would improve his defensive metrics to consistently play one position. The other view would be to put the best outfielder (Robinson) in center and move Schafer to a place where he's been better (corner). Gardenhire liked to leave his regulars alone. I am not sure what Molitor will do. There is, of course, the whole question about how strict the platoon between Robinson and Schafer will be, so perhaps Schafer is a regular or perhaps not so much. Another alignment question is what happens if Nunez or Escobar start a game in the outfield in place of Hunter? Would Arcia then move back to right for the day? Nuñez has played a handful of games in right and Escobar has not played any. In the infield, the question would be what if Nuñez and Escobar are in the game together. This spring, the Twins played Nuñez at second more than they played Escobar, but I think they needed to know if he could handle second on more than an emergency basis. My thought would be is 2b-ss is vacant they would use Nuñez at short and Escobar at second, 2b-3b would put Escobar at second, Nuñez at third. SS-3b would go Escobar at short and Nuñez at third. My view is that Esobar's best position is shortstop, but he is better defensively across the board than Nuñez. I think the best defensive position for Nuñez is third base and I think he isn't as bad as many on this board claim.
  8. I know that the demotion of Hicks and May and the naming of Milone as the fifth starter are big stories. Most assumed that Eddie Rosario would be optioned at some point. I held out hope that Eddie would win the center field job and in the last week there were rumbles that Eddie might win the left field job over Oswaldo Arcia. Rosario played almost exclusively in left field, leading most to assume that he wouldn't be the best defensive option in center and that Aaron Hicks would be the favorite for the center field job. Rosario's numbers have been so-so, certainly not enough to say he won the competition for center. I would submit that Rosario has been more impressive than the numbers. He has played very well in the field and thrown very well. Rosario has put up good at-bats when the games were on the line and he's hit the ball well, even when making outs. I expect that Rosario will go to Rochester along with Hicks. It is quite possible that they will take turns playing center and left. I believe he will hit better than Hicks at the same level. Hicks still has a good chance to be a better overall player. Whichever is the most productive should be the call-up when the Twins recall an outfielder.
  9. I might be whistling through the graveyard, but I think 2015 is the Twins' year to become a contender for quite some time. I base some of this hypothesis on the young talent already on the team, the young talent soon to be on the team, and the prospect that a few veterans will have strong comeback seasons. Further, I think there was much improvement in the team's talent from the beginning of the season until their last game in late September. Finally, I think the Twins are overdue for some good luck. The Twins allowed the most runs in the American League. They need to improve on both facets of run suppression--pitching and defense--and that has to mean new faces in new places. I think the Twins need some turnover in the relief corps and at least one addition to the rotation. My picks for the new rotation part is Justin Masterson. Brett Anderson and Josh Johnson are also interesting "lottery tickets", but Masterson has been better more recently. Masterson should be had for high seven figures ($8-9M), with perhaps a team option at higher dollars. In the bullpen, I think at least two holdovers need to go. Anthony Swarzak is arb eligible, but the Twins have rotation candidates to take his role in long relief. Veterans Duensing and Fien are also arb eligible. While their raw numbers weren't bad, a deeper look predicts dramatic falloff. I trade or non-tender both veterans and add who is next in line in the minors (I believe next in line is Michael Tonkin and Lester Oliveros). With the absences created by the claiming of Samuel Deduno and free agency of Jared Burton, there should be room for a potential starter or two to fill the long relief role. In order to improve defense, there needs to be stability in center field and better defenders on the corners. My blueprint allows for the acquisition of fielding whiz Peter Bourjos and also use better fielders in left field. Candidates to provide both offense and defense on the corners are Jordan Schafer and perhaps Eddie Rosario. Both also could get a shot to start in center, perhaps in some adapted platoon with Bourjos. Aaron Hicks would also figure for left or center, but I think both he and the team would be better served to start Hicks in AAA. Much of the rest of the roster would be status quo. Starters in the infield at first, second and third return. Santana auditions at both shortstop and the outfield and is a starter at one spot and Option B if the original plan doesn't work out. Nunez would be the primary utility infielder if Escobar is the SS. His ability to play in the outfield might buy him a roster spot even if Santana is at short,. Escobar is either the primary utility infielder or starting shortstop. At catcher, incumbent Kurt Suzuki will be back with Josmil Pinto as his understudy. Here's my 25-man roster leaving Fort Myers: Starting rotation: Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer, Justin Masterson Bullpen: Mike Pelfrey, Tommy Milone, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Lester Oliveros, Casey Fien, Glen Perkins (12 pitchers) Catchers: Kurt Suzuki, Josmil Pinto (2 catchers) Infielders: Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Nuñez (7 infielders) Outfielders: Jordan Schafer, Eddie Rosario, Peter Bourjos, Oswaldo Arcia
  10. In 2014, I saw Danny Santana play in a lot of games in spring training. I was impressed with his swing and his speed, but thought that he was a long way from helping the Twins in 2014. But, Santana showed the baseball world that he was ready when he was recalled in early May.He hit early and continued to hit throughout the season. Danny finished with a .319 batting average and an OPS of .824, both of which would have led the team easily if he had had enough plate appearances. Danny made the All-Rookie team and is a cinch to be the Twins Rookie of the Year for 2014. Santana assumed the leadoff spot in the order at midseason and thrived there. He hit over .300 and stole 19 bases as the leadoff man. Santana scored 70 runs in just over 100 games and had 41 extra-base hits in 430 plate appearances. Danny's BABIP was .405, a very high number and it was an astounding .443 as a right- handed hitter. Beyond his offensive contributions, Santana saved the Twins by playing center field. Danny started 62 games there after playing center only a handful of games in the low minors. His defense wasn't good at the start, but he improved and was adequate by the conclusion of the season. Two questions loom over Danny Santana for 2015 and beyond: 1) Can he sustain his outstanding offensive performance? and 2) What will his defensive position be? First, it is hard to believe that Santana will continue to hit .319 next year and beyond. He's got great speed, a nice swing and unflappable attitude, but that BABIP is pretty close to otherworldly, especially from the right side. I expect the major regression will come on his right-handed hitting because his K percentage is much higher (32% vs. 19% as a LH hitter). Also, I think Danny has to learn to be a bit more selective at the plate. He chased a lot of pitches out of the zone making for short or defensive at-bats. Adding to his walk percentage would be a good idea, as well (only 4.4% in 2014). Where Santana should play going forward has been a top topic on Twins Daily. The team got solid production from last year's de facto starting shortstop, Eduardo Escobar, and did not get anything close to solid production in center field from anyone else on the current roster. Santana was a shortstop playing center field in 2014. He could be more than that if the team decides he is needed in the outfield. However, he has the arm and range to be an outstanding defensive shortstop. It is a quandary that the next manager will have to deal with. Any solution will be controversial. The hope is the team picks a position for Danny and leaves him there, at least for 2015. Click here to view the article
  11. He hit early and continued to hit throughout the season. Danny finished with a .319 batting average and an OPS of .824, both of which would have led the team easily if he had had enough plate appearances. Danny made the All-Rookie team and is a cinch to be the Twins Rookie of the Year for 2014. Santana assumed the leadoff spot in the order at midseason and thrived there. He hit over .300 and stole 19 bases as the leadoff man. Santana scored 70 runs in just over 100 games and had 41 extra-base hits in 430 plate appearances. Danny's BABIP was .405, a very high number and it was an astounding .443 as a right- handed hitter. Beyond his offensive contributions, Santana saved the Twins by playing center field. Danny started 62 games there after playing center only a handful of games in the low minors. His defense wasn't good at the start, but he improved and was adequate by the conclusion of the season. Two questions loom over Danny Santana for 2015 and beyond: 1) Can he sustain his outstanding offensive performance? and 2) What will his defensive position be? First, it is hard to believe that Santana will continue to hit .319 next year and beyond. He's got great speed, a nice swing and unflappable attitude, but that BABIP is pretty close to otherworldly, especially from the right side. I expect the major regression will come on his right-handed hitting because his K percentage is much higher (32% vs. 19% as a LH hitter). Also, I think Danny has to learn to be a bit more selective at the plate. He chased a lot of pitches out of the zone making for short or defensive at-bats. Adding to his walk percentage would be a good idea, as well (only 4.4% in 2014). Where Santana should play going forward has been a top topic on Twins Daily. The team got solid production from last year's de facto starting shortstop, Eduardo Escobar, and did not get anything close to solid production in center field from anyone else on the current roster. Santana was a shortstop playing center field in 2014. He could be more than that if the team decides he is needed in the outfield. However, he has the arm and range to be an outstanding defensive shortstop. It is a quandary that the next manager will have to deal with. Any solution will be controversial. The hope is the team picks a position for Danny and leaves him there, at least for 2015.
  12. I saw Danny Santana play in a lot of games in Spring Training of 2014. I was impressed with his swing and his speed, but thought that he was a long way from helping the Twins in 2014. Santana showed the baseball world that he was ready when he was recalled in early May. He hit early and continued to hit throughout the season. Danny finished with a .319 batting average and an OPS of .824, both of which would have led the team easily if he had enough plate appearances. Danny made the All-Rookie team and is a cinch to be the Twins Rookie of the Year for 2014. Santana assumed the leadoff spot in the order at midseason and thrived there. He hit over .300 and stole 19 bases as the leadoff man. Santana scored 70 runs in just over 100 games and had 41 extra-base hits in 430 plate appearances. Danny's BABIP was .405, a very high number and it was an astounding .443 as a right handed hitter. Beyond his offensive contributions, Santana saved the Twins by playing center field. Danny started 62 games there after playing center only a handful of games in the low minors. His defense wasn't good at the start, but he improved and was adequate by the conclusion of the season. Two questions loom over Danny Santana for 2015 and beyond: 1) Can he sustain his outstanding offensive performance? 2) What will his defensive position be? First, I find it hard to believe that Santana will continue to hit .319 next year and beyond. He's got great speed, a nice swing and unflappable attitude, but that BABIP is pretty close to otherworldly, especially from the right side. I expect the major regression will come on his right handed hitting because his K percentage is much higher (32% vs. 19% as a LH hitter). Also, I think Danny has to learn to be a bit more selective at the plate. He chased a lot of pitches out of the zone making for short or defensive at-bats. Adding to his walk percentage would be a good idea, as well (only 4.4% in 2014). Where Santana should play going forward has been a top topic on Twins Daily. The team got solid production from last year's de facto starting shortstop, Eduardo Escobar, and did not get anything close to solid production in center field from anyone else on the current roster. Santana was a shortstop playing center field in 2014, he could be more than that if the team decides he is need in the outfield. However, he has the arm and range to be an outstanding defensive shortstop. It is a quandary that the next manager will have to deal with. Any solution will be controversial. I hope the team picks a position for Danny and leaves him there, at least for 2015.
  13. "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you". Aaron Hicks has been the starting center fielder for the Twins the last two Opening Days. He was a thorough disappointment in 2013, eventually getting demoted to AAA and not being recalled in September. With the bar set considerably lower in 2014, Hicks still fell far short of expectations and offered a lot of content for sports analysts with his supposed lack of preparation and short-lived decision to abandon switch hitting. Hicks spent much of this summer in New Britain and Rochester, but was recalled in September. Aaron got 70 plate appearances in September with the big club. There was talk of better focus and more confidence, but the result was something short of scintillating. Hicks hit .250 with a .648 OPS. His OBP was an entirely acceptable .348, but he had only three extra-base hits in those seventy plate appearances. My "eye test" observation was equally unimpressed. Hicks hit the ball hard only a handful of times that I can remember. Getting good wood on the ball is a part of his hit tool that seems to be missing to this point. On top of the offensive struggles, there have been whispers and inferences that Hicks is not committed to being a great baseball player. He skipped winter ball last year. He supposedly didn't know who was pitching one day and showed up late for a non-mandatory session with the training staff so that the manager felt he couldn't use him on that particular day. And then there is the switch-hitting debacle. Hicks has always been better as a right handed hitter. Many on this site thought the answer was simple--abandon switch hitting. Without consulting his manager and not discussing it with anyone else on the team, to my knowledge, Hicks decided to give up switch hitting. When it became obvious he needed work to have an acceptable chance against right handers and because he was able to rehab after a disabling injury, Hicks was sent to Double A and then optioned there when his rehab time ended. The idea was to work on the swing, but shortly after being optioned, Hicks went back to switch hitting. The platoon splits are pretty stark--Hicks' combined OPS was .615 but his OPS was .792 against left handed pitchers and only .512 vs right handers. To me, this is the contrast between tools and skills. Everyone remarks that Hicks has tools and he does--good speed, strong throwing arm, and big athletic body. The tools are good, but they aren't exceptional, except for maybe his outstanding throwing arm. The skills haven't caught up with the tools. Maybe they never will. I think Hicks' absolute upside is Austin Jackson--supposedly the next great all-around center fielder, who has been pretty good, but never an All-Star and a guy that hasn't become a high average hitter, accomplished power hitter, stolen base threat or Gold Glove defender. Given the Twins' dearth of outfield options, Hicks will most likely get another chance to make good on his potential. I maintain that what is best for his development and ultimately best for the team is to go to Triple A and build his confidence by dominating at that level. He has just turned 25 so there is a chance that he is a late bloomer who will thrive when he "gets it". The Twins, however, can't assume that he will. Fool them three times, shame on them.
  14. Danny Santana was called up because the Twins were just about out of choices for position players. He didn't play every day at first, but did start to hit right away. He hit enough to stay, then to play every day as the leadoff hitter and now almost certainly will make the Twins as their leadoff hitter in 2015. Santana is hitting .316 with an OPS of .822, fine numbers. Looking more deeply at his splits, he has hit better as a lefty (.851 OPS), hit well in almost every situation, and shown enough pop and speed to excite the fan base. If there are concerns, they would be about contact and BB/K ratio. Danny has struck out 78 times in slightly over half a season's at bat. He has drawn only 17 walks. I don't have his BABIP at my fingertips, but it has to be pretty high, which is fitting for a switch hitter with excellent speed, but he would probably be categorized as "lucky" in his young career. As mentioned previously, Santana has an OPS about 100 points higher as a left handed hitter. His OPS from the right side is a still-very-acceptable .752. He joins Kennys Vargas as a Twins switch hitter who fares better against right-handed pitching. Santana is 23 and has put up a very fine rookie season. What is his major league future and will he be the Twins regular shortstop for years to come?
  15. Sam Fuld, wearing previous backup CF Alex Presley's #1, had a very successful first game with the Twins at the Trop. He went 2-5 with an RBI and a lead off double in the top of the 9th that really should have come around to score. We know he can play the field better than most on the 25 man and can steal a base or two. With Hicks already out on thin ice after a disastrous 2013 and, excluding taking more walks so far in '14, more of the same this year. Will Fuld kick Aaron Hicks out of center or possibly out of a major league job completely? I know I am a lot more excited for Fuld's future here than Hicks' as of now. Given, this is literally 5 at bats in for Fuld, and Hicks clearly has more upside. Will the Fuld acquisition lead to a demotion for Hicks?
  16. 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?
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