Friday, February 26, 2010

Twins Spring Blog-Position Players

Today The position players for the Twins report to camp so i'll breakdown each player that has a chance to make the team.


Alexi Casilla 2B (.202 AVG, 0 HR, 17 RBI in 2009): Last year it looked like Casilla was going to be the starting second baseman. But after a poor start and a minor league stint, Casilla was unable to turn his 09 season around and earn his spot. His up and down play cost him the second baseman job this year and he will have to work hard to earn a spot on the bench.

J.J. Hardy SS (.247 AVG, 9 HR, 50 RBI w/MIL): Hardy was another player with a tough 09, and now the has changed addresses he looks to bounce back with no pressure on him. Before 09 he was averaging 25 home runs and 77 runs batted in and the Twins are hoping he can refind that all star form from the bottom of the order.

Brendan Harris 2B/SS/3B (.261 AVG, 6 HR, 27 RBI): After two seasons of filling the role of utility player, Harris is expected to do the same in 2010. He will platoon with Nick Punto for the third baseman role that might be eventually taken up by prospect Danny Valencia. Harris has shown he can hit better than Punto, but Ron Gardenhire has given Punto the nod because of his defense. If Harris can do great things offensively he would get the nod over Punto.

Orlando Hudson 2B (.283 AVG, 9 HR, 62 RBI w/LAD): The Twins turned some heads with the signing of Orlando Hudson. They filled a hole at second base and a hole in the two spot in their order left vacated by Orlando Cabrera. Hudson is a career .282 hitter and has a .348 lifetime OBP. He also has four gold gloves which fits the Twins style of play. The Twins made a smart move signing Hudson and solidifies a spectacular lineup.

Justin Morneau 1B (.274 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI): In the past three seasons the Twins have seen Morneau struggle or get injured in the second half. This season Morneau is not going pedal to the medal in spring training to stay rested for the season, and rightfully so because I dont think Michael Cuddyer can fill his shoes every year. For the Twins to make that deep postseason run they will need Morneau on the field, healthy, and rested or else the lineup starts to get a bit shallow.

Nick Punto 2B/SS/3B (.228 AVG, 1 HR, 38 RBI): Nick Punto had his choice of where he got to play in 2009. With holes all around the infield Punto played in almost 30 more games from 2008. But Punto's problem was his average dropped from .284 to .228. In 2010 he will be competing for the third base job with Brendan Harris and prospect Danny Valencia. For him to see good playing time he will have to raise his average next to his gold glove caliber defense. Punto usually gets the nod over Harris due to his stellar defense and with the solid lineup the Twins have 2010 should be no different.

Jim Thome 1B/DH (.249 AVG, 23 HR, 77 RBI w/CHW & LAD): Jim Thome fell into the Twins lap as a bargain deal this offseason. For a one year $1.5 million deal, the Twins got a significant bat off their bench and he can fill in at DH on days when Jason Kubel either needs a rest or plays in the outfield. He bats lefthanded and with the short porch in right field at Target Field look for Thome to put up good numbers coming off the bench for the Twins in 2010.

Matt Tolbert 2B/SS/3B (.232 AVG, 2 HR, 19 RBI): Matt Tolbert was a mid season call up for the Twins again in 2009. As the Twins made their stretch run, Tolbert was the main third baseman. He was not hitting all that well but his defense and hustle prompted Ron Gardenhire to put him in the lineup every day. Tolbert is not a lock to make the team out of camp but he could if theres an injury to a infielder or someone like Alexi Casilla has a terrible camp Tolbert could make the cut.

Danny Valencia 3B (.285 AVG, 14 HR, 70 RBI @ AA-New Britain & AAA-Rochester): Possibly by mid season Valencia could be the Twins starting third baseman. In just two seasons he has advanced all the way to AAA and if the Twins third baseman problems continue, his run will continue to the major leagues. Valencia has put up good offensive numbers in the minors but his defense still needs some work. Some in the Twins organization have said that he still needs time in the minors, so it will be interesting to see how the Twins use him in 2010.


Michael Cuddyer RF (.276 AVG, 32 HR, 94 RBI): Cuddyer's 09 season was defined in September filling in for the injured Justin Morneau when Cuddy hit .279 with 10 home runs and 29 runs batted in. Now that Morneau's back, Cuddyer will take his place in right field and will most likely bat sixth in the Twins lineup. With little depth in the Twins outfield Cuddyer will need to stay healthy or the Twins might be forced to make a in season trade to add another outfielder. Cuddyer is a very underrated outfielder who had lead MLB in outfield assists for two years and he should do just fine moving into Target Field.

Jason Kubel LF/DH (.300 AVG, 28 HR, 103 RBI): Kubel had a break out season in 2009. He finally brings power to the DH, which hasnt seen a decent hitter since the likes of Paul Molitor. Kubel will bat fifth behind Mauer and Morneau and should bring just as much punch as they do. If Kubel keeps progressing like the way he has been the last four years, he could reach the 30 home run plateau. Kubel will be mostly DH, but he will have an occasional day in one of the corner outfield spots. We should be seeing another impressive season from Kubel in 2010.

Denard Span CF (.311 AVG, 8 HR, 68 RBI): If there was one player that went under the radar in 2009 for the Twins, it was Denard Span. Hitting from the leadoff position, Span hit .311, had a .392 on base percentage, and lead the Twins in runs with 97. Him getting on base in front of the big bats in the order along with his baserunning agression was a pain for opposing pitchers. Now that Carlos Gomez has departed, Span will be the everyday centerfielder as he was destined to when the Twins drafted him. In just two seasons we have seen Span's average jump from .294 to .311 and it should increase in 2010 with the addition of Orlando Hudson to hit behind him. Maybe look for Span to be a All Star Game darkhorse player.

Delmon Young LF (.284 AVG, 12 HR, 60 RBI): In his first two seasons with the Twins, the Twins have seen Delmon Young struggle in the first half then go on a tear in the second half. So in preperation for the 2010 season, Delmon has dropped nearly 30 pounds to hopefully have more success over a whole season. Hopefully that carries over to his defense as well as he takes the left fielders job on a everyday basis. If Young can prove he can be a consistent hitter throughout the season that would just be an added bonus for the Twins. But if he falters again, the Twins might look into moving Young for a more consistent outfielder.

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