Friday, March 28, 2008

My View of the Twins Lineup

Here is my view of the Twins lineup.

Joe Mauer, catcher – I don’t think Mauer will ever show that much power. At best, he may be only a 15-19 HR hitter. Still gold glove caliber, .300 plus hitting catchers are very rare. Mauer will thrive in the #2 spot of the batting order.

Justin Morneau, 1st – As Morneau goes, so go the Twins. He needs to be consistent about hitting HR’s throughout the season, not just hitting a bunch in one half of the season and hardly any the other half. He has to do this because other than Delmon Young, Morneau is the only big-time run producer the Twins have.

Brendan Harris, 2nd – Harris played his first full major league season last year and produced nicely offensively. His defense looks iffy. That means manager Ron Gardenhire favorite Nick Punto will be waiting in the wings. Punto is a great defender, but has been miserable offensively since the beginning of last year. This position could be unstable all year and that is not good.

Adam Everett, ss – He will save several runs with his brilliant defense, and he will kill many rallies with his weak hitting. But with the lack of stability around him at 2nd and 3rd, his defense prowess should vastly outweigh his offensive deficiencies.

Mike Lamb, 3rd – Lamb has never played full-time, so we can’t be sure of what he can do. He looks like he can hit, and hit with some power. However, the reports on his defense are not good. Luckily for the Twins Adam Everett defense can cover up some of Lamb weakness on defense. The Twins need Lamb to hit 20-25 HR’s. Anything less will be considered a disappointment.

Michael Cuddyer, rf – First off Cuddyer is the nicest baseball players I have ever met. He also has one of the best throwing arms in baseball. That said, he has to produce some runs. Last years 16 HRs and 81 RBIs are not enough. I think the less pressure he feels, the better he will produce offensively which is strangely why hitting 3rd in the lineup is best for him. He knows he will have Morneau batting behind him to pick him up, and he won’t have worry about producing if team’s walk Morneau.

Carlos Gomez, cf – I have mixed feelings about Gomez starting the year with the Twins. Part of me sees Gomez hitting well, hitting with power, stealing 50ome bases, and playing brilliant defense. The other part of me sees Gomez struggling and ruining his long term future that would have better served with a year in the minors. Hopefully The Twins need Gomez to feel motivated to prove his detractors wrong and have break out season. If he does not, a lot of questions will be asked of GM Bill Smith and manger Ron Gardenhire.

Delmon Young, lf – Young needs to become the super-star he is projected to be. Most Twins fans are obsessed with Mauer and Morneau so at first the fans will not get on Young about his production. However, it will soon become apparent who the second most important Twins regular is. That would be Young. If he does not produce, teams will pitch around Morneau, and the Twins offense will be worse than last year.

Jason Kubel / Craig Monroe, dh – The Twins did have any power to bring off the bench last year. With Kubel and Monroe platooning at dh, that problem will be solve. Still both men need to be consistent in their production. The Twins need both of them to have good years as they will likely bat sixth behind Morneau and Young.

The Bench – Mike Redmond, Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto and whoever is not dhing will fill out the bench. Redmond is the best backup catcher in the league, and a natural leader. Punto, as mentioned earlier, is all glove not hit. Tolbert has never played in the big leagues, but has potential to hit good and field solidly as 2nd, ss, and 3rd. Monroe and Kubel, as mentioned previously, will provide some pop off the bench.