Wednesday, May 21, 2014
At the quarter mark of the Minnesota Twins season I have been pleased with the play of Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki, Josmil Pinto, Eduardo Escobar, and Phil Hughes. I have been disappointed with the play of Joe Mauer, Pedro Florimon, Jason Kubel, Aaron Hicks, Kevin Correia, and Mike Pelfrey. I have been mystified by the Twins handling of Jason Bartlett and Oswaldo Arcia.
Dozier has proved to be one of the best 2nd basemen in the league this year. Dozier has reached base 76 times as of this writing, and scored 40 runs which means he scored more than half the time he got on base which is amazing. Dozier’s defense is better than his offense – which has been very good – meaning Dozer is very worry of all-star consideration. Dozier is also one of the nicest Twins I have ever met. I hope he has continued success.
Suzuki, Pinto, and Escobar have exceeded my expectations. Suzuki offensive revival and strong work with the pitching staff has made people forget that the catcher spot was suppose to be a weakness after Joe Mauer moved to 1st base. Pinto has spent more time DHing than catching because of Suzuki’s strong play, but Pinto has proved he can hit and draw walks. Escobar has emerged from light hitting utility player to offensively strong starting shortstop. I doubt Escobar can keep it up, but every game he can give promising prospect Danny Santana to work on developing his game is worthwhile.
The most impressive player for me so far this season has been Phil Hughes. I previously wrote about my belief that Hughes could have a good year. We now see that Hughes is the best starter the Twins have. He leads Twins starters in several categories. Hughes is the kind of starter we have needed for the last few years. I hope he can continue to have quality outings.
Sadly two other starters (Correia and Pelfrey) have not faired as well. Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Kyle Gibson, and Samuel Deduno have pitched well enough to take four of the five starting spots in the Twins rotation. With prospects Alex Meyer, Logan Darnell, and Trevor May starting to show promise at the Twins top minor league team, it could make Correia and Pelfrey very expended.
Kubel started out hot, and has now gone cold. He has been wildly inconsistent the last two years; it now looks like he will make it the last three years. Florimon started out cold and lost his job to Escobar. Mauer has been hurt and not producing like a superstar player should. Hicks seems to lack the drive to succeed. Hicks got called out in the media by the Twins organization which tells us how bad things have gotten with him. Part of Hicks is problem is that the Twins decided to keep Jason Bartlett out of spring training because they felt they needed his leadership. To keep Bartlett (who was not on the 40 man roster and not an experienced center fielder), the Twins had to release Hicks backup Alex Presley. Bartlett’s “leadership” was shown when he started off the season in a slump, got hurt, and then retired. This left the Twins with no solid alternative to Hicks in centerfield meaning Hicks can’t demoted and has to continue to stay with the major league team and struggle.
Another bizarre decision the Twins made involved Oswaldo Arcia. Arcia made the team out of spring training and played four games before being injured. Upon recovering from the injury Arcia was sent on a rehab stint in the minors. He hit well there and when the assignment was up the Twins demoted him back to minors rather than bring him back to he major league team. Now the team says it will bring Arcia back soon. Why not bring him back right away? Next time he gets hurt do you think he will be eager to tell anyone after not getting his old job back even though all he did to lose it was get hurt? If there had been other issues why did he make the team out of spring training?
With top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano hurt and not likely to make the major leagues, things to look forward to are the arrival of pitching prospect Alex Meyer and the emergence of power hitting prospect Kennys Vargas. I also look forward to the all the players on the Twins improving their play and the Twins finishing with a winning record this season.