Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Home Stretch

I watched the Twins/Cards game today on MLB.TV. Yesterday I only had the box score to go on. Some quick thoughts:

Not a great day for Span yesterday (2 Ks and his first CS), but he did finish 1-3. Combined with his 2-strike single in the ninth today, he's raised his SfC adjusted line to .342/.444/.447. Of the hitters still in camp, only Joe Mauer and Craig Monroe have a higher OPS.

Pretty good outing from Livan, though, again, he wasn't facing many starters. Still, 5IP, 2ER on 3H, BB and 6Ks is about the best we can hope from him. Maybe he's ready to deliver another excellent April/May.

With competition for the last bullpen spot as tough as it is, Daigle might have blown it by giving up the lead in the ninth. Speaking of which, Perkins might have blown it with his outing in the 8th today. The pitch to Glaus that started the rally missed badly over the plate. He hasn't had a good enough spring to make it over the other guys.

Cuddyer looks awesome, but he always has good springs, doesn't he?

Great situational hitting in the 1st today. Gomez lined a 1-0 pitch for a double, Tolbert sent him to third with a grounder to right side, and Young hit a SF to deep center. Young added another SF with men at 2nd and 3rd in the 5th.

Pretty good job by Boof today. In the second, with a man on 3rd and 1 out, he got the grounder to 1st that he needed, but Morneau's throw to plate was high, allowing Glaus to slide in safely. With 2 out in the 4th, Boof walked the #9 hitter on 4 pitches, then fell behind Rasmus 1-0 before serving up a 2-run triple. Other than that little breakdown in concentration, he was effective. And he doubled off the wall(!) in his 2nd AB.

Kubel looked awful at the plate today. I hope he answers the bell in April - my fantasy team is counting on him to have a good OPS!

Buscher finally got a hit in his last AB. He made a terrific defensive play in the 5th. There may yet be time for him to earn the last bench spot.

With 3/4 of the spring training games in the books, here's how I'd evaluate the 35 Twins remaining in camp:

Getting it Done
Joe Mauer
Michael Cuddyer
Denard Span
Delmon Young - the BA & SLG% are dwindling, but he keeps driving in runs
Mike Lamb
Adam Everett - hope he doesn't use up all his hits in spring training
Craig Monroe - ditto
Boof Bonser
Kevin Slowey
Joe Nathan
Pat Neshek
Dennys Reyes
Philip Humber
Nick Blackburn
Brian Bass

So Far, So Good
Carlos Gomez - with an OBP of only .302, I just can't put him up there with Span
Eli Whiteside
Juan Rincon - too many walks to be up there with Reyes
Jesse Crain

Need to Pick It Up
Brendan Harris - seems to be warming up at the plate, and made a nice play in the hole today
Justin Morneau- still not much power...
Jason Kubel
Nick Punto
Mike Redmond
Jason Pridie
Matt Tolbert
Brian Buscher
Jon Knott
Drew Butera
Livan Hernandez - I'd like to see one more start like Friday before opening night
Francisco Liriano - better have a good week to show the team that he's ready for April
Scott Baker - ditto
Matt Guerrier
Glen Perkins
Casey Daigle

Since there may be one or two temporary rotation spots open, I'll list the starters in the order I think they should get chances. With seven games left, I'd fill the roster like this:

5th starter - Slowey, Blackburn, Humber
12 pitcher - Bass
CF - Span, but Gomez is making it tough on me
2B - Harris is finally solidly ahead of Punto
Bench - Buscher, by an eyelash over Tolbert

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