With Spring Training now underway, the need to write about odd and off-topic areas of the greatest sport is disappearing. I apologize for drawing these pictures of my favorite Twins. I apologize for late-night posts about Scott Diamond and his place in history. And I truly apologize for the absolutely terrible all-nickname MLB I created recently. All that nonsense ends today! We have real baseball to discuss!
We can begin to discuss important things like, "who will be the 4th outfielder," "who will be the 5th starter," and "what will the lineup look like." It is time for serious analysis. I'll throw myself in the deep end. I'll analyze all the projections and see if I can find a breakout player. I'll scour the past to see if I can find patterns that will reveal the future. I'll analyze the upcoming free agents, potential trade targets and eventual draft picks. I'll be so exhaustive that resources will literally flow from my many gowns, billowing beneath me as I triumphantly walk around Target Field and virtually tour the many forums and blogs in the Twins universe!
It starts today!
I decided to put together a Twins team comprised solely of players on other Minnesota pro sports teams.
I limited myself to the Wild, Wolves and Vikings, as I only know of their players. I am willing to bet there are professional athletes in other sports, but I do not know who those athletes are. I apologize. I'm a baseball feminist. If there is a player on the Lynx who could legitimately play for a fake team made up of hockey, football and basketball players, then I would want that player on my fake team. However, I simply do not know because I do not follow that team. For that, I am eternally sorry. I apologize for nothing else though.
I'll construct a 25 man (or so) team of Minnesota athletes complete with their roles/positions on this team and why I think they would be right for that position. I'm sure this has been done before, but I can't find an example anywhere. Actually, it probably hasn't been done as most people have far better things to do. In a few cases, I simply have no good reason for my choice. I will have to deal with that, but that is my cross to bear.
We'll begin with the ancillary players and the bench. Part 2 will be pitching and part 3 will be the starting lineup. If your favorite player is not listed, just calm down for a second, this is just part 1.
Farm System - Wild Farm System
Every good organization needs a farm system. The only realistic team to provide a farm system is the Wild, since football and basketball do not really have farm systems. The Wild system is a pretty good comp to the actual Twins system. Each has lots of high end talent, each has been rebuilt in recent years and each is ready to pay off. The Wild have 10-12 legit prospects, and so do the Twins. Aaron Hicks patrolling center field compares favorably to Mikael Granlund patrolling the center position on the Wild's second line. Hopefully Hicks has more early success. Charlie Coyle is Miguel Sano. Sure. I'm not sure who Byron Buxton is.
Mascot - Greg Stiemsma
But that's just mean.
Disabled List - Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger
This is not meant to make fun. Serious injuries are serious. Having players on the DL is normal. It just doesn't seem like a real baseball team without some injured players. It's a long season, and players get hurt.
Injured for days and weeks, but not on the DL - Jared Spurgeon
This is meant to make fun. Spurgeon has a lingering injury that just won't heal. The Wild did add
Spurgeon to their IR, but I think we all know how the Twins would handle a similar situation.
Back-up middle infielder - Niklas Backstrom
One would think that a goalie could do pretty well in the middle infield. Goalies have to move around and stop pucks and whatnot. Not sure he has the arm for short, but he would only play there sporadically. Backstrom is getting older, so he might be able to play a Jamey Carroll type role. Goalies always seem huge to me, but Backstrom is not huge. He has good agility and good range. In a back-up role, we could hide his age. Plus, the word back is in his name. The shoe fits.
4th Outfielder - Antoine Winfield
I picture Winfield as a veteran outfielder who isn't quite starting material anymore. He clearly has range as a safety and he can catch the ball. However, his biggest strength as a football player is hitting. So, you could plug him in the lineup 1-2 times a week and get good production, right? His veteran presence would be useful on a team filled with players who don't play this sport. That is something that bears serious consideration.
5th Outfielder/Back-up 1B - Chad Greenway
I've really got nothing here. I just thought Greenway should be represented. He'd probably be more of a pinch hitter though. If needed in the field, he might have good range in the outfield. He is fast. He might have some power too. He is big. Justin Morneau is big. He plays first. Josh Willingham is big. He plays outfield. Yep.
Back-up Catcher - Matt Cullen
Every Joe Mauer needs a back-up. The best back-up catchers can be productive when called upon and have the veteran savvy to run the pitching staff when the starter is either resting or playing another position. Matt Cullen is that savvy veteran. On the ice, he is a perfect 3rd or 4th line center, and on the diamond, he could certainly fill in behind the plate every 4th or 5th game. He's from Minnesota too, and that is always appreciated.
Bench - Luke Ridnour
I like Ridnour's versatility. For the Wolves, he can play point or off-guard. For the Twins, he would be able to play outfield, infield and even emergency catcher. He does everything fine, but nothing spectacular. He is the perfect bench player and he knows that is his best role.
Just Missed - Pierre-Marc Bouchard, J.J. Barea, Cal Clutterbuck
Clutterbuck might be a good hitter, but I already used that joke. Bouchard's concussions worry me. Barea is too short to play baseball.
Look for part 2 in the very near future. Breaking blogs into multiple parts is a great way to take something really long and turn it into something tolerable. If the reader hates it, at least it's over quickly and they never have to read future parts. If you are the writer, you can just never post later parts because odds are there is no demand.