Monday, March 17, 2014

Minnesota Twins Power Rankings: March 17, 2014

TWO MORE WEEKS!  We're getting closer and closer to real baseball and the Twins are getting closer and closer to finalizing their Opening Day 25-man roster.  The Twins cut 8 players over the weekend, most notably Danny Santana, who we will talk about later.  Last week, I put Jermaine Mitchell in the 10 spot of the Power Rankings, noting his impressive Spring and lamenting his chances of actually making the team.  I don't want to make the 10 spot a jinx spot, so we're going to start with someone who won't get cut.  At least not again...

Cut.  Get it?  Sano had successful Tommy John surgery this past week.  His surgery apparently went well and Sano is upbeat about the whole ordeal.  I read a chat with Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus last week and he pretty much said that this surgery does nothing to change Sano's future and ceiling.  He'll miss a year, which totally sucks, but he'll come back and continue his charge to Minnesota.  If his rehab goes well, he could be ready for DH duties in the Arizona Fall League. 

9.  Luke Bard

Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had a great report with some Minor League updates.  You can read the full report here.  I was happy to see that Luke Bard is making good progress in his throwing program and could soon be ready for game action.  He had labrum surgery this offseason and because of that and other injuries, Bard has only thrown 19.1 professional innings since being drafted 42nd overall in 2012.  Bard was one of the linchpins of the Twins' strategy to convert college relievers to professional starters.  Bard has the stuff, but might not have the health.  However, he could still emerge as a solid bullpen arm and he's still just 23.    

I'm not one to get wrapped up in Spring stats.  I'm not one to get wrapped up in AAA stats.  I'm not one to call for a person's job.  All that said, I want Trevor Plouffe to lose his job to the impressive Spring and AAA performer, Deibinson Romero.  Maybe not, but I know that sentiment is going to start to spread.  Romero has outperformed Plouffe this Spring.  He's younger, he's a better fielder and he has better plate discipline.  All of those things are true, but in each case, only slightly.  Romero also does not have Plouffe's power and has never performed at the MLB level.  While you can look at the two on paper and make the determination that Romero should get his shot, I'm not sure much would be different in the end. 

This impressive Spring performer is playing his way into a job with the Twins.  Herrmann is hitting over .400 this Spring and he's started to add first base to his defensive repertoire.  The Twins just cut Eric Fryer and now have just four catchers in camp.  That includes blog favorite Dan Rohlfing, who I sentimentally hope will earn a spot.  Herrmann looks more and more likely to be the actual backup catcher though.  Kurt Suzuki appears to be the starter, Josmil Pinto needs more at-bats than he would get as the backup and Herrmann can play outfield when he isn't catching.  Of course, the only catcher hitting better than Herrmann is Pinto, who probably should be the starting catcher in 2014.  Herrmann isn't really competing with Pinto, and Suzuki doesn't appear to be competing with anyone.  Herrmann seems likely to be on the Twins this coming season. 

6.  Minnesota Twins Promotions

If you want an inside look at how the Twins' front office selects their promotions and fan giveaways, this is probably the worst place to click.  If you like poorly-written screenplays with characters who aren't fully-formed, then this is a great place to click.  If you hate comedy and you'd rather read about the 14 most important Twins in 2014, then you can click here.  Basically, click everywhere and read a bunch of stuff I wrote before today.

5.  Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana

With Pedro Florimon coming back on Monday, the Twins cut Santana so he could work on his defense in the Minors.  Santana was very impressive this Spring and appears confident that he'll be back in Minnesota within a couple of months (according to this Berardino report).  Eduardo Escobar has been as impressive as anyone, getting go-ahead hits in two games this weekend, handling shortstop like a champ and flashing a wonderful smile at every opportunity.  I outlined the Eddie 400 movement a few months ago and Escobar's Spring only reinforces everything I wrote at the time.  He should be the Twins' starting shortstop in April.  He won't be, but he should be.  If he falters, Santana could be ready.

More likely, Pedro Florimon will struggle through 500 PAs in 2014.  

I'm going to make some Twins-related predictions next week and I've already got Phil Hughes penciled in for some lofty stuff.  I wasn't high on Hughes when the offseason started.  I ranked him 11th among free agent starting pitchers and I didn't want the Twins to go near him.  When he signed, I did more research and found reasons to like him.  When I selected him as the 10th most important Twins player in 2014, I did even more research and liked him even more.  You can read those reasons if you click the links.  Hughes has looked good in limited work this Spring.  I think he's going to have his best season as a starter and that his free agent contract will look great by midseason.  If you want a more detailed prediction, well, you'll just have to wait until next week.  INTRIGUE!

3.  Sid Hartman

Ha!  A Sid bobblehead!  My ad-wizards didn't come up with that!  It's a cool idea and I have to admit that Sid's is the first bobblehead I've actually wanted.  This coincides with Sid Hartman Day at Target Field on May 18.  Sid has become a bit of a caricature (a fun one, in my opinion) at this point, but he's a legendary reporter in this market and he deserves his day. 

Colabello is going from "nice story" to "man, could this guy actually contribute?" in a hurry.  He has looked great this Spring and not just because he's grown his hair out.  He leads the Twins with 10 hits, he's hit 3 doubles and a home run and he's walked 6 times.  Colabello didn't impress me in 2013, but he did hit 7 home runs in limited at-bats.  He struck out a ton, but he was a rookie and he'd only played 89 games above AA.  The Twins don't have a lot of power and Colabello certainly does.  Jason Kubel has been terrible this Spring and might be washed up (although, Kubel is just a year-and-a-half older).  Could Colabello hit 25-30 home runs as a the regular DH?  I'll put it this way, I'd guess Colabello is more likely to do so than Kubel.  Doesn't that make him the guy?

Super-duper Congratulations to Glen Perkins for signing a well-earned extension last week.  Perkins will be a Twin through 2017, with a team option for 2018.  Here's a breakdown of his deal:

2014 - $4.025 million
2015 - $4.65 million
2016 - $6.3 million
2017 - $6.5 million
2018 - $6.5 million (team option)

Those numbers in 2014 and 2015 are extremely reasonable figures for a closer of Perkins' caliber.  They're actually reasonable numbers for a closer of a much lower caliber.  Even in 2016 and 2017, when Perkins will be 33 and 34, the dollars look good to me. 

I am not a big "closer" guy, but I know value when I see it.  I hated Joe Nathan's big contract, not because I disliked Nathan but because the contract seemed to help handcuff the Twins from addressing more important needs.  This contract will handcuff no one and ensure that the Twins have a very good closer for the next four seasons.  I am very confident in Perkins' abilities in that role and I'm happy that the Twins will be able to avoid putting too much money into that spot for the foreseeable future. 

Two more Power Rankings this Spring!  I've got AL Central previews coming all week, so keep your eyes peeled for some fat analysis.  Have a great week, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment