• Power Sources

    At a glance, one would think that Minnesota's power output this year was well above the norm. Josh Willingham launched 35 bombs and fellow newcomer Ryan Doumit chipped in 18. Trevor Plouffe's 24 were a pleasant surprise, as were Justin Morneau's 19. Even Joe Mauer delivered 10 long balls just his third time reaching double digits.

    Despite all of those big power performances, the Twins tied with the Royals for fewest home runs in the American League. While 131 was an improvement over last year's league-worst total of 103, they remained one of the game's least threatening lineups.

    The problem is that beyond those aforementioned standout slugging performances, the roster produced no pop. Combined, all other Twins hitters managed 25 homers in 3,390 plate appearances, or one every 136.

    It's hard to believe that Willingham, Doumit, Plouffe, Morneau and Mauer will all repeat their power numbers from this season, so finding players with a bit of muscle to round out the roster ought to be a goal for Terry Ryan this winter, unless he wants his club to sink back toward 2011's dismal homer total.

    Mauer's unlikely to be a major power threat and Ben Revere will almost surely be starting somewhere in the outfield, so the best approach might be to work around those two spots and maybe try something unconventional.

    How about a little power from the shortstop position? Yunel Escobar offers a little he's gone deep 20 times over the past two years and might be available in a trade. Otherwise, there's Stephen Drew on the free agent market; he will probably have to take a small deal after back-to-back ugly seasons but posted double-digit homer totals in four straight seasons prior, including 21 in 2008.

    What about second base? The Twins got only one home run from the position in the entire 2012 season. Would Ryan be interested in pursuing a player like Kelly Johnson, who strikes out a ton and weakens your infield defense but has hit 63 home runs over the past three years?

    Bringing in some backups with the potential to go deep off the bench would also help. There will be several guys in free agency that would fit in that kind of role. Eric Chavez hit 16 homers this year for the Yankees and could platoon with or challenge Plouffe. Lefty masher Jonny Gomes would be a nice DH complement to Doumit, who is much better against righties. Scott Hairston is a prolific home run hitter and probably won't cost much.

    There are a number of different ways to attack this issue, but what's important is that the Twins acknowledge and address it. I hope they won't let strong performances from a few players cause them to overlook what is, undoubtedly, a problematic lack of power across the roster.
    This article was originally published in blog: Power Sources started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Ryan Roberts would be a good fit. He's heading into his second year of arbitration and is projected to make $3 million. That would be a big chunk of the Rays' payroll, so he's most likely to be non-tendered or traded. 31 HR in the last 2 years and plays a good 2B and 3B.
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      Probably the biggest reason why Morneau would not get traded. They might be thinking that essentially putting Parmelee in the lineup for Span may help improve this.
    1. sorney's Avatar
      sorney -
      Giants didn't need power to win the World Series....

      I kid, of course. They absolutely should continue to search for cheap power sources. Especially when no power Revere/Carroll/Whomever is SS are going to be getting approx 1500 at bats
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      So we can't expect Mr $23 million to repeat the monumental achievement of hitting 10 HRs again?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      So we can't expect Mr $23 million to repeat the monumental achievement of hitting 10 HRs again?
      hate the contract not the player .....only 5 people in all of baseball thought smokin joe mauer was going to be a 30 homer run kinda guy and that was the 3 stooges ,jipppy the owner and bill smith....as i pointed out way back when even bert campanaras hit 22 homers 1 year , that dont make him a power hitter ....now joe is a dam fine catcher he hits has a great obp and a very high risp and once larry gardenhire decides he dont need 3 catchers or august rolls around and larrys kicking rocks walking down the road wondering if he can find another job , then joe should get more time behind the plate
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      No reason to think that Morneau, Mauer, and Doumit can't match their HR total from last year. I would think 28-30 would be doable for Willingham, not a huge dropoff. Plouffe is a wildcard.

      Power would be nice, but it is not the main issue with this team. They have enough pop to stay healthy. I would rather see more professional hitter/beeter defenders than cheap sluggers for the sake of HR. If you have better hitters at the bottom, there is enough power to suit the Twins needs.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I have the Twins signing Gomes although Hairston could do the job too. Alos Parmelee in RF and Only Revere or Span in CF that will increase team power. I have the Twins targeting Inge for back up 3b / 3rd string C/ and 3rd string 2b and 1B

      It would be nice if the Twins addressed MI but I bet they hold off on that till next July if they are in the race.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      The Twins could have had Inge last year when Detroit released him. The Twins passed and that was pre-Plouffe hot streak and Post Danny V. send down if I'm not mistaken.

      Despite needing a 3B they passed.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Span will probably be moved, opening up RF for either Parmelee or eventually Arcia. Which ever one sticks should provide solid RF pop.
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      When you look at the Twins' batting stats, they seem misleading. During the season I was struck how often the Twins had four or five guys with OPS well under .700 in the lineup. Obviously, Revere has no power but remember how bad the right fielders were hitting before he came up. Revere was a huge improvement at the plate. And whoever was at short and second were consistent poor producers all year long. Morneau really struggled in the first half. Plouffe really only hit well for about six weeks. Throw in Butera and other random subs and you have gaping holes in your lineup. Get by the middle of the lineup and you have clear sailing for two innings.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I think the Twins need to talk frankly with Morneau about why he struggled so mightily against lefthanders last year. Whether his post concussion symptoms, blurred vision and dizziness, namely, are factors. I don't buy that he can miss the better part of 18 months and then turn into an everyday player overnight. They will need to bring in a righthanded power bat to hold 1B if, as I suspect, the new splits are permanent. No team can afford that kind of lousy production from the 1B against lefthanders.
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      ... as i pointed out way back when even bert campanaras hit 22 homers 1 year , that dont make him a power hitter ....
      Ha, I haven't thought of that for a long time...

      In 1970 I had yet to start paying much attention to baseball but, by '72, I was devouring baseball encyclopedias and studying everyones lifetime stats (I accidentally stumbled on a copy of "Who's Who in Baseball" and literally wore it out).

      That Campaneris hit 22 homers in 1970 was one of the first really odd things I saw. The Twins' power hitters in '72, Killebrew and Bobby Darwin, hit only 26 and 22. Campaneris looked like he weighed 130 with rocks in his pockets and his style was a very punch-and-judy-like approach. How could he hit as many homeruns as Darwin and nearly as many as Killebrew? It is a good reminder to me, in this day and age, that not all surges in home runs are steroid related. Also, it is a reminder that not all surges in power are signs of things to come as Campy hit only 57 in his other 18 major league seasons.

      Thanks for the memories...
    1. davesaxton's Avatar
      davesaxton -
      I know this would be a long shot, but Melky Cabrera is a FA. After his 50 gamer he is going to be need a quick one year deal to put himself back on the market. Sourses have said that he will be looking at the 2-5 Mil range for a 1 year deal, and as we all know, there is no such thing as a bad 1 year contract. let him come in, beat the ball around till Arcia or Hicks is ready and ship him out at the dead line.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      i was thinking of chavez , till i started to wonder if his power surge is a result of having alex riodrequez sitting next to him in the locker room,hes lefthhanded ,could platoon with plouffe if trevor struggles or could be a lefty for the lineup if justin is moved , but i still wonder why the power came back last year ?
    1. THE DFC's Avatar
      THE DFC -
      I think this is a pretty silly article. Just focusing on HRs as a target for FA is just not a good plan. The Giants just dominated the World Series and had the least HRs of any team in the regular season.

      More importantly, hitting is not our issue. As far as team .OPS (not a perfect statistic, I know), we were in the middle of the pack. Our issues are all pitching and aging position players.

      I'm still of the camp that we're not going to fix our pitching issues to the point of being truly competitive again until at least 2014. So, why bring in FAs that would block young talent? Chavez platooning with Plouffe? Are you kidding me? Why would we not just give Plouffe an entire season to be comfortable and perform after his ridiculous stretch before injury? And, anything that's going to prevent Hicks, Arcia, Parmelee and Revere from all getting field time next year is dumb.

      Too much short-term, 80-win thinking...which has plagued this franchise forever.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      i was thinking of chavez , till i started to wonder if his power surge is a result of having alex riodrequez sitting next to him in the locker room,hes lefthhanded ,could platoon with plouffe if trevor struggles or could be a lefty for the lineup if justin is moved , but i still wonder why the power came back last year ?

      Well, ignoring the obvious insinuation of steroid use, I can think of 2 reasons - he's been healthier this year than he has in the last six seasons, and Joe Girardi hid Chavez from left-handed pitching.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Chavez would be a solid bench player. I hate it when the team carries two futility IF'ers and a 3rd catcher. At least put a guy on the bench with a decent bat that can play 1B/3B. However I think Chavez would look elsewhere since the Twins are neither a contender nor will he get guaranteed playing time.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by THE DFC View Post
      Too much short-term, 80-win thinking...which has plagued this franchise forever.
      Middle of the pack offense isn't exactly something to sit back on your laurels with either.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by THE DFC View Post
      I think this is a pretty silly article. Just focusing on HRs as a target for FA is just not a good plan. The Giants just dominated the World Series and had the least HRs of any team in the regular season.
      Oh, OK. So all the Twins need to do is go out and acquire Cain, Bumgarner and Vogelsong. It's so simple! How has no one thought of this before???

      You improve your roster however you can. Finding inexpensive power bats is one way to go about it. Sitting back and doing nothing to address an offense that was "middle of the pack" despite career years from several players and almost no injuries is what I'd call a recipe for "short-term, 80-win thinking." Obviously pitching is the team's No. 1 priority. No one has said otherwise.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I think the Twins need to talk frankly with Morneau about why he struggled so mightily against lefthanders last year. Whether his post concussion symptoms, blurred vision and dizziness, namely, are factors. I don't buy that he can miss the better part of 18 months and then turn into an everyday player overnight. They will need to bring in a righthanded power bat to hold 1B if, as I suspect, the new splits are permanent. No team can afford that kind of lousy production from the 1B against lefthanders.
      Not only do I disagree that the splits are permanent, but as I recall, he was doing abysmally against lefties in the early months of 2012, then average against lefties, and then pretty respectably as the months went on. That kind of improvement is expected if he is to regain his form. I think he will. Perhaps not to MVP-caliber, but if his head stays healthy in 2013, he should be back to the old-school power-threat Morneau and absolutely not a candidate to platoon.
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