We are reminded in the forums here daily that Twins fans have their (sometimes contentious) differences of opinion, but one thing everyone seems to agree on is that this season has been vastly more enjoyable than the previous two.
In part, that's because the Twins are a far more respectable team. They are only four games below .500 and, outside of the notorious 10-game losing streak, they've generally played rather well.
After so much sinking during the last two seasons, it feels nice to tread water.
But staying afloat isn't by itself cause for excitement. What really seems to be keeping fans engaged is that, rather than hearing about the promising future, we're finally seeing it.
First, there was Aaron Hicks. The former first-round pick was a spring star and has shown some nice flashes over the first half of his rookie season.
Then came the unexpectedly early arrival of Oswaldo Arcia. The club has tried – so, so hard – to do the responsible thing and exercise patience with the exuberant 22-year-old, who last year around this time was playing in Single-A.
But they can't help themselves. Any time a roster spot has become available in the outfield, the Twins have taken advantage of the opportunity to get Arcia on the team. And Ron Gardenhire has shown no hesitation plugging the youngster's game-changing bat into the middle of the lineup on a regular basis. The results speak for themselves. (Over the weekend in Cleveland, Arcia doubled, homered and drove in four runs.)
Now, another key piece of the future arrives with the overdue promotion of Kyle Gibson. While the current rotation consists almost entirely of guys who are long- shots to be ongoing fixtures, Gibson is fully expected such a mainstay.
Terry Ryan implied recently
that when he called the top pitching prospect up from Rochester, it'd be for good. So, barring a meltdown in his first couple starts, Gibson likely won't be the one in danger of losing his job when Mike Pelfrey returns from the disabled list. Right now it looks like P.J. Walters and Scott Diamond will be the ones feeling the heat.
That is, if the Twins feel inclined to make room for a veteran with the league's worst qualifying ERA who is signed to a one-year deal. Pelfrey has been better of late, but still not good. Whether we're talking present or future, it's tough to make a case that he's a superior option to any of Walters, Diamond or Gibson.