Thoughts and Players to Watch
by, 06-16-2013 at 09:03 PM (275 Views)
The Twins have played the fewest games in the AL (along with the White Sox) and after 66 games, they are about what I thought they would be at this point: They are in fourth in their division and are within sight of everyone but Detroit. Big picture: Fine with me, I want to see this team sell at the trade deadline, but I don't want them to be dreadful.
What is not fine with me is that the players I want the Twins to sell just aren't performing that well. Doumit (.288/.405/.692), Morneau (.341/.379/.720) and the Hammer (.352/.411/.763) are all well below last year's results which would indicate that their value has diminished. It has been discussed all over TD, but Morneau's lack of power has lowered his OPS from last year, even though his BA is up. On the pitching side, I think the Twins need to hold on to whatever effective arms they have. Perkins has done well and has a nice team-friendly contract and despite a couple of hiccups lately, Burton is a good late-inning arm. I suppose the club could deal one of those guys while they have good value. Starters Correia and Pelfrey might have some value. Correia has been the Twins most consistent starter, but he epitomizes the mostly discredited "Pitch to Contact" approach and his innings could go to somebody currently toiling in Rochester. If the Twins can get anything of value for him, I would sell. Pelfrey, on the other hand, seems to be getting stronger. He's throwing harder, getting more Ks, and pitching deeper into games. Perhaps the Twins could sign him for another year at a bargain rate rather than selling and seeing him thrive for someone else.
There are several players whose box scores I check no matter what. Mostly I am looking at players who can help the Twins in the next year or two. That includes some guys on the major league team and some in the minors. Also included, any left hander than can get batters out--there never are enough lefties!
Here's a list with a thumbnail of the season so far and the reason why they could be players for the Twins: Chris Parmelee--could/should be Morneau's successor at first base. Young enough to be a key player when the next wave arrives. Parm is hitting .223 with a .648 OPS. He failed to secure a position last year and is on his way to ceding a spot in the Twins future. The bright spot has been surprisingly good defense in right field. He might be slotted as a bench player (RF/1B/DH) despite his poor hitting. Brian Dozier--For a franchise with so few good middle infielders, having a capable middle infielder is important. Dozier had a good game today and currently is hitting .230 with a .624 OPS. Again, Dozier has fielded his new position surprisingly well, but he has to hit more to secure a spot for 2014 and beyond. Dozier's June numbers are encouraging, with a .297 BA and OPS over .800. Pedro Florimon--He is important for the same reasons as Dozier. The bar for Florimon was set very low going into the season and he hit surprisingly well early. His overall offensive numbers mirror Dozier's--.227 BA with a .632 OPS--but June has not been kind to Florimon. Going into today's play, he's hitting .119 with a puny .388 OPS. His defense has slipped, as well, so that I don't think Pedro has guaranteed anything more than continued play into next month. Finally on the roster, Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe has had injury issues, but his numbers are ....well, good! Plouffe has an obvious successor playing in the Twins system, but if he can hit to an .800 OPS, he'll have a job with the Twins or somewhere else. Plouffe has the necessary skills to be a decent 3B and enough hitting prowess to be a regular somewhere in the Twins lineup. Good health, Trevor!
In the Twins top two minor league teams, I watch the catchers because I believe it is in the Twins best interest to have Joe Mauer catch less. Very encouraging numbers from Josmil Pinto, give me hope that the Twins can have a young receiver splitting time with Mauer behind the plate and hitting. Pinto's numbers at New Britain are outstanding: .321 BA and .957 OPS and reports have him being capable as a defender. "Utility catchers" Chris Herrmann and Dan Rohlfing look like guys who could fill a third catcher role, also able to play in the outfield and perhaps an infield corner: Herrmann did very well for the Twins in 15 plate appearances and Rohlfing has been outstanding as a C/OF for the Red Wings after putting up okay numbers in New Britain. Beyond the catchers, I look at NB SS Danny Santana, who is hitting a low-power low OBP .280 and has 20 errors at shortstop. Daniel Ortiz, who was a consistent performer early, but has slipped a bit. He's a corner OF with a .769 OPS. Finally, Michael Tonkin has impressed. He started in New Britain, and has moved to Rochester. He has a good WHIP, opponent's BA and strikes out more than one per inning. I think Tonkin will fit in as a late inning option for the Twins as soon as this year.