Soul Patrol 2.0? Let's Hope So...
by, 03-03-2014 at 09:58 PM (759 Views)
Ah, the good old days of the early 2000s, when the Twins were hanging on to existence by a thread. Back then, after a solid decade of mediocrity, the Twins had finally started pulling things together and pushing forward to respectability. The Twins' 2001 outfield was patrolled by Matt Lawton (replaced by Shannon Stewart in 2003), Jacque Jones, and Spiderman, aka Torii Hunter. The Soul Patrol. Pretty much the only reason I got into baseball when I was young. They not only had their nickname, but brought the "League of Nations" with them (oh Corey Koskie, we miss you so).
Though Lawton, Stewart, and Jones are all retired, and Hunter is now with the Tigers, the Twins would seem to have a Soul Patrol 2.0 rising up through their system. They have the potential to be just as influential to the fortunes of the Twins as Lawton, Jones, and Hunter were. Their names: Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, and Lord Byron (Buxton).
Buxton is in my mind a player after Hunter's own defensive heart. Though Buxton (as far as I know) hasn't made any amazing wall-climbing catches, he has this catch as part of his resume already, and should add dozens more when he finally sprints his way into the Bigs. Speaking of hitting, Buxton is certainly on track to be a more complete hitter than Hunter. All in all, I think Buxton's floor at the moment would be a Torii-type player, and certainly has the skills to be way better.
Oswaldo Arcia, though not the speedster ala Jones/Lawton, is definitely the heir apparent in my mind to Josh Willingham in left field. He is more of a power hitter than anyone from the first Patrol, and is not as solid in the field as the rest of this group. Skill-level, I think he is probably closest to Matt Lawton and will probably hit, at his highest offensive prowess, pretty close to Lawton's career averages, though will never have Lawton's prowess in the field.
Aaron Hicks, though he had a hard time in the Bigs last season, definitely has the skill to be an above-average RF and backup CF. He is another speedy player, and he does have several Torii Hunter-esqe wall-climbs on his defensive resume. Oh, and his arm is very much above-average. Really the only thing Hicks needs to be a steady player for the Twins is a better bat. He really struggled at the plate, and until he steps up, he will be a very good defensive replacement.
Of course, it won't mean anything if one or more of these fine players gets injured or falls off the face of the baseball earth. Though the plight of the Twins now is not as severe as it was in 2001, they still need a group to bring them out of the darkness. That group is Soul Patrol 2.