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J-Dog Dungan

Soul Patrol 2.0? Let's Hope So...

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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.
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Updated 03-04-2014 at 12:10 AM by J-Dog Dungan

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  1. dakotanative's Avatar
    Nice article. I remember well the Soul Patrol and the League of Nations infield. One scout described the Twins infield as one having four shortstops. They could cover the ground. I always felt that Doug Meintkiewicz was the best fielding first baseman in all of baseball. His flops to the right field side save many an error for Koskie. However, I see Rosario taking Arcia's place in the outfield and Arcia being a DH. Eventually Polanco will be the second baseman with Santana at short. Rosario can flat out hit and needs to have a home as does Arcia. The outfield of Rosario, Buxton and Hicks will cover some serious ground and make out pitchers seem like all starts. On another note Mike Schmidt hit under .200 his first year in the majors and went on to have a great career. At this time I do not think Hicks is a Mike Schmidt. Well, I will not even entertain that thought, but if he is closer to Hunter, who also got off to a bad start, I will be happy. Regardless, over the years I have seen four waves of talent come forth from the Twins system. The first wave won two World Series Title, the third one and parts of the fourth won 6 division titles, but this latest wave is flat out the best in my 40 years as a Twins fan. I long to see them smack around the American League East and the fulfillment of my desires is just around the corner.
  2. lightfoot789's Avatar
    Nice Article. I like the fact that J.D. Williams called the trio of Goodrum - Buxton and Himself the Soul Patrol while they played in Cedar Rapids. He is a funny kid and solid team leader. They were always seen together I'm told. Cedar Rapids had more African Americans on their team to start the season (2013) than the Twins had in the rest of their entire system. Cedar Rapids had 6 on the same roster at one point in the season. I would look for Adam Brett Walker to be a part of that Soul Patrol Outfield in 2 to 3 years and not Rosario.
    Tyler Jones (RHP)
    JD Wiliams (OF)
    Byron Buxton (OF)
    Niko Goodrum (IF)
    Adam Brett Walker (OF)
    Josh Burris (RHP) (though a short stay)
    If you are going to add Latin Players to the Soul Patrol outfield, then you must add Jeremias Pineda (OF). Williams - Pineda and Walker are young enough to possibly make that future roster and have useable roles.
  3. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789
    Nice Article. I like the fact that J.D. Williams called the trio of Goodrum - Buxton and Himself the Soul Patrol while they played in Cedar Rapids. He is a funny kid and solid team leader. They were always seen together I'm told. Cedar Rapids had more African Americans on their team to start the season (2013) than the Twins had in the rest of their entire system. Cedar Rapids had 6 on the same roster at one point in the season. I would look for Adam Brett Walker to be a part of that Soul Patrol Outfield in 2 to 3 years and not Rosario.
    Tyler Jones (RHP)
    JD Wiliams (OF)
    Byron Buxton (OF)
    Niko Goodrum (IF)
    Adam Brett Walker (OF)
    Josh Burris (RHP) (though a short stay)
    If you are going to add Latin Players to the Soul Patrol outfield, then you must add Jeremias Pineda (OF). Williams - Pineda and Walker are young enough to possibly make that future roster and have useable roles.
    I am sure there is room for alterations to the Soul Patrol 2. Heck, even the first Soul Patrol lost Lawton and gained Stewart two(ish) years later. Goodness I miss those days. Forerunners of the Mighty Little Piranhas!
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