by, 04-24-2014 at 08:17 PM (278 Views)
Health, some youngsters and a re-tread or two, FA SP signings, I had hopes for the 2014 Twins to make a little noise, and at least hover around the .500 mark for the season, with the possibility of finishing a few games above. A preview, if you will, for what might be coming over the next season or two with solid and elite prospects on their way to flush out the roster and competitive hopes.
Poor showings, especially offensively, had me feeling down and re-assessing my thoughts the last few weeks of spring training. Yes, I know full well how little ST numbers and results can really mean. I've been down those roads many times before, to the positive as well as the negative.
So far, this early season, the Twins ARE that .500+ team, despite a rotation that has underperformed thus far. The complete anti-thesis of what I, and I think most, expected.
And there has been some really great story lines so far this season.
Honestly, what would you have thought before the season began if I had told you the Twins early season success would hinge on the play of Dozier, Colabello, Plouffe, Kubel and Suzuki? And that our best SP was Gibson, who almost everyone felt was destined to begin the season in AAA ball?
Unsung (unexpected?) Heroes.
Dozier: Despite a low but climbing Avg, getting on base, stealing bases, scoring runs, hitting for power, playing great defense, and proving that last year was no fluke.
Colabello: Maybe one of the best stories EVER in MLB can flat out hit and produce. Despite being ignored out of college and years in the beer leagues, the Twins picked him up as minor league filler and found a late bloomer who can flat out hit and produce. This guy knows how to make adjustments. If the dream ends tomorrow, the probably player of the month and record setter is already a great story!
Plouffe: A former 1st round pick and top prospect who has shown time, patience, hard work and opportunity can pay real dividends. If not for Colabello, this guy is the big story.
Kubel: Proving that getting healthy and going home is not only a good story, but a productive one as well.
Suzuki: What? The right time and team? Better mental/physical health after being beaten in the ground previously? A better hitting coach? I don't know, but already better than EVER expected by anyone.
(even Hicks has been more professional not flailing at pitches and taking walks)
Gibson: Healthy, strong in mind and body following surgery and rehab to see his talent begin to emerge.
I could almost throw Pinto in here as well, except, I think we almost expected his growth as much as we wanted it.
What about the coaching staff? I can't believe there aren't multiple tips of the hat here, but mine goes to Bruno as the lead hitting instructor.
The rotation rounds in to form, hopefully Arcia and possibly Hammer start to make a move in the near future, what are the possibilities for this team? For now though, let's take a moment to recognize these unsung heroes of the early 2014 season.