Friday, May 30, 2008

On The Rise: Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins, this offseason have started rebuilding their organization by trading Johan Santana and letting Torii Hunter sign with the Angels. From these two deals they collected back Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, two pitchers of no relevance, and two draft picks. The Twins had to make these moves because they are run by Carl Pohlad the Billionaire owner who can't spend more that $60 million on his players per year, a cheapskate. This offseason they locked up two young, talented core players to contract extensions and traded for Delmon Young to bolster their lackluster offense. They are currently in 2nd place in the Central Division but maybe headed for a bumpy ride, the one that comes when rebuilding.

The Twins have a good young nucleus of hitters. Their production revolves mostly around whether Joe Mauer, their catcher and number 3 hitter and Justin Morneau, their first basemen and cleanup hitter are hitting. This offseason their new GM Bill Smith(their old GM, the excellent Terry Ryan retired) recognized their need for better hitters and realized that there are a lot of young OFers available. He acquired two, one in the Matt Garza deal and one in the Santana deal. Now their offense has 5 powerful forces and hope for Alexei Casilla and Jason Kubel to develop into superb hitters as well. Their lineup looks something like this: Carlos Gomez(CF), Casilla(2B/SS), Mauer(C), Morneau(1B), Michael Cuddyer(RF), Delmon Young(LF), Kubel(DH) and of course their two replacement level players Brendan Harris and Mike Lamb. This club's lineup has a great dynamic to it because they have a Reyes type player leading off, a young Luis Castillo batting second, the 3-7 hitters are great hitters and have power, while the last two spots, SS and 3B need some work.

This organization traded away its top two pitchers this offseason in hopes of appeasing their cheapskate owner. One being Matt Garza and the other being the best pitcher in baseball, Johan "I HATE the NL" Santana. Now, since these trades brought them 3 OFers, Brendan Harris, 2 Replacement Level AAA starters and a young stud pitcher in Deolis Guerra, you might assume that they currently have no pitching. Well guess again. This season they've put an extremely formidable rotation together even though they replaced Johan Santana with Livan Hernandez, ya that's right Livan Hernandez. They still have a bevy of young pitchers on their team, this made them able to trade Matt Garza and Johan Santana to fill other needs. They've got Boof Bonser who's so terribly average, Kevin Slowey, who's fastball isn't so slow(he'll be an ace), The young outstanding Nick Blackburn(my personal favorite), Glen Perkins the southpaw and injured starters Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker. They also have a good bullpen but this year their top setup man, Pat Neshek, is injured, Dennys Reyes has been ineffective and Juan Rincon hasn't been the same without his steroids.

I'm not so familiar with the Twins minor league system, but since I've been a baseball fan for quite some time now I've realized that the Twins specialize in churning out a lot of quality young arms. Their farm system today is still stocked with young arms, including the three, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey and Phil Humber, that they received in the Johan Santana trade. Their top prospect is an outfielder named Ben Revere and I believe he is extremely talented.

All in all the Twins are in good shape, for competition this year and in years to come. It's a pity that this team will have to be ripped apart in 3-5 years because of Carl Pohlad.


Avi L-S said...