Friday, March 05, 2010

Is Denard Span Irreplaceable?

Ron Gardenhire and others have commented on the fact that the Twins don't have a candidate to back up Denard Span in center field who is likely to make the roster. In fact, unless Ben Revere made the leap from A ball to the major leagues in a single season, they don't really have any candidates to play center field every day in the entire organization. If Span went down today, its possible Jacque Jones would be out in center field opening day. Jones has not been a center fielder in almost a decade.

What has not been commented on is Span's role in the offense. Not only do the Twins lack a center fielder, but they lack any other players who fit the leadoff role. The next best guy with the combination of on base percentage and speed is proablay Nick Punto. Hudson gets on base, but he is slow and really much better suited to the number two spot. Harris doesn't get on base enough and lacks speed. Casillas? He needs to win a spot on the roster and he isn't an on base guy. The best guy is probably Joe Mauer - just like he is the best number two hitter, number three hitter ...

This lack of organizational depth at AAA in two critical areas is actually alarming. Putting Michael Cuddyer out in center field between Jason Kubel and Delmon Young is going to give the Twins perhaps the worst defensive outfield in baseball. A lineup with Nick Punto at the top looks a lot less formidable, especially if some of the other question marks, like JJ Hardy, come up with negative consequences.

There is a lot riding on Denard Span staying healthy. 


Nick N. said...

Well said. Good post.

Jim H said...

While the Twins probably wouldn't be entirely comfortable with it, it is pretty clear that they consider Revere almost ready. At least as a hitter. If Span went down for an extended period, Revere would be brought up. I suppose if he really struggles at AA they may do something else, but I don't think the Twins expect that to happen.

The Twins want Revere to play everyday, so he wouldn't be considered for short term or as a backup. I think they are pretty sure be would be adequate if they really needed him to play everyday.

The Twins really make an effort not to overhype a prospect. Still, enough leaks out so that you can tell when they are happy with the progress of someone. There is no way that they let Pridie go away unless they were darn sure that Revere could handle CF at the major league level.

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