Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Spring Training Game #2

Joe Christensen has an excellent post on his Strib blog covering many of the major points that I wanted to comment on, and if you haven't read through it already, I recommend you check it out. A few things I wanted to highlight:

1.) Christensen states that so far in camp, the player who has "raised his stock" the most has been Brian Buscher, who homered last night in one of the few Twins offensive highlights. I don't dispute that at all, but I wonder how much Buscher can actually do to earn himself a roster spot. Mike Lamb was brought in to be the starting 3B, and was given a multi-year deal to boot. Even an amazing spring by Buscher and a rough one by Lamb isn't going to earn Buscher the starting job. That leaves a backup spot, but Buscher will need to establish that he can play a little 1B in addition to 3B to justify taking him as the second backup infielder (Punto or Harris will be the first backup, depending on which one loses the 2B job). I think it's going to be tough for Buscher to claim that roster spot, but we'll see.

2.) Tommy Watkins replaced Buscher and went 0-for-2. I watched this game on MLB.tv, and to me it looked like Watkins was bigger than last year -- as if Bonser's disappearing weight went to Watkins. Did anyone else notice this? Am I making it up? Bad camera angle? Just wondering.

3.) The Twins are giving Carlos Gomez every opportunity to win the starting spot in CF, as he's played in each of the first two games and is getting the start again today in the second Red Sox game. It appears so far that the rap on Gomez is legit -- he's got a great arm, is amazingly fast, and looks lost at the plate. Two out of three ain't bad -- but it's also not enough. He needs to be at least a serviceable hitter to make the big squad . . . or at least outlast Denard Span and Jason Pridie as the best option.

4.) Randy Ruiz is my dark horse in camp. His career minor league numbers are solid, and he has some power. He also supposedly can play a little bit in the outfield (although he didn't exactly look spry yesterday, so how well he plays out there I don't know). If he has a good spring and demonstrates that he can handle more than just 1B, he might surprise some people. It's not likely, but he's an interesting name who I'll be watching this spring.

5.) Boof looked good, Slowey didn't. Remember, bad performances are a bit magnified for pitchers due to the heavy competition and the generally small number of chances to make an impression. As with Glen Perkins poor performance yesterday, this by no means takes Slowey out of the battle for a starting spot, but it does put a little pressure on him to perform effectively the next time out.

6.) Speaking of pitchers with poor performances, Mariano Gomez got roughed up last night as well, and for him it's more serious. Slowey came into camp as something of a penciled-in favorite to win a starting spot. Gomez comes in as just one of many pitchers hoping to win the 12th pitcher slot. That difference explains a lot about how exactly the Twins will respond to their respective performances.

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