Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Position Preview: First Base

With 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau still here, the Twins seem to be in pretty good shape at 1B.

But while the power of Morneau is evident with his 34 HR and 130 RBI, that's just a piece of what makes him such a dangerous hitter. Last year he finally learned how to go with the ball and take it to the opposite field, and the results were staggering. His average finished at .321, over 80 points higher than his average the year before. He also became a more patient hitter, which led to OBP to finish at .375.

But even just looking at the offense is forgetting that he has developed into a very solid defensive first basemen. His height allows him to reach balls that get away from people up high, and he has become very adept at the scoop.

So put it all together, and Morneau looks like he will be in for another great year, and he has finally become a complete offensive and defensive player, and become the player the Twins have hoped he can be.

If he gets hurt (knock on wood), the majority of the playing time would probably go to Jeff Cirillo or Mike Cuddyer. I'll be writing more about them as we get into their normal positions, but just so you're aware, those are the backup options.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Positional Preview: Catchers

If I start these previews now, hopefully I'll be able to finish in time for the start of the season! So I'll start my positional previews with the Catchers.

First, there's Joe Mauer, of course. The man with the new $33 million deal. The reigning MLB Batting Champion. The man that I felt should have been MVP last season. Is there anything that Joe Mauer can't do?

As a 23 year-old catcher, all Joe Mauer did was win the Batting Crown, finish 3rd in the AL in OBP and 7th in the AL in SLG. And the man has not even found his power stroke yet. Seriously, he has an incredible eye at the plate, he's a good doubles hitter (which should develop into more HR power), and oh yeah, he's a Gold Glove caliber defender behind the plate. He's the best catcher in the MLB and should have another great year as long as he stays healthy.

Behind him, Mike Redmond was one of the best backup catchers in the MLB last season. In 179 ABs, he batting an astounding .341. Against lefthanders, he put up an astounding line of 443 AVG/467 OBP/543 SLG/1010 OPS. That's awesome, especially when you're talking about backup catchers, which usually more like Henry Blanco. Also, from all accounts, Redmond is great in the clubhouse, which makes him a perfect backup catcher.

So with Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond, the Twins catching position seems to be in very good hands going into the 2007 season.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Twins Sign Joe Mauer - 4 years, $33 million

Great deal!

The good news: Joe Mauer will definitely be a Minnesota Twin for at least the next 4 seasons.

The better news: The 4th year of this deal would have been his first year of free agency, meaning that unless something happens to Mauer (knock on wood) this is a great deal from a monetary standpoint as well.

With only Mike Cuddyer left as far as arbitration-eligible players, it was good to get one of the young stars locked up for a little longer-term rather than something like the 1-year deal for Morneau.

So great job Terry Ryan, congrats to Joe Mauer for becoming very rich, and congrats to all of us Twins fans for the privilege of watching Joe Mauer playing in a Minnesota Twins uniform!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Twins Ballpark Article

Got an email this morning with a link to an article that I thought was really interesting with regards to the Twins ballpark, suggesting that the two sides may not be all that close to a deal yet... anyway, I found it interesting:

The New Twins Park: A Big Roadblock at Home Plate