Twins prospectus 2009 – hitting

With the addition of Joe Crede, the Twins appear in great shape to challenge for the American League Central Division crown.  In fact, they are becoming the trendy pick to do just that.  Here is a projected batting order for the 2009 Twins – as I see it:

Position     Name                  Bats
Leadoff      Denard Span           Left
Second       Alexi Casilla         Switch
Third        Joe Mauer             Left
Cleanup      Michael Cuddyer       Right
Fifth        Justin Morneau        Left
Sixth        Joe Crede             Right
Seventh      Jason Kubel           Left
Eighth       Nick Punto            Switch
Ninth        Carlos Gomez          Right

For the four starters in the outfield, when Cuddyer sits, Crede moves up to cleanup and Delmon Young bats sixth.  When Gomez sits, Young bats eighth and Punto ninth.  When Span sits, Gomez bats leadoff, Young eighth and Punto ninth.    If any one of them gets hot, they may move up in the order.

90-6367857491With 4 outfielders for 3 positions, manager Ron Gardenhire has a real challenge on his hands keeping all four happy.  Most teams would be able to use DH as a safety valve, but the Twins have last year’s 2nd leading HR and run producer there and the only way to get him out of DH would be to put him in the outfield…  Not likely since he is the fifth best fielding outfielder of the group.  A trade might look like a nice idea, but there are two questions to answer first.  Can Gardy keep them all happy – or at least productive?  If anyone can, Gardy can.  Will all four outfielders stay healthy for the six month grind?  Probably not.

This lineup will alternate left and right as well as anyone and should provide the righthanded power they lacked last year to protect both Mauer and Morneau – thus presenting a balanced lineup with guys hitting for power and guys hitting for average from both sides of the plate.

In addition to the balanced quality, the Twins have reasonable depth.  There is a player who has proven himself to be major league level ready to step in at every position.  That doesn’t me the Twins are ready to replace Mauer or Morneau any time soon, but everyone else can be replaced in a heartbeat.

These aren’t the ’27 Yankees, but they have a nice combination of speed on the bases, hitting, power and patience at the plate to give the American League Central fits for the six month season.


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