The Twins currently have five players vying for four spots (3 OFers and 1 DH). Some have a lot of potential. Some have proven to be steady performers. Some have had their opportunity, but just not quite lived up to the hype.
Let’s take a close look at all five of these players and their chances of producing in 2009:
The much-hyped youngster got a chance to play everyday and showed the speed that everyone has talked about. Unfortunately, he hit for little power and struggled in the average department thanks to striking out 24.6% of the time (and walking 4.2% of the time).
Yes, the speed is alluring, but if you are going to appear over matched every time you step foot in the batters box, how much value do you hold? It’s possible that he takes the next step in his development, but to me, the Twins would be better off allowing him to develop in the minor leagues. He did spend just 136 AB at Triple-A before being rushed by the Mets, more out of necessity then anything else.
Last season he actually posted just three months of at least .253, the other three hitting .238 or worse. That certainly is not something I want from a player who is not going to contribute much power. The SB is nice, but I could add the same type of player in someone like Willy Taveras, who at least carries a career average of .283.
He’s a steady hand who suffered with injuries last season that simply derailed his season. Prior to that, he had proven capable of hitting at least .275 with some decent power and RBI.
I know, the power dropped from 24 HR in 2006 to 16 in 2007, so it is not like he is ever going to develop into someone who is going to suddenly hit 30 HR. Even the 24 could be a farce, considering it came courtesy of a 15.7% HR/FB.
Still, as a late round flier he could be extremely useful to owners in five outfielder formats. The potential to hit .275 with 20 HR is appealing for one of the last guys on my bench.
At this point the Twins say he is going to be their regular DH, which is a little bit surprising. While he hit 20 HR last season, it came thanks to a fairly big increase in his FB%:
- 2006 – 30.9%
- 2007 – 35.2%
- 2008 – 40.6%
I know it is not like that is an unbelievable number, but I have to wonder if he will be able to repeat it. If he doesn’t, the chance of him repeating the power reduces to nil.
He doesn’t offer a tremendous average (.268 for his career), and he also has absolutely no speed to speak of. So, his value comes from the little power he offers, which if it is going to decline, leaves him no value to fantasy owners.
If he’s a late pick, much like Cuddyer, then I would say why not for those in five outfielder leagues. Otherwise, there are too many players with significantly more upside worth drafting.
I wanted to list him as a late round speed option, but the allure of Span has caused him to not be available in the later rounds. A popular sleeper option, he is one of those players where the hype has dramatically increased his draft position, despite just 347 AB of major league action.
He does offer significant speed, stealing a total of 33 bases last season between Triple-A and the majors. He also didn’t give the impression of being over matched, at 24-years old, much like Gomez did. That gives the career .287 hitter in the minor leagues a chance to contribute there as well.
Last season he hit .294 in the majors, courtesy of a BABIP of .342. While it is in the higher side, with his speed it is not entirely unbelievable. Yes, I wouldn’t expect him to repeat it, but he still offers the potential of speed and average (despite his .145 spring showing). If he lands in the leadoff spot, he could score as well, making him a player I’d love to own.
I’ve already spoken about him in great detail, which you can read by clicking here. He’s not about to develop into a great power option, but I could easily see him providing a 15/15 campaign (in fact, I had him at 18/16 in my projection).
That makes him a player I’d like to own. No, he’s not a top option and there certainly is risk given the numbers he produced last season, but after the All-Star Break he showed some growth (7 HR, 4 SB).
As I’ve said before, he’s worth the gamble in deeper formats.
What about you? Which of the Twins OFers would you look at in 2009? Which would you avoid? Why?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.