Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The infield Rubik's Cube

See how easy it is? Trevor Plouffe and Brendan Harris sit, Matt Tolbert (pictured) and Danny Valencia play, and boom, the Twins score nine runs in a single game.


Three of the infielders on the opening day roster are on the disabled list, including two of the starters, and there's no real sense here that any of them are about to step back into the lineup. Orlando Hudson is the closest, but he still reports discomfort in his left wrist when hitting left-handed.

One wonders if the the Twins might not do well, when Hudson says he's ready, to send him out on a rehab assignment for a couple of days to make sure everything's fully functional. Hurrying J.J. Hardy back into the lineup after his injury didn't help anything and probably hurt.

Meanwhile, the Twins mix and match a collection of infield spare parts and prospects that don't really offer much opportunity to mix and match.

Nick Punto and Tolbert are essentially the same player, with very similar skills and deficits. Switch-hitters, good gloves at multiple positions, mobile, very limited offensively with little to no power.

Harris, Plouffe and Valencia are all right-handed hitters, limited defensively, with more power than the Punto-Tolbert duo but with less discerning eyes at the plate.

Running time-shares in his lineup has never been an obvious strength of Ron Gardenhire, but it this case that's a function of roster makeup. Earl Weaver and Casey Stengel would have trouble turning these five into useful platoons. Too many of them don't have a specific skill that you'd want them in the lineup for.

It's like doing a Rubik's Cube with just two colors.


  1. Bottom 5th: Minnesota
    - N. Punto singled to shallow left center
    - D. Span singled to shallow center, N. Punto to second
    - M. Tolbert sacrificed to catcher, N. Punto to third, D. Span to second
    - J. Mauer intentionally walked
    - J. Morneau grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, J. Mauer out at second

    'J. Mauer intentionally walked'

    seems to happen a lot, no?

  2. AL leaders in IBB, 2009:

    1) Ichiro (15)
    2) Mauer
    M. Cabrera (14)
    4) Morneau (12)
    5) Longoria
    C. Pena (11)
    7) K. Morales (10)
    8) Kubel
    Teixeira (9)