Friday, May 13, 2011

Contemplating Rene Tosoni

Rene Tosoni: A home run
on Tuesday, four strikeouts
on Wednesday. He's hitting
.171 in 35 at-bats.
A while back, in a post about the stalled career of New Ulm native Jamie Hoffmann, I outlined the traditional model of the fourth or fifth outfielder — left-handed (or switch-hitter) with the speed to play center field but lacking the bat to play regularly.

Rene Tosoni, who has been getting semi-regular playing time while Delmon Young is on the disabled list, does not exactly fill those requirements. Left-handed, yes. Center fielder, not so much. The prospect books suggest he could play there, but off what little we've seen during this brief trial, he's as much a center fielder as Michael Cuddyer is.

He looks like a 'tweener to me — not enough defense to play center regularly, not enough bat for an outfield corner. I suspect he's about 40 or 30 years late, that his tools would have been a better fit with the platoon-oriented managers of the '70s and '80s.

But in a future Twins outfield that could feature multiple regulars with center-field speed — Denard Span, Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks — Tosoni might fit a bench role. On the current team, he doesn't offer anything the Young-Cuddyer-Jason Kubel troika is missing.

Which makes him a likely demotion if Young is indeed activated before today's game. Revere should stick because he can play center and goes back to Rochester when Jason Repko is ready.

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