Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's a Miracle (probably not)

Miguel Sano during spring training. The
Dominican had four homers and 12
RBIs in the Fort Myers Miracle's first
13 games of the season.

It's one of my favorite scenes from Bull Durham: The manager, Joe, has taken Crash's advice ("They're kids. Scare 'em") and is ranting at this team in the shower, with pitching coach Larry in constant affirmation.

Joe: What's our record? Larry?
Larry: Eight and 16.
Joe: Eight and 16. How'd we ever win eight?
Larry: It's a miracle.
Joe: It's a miracle.

Doug Mientkiewicz, the first-year manager of the Twins' High A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle, probably hasn't seen any need to rant at his young charges. The Miracle opened the season with 12 straight wins before finally losing one last night.

What's our record?
Twelve and one.
Twelve and one. How'd we ever lose one?
It's miracle ...

More seriously: I wrote here when Mientkiewicz was hired that he was inheriting perhaps the most important tasks in the Twins organization — developing the infield prowess of Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Levi Michael.

Sano and Rosario are prime prospects at the plate, but their value will be greatly increased if Sano can play third base and Rosario second. Michael was the Twins' first-round draft pick in 2011, but he didn't fare well in 2012.

The Twins chances of contending in the second half of this decade will be much enhanced if those three are the infielders.

Michael has been a nonfactor in this good start -- he's been on the disabled list throughout. Sano and Rosario have been hitting, which is no surprise. The question with them is defense. Can they handle the skill positions, or do they need to shift to easier spots?

That's the key question, and the answers are not readily discerned statistically. But a 12-1 record suggests at the very least that their defense isn't hurting the club.


  1. As I have said elsewhere, Harmon Killebrew couldn't field a position. Didn't stop him from getting into the HOF.

  2. Actually, Harmon could field. He wasn't fast, and his best position was 1B, but he wasn't a liability at either LF or 3B. He was better than a Cabrera at 3rd and I believe he was better than a Willingham is Left. That doesn't make him great, but he was better than many seem to assume.