|Max Kepler is greeted at home plate Sunday afternoon as|
he brings home his game-winning home run.
Kepler has been playing right field on a regular basis this month with Miguel Sano sidelined, and one would be hard pressed to claim that he's taken the job and run with it. His 1-for-5 Sunday leaves him 8-for-36 in June, a .222 average, and he's struck out 12 times. He's also had four hits in his three most recent starts.
It may be some time before Sano is deemed ready to return from his hamstring injury, and presumably Kepler will remain a lineup fixture until then. What will happen when Sano is back, I haven't the slightest. I think the highest-ceiling outfield the Twins can assemble would be Kepler in left, Byron Buxton in center and Sano in right, but that leaves no place for Robbie Grossman, and he is playing, overall, better than any of that trio.
J.T. Chargois came up, made one awful appearance, and got shipped back to Rochester. The Twins claimed Neil Ramirez off waivers from Milwaukee to take his place on the 25-man roster.
In theory, I dislike this move. Chargois is more talented, and he's not that much younger. Milwaukee is the second club to dump Ramirez this season, and that should be a red flag.
But theory has to give way to reality, and reality is that
- the Twins are reluctant to use Chargois two days in a row and
- they have trouble getting five or six innings from their starters.
If the bullpen has to pick up four or five innings every game, they can't afford to carry an arm that's only available for one inning every two or three games.
To make room for Ramirez on the 40, the Twins moved Phil Hughes to the 60-day disabled list. Hughes suffered a "compression fracture" when he was hit by a line drive in the leg the other day. Michael Tonkin also got drilled by a comebacker; it's been a bad week in that regard.
Wrapping up the draft: The Twins made 42 picks over the three days. On Day One they selected four high-school hitters; after that they went heavy on collegians. Thirty-one of their 42 picks are college guys, including 24 of the 30 Saturday selections.
By the numbers: 17 pitchers, 10 outfielders, eight infielders. seven catchers. We knew the Twins regarded their catching depth as suspect, and they certainly went for backstops early (second round), often and late (40th round).
One of the Twins' first day selections was compensation for failing to sign 2015 second-rounder Kyle Cody of the University of Kentucky. Cody fell to the sixth round this year (Texas Rangers), and the big righty will have a substantially smaller signing bonus as a result.
The Twins may well have wound up with the better prospect in Akil Baddoo, a high school outfielder. Still, punting a high pick like that isn't a good strategy.