Friday, April 2, 2010

The end of camp

The headline developments of Spring Training 2010 are pretty obvious: Joe Nathan's injury and Joe Mauer's contract. I've written plenty about each, both in this blog and in the print column, and while I'm sure there'll be more to say at some point, I haven't anything today.

But there were under-the-radar developments worth noting as well ...

Ben Revere. The non-roster invitee impressed everybody this spring, particularly Ron Gardenhire. He even had four extra-base hits, a bit of a surprise considering that he had all of 19 last season in High A ball.

He hasn't had an at-bat in Double A, much less Triple A, but Gardenhire already sees him as a possible call-up this summer.

Jacque Jones. (Photo above) Another who is possibly an outfield injury away from the call. Jones had been released by three teams the past two years — Tigers, Marlins, Reds — but the longer training camp went, the better he hit. He's 35, but there appears to still be some juice in him.

I would rather he made the 25-man roster out of camp than Alexi Casilla.

Kevin Slowey. The right hander opened camp talking about how his pitching wrist might never feel the same after what he described as a reconstruction. But his command and control — the key to his pitching — was as spot-on in exhibition play as ever.

Francisco Liriano. The outward signs are good. But ... except for his final outing, against the Pittsburgh Pirates "b" lineup — so weak it doesn't deserve a capital letter — he didn't go deep in his starts, suggesting that his fastball command remains lacking.

There are a lot of expectations here. Until I see him using the fastball well, I'm going to be skeptical.

Wilson Ramos. Even more than Revere, Gardenhire thinks he's ready for the bigs. The front office right now thinks he's more valuable in the minors — perhaps to keep his service time clock from starting to tick.

If the Twins decide they have to trade for a closer, Ramos is the most valuable chip in they have in the minors — a premium, ready-for-the-majors prospect at a premium position.

Juan Portes. Played mostly outfield in camp, but word is he'll play third at Double A. He hit three homers early in exhibitions, but once the breaking balls came out, the long balls (and his playing time) diminished.

Bullpen issues. Clay Condrey has not impressed and reports some shoulder stiffness; I won't be surprised he goes on the DL in the next week. Jose Mijares has not been sharp. Pat Neshek's velocity is down slightly from his pre-injury days.

1 comment:

  1. My question to you, and to everybody else out there is, "would you/should you trade Ramos, one of the organization's best positional prospects, for a closer? Anthony Slama is waiting in the minors with a lot of closer experience under his belt, and most baseball experts view a closer as created, not born." Thoughts?