Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Logan Morrison and the bench

The addition of Logan Morrison as the presumptive regular designated hitter figures to have some intriguing ramifications for the Twins bench.

Assuming good health, the Twins have a starting outfield of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler; an infield of Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco; Jason Castro catching; and Morrison at DH. Further assuming a 12-man pitching staff -- and they often carried 13 pitchers last season -- that leaves four slots for reserve positions players, one of whom will be Eduardo Escobar and one a backup catcher, presumably Mitch Garver.

It's the other two slots that Morrison's addition should affect.

Even before Morrison's addition, the Twins were vulnerable to left-handed pitching. As noted here Monday, Morrison makes the lineup even more left-handed. Which suggests that the Twins would do well to have at least one right-handed hitter who can step in for one of the corner outfielders or first baseman or DH on occasion.

There are two primary candidates for the fourth outfielder job -- incumbent Robbie Grossman and prospect Zach Granite. Grossman is a switch hitter with a history of being better from the right side (although that was not the case last season), so that sounds like a good fit. But his defensive problems are pretty well documented. By September, Paul Molitor pretty much stopped trying to play him in the field; when Molitor needed a fourth outfielder, Ehire Adrianza, a light-hitting infielder, started showing up in the lineup.

Granite is a far superior defensive outfielder. But he's a left-handed hitter lacking in power. There is no real advantage to playing him over Rosario or Kepler against a lefty. 

Adrianza is, at least theoretically, being challenged by Erick Aybar for the fourth bench slot. Niether is a true outfielder -- Aybar hasn't played outfield in a major league game since 2007 -- and neither is a potent hitter. And if the Twins go to 13 pitchers, that's the roster spot most likely to be used to add the extra arm.

The Twins' bench could use a right-handed outfielder who can rake against lefties and not embarass himself in the field. I don't think that guy's in camp.

1 comment:

  1. Good article, i think there must be more content like that.
    Greets from Germany Baseball Guys.