With the recent departure of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, Professional Hitter, and the signing of Josh Willingham we have lost 1 left-handed power bat in our lineup and replaced the right-handed power of Cuddyer with, well... pretty much the same amount of right-handed power.
As of today 12/21/2011 the Minnesota Twins have 38 players out of 40 on their 40-man roster. And with the hot stove season clearly underway (and going strong) lets get creative and think how our 2012 Twins will look like without Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel (and the 2 open roster spots that will likely go to a starter and a bullpen arm).
Thanks to the Official Minnesota Twins depth chart for providing some up to date information.
More after the break.After two seasons of Target Field awesomeness (yes, that's a word since it's not underlined by the editor) we have come to realize that hitting home runs is kind of a tough thing to do for our hitters. And with the Rockies and Diamondbacks signing our big middle-of-the-order power bats (Cuddyer and Kubel respectively) we're going to have to make up those RBIs by placing guys in key spots in our lineups and playing a little bit of old school small ball.
Keep in mind that the lineup you're about to witness is purely based off of my speculation that everyone is healthy come Season Opener, and when no one is out resting (every 4th or 5th day for Mauer).
1. Denard Span - CF
2. Jamey Carroll - SS
3. Joe Mauer - C
4. Justin Morneau - 1B
5. Josh Willingham - RF
6. Trevor Plouffe - DH
7. Danny Valencia - 3B
8. Alexi Casilla - 2B
9. Ben Revere - LF
Lets examine this lineup (based off of speculation and depth chart).
1. Denard Span - True lead off hitter as long as he can stay healthy and concussion free. If he can be as aggressive as Revere on the base paths then we should have RISP within our first at-bats. - .285/.361/.387
2. Jamey Carroll - Gets on base plenty, not injury prone, a solid glove and very similar to Punto. He's not fast but he gets on base which is great since we need base-runners for the M&M boys. - .278/.356/.348
3. Joe Mauer - Excellent hitter although I feel like I've seen him GIDP almost every at-bat (slight exaggeration) - .323/.403/.471
4. Justin Morneau - RBI Machine? Pulls a lot of balls due to TF's dimensions and has openly complained about it. Whether or not he'll return to his per-concussion form is unknown... but I don't think he'll be happy knowing Target Field isn't getting any remodeling done. - .281/.353/.499
5. Josh Willingham - Cuddyer clone. Should hit homers at TF if he continues to pull the ball. - .262/.361/.475
6. Trevor Plouffe - I'm a believer that Plouffe will be a right handed threat and I think having him DH is probably best since fielding seemed to affect him too much, mentally.
7. Danny Valencia - He's our clutch hitter and needs to get back to using the entire field. He's strong and has potential for being a 20 HR+ type of guy if he can prove he can foul off sliders down and away.- .269/.314/.406
8. Alexi Casilla - Casilla is fast. Like. Wicked fast. If he plays with the mindset that he'll lose his job (you know, that nice hot stretch that he had) he'll be a huge on base threat especially with the lineup rolling over. his winter league numbers have been impressive and hopefully he keeps it up because we definitely need MOAR SPEED. - .252/.310/.337
9. Ben Revere - Did you see that somersault triple? I did. In person. It was amazing. Simply put he's fast. Faster than Casilla. He creates a lot of havoc for the pitcher. You get your 8, 9 hitter on base with D-Span up to bat and the opposing team will be twitchy. Seriously. - .262/.305/.301
And there you have it folks. My prediction and very short analysis of our opening day lineup. Thoughts?