There isn't much you can draw from a single game in the middle of a regular Major League Baseball season. That statement is even more true when you're talking about the very first exhibition game of the spring, which happens to be against the local university. And I'll be up front: we're not going to do a whole lot of reporting on the results of spring training games, because the results in spring training are less important than the development of young players and the process of veterans gearing up for an exceptionally long campaign.
But yesterday the Twins beat the Gophers 3-1. And it was exciting, because we got to see a number of players who are pegged as potential franchise cornerstones. Have a look at last night's starting lineup, not including starting pitcher Jose Berrios.
- Byron Buxton, CF
- Eduardo Nunez, SS
- Chris Herrmann, DH
- Kennys Vargas, 1B
- Miguel Sano, 3B
- Eddie Rosario, LF
- Eric Fryer, C
- James Beresford, 2B
- Shane Robinson, RF
Buxton, Sano, Vargas, Rosario, and Berrios are all players who will be getting more than their fair share of opportunities in coming years. All of them have a realistic chance at playing for the Twins at some point in 2015. The four who are still prospects are among the organization's ten best; three of those four are consensus Top 100 prospects in all of baseball.
Berrios was clearly nervous as the game started, and he plunked Gopher center fielder Dan Motl on the sixth pitch of the contest after he had gotten ahead 0-2. An error by Beresford meant Berrios was faced with runners on first and second with nobody out. But he settled in quickly, allowing a run before the inning was out but in the end he struck out four of the next seven hitters he faced to finish he day. He looked good, and wow was it fun to watch him throw.
Buxton, meanwhile, went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles: one into the gap in right-center when Motl couldn't make a diving catch, and one by drilling a liner into left field. Vargas just missed a home run in the bottom of the first, driving in Buxton with a ball bouncing off the warning track in the left-center field gap. Sano picked up a hit and a walk. Even Jorge Polanco, who didn't start but relieved Beresford in the sixth, hit a line drive home run off of Gopher reliever Reggie Meyer to give Minnesota an insurance run in the seventh inning.
It's not always going to be this pretty when it comes to our young prospects, and as I said earlier there's virtually nothing you can glean from this game in the long term, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun or gratifying to watch.
Baseball is back. Go Twins go!