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Winners and losers from Week One of Twins Spring Training

Now that Week One is in the books, who has stood out for the Twins?

MLB: Minnesota Twins-Media Day Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

We’re about a week deep into spring training, and it seems like about the right time to recap winners and losers from the first handful of games.

Obvious caveats apply, of course. Spring training stats don’t really mean a whole lot, and for a lot of reasons.

The competition level varies drastically, of course. Hitters will go from facing frontline starters to back-end relievers to career minor-leaguers and won’t face the same pitcher for two consecutive at-bats until later on in March. For pitchers, they’re typically facing a solid mix of big league hitters, prospects, and non-roster invitees.

There’s also the whole small sample size thing, and that can’t be ignored. Not only are we taking spring training numbers, but we’re carving them up into a week’s worth of already arguably meaningless stats.

And now that I’ve convinced you all that the following is pointless, let’s talk about what’s stood out so far this spring, both positive and negative. Because it’s baseball season, and this is a Twins blog, and that’s what we do.

Week One Winners

Byron Buxton (OF): .600/.636/1.600 (6-for-10, 1 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI)

Let’s be honest: you knew this one before you even clicked on this article.

Buxton has been on a tear, and there are so many reasons why you’d be forgiven for exercising some healthy skepticism when it comes to Lord Byron’s start to spring.

Any stretch of 6-for-10 with three dingers would be impressive, but it just had to be the first week of spring training to get everyone all hyped up.

But that said, Buxton’s approach has been impressive, as he’s showed patience and an ability to drive the ball with authority when he commits to swing. The most impressive part about his performance to his point is that he’s struck-out exactly zero (0) times.

Eddie Rosario (OF): .667/.667/1.167 (8-for-12, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

Eddie Rosario has been his impressive, free-swinging self in his four appearances.

Rosario has only made four outs, and three of them have come by way of strikeout. He has not walked at all, but four of his eight hits have been for extra bases.

After being a somewhat overrated player over the first couple years of his career, Rosario settled in as a legitimately solid everyday player in 2017 as the Twins made a surprise run to a wild-card berth. He was largely consistent in 2018, taking a slight step backwards in most categories as the Twins’ offense struggled across the board.

He’ll likely bat third or fourth in the lineup to start the season, and has solidified his case with a strong start to spring training.

LaMonte Wade (OF): .500/.583/.700 (5-for-10, 2 2B, 3 RBI)

LaMonte Wade is a 25-year-old fringe prospect who has been impressive in Double-A but struggled mightily in his first taste of Triple-A last season.

In 720 career plate appearances in Double-A, Wade has slashed .294/.396/.418, but in 294 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Rochester, Wade hit just .229/.337/.336. He’s highly unlikely to make the team, but could be a solid fourth outfielder if he can figure out how to hit at Triple-A early on this year.

A strong spring training would go a long way towards Wade sticking in the organization as a potential injury fill-in or extra player down the road.

Michael Pineda (SP): 2 IP, 1 H, 1K

In Michael Pineda’s first game action since July of 2017, he only needed to face seven batters in two tidy innings on Friday. Pineda hit 94 miles-per-hour on the radar gun and looked comfortable, only giving up one hit and zero walks while tallying one strikeout in a two-inning appearance.

Trevor Hildenberger (RP): 3 IP, 3K

Trevor Hildenberger had a rough close to 2018 after having an impressive first season back in 2017. He is theoretically in the conversation for setup duties and potentially even a shot at closing duties.

A strong spring is important to his case, and he’s turned in three perfect innings: no walks, no hits, and three strikeouts.

Week One Losers

All Catchers: 4-for-34 (.117 BA), 1 2B, 3 RBI

Including three non-roster invitees, there are six catchers who have seen playing time thus far in the spring, and the group has a total of four hits to this point.

Jason Castro is 1-for-4 but has drawn three walks and overall has looked good in his return from knee surgery that cost him the majority of last season. Mitch Garver and Willians Austudillo have each gone 1-for-8, and the three non-roster invitees are a collective 1-for-14 with three strikeouts and one walk.

Ronald Torreyes (IF): .091/.091/.091 (1-for-11)

Ronnie Torreyes was always a long-shot to make the 25-man roster, but theoretically has a shot at earning a bench slot depending on how a few other things shake out. Unfortunately, he’s just 1-for-11 to this point.

Martin Perez (SP): 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 K

The Twins’ signing of Martin Perez back at the end of January was a bit controversial given his struggles over the past couple of years with the Texas Rangers.

After returning from injury last year, Perez was solid out of the bullpen for the Rangers, although the Twins appear to have every intention of slotting Perez in as the No. 5 starter in the rotation despite his recent numbers as a starting pitcher.

In his lone appearance so far this spring, Perez gave up three hits and two runs, including a home run, without picking up a strikeout.

Gabriel Moya (RP): 1 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K

Gabriel Moya was shuttled back and forth between Triple-A Rochester and the big-league roster frequently last year, dominating in the minors and struggling a bit in The Show.

Moya has a shot to make the club this year out of spring training, but he’ll need to bounce back from a rough first outing in which he gave up three earned runs on two hits and a walk.

Looking ahead to Week Two

The second week of spring training is traditionally a week in which the regular everyday players begin to pick-up their activity a bit, perhaps playing in games on consecutive days and playing with a few more everyday regulars around them in the lineup.

Pitchers won’t be stretched all that much yet, but hitters and pitchers alike should be much more comfortable in Week Two, and fans should be able to see the top of the roster separate themselves a bit from the bottom.