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Monday, January 30, 2012

Casilla's On Fire

Alexi Casilla is quietly having a torrid off-season in the Dominican winter league, posting a line of 336/419/412 with his winter team Gigantes del Cibao. Casilla carried with him some of the cocky swag that Twins fans will hope can spur the kind of confidence that can finally lead the erratic 2B to duplicate his minor league career 296/370/371 line in the majors, joking, ‘I’m tired of getting hits bro’!

While Casilla was certainly not facing major league caliber pitching, a hot streak is a hot streak. Upon closer inspection the main difference in Casilla’s numbers between winter ball and a typically average 2011 campaign other than a slightly increased BB/9 is an increased aggressiveness at the plate. Casilla struck out 21 times in just 119 AB in the Dominican winter league, good for a SO% of around 18%, compared to an average of 12% over 6 Major league seasons. While this may seem a strange statistic to draw upon as a point of optimism Casilla has always had a seemed to have a defensive, almost furtive approach at the plate, with a major league L/SO (% SO looking) of 31% and a whopping 38% last season, compared with a Major league average of just 25%.

Casilla seems to have abandoned this overly careful approach this winter, with excellent results. Other metrics add weight to Casilla being a little over-defensive at the plate. In 2011 his S/Str (swinging strike %), AS/Str (swung at strikes %) and L/Str (strikes looking %) were all at least 6% lower than the major league average. That may not seem like much but when you see 1360 pitches in a season (as even an injury ridden Casilla did last season), that still amounts to about 80 less swings of the bat on pitches that were strikes than an average major league player. Casilla, last year, seemed like a player trying not to get himself out, rather than a player trying to get himself on base.

Can Casilla take his winter league form to the Majors in 2012?
So I hope Twins fans and Casilla himself gives this more aggressive and confident Alexi 2.0 a chance to show what he can do this season. I for one and going to go out on a limb and say he is going to have  a year similar to his 2008 campaign, where he put up a 281/333/374 line, perhaps with a slightly higher OBP and a slightly lower SLG. Casilla has nothing to lose as, with the exception of that 2008 season, all he has shown frustrated Twins fans since then is glimpses of his potential, which could now be fully realized with good health, a ballpark that suits his strengths and a little more confident aggression.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The AL Central – A Prince’s New Kingdom

Prince Fielder agreed upon a 9 year $214 million deal with Detroit Monday, making an incredible splash for a Tigers team that was seeking to recover from the seemingly insurmountable blow of losing consistently excellent Victor Martinez for the 2012 season to a torn ACL.

Fielder will make his return to the field where he hit jacks during batting practice as a 12 year old and his father, Cecil, launched 51 HR for the 1990 Tigers. The Twins will be safe from facing all 3 of Detroit’s intimidating middle order for at least a season so it might be interesting to examine how what the Tigers lose without Martinez is offset by the acquisition of Fielder.

The Tigers now have a huge amount tied up in four players; Fielder, 9 years - $214 million, Cabrera, in the midst of a $153 million contract which expires in 2015, Martinez, 4 year and $50 million and Justin Verlander, 5 years, $80 million. The acquisition of Fielder puts the Tigers payroll at around $128 million (wouldn’t it be great to have an extra $30 million to spend?!) and while this is a truly elite nucleus this financial commitment may give the Tigers very little financial wiggle room in forthcoming seasons (having $78 million tied up in 4 players alone for at least 3 more seasons).

Fielder adds clout to a Tigers lineup already brimming with power hitters

In the short term the Tigers may move Cabrera back to his old stomping grounds with the team now known as the Miami Marlins, 3B and slot Fielder in at 1B. When Martinez returns however, it will be interesting to see how master juggler Jim Leyland handles his DH situation.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. In the last 3 seasons Fielder has averaged 161.6 games (yes, you read that correctly), while Martinez has been susceptible to the occasional injury riddled season, averaging just 109 games in that same span.

While Martinez provided an important option for the Tigers at catcher the emergence of Alex Avila as an offensive force has rendered that loss significantly less of a blow. Comparing Martinez and Fielder’s numbers over the last 3 seasons yield some intriguing results. Martinez is an outstanding hitter averaging a line of 323/379/490 with a 162 game average of 20 HR and 104 RBI. This compares to Fielder’s 286/409/546 line over the last 3 seasons with a 162 game average of 37 HR and 106 RBI. Fielder’s staggering OBP is due to his averaging 110 BB over the last 3 years. Fielder has also averaged 708 plate appearances so the Twins rotation will be seeing a lot of his substantial bat. Finally, Fielder’s ISO (isolated power or the extra bases Fielder averages per AB) is .260, compared to Martinez’ still solid but significantly smaller .168. Incidentally, according to the ZiPS projection system (as calculated by ESPNs Dan Szymborski, Fielder should experience some drop-off in his numbers from his last few monster-years at hitter friendly Miller Park, to the tune of a predicted 275/394/504 line next year, with 33 HR and 97 RBI.

Essentially, for at least the 2012 season the Tigers have replaced a 'for average' hitting RBI machine with a power hitting RBI machine. It will be interesting to watch this shifting dynamic as Fielder adapts to a new team, city, league and ballpark. With Gerald Laird providing at least adequate backup for Alex Avila at catcher, the addition of Fielder, at least from a power perspective, gives the Tigers a superior bat but production wise they are essentially a straight swap. Tiger’s fans, as Jerry Crasnick points out will not be worrying about future potential payroll issues and fielding positions, they will be looking forward to 2013, when their team will be fielding THE elite 3/4/5 hitting combination in baseball. Fielder gives the Tigers a good chance to compete deep into September year and perhaps beyond. One thing is for certain, if the Tigers can sure up the back end of their rotation, they could be a dominant force in a weak AL Central for the next few seasons.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The More you Neau

The Star Tribune recently published a video interview after beat writer Joe Christensen visited Justin Morneau during his off-season workouts in Arizona. Christensen spent a day both watching and questioning Morneau and after the understandably coy, ‘play our cards close to our chest’ fashion with which the Twins front office has talked of Morneau’s ‘progress,’ (as commented on recently by Nick Nelson), Christensen may be one of the best positioned to be an accurate barometer of Morneau’s status.

  • Morneau has allegedly reported no concussion symptoms since December. While that may not be comforting for many Twins faithful, they are based on normal responses from high tech post-concussion tests Morneau recently took part in.
  • Morneau is understandably unsure of how this progress will translate to the field in live play. He admits it will take time to regain confidence both in the batting box and fielding his position.
  • Morneau’s health struggles last season also resulted in 3 further surgeries, on his knee, wrist and to remove a bone spur from his foot, from which he has been slowly rehabbing from.
  • Morneau has taken his extended absence as an opportunity to alter other aspects of his lifestyle. After extensive allergy testing, Morneau found himself sensitive to dairy and cut it out of his diet altogether over the winter, shedding 20lbs.
  • Morneau admits that his biggest struggle throughout his post-concussion symptoms and his attempts to return have centered on maintaining the level of concentration required of an elite hitter but believes he has the mental toughness and determination to recapture his first half of 2010 form.
The Twins will be hoping Morneau can regain his confidence in the field and the batter's box after a year and a half on injury ridden uncertainty.
The full video can be seen here. It is certainly an interesting insight into a player whose health has been shrouded in mystery since the All-Star break of the 2010 season. Only time will tell how Morneau’s health will play out in 2012 but given Joe Mauer’s improving health and confidence, this insight gives Twins fans significant hope for the return to form of their onetime MVP.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On Base Patheticness

Any self respecting Twins fan knows that the reason the small to now mid market Twins have garnered so much respect for their success in the last decade is their simple execution of 3 central tenets; play good defense, pitch to contact and get on base. The Twins failed miserably in all three respects last season but while perusing the team batting statistics from a miserable 2011 campaign one of the most alarming breaks from this norm was the teams’ failure to get on base.

In 2011 the Twins team OBP was a putrid .306, good for 27th in the majors. If we can pause just a second to aim a snort of derisive laughter in Seattle’s direction, (who only managed a team OBP of .292), that figure from the Twins is really alarming. To put it in perspective, the next worst in the AL Central was the White Sox at .320. In the AL Central winning campaign of 2010 the Twins managed .341, good for 2nd in the majors behind the mighty New York Yankees. Indeed, between 2006 and 2010 the Twins average team OBP has been .341. To give a little more perspective still, some major leaguers who finished with an individual OBP of around .306 that made a decent number of plate appearances include the White Sox Mark Teahan, the Astros Angel Sanchez, ex-Twin Jason Bartlett, the Mets Scott Hairston and our own Trevor Plouffe. The list goes on, but you get the idea. These are just sub-par offensive individuals, but for last years Twins, this OBP – or On Base Patheticness was truly a team effort.

While the Twins had significant turnaround in the clubhouse and on the field this off-season we can perhaps expect the opening day lineup to look something like this.

Career OBP
Carroll/ SS
Team OBP

Now obviously this figure is not where the Twins will end up in 2012 with regards to team OBP. This figure assumes that the same starting lineup will be healthy for and play all 162 games in the 2012 season, which is of course, ridiculous. Interestingly substituting Drew Butera in for Joe Mauer alone would drop that Twins team OBP to .323! This figure also makes a number of assumptions regarding players’ health, adapting to new leagues, divisions, ballparks and pitching etc. It is however, a fascinating indication of how bad the Twins were last year at what they did better than anyone for so long, getting on base.  If this ballpark OBP figure of .341 was to be realized that would result in around 200 extra base runners over the course of the seasons – what a difference that would make!

Terry Ryan hopes Jamey Carroll will continue his consistently excellent OBP in a Twins uniform.

While clearly there are a number of flaws with this data and with my many assumptions, these numbers really do highlight how far the Twins drifted from their norms last year, through injury, under performance and inexperience. I think Terry Ryan should be complemented on his three main position player acquisitions this off-season; Jamey Carroll the everyday shortstop, Josh Willingham the pull-hitting outfielder and Ryan Doumit, our new DH and backup catcher. Between them they harness a career OBP of .350, now that’s Minnesota Twins baseball.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Arming Themselves? The Addition of Joel Zumaya

The Twins made a fascinating move yesterday, adding righty reliever Joel Zumaya with a 1 year pact that guarantees him $800,000 but could net him up to $1.8 million depending on the performance incentives he reaches.

Zumaya potentially gives the Twins what they lacked in 2011 and have not had since Jesse Crain, a truly dominant right handed, late inning reliever. I say potentially because of Zumaya’s history of injuries, both innocuous and horrifying. The fractured elbow he received following a pitch to Delmon Young at Target field in June of the 2010 season will be fresh in the minds of Twins fans as a truly shocking image, but Zumaya has had his fair share of unfortunate luck too, injuring himself playing Guitar Hero in 2006 (sadly not a joke), and dropping a 50lb box which separated his pitching shoulder in 2007.

There is something truly alarming about a pitching action so violent as to be able to cause a bone fracture. After Francisco Liriano’s elbow injury in 2006 against the Oakland As that led to Tommy John surgery, pitching coach Rick Anderson worked tirelessly with Liriano in smoothening out his throwing action to make is less violent and place less stress on his pitching arm; hopefully the same can be achieved for Zumaya.

While it is certainly a worry signing a pitcher with such a history of injuries to a roster already laden with questions marks surrounding its health, Zumaya’s upside is huge. In 2001, his rookie season (and the only one he has remained healthy for) he allowed a WHIP of 1.21 with a BB/9 of 4.5, underlining how dominant he was despite his lack of control. His SO/9 that season was an eye-popping 10.5 and he has maintained a similarly dominant career SO/9 of 9 – a figure which might have Twins fans dying of shock if he can stay healthy throughout the 2012 season. When Zumaya worked out for around 20 teams in attendance this winter he was routinely hitting 93-95 mph with his fastball, a few mph slower than his days with the Tigers but still potentially overpowering stuff and a sacrifice Twins fans would more than willingly make in order to see him pitch a full season.

If Zumaya does not pan out the Twins are not on the hook for much salary, so this risk is certainly one worth taking. Let us hope that Terry Ryan can cement this potentially excellent addition with that of either Dan Wheeler or Todd Coffey, as has been widely speculated over in recent weeks. Zumaya has an excellent opportunity in a ballpark which will suit him but the Twins would do well to cover their backs with one final bullpen addition in case (as has happened the previous 4 seasons) Zumaya cannot stay off the DL.

Morris, Bodley and the Hall of Fame

Hal Bodley recently penned an article for expressing bewilderment that the BBWAA had overlooked Jack Morris after 12 previous appearances on the HOF ballot. Morris is undoubtedly in a unique position; it seems quite possible that he will be the first player to receive as much hall support, (66.7% in 2012) to never reach enshrinement. That is because the next 2 years, Morris final two years of eligibility see such luminaries as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens becoming eligible and as Bodley points out ‘before Blyleven the BBWAA had not elected a starting pitcher since Nolan Ryan was elected in 1999’.

Bodley suggests that critics go ‘just by the numbers’ when examining Morris’ case but then uses one of the most banal numbers of all to cement his own case, wins. Bodley tells us that ‘Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236), Catfish Hunter (234) and Don Drysdale (209) all finished their careers with fewer wins than Morris (254)’.

Surely ‘the numbers’ tell the true tale of a player’s career? Particularly one that spanned 18 big league seasons, as Morris’s did. Bodley also cites Morris’s post-season record, which we will get to in a minute, but first to widen the comparison between Jack Morris and the three HOF pitchers chose to compare him to, Whitey Ford, Catfish Hunter and Don Drysdale.

Despite being bloated by a few poor seasons in the autumn of his career Morris posted a career ERA of 3.90 and a career best ERA of 3.05 in 1981 with the Detroit Tigers. This compares to Ford’s career 2.75 and career best 2.01 ERA, Hunter’s of 3.26 and 2.49 and Drysdale’s of 2.95 and 2.15, with the three averaging 15 big league seasons apiece. Examining WHIP yields similar results, Morris’s career WHIP being 1.29, Ford’s 1.21, Hunter’s 1.13 and Drysdale’s 1.14.

Looking at some other useful metrics we see Morris’s career WAR over 18 seasons standing at 39.3, while Ford’s was 55.3 over 16 seasons, Hunter’s was 32.5 over 15 seasons and Drysdale’s was 65.7 over 14 major league seasons. Clearly it is difficult to compare pitchers through different ages of baseball but if Bodley is going to compare Morris to Ford, Hunter and Drysdale, so can I! (Incidentally many of the neutralized statistics favor Ford, Hunter and Drysdale). Ford, Hunter and Drysdale each hold a Cy Young to their name, an honor Morris did not achieve in his 18 year career.

Bodley also discusses Morris’s postseason record as a legitimate reason for enshrinement stating that ‘Morris was the Game 1 Starter for 3 World Series champions – Tigers (1984), Twins (1991) and Blue Jays (1992). Morris was certainly a post-season warrior logging a post-season WHIP 0f 0.883 for the ‘84 Tigers as well as 23 innings of work in 3 starts for the ’91 Twins, including his career defining, iconic 10 inning defeat of John Smoltz in game 7 of the ’91 world series. Morris certainly upped his game for the big occasion as in the ’91 ALCS he only logged a 4.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.35 in 2 starts against the Blue Jays. If indeed we are examining performance over a career then we also have to look at Morris’s postseason performance with the ’92 Jays. Despite their World Series win he walked 15 in 23 innings of work and gave up 19 earned runs in the same span. Despite this blight on his World Series record Morris’s transformation on he biggest stage of all was remarkable, logging 51.2 innings of work in 7 World Series starts as well as 3 complete games.

Incidentally, harkening back to Bodley’s original comparison, Morris’s World Series statistics stack up like this against Ford, Hunter and Drysdale. Ford logged 146 World Series innings (pause for face of awe) with an ERA of 2.71 and a WHIP of 1.13, his iconic performances being over the 1960 and 1961 World Series, in which he won 4 games and did not give up an earned run in 32 straight innings! Hunter logged a .625 win % in 9 World Series starts including 2 dominant performances over the 1973 New York Mets. Finally Drysdale achieved 3 complete games in his 6 World Series starts the first being as a 22 years old for the 1956 Dodgers, he finished his career with a 3-3 World Series record, a 2.95 ERA and WHIP of 1.21.

Only time will tell if Morris can get over the hump in the next 2 years. It is undeniable that he saved his absolute best for the World Series, turning out stunning performance after stunning performance including one of the defining moments in Minnesota Twins baseball history. Whether Morris receives the call or not his game 7 performance for the ’91 Twins will remain an immortal and timeless moment in baseball history. Sadly for Morris, the rest of his excellent career could never quite match his post-season transcendence.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What the Twins Really Lost to the DL in 2011

There has been much discourse on how the DL limited the 2011 Twins, the team having to use it 27 times, second most in the majors. Thus far, however, no one has really discussed exactly what the Twins lost in terms of pitching and offensive production and where that may have landed them at the end of the season if they had managed to stay healthy.

It became tiresome throughout the season to see the beleaguered and underwhelming Twins AAA team take to Target field and become the whipping boys of almost every team in the league. Even more tiresome was the morose despondency of Twins fans who blamed the teams first to last fall on everyone from the Twins brass, to Gardy, to the players and to the injury bug itself.

For the purposes of this entry, let us make a few assumptions. Assumption number 1: Twins starters that spent significant time on the DL would have played around 130 games for the big league club had they remained healthy. Assumption 2: If they had remained healthy the Twins big league starter’s numbers would have been roughly in line with their major league career averages. These are certainly large assumptions, as it was obvious that many Twins suffered from down years last year, but I think these assumptions will make for an interesting projection on where the Twins might have finished.


Let us start with some bottom line figures about the Twins offense in 2011: Cumulatively, over 5989 plate appearances the Twins managed a line of 247/306/360 in 2011, taking just 440 walks (compared to 559 in 2010 and their lowest total since 1994), striking out 1048 times, committing 119 errors (most since 1985), finishing with an OPS of .666 (lowest since 1981) and scoring a paltry 3.82 runs per game (also lowest since 1981). Wow, those are hard numbers to swallow, especially given the Twins reputation for getting on base, playing small ball and having stout defense.

Now let’s take a look at the key offensive contributors and the time they missed:

Joe Mauer played an injury plagued 93 games in 2011 and made only 254 plate appearances, Drew Butera took his place and although not for the whole season, Mauer’s other primary replacement, Rene Rivera, was equally pathetic – let us compare their offensive production, all stats being a 162 game average of their major league careers thus far:


Nothing else needs to be said regarding this comparison, just seeing Butera’s line makes my skin crawl and makes the Wilson Ramos trade even more of a blow. Now the same process for Denard Span and his replacement Ben Revere instead substituting HR and RBI for runs scored and stolen bases:


A more interesting comparison here, with Revere’s stolen base ability being intriguing the key difference really coming in OBP, a category Revere drastically needs to improve as I commented on in my last entry.

Making a comparison between Morneau and his platoon of replacements is difficult given the sheer amount of them. Through the 2011 season, first base was manned by a combination of Joe Mauer (18 games), Michael Cuddyer (46 games), Morneau himself (56 games) and Chris Parmelee (20 games). For this comparison the most representative statistics will be taken from converting these players’ contributions to a 162 game average, according to the proportion of games they played at 1B. Despite the fact that these numbers are slightly skewed from excellent 1B contributions from Mauer and Parmelee over a very limited time at the position this comparison fields the following results:

1B Platoon

The most obvious drop off here despite a decent combined season from the Twins platoon at 1B is a power outage. If we put all of these statistics together to compare what the loss of a healthy Mauer, Morneau and Span cost the Twins compared to their replacement players we see the true magnitude of their constant injuries. From these injuries the Twins lost;

21 HR
73 RBI
31 Runs

We also see the contrast in batting lines between these 3 starters and their replacements:

Mauer, Morneau and Span

The DL was all too familiar to Twins fans throughout the 2011 season. While my guess would be that a similar comparison between Twins pitching staff would show us what Twins fans have known all along (that the majority of our starters are simply not good enough to mount a serious challenge in the playoffs), this simple comparison highlights the importance of a healthy Mauer, Morneau and Span to the success of the Twins as well as their alarming lack of depth behind them. Needless to say, the success of the 2012 Twins will rest upon the good health of this impressive nucleus. If the Twins are to rebound from the humiliation of last season, these three are the key.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Revere VS Kubel

A recent article in the Star Tribune by John Bonnes weighed the expectations Twins fans should have of their team this forthcoming season, using a comparison of the 2011 and 2012 rosters as its evidence. One of the significant points made was the difficulty in comparing Ben Revere and Jason Kubel, being such different players with varying styles. This will be doubly difficult given Revere’s lone season with the big league club, compared to Kubel’s five full seasons. Nevertheless this does make for an interesting comparison; plucky greenhorn against stoic veteran, table setting speed against power hitting lefty.

For the purposes of this comparison we cannot use Revere’s minor league numbers as the simply aren’t representative of the quality of pitching faced by big league hitters, Revere’s sample size is therefore somewhat limited, but let us examine these two hitters in 3 categories; hitting, defense and baserunning.


Let us start with the most important of hitting statistics OBP. Through 481 plate appearances in 2011 Revere’s OBP was .310 – certainly on the low side for a top of the order slap hitter with no power. Kubel meanwhile posted an OBP of .332 in an injury shortened seasons in which he contributed 401 PA. The reason for this difference it seems, is Revere’s unwillingness to take a walk. In 2011 Revere walked in just 5.4% of his plate appearances, compared to the major league average of 8.3% or Kubel’s figure of 8%. To put this into real numbers Revere walked just 26 times in 2011; if he were to increase his plate discipline and reduce the number of times he struck out looking (his looking strike rate was 11% above the league average) he would have walked 40 times – (and as a result attempted to steal 5 more bases) a significant increase for a player who generated 7 runs above the league average from his base-running in 2011.

When it comes to power Kubel has an obvious advantage. Kubel’s OBP was .766, forty points above the league average of .726, while Revere’s lagged at .619. Kubel dwarfs Revere in every power hitting category and almost every hitting category available. While Kubel’s WAR of 1.3 outgains Revere’s of 0.8 there are some interesting comparisons to be found in comparing their batting value to the team.

While Revere is clearly an inferior hitter, his Rbat (number of runs above or below average a players hitting was) being -18 to Kubel’s 5 last year his baserunning was vastly superior (Rbase figures being 7 and -2 respectively). Revere and Kubel’s oRAR (offensive runs above replacement) and oWAR (offensive wins above replacement level) mirrored each other almost exactly, meaning that they offered, although by different means, similar offensive value to the Twins, at least in 2011.


Even the most casual eye could determine that Revere is a more significant on base than threat than Kubel. A deeper analysis is required however, than merely stolen bases and runs scored. Revere stole 34 bases in 2011 while being caught 9 times. Revere’s stolen bases (a Twins rookie record) certainly excited Twins fans who foresaw a player who might become a 45-50 stolen base threat. Truly elite base-runners typically range between 83-85% success rate, and while Revere’s 79% shows promise, his SB% of 2nd base was only 75%, a rate which needs to be improved, as SB% is a far more accurate measure of impact upon a game than merely the number of bases stolen over a season.

Revere’s top end speed becomes evident when comparing the two player’s runs scored percentage or RS%. This measures the % of times a baserunner scores a run. In 2011 Revere scored 37% of the time when on base, compared to 21% from Kubel. While this is clearly Revere’s MO given his lack of power, this is an impressive figure, particularly given the Twins horrendous hitting throughout the order last season. Comparable elite players such as Jose Reyes, who had a career year in 2011, scored 43% of the time he was on base in 2011.


When looking at basic values Kubel would appear to have had a better year than Revere defensively. Kubel’s fielding % was .992 compared to .976 from Revere. Revere certainly made some rash decisions in covering the huge amount of ground he managed in center field. These numbers however, do not tell the full story.

In 2011 Revere saved 9 runs above the average major leaguer with his play in the outfield, while Kubel cost the Twins -3, while his range factor was 2.80 compared to Kubel’s 2.21. Kubel’s solid fielding % and decent overall numbers belie his ineptitude as a fielder; he appeared in only 58 games in the field in 2011. While Revere has been criticized for having a weak arm, his excellent range and ability to prevent runs make him a preferable outfield defensive option than the pedestrian Kubel.

Consider this; Ben Revere just played his rookie season with the Twins. He certainly experienced his share of highs and lows and the growing pains associated with a first major league season. Despite all this there is reason for optimism surrounding Revere. He will make around $350,000 in 2012, compared to the two year $15 million pact the Diamondbacks overpaid for Kubel. Revere is not without his limitations. He has to increase his stolen base efficiency, his judgment in the field and above all his OBP if he is to become a truly effective top of the order table setter for the Twins. If he is able to accomplish these improvements he will bring balance to a Minnesota team that was heavy on left-handed hitters and light on stolen bases. Add a much needed draft pick that the Twins gained from Kubel’s departure and giving Revere a full-time shot might just herald the second coming of the piranhas.